Search This Blog

Thursday, 2 October 2008


I was hopscotching on the interweb (as my mother calls it) before starting work and my eye was caught by the headline: 15-minute short breaks the silence on key mental health issue and garners worldwide praise. Curious, I clicked on an extract, watched, and felt tears streaming down my face. A few minutes captures the hopelessness, the guilt, the anguish, the sense that nobody knows how bad things are except you. I do hope this film does as well as it deserves. Depression is still such a stigma, and so misunderstood. And once you have it, it's like a coiled serpent, lurking in the depths, curled up, waiting. A nudge, a whisper of memory or just a bad day and you feel it beginning to writhe again. "Remember me?" Sometimes when you've had it, and recovered, you recognise the signs early and consign it to the depths again. But sometimes you're not so lucky. Depression is slippery and silent and occasionally it uncoils while you are barely aware and by the time you are, it is there again, choking you.

After I had recovered from PND, a friend mentioned that she was so glad I was happier as I'd spent a long time "feeling a bit sorry for myself." I was stunned and ashamed. Stunned that she interpreted a deep clinical depression as me feeling sorry for myself and ashamed that in trivialising my feelings, she had trivialised me.

I wouldn't wish the malignant sadness of depression on my worst enemy and I'm cheered that this film has been received so positively. And anyone who feels the cold waves of depression lapping at their edges, I urge you to get help.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, what a film! I've been suffering from depression on and off for a few years and I've lost count of the "friends" who think I should snap out of it.

Thanks for linking to the film.

Jane said...

It's the only illness I can think of where the sufferer can be made to feel ashamed for being ill. Don't know if you've read Shoot the Damned Dog by Sally Brampton but I found it brave and inspirational.

We should keep talking about depression - drag it into the light, where it can be examined, scrutinised, and maybe dismantled. And it's heartening that the film has had such a positive impact.


John said...

Intraweb... love it... aren't mums great? and mad, obviously. Mine's been doing a computer course (at 68! love her for that!) and she was explainging to me one day how frustrating it was leaning how to print, that they'd spend a whole lesson on it but she still couldn't do it. It was really frustrating her. I found this a bit confusing. Printing? A whole lesson? Yes, she said. And she could still on do it with two fingers, she said.... She's still calling typing, "printing" almost 6 months later....

Jane said...

Good on yer mum. It's doing new stuff that keeps you young, not antiwrinkle cream (she says defensively)

Re: 'printing' - I learned to 'touch print' several years ago after mum said "If you can type you can always get a nice little job." A shit, badly paid, nice little job but a job. Mind you if I were Editor of The Times my mum would still describe it me as having "a nice little job, but have you seen the state of her teatowels?"

The Dotterel said...

Why? Is there something we should know about your teatowels?

Jane said...

Dotterel, my mother being a Dublin woman judges other women by the state of:
a) their front step
b) their teatowels

Mum would boil her teatowels to keep them clean while mine look a bit grubby.