Saturday, 8 June 2013


I'm not depressed.  I have felt sometimes desperately unhappy in recent months because of the loss of my dog, but that is lifting, and it's not depression.  It's nothing like depression, at least not my depression.  For me, depression has always been one thing: fear.  Depression for me has always been an anxiety attack that just won't end, not after hours, days, months.  It's a floating anxiety that hunts for new things to be anxious about.  I have had cosmic anxiety, a sweaty fear of imminent instant oblivion from some astronomical disaster.  I have had existential anxiety, a constant feeling of the strangeness of existence.  The fear hunts for new worries.  Meanwhile, I'm curled up trying desperately not to think, not to feel - a state that can last for weeks or even months.  It seems a paradox that while I'm feeling so very tired (another symptom of depression) my mind can work so hard to generate anxiety.

I'm lucky.  There are drugs that suit me and that deal with depression pretty quickly when it starts.  It's not a chronic condition for me.  Because when you are out of depression it's hard to recall what it felt like, I can't imagine how awful it must be for people like Stephen Fry who have chronic depression.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of.  It's an illness, just like diabetes is an illness.  Some people have forms that can be managed, some don't.  But what we do need is much more openness about the illness so that there is no shame in admitting you have it, and no hesitation in getting help.

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