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Coping, but only just

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 26 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:977

I gave in—or did I give up?—on 29 November. After three years on different selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the depression had returned quickly and unexpectedly. I had been able to reduce the dose of my latest SSRI to one every third or fourth day. I was as content as I had been for many months. Six weeks into the winter period we had the usual round the table discussion at home.

“You can't go any longer like this,” my wife said. “Don't they know at work how bad you feel?”

I had the feeling that I wasn't safe anymore

Were we somehow taught not to show the signs of stress?

“Well, some do …”

I had struggled against taking time off for several years because I felt that I could still cope with all the ups and downs. I also had a fear that I might never return to work if I had a lengthy period away. I had worked continuously in the NHS from 1 August 1970 until …

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