Saturday, 22 October 2011

I guess thats why they call it the blues

You weren't 'alf right Elt!
 There’s nothing quite like the immortal words ‘I have depression’ to piss all over a conversation (although ‘I used to be a man’ might do it) and there will always be someone (friend/family or stranger) who upon hearing this news who will bolt for the hills like Seabiscuit.
Lets face it though, there’s so many misconceptions and misunderstandings attached to depression and mental illness its no wonder sufferers don’t tell anyone what they’re going through. And crap as it is, there will always be people who jump ship as soon as you bring the subject up.
Depression, like Enrique Iglesias’ mole, is something we all know is there, but a thing we just never acknowledge. With 9% * of us in the UK suffering from the big ‘D’  and an estimated 450million people worldwide who will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, you’d think we’d all be talking about it a bit more, but it seems the less we do the more it gains the enigmatic mystery illness status that people avoid talking about and have trouble understanding.

So why am I discussing my own depression on here -a blog about coeliacs and baking- you might ask (and Christ knows I have asked myself the same question!) and I have to be honest and say although its beyond hard for me to share (I’d have an easier time giving up an eyeball), let alone talk about with anyone, I think above all else I suppose I wanted to set an example that depression can happen to anyone, that anyone can get lumped with it, even the most unlikely of people (not that I’m necessarily unlikely mind).  I wanted to show that depression doesn’t mean you’re insane (however bonkers you can appear-like me) or thats its similar to feeling ‘a bit blue’ like you would on a bad hair/big arse day.

But it’s not laying in bed all day listening to the Titanic soundtrack with a face like a slapped arse crying into your pillow. It encompasses symptoms beyond feeling sad, being low and not being yourself, the particulars of which I hope you’ll understand I won’t be talking about in this post.
I can attest that admitting you have depression can be as difficult as having it, and trying to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it (whether having it or dealing with someone who has) can be a bigger ball-ache than teaching a German Shepherd Steven Hawkings A Brief History of time.

In the almost ten years that I have suffered with depression I’ve seen varied reactions from the people I’ve told, from a friend who looked at me with a look of astonishment that one as bonkers as me was prowling the streets and not locked up in a padded room, another who asked ‘couldn’t you just snap out of it?’ as if it hadn’t occurred to me that if I shook my head hard enough, rang Jim’ll fix it or get Harry Potter to wave his wand the problem would go away, to the people who ‘get it’ and understand.
Looking back its fairly easy to map a pattern in my depression over the years because it tends to rear its head in times of my life that have been hard, sad or stressful.
This time the finger points at the culprit of The Other Bowel Problems (what the ruddy nora else,eh?) slowly zapping my confidence and self esteem which (queue violins) has left me feeling depressed, anxious and isolated.
In the past I’ve had counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and various anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. This time around I’ve tried to steer away from the medication since I already take enough tablets to rattle like a Maraca.
I’m not going to lie…in the past depression has made me do and say things that I’m ashamed of. It made me selfish and my life became as insular as a test tube and I never stopped to think how it was affecting my family and friends.
I was the Regina George of depression; a grade A Queen Bitch and I look back now and cringe. Time and hindsight has given me the luxury of perhaps dealing with my depression a bit better, not necessarily getting over it any easier but defiantly working through it with a more level head then I perhaps had when I was 19.
The Other Bowel Problems (we’re going to have an entire strings section by the end of this) have stripped me of my formally outgoing, bubbly personality and gobshite mouth and ability to chat all sorts of shit to anyone that I came into contact with.
With all the stress of TOBP’s, my mum always says I’d be forgiven for being depression. But I will always think of my  depression as a weakness and a failing on my part.
I always regard anyone who suffers from depression and can acknowledge it openly in much higher esteem, then I would ever afford myself. And while I have mega respect for anyone who talks about his or her depression openly, when it comes to discussing my own it feels disgustingly self-indulgent.
I know that when my bowel problems get better that my depression won’t suddenly disappear and that I’ll probably have to work as hard to get better mentally as I did to get well physically.

But I’ve come to think of it like this:
My depression is a room that I wanted painted yellow, but the decorators have come in and painted it black instead, and although I don’t and will never love it, I’m learning to live with it.

Thanks to Skye and Chris.

For more information, help or advice on depression and any other mental health problems contact Mind, Mental Health Foundation, Sane, and The Samaritans

*Stats taken from the Mental Health Foundation,


  1. Great post, and thanks for bravely sharing. Theres too much of a stigma attached to this xx

  2. Thank-you so much Sarah! I was actually bricking publishing it, my finger was hovering over the button for ages! Thank-you for your comment,it means a lot :) kate x

  3. It's true us 'non sufferers' know too little about it and perhaps are afraid to hear about it. We are all worried that we may be the next one to 'get it' as if it was a virus. Well done for blogging about it and giving us an insight of how it is and how you feel.

  4. @Eviesgran I hope you didn't feel I was being unkind about everyone not suffering from depression, it was a generalisation, because of course not everyone who is a non-sufferer acts the same way as the people I have encountered,and by and large the people I've told have been very supportive and kind (including your lovely self!).
    Thank-you for your sweet comment :) x

  5. aw, katie, poor you! my older brother has suffered real heavy depression so i kinda think i know a bit more than others, but i still can't even imagine it. i think you've already broken a huge barrier though, by accepting it and by posting this! i think lots of people in similar situations will look up to you. and the metaphor at the end seems spot on!

    hope you feel better soon xo

    beth xo
    ramz and the flock

  6. p.s i didn't know if you got my tweet but my new email's :)

  7. Very brave of you to share this, not many people are willing to openly share one of their 'flaws' on a sort of public forum. Although I wouldn't say I've ever really suffered from depression, I would say I am very understanding of it. Everyone has down days, or weeks, but with depression you can't just, like you said, shake it off and get on with your life.
    Hoping that one day you will be able to say depression doesn't have a part in your life, cos you're a laaaavly girl! xx

  8. KAte! Well done (o god how patronising). But seriously. Im really glad you discussed this, I reckon it'll heelp you move forward to. You know my views etc on this, but some things you have voiced are things I have never voiced about my depression: particularly the bit about saying and doing things that in hindsight make you cringe. My god, thissssss! I have done some ridiculous things in the height of my depression that I now really really regret and hate the way that due to those things, some people now perceive me (namely those friends that don't really get it, and in fact now find it awkward to be around me). What I try to do, is to make up for those things when i'm out of the period of depression (which is obviously easier said than done).

    How helpful did you find CBT? I actually found it made me worse!

    Love to you. Try not to be so hard on yourself, break your goals down to tiny things so you put less pressure on yourself.

  9. ((hugs)) Been there, done that, wear that t-shirt! My 19 year old self would have rivalled yours for the Bitch title - like you I look back now in horror at how I behaved and huge admiration for the 2 friends who stayed around and put up with it (the others either wisely walked away or were a casualty...). I find having "depression" written on my medical file means GPs tend to start from the point of assuming whatever I've gone in there for is because I'm depressed...

    Interestingly though, don't forget that depression and bowel issues are completely and utterly connected so maybe some of the depression WILL get better as TOBP gets better.

    I recognise a lot of myself in your post and thank you for having more courage that I have, and posting it. xx

  10. you already know how proud i am of you for posting this :)
    illnesses can cause so much pain in life and you have done amazingly to stay as strong as you have, you'll look back on this one day as a distant memory, i just know it! tons of love sweet xx

  11. You did it - I am soooooo proud of you - Good On Ya Girl!

  12. @Chris I did it! Thanks for all your encouragement! XXX
    @skye thankyou for proof reading and all your support gorge,it means so much! :) x x x
    @Annie Thank-you so much your your lovely comment!Gawd,dunno about courage,more like blind stupidity!haha!I know what you mean about GP's thinking everything is linked to your a headache, oh thats physcosematic you've got that cos your depression...very annoying!!
    I like to think I would hang about if the situation were reversed with my friends,but I still am hugely grateful for the ones who stuck around,and don't blame the ones who didnt.
    thanks again for your comment sweet :) x

    @soph haha,no i felt the same way about CBT,it was a bit hit and miss with me,at the end of the 6sessions i felt i was left at a bit of a loose end because I didnt feel I had dealt with everything within that time frame! bit daft! oh god, glad i'm not the only one whos acted like a tit in the past!! Thanks for all your support soph,I've found talking to you and knowing you understand so helpful,you've been so sweet and kind to me, and I loves ya for it! Big hugs x x x

  13. Well done for 'coming out'. I've suffered from various degrees of depression, anxiety and panic attacks since I was 17 and only the last 5 years or so have I been able to understand it, spot some signs and triggers and cope better. I was on meds on and off in the past but decided a few years ago that I'd take them no more... Rescue remedy is my new friend x
    Gosh, I wish I could just 'snap out of it'...

    Hope you're feeling better x

  14. Thank-you for your comment lovely, im so sorry to hear you've been suffering too. I know it sounds daft but I've found it much easier to cope as I've got older even though the problems are a lot bigger! I know what you mean about spotting signs and triggers, its take me ages to be able to learn mine,and to learn to cope a bit better.
    Its not that I don't approve of meds its just that for me I wonder where does it end, to me I'd be taking the tablets but not be dealing with the problem. I know lots of other people who've been on meds and havent had any trouble and its helped them, I think it just depends on the person and the situation.
    I always see rescue remedy on the it any good?
    Hope you ok sweet,thanks again for your comment :) x x

  15. Hi, The meds have really helped in the past, but I did't want to depend on them. I find that rescue remedy helps when I'm feeling anxious and panicky. I find the spray works better for me. If I know that a situation will arise where I'm bound to get panicky I will start using it an hour or so before, and it really calms me.

    have a good day xx


♥Thank-you for your comment!♥