My youngest son revealed to me that he too has been suffering from the black dog. My reaction? Self-pity, of course. That makes me feel terrible, I’ve passed on the family madness gene, where are the tablets. This feeling lasted less than a second. My dad head took over.

Obviously, I’m sad that my son suffers from depression. Which dad wouldn’t be? We wish nothing but good health and success for our children. It hurts when they are ill. I remembered when my sons had other things wrong with them, other than mental health, and my reaction was certainly not self-pity. It was supporting them and that’s what I am doing now.

My own black dog journey reached a new level following my mental health assessment. I am no longer going to get group therapy, I am being referred for individual therapy, which is the only way. That’s the very good news. The less good news is that I will have to go on a waiting list. Ah, yes. Those magic words: waiting list. After the good news, then the bad, comes some better news. I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. I wish I knew how this thing worked.

The news from the British Red Cross that I had in fact imagined my workplace bullying, that my mental breakdown was a figment of my imagination and that they were a caring, sharing, people-friendly organisation didn’t dent my new found resilience. Nor has the fact that CEO Mike Adamson, basis salary circa £180k per annum, hasn’t gotten round to replying to my personal letters to him, not least after they informed me I was off sick from work, despite having left the Red Cross some three months ago. I haven’t finished with them, yet. (If you are reading this, Mike, I shall be writing to LandRover who are corporate sponsors for the work I was doing and I am going to ask whether they are happy that some of their money was being used to pay the wages of bullies. If bullying appears to be part of the Red Cross, I doubt that LandRover will be too happy to pay for it.)

My boy and me are at different stages of our lives and our respective depression. If any good has come out of his it is that I hope we have caught it early. I would imagine that the chances of him making a full and permanent recovery are good. He is a fine young man and I know he will fight the good fight until the black dog disappears into its kennel.

You can see the extent of this mental health epidemic everywhere. I have friends whom you’d never guess had their own demons; happy, shiny people on the outside, looking through a thick fog on the inside. Just to think, when I was a kid, there was no such thing as poor mental health. It was self-pity and being fed up. Even though we have a government that barely gives a toss about the issue, we are winning the argument that they should.

I reckon I am doing much better at managing my son’s depression than I ever was with mine. Hopefully, I can learn some lessons, too.