I was first diagnosed with depression in the year 2000, millennium year. I still have it today 15 years on.
Major depression in the UK at any one time is about 5%. As many as one person in three may experience an episode of depression in their lifetime.
The presence of other illnesses may complicate or worsen depression, such as diabetes.
It is well documented in a bout of depression that I tried to take my own life with an overdose of prescription drugs (pain killers & anti-depressants) in December 2012.
Also in 2014 did an interview about this and dementia on the Liz Green morning show, Radio Leeds and the Drive Time, Andrew Edwards show also on Radio Leeds.
You can listen to Andrew Edwards talking to me and Peter Smith as part of his programme about memory here:
OK, back to the year 2014. In the middle of the year, I again had a very bad case of depression, a melt down (my words). Three things in my life seem to all go wrong at the same time.
To mention one of those things I was in a lot of pain one evening and early morning, my friends on Social Media (Facebook) were worried about me. After getting advice from friends, things were so bad I thought again bad thoughts. Early morning, I rang the mental health ward in St James Hospital for advice.
They told me to get a taxi to the unit, or would send an ambulance to pick me up and try and sort me out. They also told me of a mental health unit in Middleton (near me) who could help me, but only in normal hours. I decided after speaking to Adult Social Services, I would wait till later that morning and ring the unit up in Middleton.
I rang the unit in Middleton, and within one hour, they sent a psychiatrist to evaluate me.
This is where the crossover between depression and dementia I mentioned earlier began.
Then the lady psychiatrist said I’m going to ask you some questions and to start with ask you to remember three objects I will point these out to you, and in 30 minutes time, will ask you what those three objects were. The psychiatrist then asked me, what I now know as a set 30 questions to see if I have dementia, or not and how bad it was. The questions started quite easy such as what day of the week it was, month and season. Then they got more difficult, asked to spell a seven letter word backwards. Count down from 30 backwards, and more.
Then asked me at the end of this what the three objects were told to remember. I got two out of three of these correct.
After 90 minutes, the psychiatrist told me that I was in the early stages of dementia. I thought was coming to see me about my depression. Anyway she suggested at this stage I take no medication for dementia but told me my GP would be advised what anti-depressants to put me on. The psychiatrist said would send a report to my GP and if I needed to speak to her in the meantime gave me her number.
A few weeks later I visited my GP and asked for a copy of the report this was printed out for me. The report told me how many questions I got right out of the 30. The psychiatrist also reported that I was able to look after myself, like making my own meals and I was a well turned out gentleman with a clean and tidy flat, love you lady.
The Editor of South Leeds Life has asked me how I felt when I was diagnosed with dementia. Well I felt a bit numb. When my friend Amanda Binns (Nurse) found out she put me in touch with Peter Smith a specialist Dementia Nurse. Peter is now retired and runs many Memory Cafes in the area.
I go to three of those when I can. People are there to help you, and to do away with myths such as I would be in a home within 5 years.
One final thing is that I would like to thank some friends who have helped me get through things since I was diagnosed. Most of these come from volunteer groups I have joined.
Thank you Peter Smith, Amanda & Simon Binns, Julie & Chris Holmes. Carla and Jess at Bitmo Gate. June Barrow, for putting me in touch with Adult Social Services. Mark Greenwood at the Parnaby Tavern. Lucy and Jeremy, of South Leeds Life. Finally Christine Robinson Twinkle.
There are many more, but you know who you are and would run to another page or so to include everyone.
Thanks also to Andrew Edwards and BBC Radio Leeds for allowing us to use the clip. You can listen to BBC Radio Leeds on 92.4FM, 103.9FM, 774 AM, DAB, online at bbc.co.uk/radioleeds, or via the iPlayer.