Three years ago in August I went to see my GP, having felt that something wasn’t quite right. I’d been irritable, lethargic and eating more than I normally did. Oversleeping and taking naps in the afternoon; obsessing about minor things and how others might react to them.
A light came on in my head when some celebrity news broke. The news that Robin Williams, one of Hollywood’s funniest actors, had taken his own life, resonated with me.
I too, was diagnosed with depression.
Why? At the time, I had, in no particular order: become a dad, defended my thesis, started a new job, co-authored and published a book, published chapters in other books, taken research trips in some of Europe’s fine capital cities, moved house twice, bought a house, appeared on live TV and radio around the independence referendum, and run a marathon. A lot of milestones reached, a lot of bucket-list things ticked off. So why so sad?
Depression doesn’t recognise success or failure, wealth or poverty, race or religion.
It’s not really about the ‘why’. It just is. What is important is to recognise it – not to bury your head in the sand and ignore it – and tackle it head on. Society as a whole struggles with this: if you’re depressed, there must be a reason. But there doesn’t have to be. The worst thing about the lack of societal understanding is the stigma attached.
This has to change.
Early on in this journey, I tried to keep my illness secret, thinking I could beat it on my own, scared about societal stigma and how people would look at me differently. After about 8 weeks, I decided this wasn’t working – that keeping it a secret made me feel worse.
So I decided I’d be open about it.
I can’t recommend enough that if you recognise any of these symptoms in yourself, that you talk to someone – anyone – about it.
Recognition is the first step, but as with so many other things, that first step is often the most difficult. We need to try and make that first step easier by being more open about it.
I’m Malcolm – and I have depression.
#ItsOkayTo #PowerOfOkay #MyUnfilteredLife #MentalHealth #Depression #SeeMe #EndStigma #MentalHealthAwareness #Scotland #Health