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India Knight so wrong to say ‘no stigma to depression’ and ‘everybody gets depressed’ – Time to Change

Posted on 9 October 2012 | 7:10am

Sunday Times columnist India Knight and the charity MIND got into a good old ding dong yesterday after she wrote a column (which I have posted below) on the slew of celebrity memoirs revealing the author to have had depression.

As the row kicked off, she and her supporters sought to justify her piece by saying it was more about celebrity bandwagoning than mental illness. However, she made two really important – and deeply irresponsible – observations (in the headline above) and it was these I focused on when Time to Change asked me to respond to the article.

This is what I wrote … India Knight can be a good and interesting columnist so it was a real shame to read her ill-informed, irresponsible and plain wrong views on depression in The Sunday Times yesterday. I know columnists have to scrabble for attention in a crowded, over competitive market at a time the reputation and sales of newspapers are falling. But her dive for the lowest common denominator was sad to see.

Once you get through the sense that she views depression as a lifestyle choice of the rich and famous, who want a medal for having the ‘bravery’ to speak out about it, you are left with two main points of view in her piece: there is no stigma around depression; and ‘everybody gets depressed.’

The second statement reveals her ignorance of the fact that depression is an illness, not a passing mood. Would she ever think to say ‘everyone gets malaria … everyone gets cancer … everyone gets AIDS’? I doubt it, because she knows these are illnesses that strike some but not all of us. To say that ‘Everybody gets depressed’ suggests that though she says she knows depression is an illness, in truth she does not really accept that.

‘Everybody gets fed up’ would be accurate. I am fed up today because of the weather. I am fed up because George Osborne is Chancellor and cannot see the irony of the huge wealth he inherited on ‘coming of age’, and his attack on the something for nothing culture he claims to be dismantling by making the poor a lot poorer. I am fed up that Burnley keep taking the lead in matches only to throw it away. I am fed up that a builder in the street is currently making too much noise. I am fed up that in part because of the stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness, reinforced by columns like India Knight’s, mental health services are being cut piecemeal around the country, with barely a flicker of protest of the anger that there should be as the most vulnerable get hit by the cuts. All of this makes me fed up, angry, not depressed.

I do not always know what makes me depressed. What I do know is that I am currently on medication for a particularly bad bout which struck a few months ago, without warning and with real venom, which plunged me into an emptiness and mental pain I have known before, and which my psychiatrist felt required a sustained period on a new drug that I had not tried before. I get fed up taking it, because I hate drugs, but the depression has definitely eased, all but those closest to me have probably not noticed anything, and I reckon within a few weeks I will be off it, until the next time.

As for India Knight’s claim that stigma does not exist, what I would say to that is this: I have no qualms whatever about being open about my mental health problems, not least because Time to Change is campaigning for genuine parity of understanding and services in physical and mental health. Added to which I am not short of opportunities, not worrying about losing a job or looking for a new one. But many who suffer from depression are not so lucky. So when they are ill with depression, they are more likely to call in and say they have the flu, because people understand that; or say they have to take their Mum to hospital; or their child is off sick. All because they are not always sure how their employer or colleague will react. And that, dear India, is stigma, and I can take you to meet people who say the stigma and taboo leading to discrimination in the workplace can sometimes be worse than the symptoms.

Or perhaps in addition to a response from me, you will get one from the nurse I met recently who felt compelled to ‘hide’ six months of her life from her CV, six months almost a decade ago when she was off with chronic post natal depression, because she was not sure how her NHS employer would react to it as she went for promotion. The NHS no less, reinforcing stigma and taboo.

Time to Change has been campaigning for years to challenge negative attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems and we are thankfully starting to see changes emerge. But for every step forward, there can be a step back, and that is what her article showed. It was unhelpful, potentially damaging and certainly showed we still have quite a way to go.

HERE is a link to Time to Change and here (below) is India Knight’s column from Sunday

Just when you thought misery lit had crawled back into its dark cellar …

Are there people left standing who still believe that depression is “taboo”, and that by speaking about their own they are bravely shining a light – “just a little beam, but I do what I can” – into the darkness?

I ask because in the past six weeks alone a slew of autobiographies – the blockbuster ones published to coincide with the fat, money-spinning Christmas market – have put depression at the centre of their narratives.

From David Walliams to Antonio Carluccio, from Victoria Pendleton to Jack Straw (never mind the politics; where’s the crying?), via Edna O’Brien and Pamela Stephenson . . . the list goes on and on.

Where depression isn’t central to the plot, and where the book is a novel, the author’s struggles with mental health are revisited for publicity purposes, as with JK Rowling, who to promote her new book has spoken yet again about the depression she has endured in the past.

I understand: depression is debilitating. It is an illness. Carluccio says he has attempted suicide six times, which is not a thing I or anybody else should make light of. But there I was happily dancing a cancan to celebrate the demise of the misery memoir – everybody suddenly remembered being locked in a cupboard as a child: grimness guaranteed, no detail too grotesque or traumatic, £14.99, ideal gift – when I realised that my delight was premature. All that’s happened is that depression has replaced child abuse as the go-to, sales-boosting topic.

The thing is, whereas you could argue – I wouldn’t, but you could – that misery memoirs did indeed shine a light on a taboo subject and, by doing so, removed some of the shame or stigma that victims of child abuse often feel throughout their lives, the same simply isn’t true of depression. There is no stigma.

It is true that, long ago, depression was perhaps viewed with suspicion, or not taken as seriously as it might have been: certainly I remember Stephen Fry having a meltdown in 1995, walking out of a West End play he was starring in and disappearing to Belgium, and I remember that people thought he was just an actor having some sort of hissy fit. This was not the case: Fry was ill – and has been volubly explicit about the illness since.

I’m sorry for them, just as I’m sorry for anyone depressed, but, really, do they want a medal? But not only has the light been shone; it has become a blinding ray. We know. We understand. There can be few people reading this who haven’t either suffered from depression or had a friend or family member who has.

Figures released by the NHS last month showed that one in seven adults in Scotland is on antidepressants. In England, nearly 46.7m such prescriptions were issued last year, and the figure is expected to keep rising.

Few people think those who suffer depression are weirdos or oversensitive flowers, or just need to pull their socks up and get a grip. We get it. Every other celeb “has bipolar”, and we are sympathetic, even when the behaviour engendered by “my bipolar” looks more, to the untrained eye, as though someone has spent a fortnight snorting cocaine.

But we don’t say this. We are so well trained, so adept at respecting depression, that we say, “Oh dear, poor thing – the illness, you know.”

Where my sympathy wavers is when depression is used as bait, or as the gilt on the lily. I get this too, at one level: the publishing industry is in such dire straits that telling your story is no longer enough. There needs to be a journey, a trajectory, and as much darkness as possible amid the light, so that you come across as a normal person. This seems a shame, given that the whole point is that you aren’t: the best celebrity autobiographies – Rupert Everett’s two brilliant volumes come to mind – are full of gossip and jokes and champagne and outré behaviour.

Everybody gets depressed, and one person’s depression is not a million miles from another’s. It also seems a given that depression is an adjunct of fame, at some point and for some period – it’s so obvious that it’s not necessarily worth wasting three chapters on. Of course fame is weird and discombobulating.

What irritates me is the idea that by “speaking out”, celebrity autobiographers are being heroically honest and somehow doing us all a favour. They’re not merely celebrities telling their stories; they’re now campaigners, if you please – brave pioneers in the battle to smash the taboos surrounding mental health. But there are no taboos in this context.

Taboos exist, certainly, but they concern people who are eating from bins and shouting at pigeons. They do not concern privileged, talented people who are depressed in the considerable comfort of their own home, with the best drugs regime that money can buy. I’m sorry for them, just as I’m sorry for anyone depressed, but, really, do they want a medal? Going on and on about depression can seem an awful lot like narcissism: “I’m so interesting that even my illness is fascinating.” You long for someone to say: “I felt like crap for two years and then I got over it.” Which is, by the way, what normal people do.

Occasionally a campaign starts up on social media with the aim of removing the “stigma” from these issues. I can’t say it enough: there is no stigma. People have complicated thoughts about physical disability, even post-Paralympics. They have complicated thoughts about schizophrenia, or about children with obvious disabilities, and complicated thoughts about relatives with dementia. Celebs feeling depressed? Not so much.

It’s just not that interesting. I could bore on, for example, about my claustrophobia – not that I am inserting myself into the Carluccio bracket. I don’t like closed, windowless spaces and I can’t get into small lifts. There you are. Sometimes it’s a pain, but stairs exist and I’m working on it. At some point I will once again be able to sardine myself into a tiny lift without feeling that I can’t breathe. The end.

I read the other day that claustrophobia is a form of mental illness, so there you go: my own heroic – or utterly ordinary and uninteresting – revelation. I wonder if I could get a book out of it.

  • http://twitter.com/daphne80 lucy

    Yes I’m depressed and yes I do want a medal, because its horrible and it has ruined my life in so many ways. I can’t tell my employers (nhs) that I have had long term depression because they could sack me, I didn’t declare my mental health history at my interview because I was worried I wouldn’t get the job and I needed and still need that job. I still have “friends” who tell me its all in my mind and yes they’re right, that’s the whole problem, there isn’t an escape.

  • Astrid Edwards

    5th para 2nd sentence she does actually state “It is an illness”. So you are not entirely correct on your point that India Knight doesn’t recognise this.

  • http://www.libroediting.com/ Liz Broomfield

    Bloody hell – that’s disgusting. Sorry for the swearing. I’ve always liked India Knight and I’m gutted at what she has to say. Ugh! Ugh! I have tweeted her to offer her some stories of the stigma of depression. Wonder if she’ll take me up on them. Hm.

    I know plenty of people running small businesses who are afraid to tell their own story for fear of putting off their customers. I know people who had one wobble in one office because their partner was suffering from depression and were never allowed to forget this. I know people who have told about it and regretted it. I know of bosses who are so horrified about their staff’s mental illness (aka depression) that they cannot bring themselves to refer naturally to their counselling sessions (you know, the ones that are, like, saving their life and keeping them a productive member of the workforce), only able to refer to them as “Your Thursdays”. I know people who have struggled away coming off anti depressants with all the vile symptoms those can produce, while holding down a high powered job, not able to tell ANYONE just in case.

    Some of these people (not all) may be me. I’m not brave enough to speak out about it in public, although I try to do my bit personally. India Knight is liked and respected by a lot of people in my circles. This could seriously set things back.

    Thank you for keeping us aware.

  • Anonymous

    Oh India Knight…..you really need to wake up and get real. The comment about wanting a medal really made me so angry. Alastair you are brave and speak out, you are open about your depression. I’ve spoken out about having had psychotic episodes (and have lost several family members who now shun me, because according to them I lied about my upbringing in my memoir) But this article by India Knight is absolutely daft, irresponsible and shows such a lack of understanding as to be laughable. I always thought my past depressions were anger turned in on myself; the depressions were all enveloping. I am shocked and saddened that India Knight has stooped so low here. I applaud you Alastair for responding and applaud Mind. The Time to Change campaign was long overdue and now is as necessary as it ever was…..I think India Knight should now write an unreserved apology for her ill informed ill judged and very unhelpful stance. Shame on her.

  • Olli Issakainen

    It has been said that life is easy for the poor. They can think that if only one had enough MONEY, everything would be OK.
    The rich, for their part, can develop more COMPLEX problems for themselves.
    On the wider question of mind, an interesting book by the philosopher Thomas Nagel is set to come out later this year.
    It is called Mind and Cosmos, and will be published by OUP USA.
    According to Nagel, world view of materialist naturalism is untenable.
    Materialism cannot accommodate CONSCIOUSNESS and other mind-related aspects of reality.
    We must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general.
    Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is incomplete.
    An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially IRREDUCIBLE conscious minds.
    No such explanation is available.
    And physical sciences cannot be expected to provide one.
    Purely materialist understanding of biology, evolutionary theory and cosmology is not possible.
    Ps. As for Burnley FC, why not play Ben Mee as centre-back?

  • http://twitter.com/katabaticesque Mrs Lionel Messi

    where to start. I can only assure you that the stigma attatched to being a mentally ill sum is pretty intense and all progress is going backwards.
    Has anyone seen IDS and India Knight in the same room? Osbornes ‘they don’t draw their curtains’ was a total dig at depressives.
    One of the criteria for being a ‘troubled family’ according to this government is, you’ve guessed it, having a mentally ill mum. And someone is saying there is now no stigma? *sobs*

  • http://twitter.com/jennysimpson Jenny Simpson

    Hi Alastair

    I’ve been watching this play out on Twitter and it has descended into a truly pathetic playground tussle, so I’m really pleased to read such a thoughtful, fair piece – and to get to read India’s jaw-dropping article in full.

    She makes some very valid points about the misery memoir industry and the tendency of some celebrities to exploit mental health issues for attention / use diagnoses as get-out-of-jail-free cards for bad behaviour. If she had stuck to that point without repeating ill-conceived, naive and offensive sweeping statements I would have entirely defended her outrage at the response she has received.

    Sadly, her pertinent points are shrouded (I am struggling to be fair here) by utter silliness on the main issue. Worse, on Twitter she has been drumming up the idea that anyone who criticises her is part of a “hate mob” and, thanks to her influence, Mind Charity (who admittedly responded to her article in an irresponsible way) are being hounded by people telling them how awful they are, patronisingly telling them that they have “missed the point”.

    I really hate Twitter hate mobs and Twitchfork campaigns, but if someone writes something so facile and downright wrong, they should be able to handle getting negative responses.

    I don’t think I missed the point of the article at all and I wish she could understand why people are so offended by what she has written.

  • Anonymous

    Ed made good starts last week with breaking up banks and apprenticeships, even if both were full of holes, not thought through (Ed’s plan makes it illegal for one of his new apprentices to leave the company who trained him, for more money – thanks a bunch Ed.)
    But the Tories have blown him away now – never thought they’d have the balls to say they’ll favour strivers not skivers, to stop favouring unemployed over employed in housing, to penalise middle and working class for having kids, whilst offering cash incentives for underclass to have them.
    And with allowing people to shoot/attack home burglars Ed is on the ropes again.
    I think the country trusts the tories more with crime and welfare than they trust labour with NHS.
    Ed needs something massive like a guaranteed EU referendum by 2016 and guarantee of a general election if he doesn’t deliver, or a constitutional gdp linked limit on public spending or something, as Cameron would say Ed needs a bazooka now.
    These are the two most positive days in British politics since… I suppose since Brown was booted out.

  • redrugbyfan

    This reminds me of Amanda Platell on the Andrew Marr show the other Sunday referring to J K Rowling’s battle with depression. Her words were “People will wonder what she’s on about – she has half a billion in the bank, lives in a castle, is happily married with two healthy children … what’s she got to be depressed about?”
    There it is – perfectly encapsulated by those who don’t suffer with it but feel qualified to comment.
    Keep driving on this Al. If I stop taking the drugs I just dissolve into a complete mess and feel there aren’t many people I can talk to about it – is it any wonder, given the aforementioned’s views and other commentators who have the means to push forward the rubbish they peddle?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    People who are suffering from depression should be made to wear a big red hat so that those people who are not depressed can avoid them at any cost. That way depression will not spread like widfire, making everybody depressed. Is it too much to ask?
    Des Currie

  • Anonymous

    What a shoddy article – and how annoying to have to rebut its claims on behalf of those who know what depression really is.

  • http://www.libroediting.com/ Liz Broomfield

    Yes, she is now saying a) people didn’t read her article properly (hello!) and b) she was only talking about celeb memoirs (erm, no). And calling us “The depressed people”. Hm, actually I’m not depressed right at this moment, hence was able to send a quick polite tweet saying I could give some examples of how there is still a stigma if she would like them. I am sorry that opprobrium has been heaped, but I also read the article properly and was v annoyed by it!

  • Anonymous

    It is all about education over ignorance, isn’t it? No need to say the brain is a complex organ, where many things affect it, from work/family stress episodes to affects from main body disfunctions, whether it be simple allergies to severe autoimmune disorders affecting the brain.

    And it is hard to get on with people who seem always stable and fairly upbeat day in day out, I find. But yes, some do hide it, until it cannot be hid anymore. And many do then show it in various destructive ways, whether it be self or to ones around them. It is very complicated, but to come out and explain that one is not feeling very strong at a certain time, has got to be a positive move forward for everyone. It sadly is part of our nature as a creature, and there is no changing it.

  • Gilliebc

    You ignorant tw*t.

  • Gilliebc

    Well said Judith. India Knight should stick to writing pieces that she may at least know a little about. She clearly has no idea about the subject of depression.

  • Gilliebc

    AC, I was very sorry to read that you have been battling again with depression. ‘a few months ago’ you write. So even during the Olympic Games, which all regular readers of your blogs will know you were so looking forward to, you were depressed even then. That’s so very sad. You’re quite right when you say it can strike without warning. It’s very sneaky like that. But even if someone is able to recognize little warning signs, it doesn’t really help much anyway. It sounds as if you are winning through the emptiness and the rest of it and I hope you will soon be feeling much better. You still have so much to contribute.

  • ronnie

    You are an idiot. I should imagine you don’t need a hat for everyone to know it.

  • Bref

    I am a recovering alcoholic and have been sober since March last year. I relalise that I was using alcohol to try and not deal with my emotions. I am lucky in a sense that my employer suffers from depression. Although now she has been close to suicide for the last three months. Each day on the ride on the train I am doing my best not to cry. I am on Cymbalta and mirap 45. I survived a bone marrow transplant, heart attack where I hadb5 stents put in and a seizure as a result of drinking too much. I am tired of life. Tired of fighting. My girlfriend does not understand the disease. She is Thai and thinks its all in the head. I am 32. How many more years do I have to survive this. There is real stigma attached to depression. India Knight I suspect has never suffered from this horrible illness. I must say its therapeutic to write this. It’s not all that bad. I just try and keep really busy so that I don’t have to think about how I feel. Good luck to you all.

  • Anonymous

    wot a plank, but quite brave… : )))

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, it could be an evolutionary thing affecting us, where the ones who doodle on uncaring can’t see what we see, and then the circle of self-preservation starts, leading to gawd knows where.

    Thick books have been written on it, Swiss trick cyclists have built historical vast reputations on it. At the end of the day, to coin an overused modern day cheap phrase, it is all interesting though? But coming out in the open is half the battle, and early too, before you go too far down a dark alley within the mind.

    When I was young, spent over two years working as a hospital porter at a psychiatric hospital, St Davids’, in Carmarthen, Hospital. And I learnt more there in a couple of years than I have in the rest of my mortal life, seeing the state fellows get their mind into, and the sad areas were ones that could not help it, were born that way, and there was their destiny.

    But if you were alright as a child, and have struggled in modern adult life, try not worry, modern life, as in twentieth century, is nothing to write home about, was it?

    Furthermore, that Hodgeson fellow, that was with Harry Enfield on a comedy show, has described his darl alleyways in his earlier life, no doubt still visits them occasionally, no dout. Yes, that is him, Charlie Hodgeson,spelling,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldBHQSsiUok

  • Anonymous

    Charlie Hodgson as here, with clickable pic,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldBHQSsiUok

    You have to try and laugh, when feeling desperate I find, when tears go to laughter, and then back and fore again and again. Just imagine people feeling like one is laughing with you, all spitting into the wilderness of the mind, and telling it, basically, to “fuck off”.

  • Anonymous

    did notice something. But again held my tongue, sort of, just tried to carry on as unusual, as I do, and hope helps, in a clumbsy way. I am a peculiar creature, see things in 5d, it sometimes seems to me. Knew you shouldn’t have pushbiked to up the top of that french mountain, with all that lack of oxygen thin air and things, but what can you do?. Or have I got the timing wrong, again, Alastair? Most probably.

  • Anonymous

    Song for you Lucy, hope this helps. Alastair does know that any chance I get, I post a song, so here goes, for you Lucy,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q3xkypgQFk

    A dark song, OK, but an anti-dark song too, to fight the desperation, which hopefully will move the mind slightly sideways. I recomend that group for sideways moving thought, if you buy music online, or if not just hear their other tracks there on youtubby.

    Helps me at least, and maybe you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    How come you are not wearing a big red hat?

  • Anonymous

    ACHHH Alastair, since I have just been bothering a motorsport site, well away from that Jezza Clarkson from the Cotswolds, don’t trust him pal, even if he claims to be a yorkshire man, from Rotherham around there, an Austin-Healy 3000++++ these days, raced by a dutch fella, and it is a brilliant vid, and hope everyone enjoys it’s strangeness, out of the ordinary.

    Any ladies fancy it, I will introduce you to Mark the dutchman, but better let me warn you now, he is a bit of a dutch pervert, so there. Up to you ladies, let it in your hands.

    Mark, the “pevert”, with cars, driving his Austin-Healy 3000++++ in a race, slaughtering everyone, join the queue, ladies,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qcxu6A6qLM

    Brilliant beeb 4 programme about such night before last, as available here, on their iplayer,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01n8hl9/Timeshift_Series_12_Magnificent_Machines_The_Golden_Age_of_the_British_Sports_Car/

  • http://twitter.com/katabaticesque Mrs Lionel Messi

    I must say I responded to her in a rather truculant manner, but only after reading her offensive responses to people who were cross.
    She seemed to be saying that people who were offended weren’t very intelligent.
    She also focused on MIND charity to deflect criticism. This is so unfair on the many users of MIND on Twitter that take succour from having a voice and being able to share experiences.
    It’s a pity one of her more intelligent friends can’t take her to one side and point out how wrong she was.
    I hate Twitterstorms too, but within the context of what this government is financially doing to ‘the depressed people’ it was an article that was bang out of order.
    I’m glad Alistairs response was calm and measured.

  • bref

    Judging by your photo you must of known someone who has suffered from cancer. Perhaps even lost their life. An advanced society is judged by their compassion and understanding of complex problems. Ignorance is bliss for some.

  • midge

    I have read the article concerned and the resulting hoohar on twitter and if im honest I just dont get it, the writer is as entitled as all if you to voice her opinion, the fact that some people wont agree is a part of life, you dont have to agree but taking to twitter to attack her shouting that your opinion is the only correct one makes you as bad if not worse than the person who has offended you so badly. There are some points in the article that I agree with, especially relating to celeb’s who think its cool or fashionable to use any illness to sell books or to excuse bad behaviour, there will always be people like that as will there be people who suffer terrible things and never say anything about it, my point is that depression means different things to us all (as do the meanings of the words happy or well) we deal with it in different ways and have different opinions about it, good! Your opinion is not more important than mine and vice versa. Had the writer of the article stated as a fact that all people who ever had depression killed kittens or ate babies, then I would understand the outcry (and frankly aggressive responses)…she didnt, she expressed her opinion which wasnt personal to, or about, you.

  • Anonymous

    shutup with your nazzie talk.

    Love,
    Winnie Churchill.

    : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    Having survived a severe stroke 4 years back I tend to amuse myself with people who think they have all the hard luck in the world, instead of getting depressed about it. Also, I dont like wearing red hats.
    Des Currie

  • Gilliebc

    Depression has nothing to do with ‘people who think they have all the hard luck in the world’ I know from some of your previous posts that you like to amuse yourself by writing cr*p on a subject that you clearly have no knowledge or understanding about. I don’t take you seriously. But others who are suffering from deep clinical depression must find your attitude quite hurtful. Could you not find ways to amuse yourself that help rather than hinder others.

  • anna

    I’m repeating a point I’ve made before here about depression; but it needs to be said again. We need a name other than ‘depression’ to describe a crippling mental illness. It is NOT the same as ‘feeling depressed’ – the lowness of spirit that we all experience from time to time. In many cases ‘clinical depression’. for want of a better expression, is the result of chemical imbalances in the brain that need medical intervention to address and ameliorate. It is cruel, as well as ignorant, to blame and ridicule sufferers for something that they are not in a position to control by will power alone, any more than someone born with, say, a malfunctioning heart or kidney can will their health problems away.
    The best way to increase understanding of depression is to give it a new name, unassociated with the ordinary fluctuations of mood that are part of being human. ‘Mongolism’ is now called ‘Down’s Syndrome’ and had contributed in part to a greater understanding of, and sympathy with, people who have the syndrome. Maybe one thing MIND could do is campaign to raise awareness of the difference between ‘clinical depression’ and ‘feeling fed up’ by breaking the false associations between the two by finding different words to describe very different conditions.

  • Mark Wright

    India Knight is talking utter bollocks. People, famous and otherwise, have been crying out for years. Nobody heard them. There is no ‘bandwagon’. It’s just that people are now starting to listen.

    “Help me if you can I’m feeling down. And I do appreciate you being round. Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please, please help me?” – John Lennon, 1965

  • Anonymous

    Genuinely sorry to hear that. How is your recovery going? Serious health issues are obviously life changing. There by the grace of God do us all go. How was/is your treatment for it?

    Black Dog Winnie had a stroke during WWII when he was PM, but obviously not too serious. But that is why everyone then thought he was drunk when he spoke, because it affected his voice. He then had an episode again when he was PM for the second time, which left the country without a PM effectively for the end of that government’s term.

    And some of my friends are known to wear red hats, but only to rugger matches.

  • Anonymous

    Alastair I am not surprised to see you haven’t yet commented on the tory party conference.
    I am not taking sides, after all your politics and David Camerons are much closer to each others than they are to mine, but it will be interesting to see what you do with your Fergie style squeaky-bum time mind games now, where you try to lead this narrative that Cameron was once on high but is now sliding, sliding, sliding (and while the electorate are feeling sleepy… very sleepy.)
    There is no question that after a good speech from Ed Miliband, the conservative movement has had two very good weeks, from Romney’s trouncing of Obama, to excellent, populist, common ground speeches from Osborne, May, Grayling, Gove, Johnson and even Cameron. Only Hunt remains to draw fire on the NHS and only 45p remains as a non populist conservative policy.
    Moving from hug a hoodie to bash a burglar, and taking the fight to the element in society who plan dole, council house and kids as a lifestyle choice, are giant shots in the arm for the conservative movement which will enable them to overcome all odds I believe, and the reaction of the left wing media so far suggests they agree with me.
    The economy remains the important issue, but it seems to me Labour are betting the house on no growth between now and 2015. If the economy returns to small but real growth in 2013 (with possibly upwards revisions for 2012) what then?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    You are nothing more than a self righteous ponce .It is people like you who give depression a bad name. Even Allistair suffers it with dignity. Thats a lot more than can be said of you. You wallow in it.
    Des Currie

  • Anonymous

    Ok, right, for more amusement here, since I think it can only possibly help, me and Alastair having an interesting discussion, allegorically, in some part of that London. But Hugh Grant butts in,

    “Ok, ok, hold on here, he is not english, my welsh friend, I have heard he is actually scottish.”

    “What, not english? Why am I talking to you then?”

    and Hugh Grant then says “yes, och the noo, I am then, yes, scottish, any good?”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soV3lwzZeYU

  • Anonymous

    might as well post a Tommy Cooper type joke, for reverse psychological reasons, I hope, you know, say one thing to people, and they do the opposite, I hope.

    Anyway, here goes, maybe nothing;

    A man hangs his coat in his wardrobe, and dies.
    He forgot to take it off.

    he-he-he. WHAT? oh I give up!

  • Anonymous

    Furthermore, the most heartbreaking met there was that blonde young lady, she must have been sixteen or seventeen, she non-Jimmy Savile, if you get what I mean, in a locked up ward, and she was up with the clouds.

    Broke my heart seeing here, five foot two and just totally beautiful. Wonder how she is these days, but….

    Remember her pushing me to the wall when I tried leaving the ward, with coming out with things like “how you doing big boy”, at the door with keys in hand about to leave the ward, until I got saved by the ward nurses.

    As I said, heartbreaking it was when I came across that experience. And when I mean a locked up ward, I mean a locked up ward, almost Broadmoor. No idea what before though, even the nurses didn’t know, only doctors.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to bark on again, but at seven o’clock on a winter morning, at collecting laundry at the back of the geriatric wards, and when I mean geriatric I mean geriatric, picking up the several bags, sopping with nightime piss, iced, we did in our duty in respect for them.

    Anyway, change of tone, Scarlets out in Clermont Ferrand in the south of France this Saturday, with here an inteview with an interesting welsh lad from down by here, born in Aldershot when his dad was then in the Army, Aaron,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/19888338

    Brilliant fast bowler too.

    Here he is scoring a try in France last year,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9F7_037uEg
    Here is hoping for Sat.

  • Anonymous

    Jona was there tonight, this night, in London, the viking she is,

    http://www.league-online.com/

    http://www.league-online.com/iamlive-001.JPG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTnH3zs8wRo

    Wish I was there.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Alastair, since I know you have sensible experience of putting out stories, healthy stories, but why does it seem the beeb and the coalition have suddenly picked on these lads to fill headlines? Makes me sick it does, that is why I am seriously suspicious of last week, not Jimmy, the other. Smells to high heaven. We need to keep tabs of MI5 who seem to be suddenly out of control, again, with their mates, the Tory Party, using anything they can find, without shame.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19918398

  • Anonymous

    WHOOOPS – Charlie Higson even!!! Doing well as an author these days, last I heard.

    Sorry there, had european rugby on my mind, no doubt. And Paul Newman from the Rhondda with him here… WHAT?. oh yes, Paul Whithouse, as in the porn magazine, from Rhondda as here, sorry, got that one wrong as well.

    Yes. Paul was actually born in Wales, yes, yes. Anyway, Ralph and Ted, the poshoes get seriously clinically depressed too, well, barking mad actually too, when no-one is looking…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DukZxJ4wS4A

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    repeat, bbc-like, with clickable pic,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X_ViIPA-Gc

    CYMRU AM BYTH! : )

  • Anonymous

    oh I give up, seems he can’t stand the pace, can’t even call Sutton Coldfield’s Andrew Mitchell a tool. Got to keep on the case, no matter how bizarre it seems and modern de-esorienting he seems, I feel.

    So Jimmy Savile and Lance Armstrong are tossers, and Lance conned you Alastair. Just get over it, you silly tosser. Could see Lance coming along miles away, sorry for not warning you.

    Down to Llandidloes on a push bike, and why not,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww9FF44VCZ0

    At end there, brakes, Brakes, fucking BRAKESSS you silly sod!!! jezuuz chroist…

  • Anonymous

    This push biker, last sunday, hadn’t a clue who he was, in his kit going up the hill up the road from me. so I waited up on the top of the hill for him, and he said he was with Bynea cycling club, the one I was in when a teenager. So I said, “are you heading down the hill to Llanelli?”, and he said “yes”, and I said “do you want something to slipstream behind?” and he said “yes”, so he followed me right behind the car, hitting 55mph at times, a couple of feet behind my bumper, and when we pulled up at the bottom of Felifoel, after spooking the locals, he said he had cut his time from Tumble flats to Felinfoel by five minutes, albeit by total cheating! Told me to come down to Bynea to meet the rest, next to that new foot bridge there otherside of Roman bridge Lougher.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    Treatment and recovery? At 64 you don’t worry too much about treatment and recovery. My life is already lived and everything from here on out is a bonus. I was lucky to survive it. Ther were two doctors who told me to slow down and take medication beforehand, and in my ignorance of what a stroke was I ignored them. They should have walked me through a stroke centre.
    I have been studying mono-theistic relegions for some 35 years and thank goodness my memory seems to be intact on long term issues but I battle a bit on which day it is ( and annoy my wife intensley). And it takes me more time to wind atheists and various other fools up because it takes me so long to type and keep to English as she is spoke. Oddly enough the one thing that has not been affected is my speaking of Zulu (I speak 5 languages and the Zulu is the only one not affected). Currently I am touring the USA west coast for 6 months ( my daughter lives in Salt Lake) and having a ball with the elections, which seems to me more like a travelling circus. And I like circuses. So many red hats. Lol.
    Des Currie

  • Gilliebc

    Currie, for you to acuse me of wallowing in something that I am not suffering from is beyond ridiculous! Where is your evidence?
    If there is any wallowing going on around here, it is you wallowing in your own execrable comments. You are a sad deluded old sack of shite and a blatant liar. Maybe that stroke has addled your brain. Or, perhaps you have always been grossly stupid. There is definitely something wrong with your thought and deduction process.

  • Tony A.

    Alistair bemoans Osborne cutting funding to those most needy, and understandably so. But maybe he should feel some guilt that the Blair/Brown government that he backed for most of their 13 years in power made such a disastrous job of the economy that such cuts became necessary in the first place. Labour too would have implemented severe cuts had they got re-elected in 2010. That’s what makes me depressed, that once again, the party I supported since old enough to vote, once again proved they were incompetent economically, and the very people they purport to support have to suffer again because of this.

  • Anonymous

    Oh come on now, there is really no need for all this to get like this. That is just bullying you are doing now Des, and after all, you started it Des.

    If you want to start something, start on me, and I will laugh at you, as I do with anyone, before asking them out to the pub car park to practice our haymaking between us….

  • Anonymous

    oh flip, Scarlets were leading 16-3 after twenty minutes, and then that Fitzgibbon the irish ref started playing his silly games, playing to the home crowd. And so QED, we got slaughtered in the end, down to fourteen men after half an hour, for nothing offences. And did that touch judge spot the blatent head butt in that ruck? NOOO!

    we was robeed, again, part to the enth degree.

  • Anonymous

    So you’re fourteen years ahead of me, you being a post-war baby-boomer child, me being a JFK child, before he had his head blown off.

    Got to try to keep positive, no matter what, keep the flag flying for the kiddies after us, with their no doubt life occurrances with themselves, coming.

    I am sure there is a good load of years left in you pal, I can sense it. Age is just time relative – we are all still nineteen, in our heads, no matter if our bodies are breaking down about us.

    As Dylan Thomas said in his poem for his dad just then gone “Break, only ’til the sun break’s down”, as here,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyWiE1vNSxU

    And the main thing at the moment for you Des, it seems, enjoy that US travelling circus – please send photos! : )

  • Anonymous

    So you’re fourteen years ahead of me, you being a post-war baby-boomer child, me being a JFK child, before he had his head blown off.

    Got to try to keep positive, no matter what, keep the flag flying for the kiddies after us, with their no doubt life occurrances with themselves, coming.

    I am sure there is a good load of years left in you pal, I can sense it. Age is just time relative – we are all still nineteen, in our heads, no matter if our bodies are breaking down about us.

    As Dylan Thomas said in his poem for his dad just then gone “Break, only ’til the sun break’s down”, as here,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyWiE1vNSxU

    And the main thing at the moment for you Des, it seems, enjoy that US travelling circus – please send photos! : )

  • Anonymous

    whoops – got my Dylan Thomas poems mixed up a bit there, here is the quote actually from Des, which he wrote when he was fifteen, apparently, at the otherend of his life, this one,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruh7uQ9hSQk

    Was his first published one, in a London Magazine, in the late 1920s, Wall Street crash-like.

  • Anonymous

    whoops – got my Dylan Thomas poems mixed up a bit there, here is the quote actually from Des, which he wrote when he was fifteen, apparently, at the otherend of his life, this one,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruh7uQ9hSQk

    Was his first published one, in a London Magazine, in the late 1920s, Wall Street crash-like.

  • Sophie

    That article India wrote has made me so angry, “You long for someone to say: “I felt like crap for two years and then I got over it.” Which is, by the way, what normal people do.” Are you being serious?! It’s not easy to just be happy after suffering with depression. All you know is being depressed and you can’t even remember what it’s like to be happy any more. So no, India, that is not what ‘normal people’ do. And as to when celebrities talk about it, is it really any different from them talking about having cancer or any other physical illness? Mental illnesses are just as serious as physical illnesses.

  • Sophie

    That article India wrote has made me so angry, “You long for someone to say: “I felt like crap for two years and then I got over it.” Which is, by the way, what normal people do.” Are you being serious?! It’s not easy to just be happy after suffering with depression. All you know is being depressed and you can’t even remember what it’s like to be happy any more. So no, India, that is not what ‘normal people’ do. And as to when celebrities talk about it, is it really any different from them talking about having cancer or any other physical illness? Mental illnesses are just as serious as physical illnesses.

  • Anonymous

    Bynea Cycling Club as here, before you cross the Loughor river to Loughor, where the old roman bridge was, and not Lougher as I spelled it – spells again, cane me teacher beat me whip me flagellate me, do your worst, etc.. : )
    http://www.byneacc.co.uk/

    If you have any big mates in the cycling world Alastair, a la Wiggo, tell him to give them a shout, and hopfully do some prize giving/photo op moments if he can manage to get down there. Decent failrly old cycling club it is.

  • Anonymous

    Bynea Cycling Club as here, before you cross the Loughor river to Loughor, where the old roman bridge was, and not Lougher as I spelled it – spells again, cane me teacher beat me whip me flagellate me, do your worst, etc.. : )
    http://www.byneacc.co.uk/

    If you have any big mates in the cycling world Alastair, a la Wiggo, tell him to give them a shout, and hopfully do some prize giving/photo op moments if he can manage to get down there. Decent failrly old cycling club it is.

  • Anonymous

    …furthermore, was sent a brilliant cycling vid from Medway area Kent a few years back – see if I can find it online again, brilliant it is. Had the address url thingy on my old PC steam engine, but the hard drive has packed up on it. Hold on, just remembered, the song was called The Medway Wheelers or something, here goes, be back now…

    YESSSS! don’t you just love when something works, got there straight away, enjoy, it is a brilliant cycling song and vid.

    Thanks again to that bloke from Rochester with a forgotten name that I spoke to on that Yorkshire Austin/Morris Mini car historical site then conversed with.

    Here, ‘ave it! ;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOo7DepCd9w

  • Anonymous

    …furthermore, was sent a brilliant cycling vid from Medway area Kent a few years back – see if I can find it online again, brilliant it is. Had the address url thingy on my old PC steam engine, but the hard drive has packed up on it. Hold on, just remembered, the song was called The Medway Wheelers or something, here goes, be back now…

    YESSSS! don’t you just love when something works, got there straight away, enjoy, it is a brilliant cycling song and vid.

    Thanks again to that bloke from Rochester with a forgotten name that I spoke to on that Yorkshire Austin/Morris Mini car historical site then conversed with.

    Here, ‘ave it! ;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOo7DepCd9w

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    To end our spat, otherwise I am going to be taken out to the parking lot by Ehtch…
    A poem by a friend of mine….published on this site before
    I used to be inert,
    I used to be inane,
    And new I’m ert.
    And ane again.
    Shalom
    Currie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/GillandDes-Currie/741511881 GillandDes Currie

    To end our spat, otherwise I am going to be taken out to the parking lot by Ehtch…
    A poem by a friend of mine….published on this site before
    I used to be inert,
    I used to be inane,
    And new I’m ert.
    And ane again.
    Shalom
    Currie.

  • Anonymous

    Many thanks, Alastair, for this necessary corrective to India Knight’s absurd claims about depression, worst of which has to be ‘everyone gets depressed’.
    If everyone did suffer from this mind-numbing horror, then surely there would be more – and possibly even more effective – therapies widely available!
    The fact that there aren’t, and that so many people (myself included) go to inordinate lengths to hide our condition clearly indicate that there is definitely a stigma attached.
    I’ve been refused work because of it, and had ‘friends’ lose patience and leave (mind you, that’s understandable – even if it reinforces the feelings of worthlessness depressives experience. The components of the condition are usually cumulative and, IME, depression gets worse with age).
    But you’ve expressed it all so much better than I ever could: again, thank you.
    Suspect IK fell into the trap awaiting so many columnists these days: the temptation to stray into troll territory simply to ramp up ratings via creating controversy is clearly too strong for so many of ‘em.
    Hope your medication works, your depression lifts completely – and stays away for a long time. A VERY long time.

  • Anonymous

    as long as you take your specs off first…. : )

  • Anonymous

    Goodwood Revival poshoe meeting a couple of years ago, with the classic Mini race. And if I hear another lady friend say “oh, they’re cute!”, my own cylinder head will explode! : )

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq743jZ6L0Y

  • Anonymous

    The beeb have posted this today, on creativity with health and well-being,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19959565

    Good grief! Where have they been? Talk about stating the bleeding obvious!

  • Anonymous

    Oh it doesn’t stop, does it Alastair? Just heard my 49 year old, always 100% clean living, first cousin says she has got to have a pacemaker fitted near her heart. She dropped to the floor last week, and seems she has a problem how her heart is wired up.

    Three beautiful daughters she has got. And none of them has really taxed her heart. It is just it seems we are all fragile as glass here, it seems.

  • Anonymous

    But she did have some problems with her first husband, who set up a company in Thatchers Wales, and ended inside, as in prison, and her next partner who bothered her when they split up, but fair to him it was due to part one in her grown-up life really.

    But she has an EXCELLENT husband now, a grand lad, have all the time of any day for him, so he is a bit pissed off with life at the moment, obviously. Will have to speak to him tomorrow.

  • George Hugh-Joones

    I read India Knight;s and found it misguided, erroneous and above all irritating.

  • George Hugh-Joones

    …..and uneducated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658499896 Lynn Massey-Davis

    My husband was referred for CBT in July 2011 for a stress/anxiety disorder. He had to wait 15 months for treatment which has just begun. During the wait he lost his executive post, our kids and I were traumatised by his increasingly irrational behaviour and we may yet have to sell our home. When I complained I was told that if we had lived in Hull, 16 miles away, he would have had treatment within 13 weeks! The loss to the economy is real, my husband’s job has been outsourced from the UK. The other costs including ambulance services, social services, and the impact on our children etc… is not quantified
    If someone with Cancer or heart disease had had the same wait there would have been a public outcry but because it is mental health we have to suffer in silence and be blamed and labelled. I am in dispair.

  • Lou

    he also said….. To say that ‘Everybody gets depressed’ suggests that though she says she
    knows depression is an illness, in truth she does not really accept
    that.

  • Lou

    The aggressive response is not good, but then not all responders were aggressive. The fact remains that the ridiculous assertion IK made “every one gets depression” is not just opinion it is ignorance, and damaging ignorance. As someone who writes in a newspaper she has a responsibility to her readers and to society, she is in a position of power. That comment of hers (and her one about there being no stigma) showed an utter failure on her part to realise that responsibility. Those taking her to task on that failure of hers are living up to their responsibility to remind columnists that they should be more careful what they write. It has an effect on all of us.

  • ThursdayNext

    Just started following the blog so this comment is way behind the curve.

    Good to see Ed Miliband recently making the case for destigmatising mental health conditions and challenging those like Jane Street-Porter with her snarky comments (in yes inevitably the Mail) about depression being ‘the latest must-have accessory’. She, India Knight and others totally miss the point that depression means very different things to Slebs who are magically recovered after popping into the Priory for a few days and ordinary people who struggle to live and work with mental health difficulties and the stigma surrounding them.

    It’s about Time to Change, yes, and for organisations including the political establishment to set an example by implementing mental health policies in the workplace and public/private spheres. Now.