Peer-to-peer support was the key to my recovery. Now I run a charity where I use my experience to help others with mental health problems
When I was a child, my mum said I had a depressive personality. I was prone to low periods that intensified as I reached adulthood and when I started my police career.
There was and still is a huge stigma around mental health, so I, like many others, tried to mask it in the hope it would go away. In secret, I visited my GP for what they thought was clinical depression, worried that my job as a detective would be compromised. I managed to convince other people that I was living a normal and successful life, but behind closed doors I was living a different story – just about managing to cope with my depressive episodes. When in a manic phase, I couldn’t sleep and would work 18-hour days. I wasn’t really looking at the evidence that I had a serious mental illness.