I've broken down... many times. Aged 21, then 27, then 33... those are 3 out of the Big 4 breakdowns. Each and every time, I tried to fight the tidal wave. Each time -- somewhat predictably -- I failed. And each time, my body was bound on the flaming wheel of high anxiety, and my mind dipped in the bitter poison of depression. Every time, I tried to push it down. I sometimes thought of depression as "Mr Darkside"... a grim, wizened, elderly figure dressed in black. Sometimes I told a very few people. Sometimes I [reluctantly] went to my doctor. Sometimes I took the meds I was given in good faith -- though I lost a good deal of myself in the process; an odd journey not unlike wading thru treacle on a foggy day. Mostly, no-one knew. Mostly, I denied it to the world, a daffy and perhaps not entirely convincing smile on my face. Each time, I came out of it, fragile but alive, and able to resume my ongoing daily quest for the joys in life. I broke down again last Christmas -- the 4th of the Big 4. The festive period came and went [as New Year did] with Mr Darkside staring me right in the face, grinning with glee as my body shook and tears of grief streamed down my face. But things are a bit different now. I'm getting better -- and this time it will be different. [And that's the first time I've ever declared such a thing.] This time I'm going to be open; I'm going to be proud of myself. And by being open, by casting light in those dark places, I am, conversely, going to be less defined by the really bad stuff than I've ever been in the past. It doesn't matter if most of my family don't get it. It doesn't matter who is indifferent to it. It doesn't matter if people I've looked up to in my life will think less of me now, or think consider me as a weak, foolish prat... because they will be wrong. There are many good times on the road ahead. Fun times. Times for merriment and champagne... and many other things. And a high degree of transparency. I'm going to be open; I'm going to be proud of myself. I feel proud already.