I promised that i wouldn’t post again, Hmm, the news prompted me this morning. it’s more just because people don’t talk about this to be honest.
I woke up to Stephen Fry talking about a suicide attempt and Paris Jackson’s attempt. Stephen has a Bi-Polar disorder and the facts are yet to come out about Paris. Although i have no doubt that people will make up a lot of things about her and there will be, as always, a completely non-intrusive and sensitive approach by the media. ‘Cause what you need if you try and kill your self is a media frenzy and people posting photos of you and discussing who, what and why……
Stephen Fry has been candid about this http://media.smh.com.au/selections/stephen-fry-recounts-darkest-moment-4467758.html so, i think i kind of owe him to say how i feel, maybe others will feel the same. I will preface this with this is not a cry for help!
‘When I’m conscious, when I’m rational, I realise that being Stephen Fry is a very happy thing to be; people are extraordinarily nice to me. Mostly it’s great, but there are times when you’re on stage or when I’m doing QI and laughing [on the outside], but inside I’m going “I want to fucking die.”’ – Stephen Fry
I suffer from depression, now that may sound a bit ‘look at me’. Really it isn’t, The last thing you want is people looking at you. The thing is we don’t talk about it, it’s not nice is it? We can have adverts about cancer and heart disease, I know there was that one we had about going nuts and talking about it, but hey nobody is doing an edgy campaign about sticking your fingers up at mental illness.
The problem is some people don’t get it. I have genuinely once been told, after a bout, that ‘I had a heart operation and was back at work a week later’, hmm almost sound like depression ain’t that serious in your world mate, thanks, cause it’s not like depression comes with guilt as well. So now i’m miserable and beating myself up because i’m just being silly.
So whats it like? For me at it’s worst you go to bed, hoping that you will just sleep forever. You just want the world to fall away and for your brain to stop working. Wow that’s melodramatic isn’t it? Yah notice i didn’t write that in the first person? Well we are going to pretend this isn’t about me for a bit and i might just get through writing this. I’m not Stephen Fry and as i have mentioned before talking about stuff could be similar to having my head slammed in a door, so bear with me.
I’m lucky in many ways as i know not to stay in bed all day, i know i need to go out and i know that i have to keep my mind active to minimise the effect and help with recovery, but damn it’s hard!
You walk round with a mask on pretending a lot of the time, you worry your destroying the lives of the people you care about, so you force yourself to be self-reliant. In fact that self reliance can be reinforced by how people treat you. That one is very close to me as while growing up my mother suffered from depression and i know the effect it had on my family, so of course being rational and sensible I end up going there quite quickly! Of course when you finally say ‘I need help’ you get various responses. First up, there are those who get you and are there for you when you need them, don’t put pressure on you. That’s what you need understanding. The fact i’m not talking about it doesn’t mean that i’m ignoring you. It means that your there i know it and that’s enough for now. I love my other half more and more everyday and she saves me every day just by being there. Then you get the others….
‘Pull your self together’
‘You just need to do x and that will sort it’
‘I’m feeling a bit depressed too you know, did i tell you about how i…….’
‘…………’ silence followed by avoiding you
‘How are you feeling’ trust me when i say if i answer that your probably going to look at me in a very different light.
‘Oh depression, tell me more about your first world problems, lol’
There are so many responses that just don’t help. This isn’t peoples fault it’s, more the stigma attached to mental illness and a lack of education. You say to someone i suffer from depression you get a lot of ‘Oh look at the person trying to be interesting’ or ‘holy crap, how do i avoid talking to this person’ and of course the ever popular discussing you when your not around ‘isn’t it a shame about x, but i knew something was up’. Personally i blame the fact depression just isn’t as cool as other problems. If you made it sexy and the sufferers like modern day Byrons you’d see people wanting to hang around the depressed…actually scratch that it means i would have to talk to strangers.
So what causes it? In my case i know my triggers to a certain degree, however there are times where it just turns up. I have been through a CBT light course with TALK PLUS and one of the things i discovered was that i think in CBT terms normally and that thought informs emotion. You have a thought and have an emotional response to it. One of the ways CBT helps is you look at your thoughts and see if they are rational. It really helps for the insane thoughts like ‘i’m a terrible person’, ‘My depression will destroy people around me’ or ‘I’m Sparticus’. The idea is that you look at a thought, test it and then form a more realistic thought. What it doesn’t help with is those thoughts that are real. CBT isn’t fairy dust, sometimes you analyse your thoughts and find ‘bugger i am Sparticus and i can’t get rid of that’. What do you do? Well you find coping mechanisms, hopefully, and use them to get through. You analyse if worrying about it helps, write plans for changing the situation. Unfortunately sometimes reality smack you in the face and no matter how well you plan, no matter how many things you do it’s still there.
There are days when it’s great and it’s all good, but i’m still in this skin and in here those feelings of inadequacy are still gnawing their way out or that thing that is tearing me to pieces inside wont go away. Of course they don’ talk about how angry you get too, all that pressure can manifest as being snappy and grumpy. Personally i just end up feeling guilty when i get grumpy and then my mood drops with the guilt. Hmm almost a bit like a vicious circle.
Of course why is this anyone else’s problem? Well it isn’t i suppose. Sounds harsh dosn’t it? Well lets be honest someone else’s Cancer isn’t my problem nor is people who can’t feed themselves. We care because basic human empathy makes you, but mental illness, that’s odd isn’t it? You don’t want to be around the ‘mentals’ or talk about them. What i have discovered is that most people i have spoken to have had a brush with mental illness or someone with a mental illness, so why aren’t we talking about it?
Shame that we aren’t coping, shame that people might find out that we aren’t the people they think you are.
Fear of losing your friends, losing your job or fear your going to be locked up.
Hmm shame and fear, those sound like things that might aggravate depression. Damn.
So yes i have depression and it effects me every day. This doesn’t mean i’m going to go on a killing rampage or eat soap, I’m not going to shatter if you talk to me and i’m not weird all of a sudden because of it.
Would be nice if found out about depression a bit and maybe talk about it the same way you would talk about any other disease. Oh and if you have any power over day time tv scheduling could you move Jeremy Kyle? He really doesn’t help.
Promise to write something more upbeat next time.