Martin*, aged 56, Victoria

"My story may have a different outcome to others. I did not eventually return to my chosen profession, despite my best efforts. So, sometimes you need to realise this is not just a passing phase and learn how to come to grips with it. I had been in the finance industry since I was 17, Banking, and that was how I identified myself. After over 30 years and having moved in financial planning, my mind was becoming jumbled. It was a difficult time as my life was going along swell, pretty much as planned. After a while, depression was diagnosed. It was then I found out my family (sibling, mother, aunts, uncles) had also came up against this hurdle too. For a few years I was on and off medication without any great effect on my work or lifestyle. Then, without notice (or reason) it came back with a bang (or should I say a blackout). My employer was great and after 4 weeks off work I returned and soldiered on, initially at half speed, which I thought would be gradually improve. It didn't.

After over 6 months of still battling at work, despite great support from my employer, and after talking to my doctor, counsellor and wife, I realised that I just had to stop working altogether and concentrate on getting better. It was difficult decision but one I knew I had to take. Still, though, I thought this would only be a temporary situation and after 6-12 months I would be back as good as ever. I did what I thought were all the right things, medication, meditation, resting etc and this worked. After 12 months I was able to go back into the office, but just doing some administration work. It was easy and I was going well. Guess what? After 3 months I knew I was going backwards again and I pulled the plug before darkness completely set in again. That was 2 years ago. Now, I am very good, just doing casual work in another job, with more physical than mental work, and it suits me fine. Changing from my working life profession felt like a loss of identity. But, heh, I just made a new identity, me. And am better for it."

*not his real name