THE BLOG

Everything Is Not OK

16/08/2017 13:08 BST | Updated 16/08/2017 13:09 BST

I read somewhere recently that Facebook has been found to contribute to depression among it's users. I can't remember where I saw this. I think it was Twitter.

Anyway I had a quick look online and I found a study which explained the thinking. People on Facebook are routinely exposed to updates from friends and family showing how well their life is going and what a wonderful time they are having. However accurate this is I think a reaction against it is reasonable. So I wanted to start sharing my bad days. I don't need sympathy. I don't need support, which is not to say I would not welcome it. I am not trying to present my life as universally bad or debate whose is worse. If you are struggling with depression or negative thoughts and feelings I want you to be aware that you are not on your own.

At university I felt that I was an extra in somebody else's life. I would turn up for the lecture scenes and often have a few lines. But then I would drift out of shot and nobody would know what was happening to me.

What's interesting about that, looking back, is that I was exactly the sort of person the world was set up for. I am a straight, white, cis-gendered male. I had a comfortable and happy childhood in a nice safe village with parents who were well off enough to take me on nice holidays and pay for my university education. I was by no means a social outsider but I still felt isolated. Sometimes I still do. I think a lot of people do, at one time or another. I don't know why that is. Maybe because our deepest fear and pain is inside, where nobody else can see it. Maybe it is the disconnectedness of the modern world, or conversely the ancient (and peculiarly British) tradition of keeping all our fears and worries to ourselves. Either way, perhaps if we share our own burdens and encourage others to do the same, we can all get a bit better.

I think it's important for me to stress that I am no sort of expert. I have no training or experience in managing mental or physical health. I'm not a legal expert or a trained counsellor. As a carer of over a decade I have lived experience, sure, but so does everyone. The point is that I am not setting myself up as an agony aunt. Or uncle. I would be delighted if I was able to start a dialogue and encourage people to talk more about their worries and problems and I would be fine with you putting them at the bottom here. You need to realise though that I don't have solutions for you. And even if I did that wouldn't be the point. The point is that we all talk to the people around us.

Off we go then.