Stress factors that pushed me towards depression
My wife and I were doing OK. Both working and reasonably paid. I had risen far enough in my job to have some responsibility and interest, but not so much that I felt pressurized. I had settled into coasting along without too much ambition.
We were not rich but we had enough money. We could afford cars, holidays, visits to the theatre. We enjoyed getting out to the many country parks around where we live. I was into SCUBA diving and I got to go on some great trips and see some amazing sights. Everything was fine.
The first signs
The only little problem we had was that my wife started to struggle a bit when we went on our walks. She would stumble occasionally and her left leg didn’t seem to be moving properly. This was being investigated but the doctors seemed to be almost trying things at random.
She had been given insoles for her shoes and when they didn’t work she got bigger ones. Then she was sent to an ear, nose and throat specialist to see if her balance was OK. We were getting nowhere and she was getting worse.
In 2005 it all goes wrong
In March 2005, my company held a meeting to announce that we were going to be ‘centralized’. To keep our jobs, we would have to travel to an office 70 miles away. This would mean about 3 hours a day traveling to work. What I was paid didn’t justify doing that.
I had previously been a field engineer in telecommunications and had traveled 40,000 miles in a year. I knew how that wears you down and I was adamant that I wasn’t going to do it again.
Time to reflect
It was more than a year until the first people would have to move and the company were saying that they would try to find alternative employment. If nothing had happened by Christmas, I intended to start actively looking for another job in the New Year. In the meantime, there was our anniversary to look forward to.
December 8th 2005 was our 25th wedding anniversary. We spent it in Cuba and had a wonderful time, except that by this time, my wife was really struggling to get around. When we got back, she had an appointment with a neurologist. He told us that more tests were needed but he was pretty sure that she had Multiple Sclerosis. Then we were sent home, feeling numb and having no idea what this would mean for us.