Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Depression - again. The curse of the modern woman?

I read an article this morning by author Allison Pearson on her own experiences with depression. I recognised myself in a lot of what she said - the need to want to give the right answers, to appear perfect.

I also recognised the allure of bridges in the middle of the night and indeed the desire to just not “be” any more. No, I don’t want to cause my family the pain of losing me in gross circumstances (suicide is never pretty, don’t let anyone tell you it is) but it would nice to hit an off switch or a pause button.

Allison said depression is the curse of the middle-aged woman - well, I’m not middle-aged yet but I do recognise her Blues Sisters analogy and indeed her description of Sandwich Woman - trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea trying to keep everyone happy.

She says our theme song is ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ - for obvious reasons that made me smile. (A bit bizarre I know...that it made me smile but it felt like a piece of a jigsaw slotting into place).

She said depression is now, some would say, fashionable. Sure Marian Keyes has it, so it’s cool. And Emma Thompson. And her.

I’m not sure it’s a fashion anyone would want to follow but I’m grateful at least that people are talking about it. I’ve been battling for people to talk about it for years (and indeed the likes of La Keyes have been heartbreakingly open about their own experiences for quite some time now).

It’s still a taboo, isn’t it? I still notice the strange flashes of confusion when I extol the wonders of Prozac or mention that I need my happy pills.

I still get called “very brave” for being open about my experiences - I prefer the term very honest. There is nothing brave about getting through another day feeling like this. It’s just doing what I need to do to be there for my family.

Until it isn’t seen as “remarkable” to talk about having a mental illness we’ve not really won the battle, have we? But let’s keep trying.

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