Hi. A year ago I had just commenced the first of two month-long sickness absences due to anxiety and depression. I finally opened up to my experienced year partner, and went off sick. I couldn't cope day to day and my professional life was in freefall. A year later, I am fine. The things that used to scare me are now challenges that I enjoy; I am happy in myself in a way I never was before. I thought it might be useful to some people to share what I learned/how I did it. These are in no particular order. 1. Understand what the problem is. I was not bullied or treated unfairly at any stage; I was a good teacher before that academic year. It was not the pressure of work - for me. It took a long time to sort out what my problem was but I did; I refused to take anti-depressants throughout - for me this worked, eventually, as I solved the issues at the heart of my illness. With anti-depressants, I doubt I'd have bothered facing them. 2. Remove yourself from danger. I felt I was moving towards capability, or to committing some act of professional misconduct, due to not coping with life in general. So going sick meant I could put "life on hold", away from the risks of things getting worse. 3. Think and philosophise. During my two separate months off, I analysed my thoughts and my life rigorously, going down many philosophical alleys which turned out in time to be dead ends. Eventually I got there. For me, being fortunate not to have any dark childhood ills causing my illness or suchlike, my problems lay in generic self-esteem issues and life habits which ground my spirits and gifts down - but you must find your own answers, of course. 4. Come back to yourself. During my adult life, I have often tried to be more sporty or more cool than I really am. During my illness, I returned to my true passion of historical literature and stewing over the key events of medieval history in my mind whilst drinking tea. It began to let me feel my own greatness again. It sounds pompous but it did feel like that. 5. Two Truths that really have turned my life around. My life now is little different to before, but I, the actor on it's stage, am utterly different. Number 1, I let myself feel great about who I am, what I offer, what my skills and gifts are. Number 2, I let myself realise that the events and outcomes of any day or week are largely in my control. This is more true for classroom teachers than it is for most people. I'm not trying to lecture but I have overcome the downward spiral of depression and anxiety that many of us face and I wanted t share it.