It isn't just mental illness that we hide in our 'I am fines' it is also our physical illness, our money worries, family problems, loss and loneliness-the list is endless. The majority of us bottle it up in this fast-paced society.
You may find yourself asking why you should care about what I am saying or you may sit back and admire the great steaming dump you have left - however, mental health conditions affect one in four people including myself and on behalf of those with mental health issues I would like to say, we are sick of dealing with your shit.
As I navigate the straights and narrows of intimate connections, I am struck by the difference between being righteous and defensive and my willingness to look at my behavior from the reactions I get from others.
Knowing how the system works won't magic any more money into the pot, but if you don't know you're being undersold you can't challenge it. Get clued-up, and don't quit until you get what you're entitled to.
Walking is a great metaphor for getting unstuck and moving forward - you can only walk when you put one foot in front of the other. You don't worry you cannot cover the distance because you learn that's all you have to do, keep putting that foot forward.
Not everyone understands what depression is. They just see it as going through a tough spot. At times, they will say that people with depression should just "snap out of it" or to "pull yourself together".
Not being able to come into the office to do your job because of some thoughts and emotions that you're finding difficult to deal with is alien to a lot of people, and often not taken seriously as a debilitating illness.
How many times can you remind people that it's one in four who have a mental disorder, that means if we prohibited everyone with a mental illness from working there would be empty floorboards in the boardrooms.
I've never had clinical depression, but I've experienced sadness so deep and engulfing it stole me for a while. I've felt desperately hopeless at times and on others frighteningly disengaged. I don't know how it was that I found my way through. I just did.
Depression can be deeply distressing and seriously impede someone's life. When I confronted how severe my depression was it hurt because I had to deal with the inability to do tasks I was so sure of. Temporarily.
The long and the short is... We don't know. The papers didn't know. But they chose to decide the truth without knowledge. Now it may be that it turns out he was a depressive and those same papers will say 'ah, we told you so, we were right to run the headlines we ran.' To which the answer is 'no you weren't.' If he had just been told he had cancer, and a note to that effect had been found, would we be 'blaming' cancer for the deaths of those poor people who perished in the Alps? This is reporting that belongs in the dark ages along with witchcraft.
When I wasn't working in the past I'd feel obligated to start cramming myself with information; what disasters are happening in the world war-wise, airplane-crash wise, inflation-wise, hurricane-wise and Jeremy Clarkson-wise; the list is endless. When I don't work I start feeling like, "Dear God, who will want to see me if I don't have news or gossip to spew out?"
Happiness isn't a condition that occurs when circumstances are perfect or nearly so. Sooner or later you need to make a deliberate choice to be happy in spite of the challenges and difficulties.
The truth is - and I'm being dangerously honest here - my work just isn't compatible with my mental health, in fact it's quite the opposite; the two are entirely disparate. The highs and lows that come with working in the media devastate me, so in order to survive (or at least pretend to) I'm forced to build a facade of normality and feign that everything is 'fine'.
Getting help is not supposed to be the traumatic part, experiences like mine are damaging, I will never forget that night, these memories stick with people forever and they have the potential to stop people seeking help. Imagine the outrage there would be if a cancer sufferer was put in a cell because there were no hospital beds. It is totally unacceptable.
I love performing my show, mostly because of the second half where I have the privilege of sitting on stage and letting the audience take over to ask, answer or discuss whatever. For those 20-30 minutes it feels like I'm with my people that we're the same under our fronts with all our vulnerabilities we need to hide.