Denise Welch has won praise after posting a string of candid videos in which she discusses a recent lapse in her mental health.
The actress and Loose Women presenter has always been honest and open about her struggles with addiction and depression, and over the weekend shared a video on Twitter in which she revealed she was “in the midst of a mild episode of clinical depression”.
Addressing her followers, Denise said: “As someone who professes to be a mental health advocate, I have to share the bad times with you.
“Trying to explain depression to those that are fortunate enough not to suffer it is difficult but it’s kind of like, it is what it says on the tin.
“Depression depresses every single emotion that you have so that there is a flatness and a void there. This started yesterday with feelings of slight unreality, the atmosphere around me starts to change and the way I describe it is that the colour goes out of my life.
“And people that I’m around that I love being with, I don’t want to be around. Things that I’m looking forward to, I don’t want to be part of.
“Right now, I’m going through the motions, but I just want to be on my own, and it’s hard. But those who know me and follow me know that I describe it as the unwelcome visitor.
“And he’s here, he’s not at my house he’s at my sister’s house. He, or she, can find you anywhere. I have to wait for him to go and I just have to do the best that I can.”
Shortly afterwards Denise shared another post, saying she felt “overwhelmed by the response” to her first video, “not just the love and support from everybody out there, but the fact that the video resonates with so many people who are either going through an episode, or know exactly what I’m talking about”.
In the hours that followed, Denise charted her episode in a series of videos, in which she fluctuated between feeling optimistic for her “nasty visitor” leaving, and crying that she was unable to feel “joy in anything”.
“Crying is good,” she said in a subsequent video. “When the episode is worse than this it makes it impossible to even cry, so it’s a positive thing to have a good old blub.
“I know a lot of you are saying ‘are you on your own’, but to be honest, sometimes you need to be on your own. So Lincoln is literally going to walk in the door any minute, but I’m OK and I’m well looked after. And I’ll post again in the morning and let you know if it’s gone up or down. Hopefully up.”
The below videos may be triggering to those with experience of clinical depression:
On Monday morning, Denise updated her followers, revealing she was feeling “better” than the previous day.
“I think the visitor has made a short visit and is on his way out,” she explained. “Because the ability to feel something returns. And I didn’t have the black swirlingness that those who’ve had clinical depression will know, there’s a blanket of black swirling that happens usually in the night. And I didn’t have that.”
Addressing those who experience depression but struggle to explain it to people, she urged them: “Have a look at the messages I’ve received. And show them to people who don’t understand your illness.
“In 30 years, I’m sick of having to explain that I have a serious illness. But I work through my illness, and I’m not defined by my illness. Because when the sun comes out – as it has, literally and metaphorically, this morning – my life is good.”
“I’m very touched,” she added, referring to the positive messages she’d received from those her video had reached.
As part of her work for raising awareness of mental health, Denise is an ambassador for the charity Mind, and has written on their website about her hope to destigmatise conditions like depression.
“There have been huge advances as more and more people have spoken about mental health, but the stigma sadly still exists,” she said. “There’s a lot of education needed, especially to improve the way the media portray those of us who are mentally ill.”
In 2017, Denise co-produced and starred in the short film Black Eyed Susan, based around her own experiences with clinical depression, which debuted on HuffPost UK.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.