Somewhere between childhood and my teenage years, I realised something: I wasn't straight. Eventual marriage to a man began to look less likely. Later I'd realise that my queerness was fine, great, even, but it'd take a while.
You or I might be forgiven for wondering why a professional sportsperson would ever suffer from depression. After all, they are at the peak of physical fitness, often earning a massive salary from their sport as well as all the associated sponsorships and promotional deals, receiving acclaim, adulation and recognition on a national if not international stage. Surely this is a dream situation to be in?
Whilst a rational mind would say sorry to the friend, and forgive themselves, you have a little voice in your ear that tells you that it's because you're a bad friend, employee, or person, and that 'you don't deserve to be happy, ever!'
efore I was diagnosed I remember feeling emotionally impotent in how to cope with whatever was going on in my head. I certainly felt powerless to talk with anyone about it. Surely all I needed to do was pull myself together, slap on a smile and get on with life?
Always remember that Depression is lying to you constantly about what you can or can't do. These are Baby Steps for confronting, distracting and confusing the Big D and in the process give you some measure of comfort.
Prevention treatment as with cancer and other illnesses is the key to better health. Specialist units need to be available for everybody with mental health problems, because early prevention helps with the cure.
It's no secret that the public perception of mental illness is unfortunately still pretty negative. A person who has previously suffered with an episode of mental illness can be seen as 'delicate' or 'unstable', even after they have recovered.
With so much talk in the news recently about freedom of speech, it really got me thinking. If everyone should be entitled to free speech why do I get so wound up if someone calls me mental? Or bat sh*t crazy? Or a head case?
Why isn't there a unit in Wales? It's a country in itself, and after being involved in the report in October issues by the MMHA, this shows clearly that prevention and treatment would result in saving the country money in the long term due to the effects of this illness.
I've decided, in the deluded spirit of making resolutions in the new year, to try and change an aspect of my lifestyle; I'm going to dip my toe in the water of an attempt to be kind to myself. My problem is I can't tell when I'm being nice to myself and when am I just being a lazy pig, so I never stop with the self-flagellation to keep going. If I thought about what's the greatest thing I could do for myself, I'd tell you it was 'to never have to get out of bed'. I'm my happiest when I have a virus and have an excuse to lie there without the nagging mother in my brain screaming, "Get your ass up and out".
The bully for many of you, who you either acknowledge or not, is within. He is the dominant, overriding voice who demands your attention but not your affection, your compliance not your defiance, your obedience, your subservience. He is the omnipotent Black Dog, logged in to your psyche, he knows the passwords to get in and won't log out.
Google will provide an answer to pretty much anything, but I'm afraid there are some things that Google just can't help us with. Google can't tell you what you should be doing with your life, or reassure you that you made the right decision yesterday. So, in our fragile, digitally reliant states, we worry. And more and more of us are worrying more of the time.
There are some who argue that depression is not an illness. ''Pull yourself together. This is a first world problem if I've ever seen one. Come with me to Africa and I'll show you people who have a right to be depressed." All I can say to people who say such things is that I'm not able to rationalize it like that.
I have good and bad days but even as a child I'd often replay horrible images in my mind. I once had a giant ball of gristle roll out of a piece of bacon quiche I was munching on. And this ball of gristle is like a metaphor for how I constantly mull over all the bad stuff.
I know I sound nihilistic but I do try to make peace with my pessimism. Even in childhood, my thoughts were never cuddly and warm. They were mostly unforgiving and I know no one is as cruel to me as me. I've always lobbed grenades at myself. If I try and stop, the thoughts get more persistent. The only thing I have to ease the situation is that I practice mindfulness and have done for many years. Every morning I sit in one place and it's agony because my mind is screaming for me to get up, do something...
I have suffered from bouts of depression for several years. That sentence in itself is one of the best ways to deal with it. To acknowledge it. To recognise it. To confront it.