THE girlfriend of a man who committed suicide after months of suffering with depression is appealing to people to get help before it is too late.

Katrina Putman, 49, was left heartbroken after her partner Steven Rayner, 47, was found dead in his bedroom in Lowndes Avenue, Chesham, on May 2, after he overdosed on anti-depressant drugs.

Ms Putman, who also suffers with depression, is urging those who suffer from the illness or know someone who is to get help to prevent them going down the same route.

Ms Putman first started to suffer with depression 20 years ago after having her son. She said any trauma in her life would cause it to return like the death of her mother and father and the recent suicide of Steven.

"I feel like Steve's suicide has taken over my life," she said. "His death has brought back my depression and to tell you the truth I feel suicidal myself at times."

Ms Putman explained after Mr Rayners death she stopped taking her medication for her diabetes with the hope that it would be fatal.

"Depression is a horrible mental illness that is difficult to explain to someone who has not go it," she said. Because it's on the inside people don't know and they say 'you look well today' and you just think if only you knew."

Ms Putman explained some side effects include not being able to sleep and her appetite being up and down, with her going without food for days and then binging on other days.

"You feel like everyone is against you," she said. "You feel like you're being punished and sometimes I'm frightened to go to places on my own. It is a feeling of helplessness. When I wake up in the morning it's the worst, it's like there's a black cloud hanging over me and I literally have to crawl out of bed because I don't want to get up.

"I find it hard every day. It's going to be a long road and I know that I have a battle ahead of me."

However, Ms Putman is starting to feel more optimistic after going to her GP for help and will next week begin going to the day care groups at Tindal, a centre for the treatment of mental illness in Aylesbury, where she will be able to talk to people in the same situation as her.

Ms Putman, of Buckingham, is hoping that her story will urge readers suffering with depression to get help before it is too late to stop others going through what she has had to.

"People who think they are suffering with depression need to get help before it's too late," she said.

"Anyone who has got depression needs to get help as soon as possible, that's all I can say. There are people who don't know they have depression but if you think you have the symptoms see your GP, mine was wonderful. A lot of people suffer with depression and a lot of people choose to ignore it, don't be one of those people."

"I do think people are ignorant about depression. People tell you to snap out of it but it's not that easy and it does not help at all when people say that. I think depression does need to be publicised more to raise awareness.

"It would make me feel so good if I'm able to help even just one person by telling my story."