This Is My Depression: Here's What I Have Learnt Today
Posted by Albooth
4th Mar 2014

Now, I grew up in the countryside. I grew up surrounded by fields and trees and birds and scenery so stunning that my eyes would drown in its richness and my soul become drunk by the very depth of its deliciousness. The colours that changed with the seasons never grew any less beautiful no matter what month or year was passing. All this remains true to this day.

As I trudged towards the doctors, the autumn leaves were on the ground. They were golden and red and orange and bronze and I… I felt nothing. I marvel in such simplistic wonderment almost daily and yet, this day, I felt nothing. No wonderment. No wish that I did feel something. I just felt numb. (Bloody good job I was heading to speak to someone really, wasn’t it?)

As it was, the doctor wouldn’t let me register as my address had recently changed, so I went to a centre where I sat with a group of strangers. Or, as I saw them, “An audience”. (The next night, still throbbing in my head and feeling a tenth of the height I actually am, I went on stage and hosted a night. It’s actual madness!) Despite feeling numb and my mind feeling like it had closed early for the day, quips, jokes and side-stepping ensued for a couple of hours, as well as open and honest discussion. I felt relief. Then I spoke to the man who had run the centre for 30 years. We chatted, he asked questions, he shook my hand and he said I should see a doctor. “If you cut yourself, you put a plaster on it, don’t you?” True, Mr R. Very true.

That brings those of you still reading to here and now. Yesterday I saw a doctor and told him that I “thought” I “may have” depression. I explained everything, his eyebrows raised and he told me there was no doubt that I did. That I had for years, in fact. All this probably happened in less time than it’s taken to read this very blog.

So, why have I shared all this? Well, because there is a stigma, still. Because mental health isn’t something to be shied away from or hidden under the carpet. Or bed. So I have waffled on in what can only be described as a self-indulged pudding of words (1) to show that is the case, it is an open thing and it’s amazing what talking can do and (2) to say that part of the depression I have is encompasses a short attention span and so I can’t actually remember what my second point was going to be.

As I say, this is only my own, personal experience. I spoke to one of my closest friends about it in a bar called The Bank in Birmingham before I spoke to anyone else. It felt amazing to share with him. That’s true friendship. I told my Mum and Dad. Then I told my girlfriend. Then family and, before I knew it, it’s just a thing. As I said earlier on, it’s always been a part of me. If you have it, you’ll know that. If you know someone who has it, you’ll know that. If you think you have a mental illness – be it depression or anything else – I hope you see that and that you find you can talk to someone. My girlfriend talks to me openly about it all the time. The biggest chain around you neck can, through talking, become… a nice necklace… (Oh, and I was doing so well, too…)

I also have no concerns about being open about my condition damaging my career because 1 in 4 people suffer from something similar. The media world isn’t a dark ages place to be and I hope everyone else can feel the same way, wherever they work. The people who hold prejudices should be the minority and, if there has to be any judging, then let us judge them. Or let us ignore them and then all go to the pictures together. That’ll learn ‘em!

SO, Here’s What I Have Learnt Today… Depression for me now is just a thing. It’s not a concern, it’s just part of who I am. This is not a tale of “woah is me”. I embrace my mental state because it’s part of me, it makes me who I am, and who I am is currently eating a Bourbon biscuit. I know I am lucky. In fact, my biggest concern at the time of writing is that my girlfriend told me this weekend that she doesn’t like The Muppets. This depression thingy can be treated with tablets. I have NO idea how to get around that issue right now…

Just one more thing. On that day I first went to the doctor’s, I told my boss that I had ‘flu. The next day I confessed that I suffered from depression. She was ace about it. “But you’re one of the happiest people I know,” she said. Which goes to show why I didn’t realise it myself for so long. Also, she’s probably right, I probably am. That’s because I have amazing friends, amazing family, an amazing girlfriend. I always choose to be positive and appreciative. Life is too good not to be, isn’t it?

I may have depression but I’m fortunate; some people have a whole lot less than I’ve got.

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