Self praise, we know, is no praise at all. And I am the sort of person who when rare praise comes my way doesn’t deal very well with it. Emerging from my latest hell hole of depression and anxiety has taken an awful lot out of me and I hope it has all been worth it.

I have often said that I have been able to manage my own illness with a combination of drugs, therapy and my experience of what went before. Also, I recognised when low mood was arriving which helped me deal with it. This time, it crept up on me and I wasn’t ready.

Other than to say my recent depression and the accompanying breakdown that accompanied it – my first for a very long time – was work-related. I will say no more about the specifics just now because – and I am sometimes an optimist – some people may have the honesty to apologise to me for the pain they caused and compensate me accordingly. I do not tell lies, I am an honest man. I know what happened, when it happened, but not quite why. I doubt that I shall ever understand the latter.

In recent weeks, I have been bumping along the bottom and, for once, I have tried the age-old concept of positive thinking. This does not come naturally to me given a lifetime of failure in almost every department you could imagine. However, in the absence of any NHS treatment and the absence of money to afford private treatment, I have become my own physician, trying to heal myself.

This has not been easy following the best part of a year’s sleep deprivation. Tiredness is a sturdy ally of mental illness and he can always be guaranteed to turn a crisis into a deeper crisis. One makes the other worse and then the other makes the one worse. It’s hard to stop.

I have taken the huge step of becoming unemployed for Christmas to preserve my mental health, or what’s left of it, and, at a stroke, a dark cloud has been lifted from over me. Now, when I wake up at Stupid O Clock, I am no longer the prisoner of those who sought to do me down.

Today, a murky late autumnal Saturday, is the first day of the rest of my life. I’ve made some good decisions this week, helped my family and friends. I don’t hate those who made me ill, I pity them. I won’t forget them, though, even though they are no longer part of my life but equally I won’t allow them to slowly kill me.

The black dog is still here all right, he always will be. I know exactly who he is, once more, and with any luck I can keep him on the leash this time. I am watching him very closely.