Last week I had the worst run of depression I think I’ve ever had. It was certainly the worst I can remember. I managed to get myself out of bed and get to work…but that was it. And even then I nearly called in sick every day.
I present a radio show and man, was I ever just going through the motions. It felt like I was sitting in the studio watching myself present a radio show. I was in control of me, but I was operating myself through a three second delay and doing a terrible job. I was faking it to make it. I was acting what I thought Iain Lee should say and do.
After the shows, I came home and crawled into bed. Nothing unusual there, that’s what I tend to do. But I then spent all day in bed. I slept for a couple of hours, woke up, lay in bed for a few more hours wide awake, padded downstairs for a coffee, then back under the covers until the morning. Repeat.
What made it more painful was my kids would come into my room, intent on creating the joyous mayhem that children do, and I simply had nothing for them I couldn’t give them a single thing – no affection or love or interaction. ‘Daddy isn’t feeling very well’ was pretty much all I could say as I sent them on their way.
That of course broke my heart, filled me with shame and self hatred and sent me even lower. Great little cycle there, thanks head.
While I was lying in bed, I just felt, and this is where it gets hard to put into words, er, useless, low, meaningless, lost, spent, sad, tired…it’s a toughie and none of those descriptions really sum up the pure bleakness I was experiencing. I hated myself and everything I had achieved and simply wanted to stop existing. I didn’t want to die necessarily, I just wanted to not be.
There are some of you reading this nodding and going ‘yeah, that’s me!’ and probably just as many scratching your heads and thinking what a twat. Stop being such an idiot and get on with things.
Ah, the old ‘pull your socks’ up brigade. If only it were that simple. I’d love to pull my socks up and get on with things. Ignore this little voice in my head that tells me I am worthless and no one likes me and actually I only make things worse for people. Some days I can. Some days it’s just too loud. And sure, my life is actually pretty good. I have a good career, financially I’m OK, so what have I got to worry about?
And that’s the thing. Depression, for me anyway, isn’t always about what’s going on in the external world. Sometimes it is. My dad dying, my mum being ill, being hauled over the coals for something I said or did at work – they can all have an effect. But it tends to be either really small things or simply nothing that sends me over the edge. Jesus, I found an ink stain on my favourite coat today and I could feel the well of blackness starting to overflow within me. It was insane.
I’m pretty confident that for me, the depression is primarily a chemical imbalance in my head. Just as there’s no logic to who gets cancer or asthma, the same goes here. Yeah, there are outside elements in all of these conditions or diseases that may have an impact, but, sometimes it’s just bad luck or bad genes or bad karma or whatever the fuck it is. There’s no point in asking ‘why me?’ although, ironically, that’s a pretty common question amongst depressives as we struggle with existential angst while trying to get enough inner strength to get up and go to the toilet.
I’m lucky. I had a REALLY bad week. Some people have really bad months or years. I tend to even out throughout the year. Sometimes I’m pretty good, sometimes I am like utter shit but generally I’m bouncing around in the middle. Just below the middle perhaps. Last week was an extraordinary and freakish one that I do not want to repeat. I’ve had this long enough though to know that no mood lasts forever. This too shall pass. I just have to ride it out. For me, talking, exercising, eating, listening to music…none of that stuff works when I am in it. It’s a disease of isolation and I need to hide. When I am in it, I just need to ride it out and know that I will reappear on the other side at some point.
I had a weird thing yesterday. I was doing OK. And then it hit me. And I could feel it hit me. Just before midday, this wave of bleakness swept up my body and there was nothing I could do. I went down under the surface and let it sweep over me. It may sound odd, but it was kind of beautiful. Does that make any sense to anyone? A beautiful bleakness? It only lasted a few hours. I was well enough to move downstairs a bit later and put a film on. Something shifted and I had a rare moment of feeling powerful and invincible before it sort of evened out. I’m bouncing around a bit at the moment, mainly down, in fact I’m typing this in bed, fully clothed, wearing the coat with a stain on it. Does anyone know how to get an ink stain out of a jacket?
I have absolutely no idea why I’m writing this. I suppose partly because I believe that journaling ones feelings and moods is a helpful tool and I had enough energy to drag my computer out of my bag. Maybe it’s to partly explain for last weeks shows being a bit crap (although, if I’m honest, right now I don’t actually care about work). I suppose it’s to let people know that this is OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Or scared of. Well, be a little bit scared. This disease can be fatal. But it’s real and people have it and people come through it. Don’t be embarrassed (although the thought of actually posting this rambling online is making me very anxious) and let people know you have it. Those that do the ‘pull your socks up’ or ‘oh for Christ’s sake, get over yourself’ lines are probably not people you need around you. If you told a friend you had cancer and they said ‘just man up’, is that someone you’d want to hang out with?
Ah, I dunno. I’m not doing this for sympathy, I tell you that much. So, you know, thanks but no thanks. I’m doing this to show that you’re not alone. Although, I bet you feel very much like you are, whatever anyone says.
Thank you for posting this. x
You have summed it up wonderfully. And I want you to know that YOU are not alone either. Those of us who drown in the darkness all too often rarely have the words to explain to someone who has never suffered from depression just how all consuming and soul destroying it can be. Thank you for being our voice and may the light find you when your shadows descend. xxx
Great post , please leave it for everyone to see.
The ‘pull yourself together’ brigade do not understand & at times we tell ourselves to do just that which as you say just creates that vicious circle. Well said
I feel less alone after reading this. Hope you feel better for writing it. Thank you, Iain. X
It’s always a comfort to read other people putting what’s inside my head into words. No rhyme, no reason, and yes, sometimes it visits like an old friend, but one who will then fleece you when you’re distracted.
If the link I’ve added works, it’s to a song I wrote for me and my depressed friends. I hope you all enjoy it and find some affinity with it.
I was listening to you one day last week and I wondered to myself how presenters like you can be so full of life day in day out. You’re always so funny and entertaining, so to read this is a massive surprise. It shows how professional you are and reading this shows that you’re also ‘one of us’. I respect you a lot for writing this. I look forward to tomorrows show.
Very powerful Iain .
Thank you for sharing your thoughts
How moving and how accurate are your feelings
So so many will know and understand what
Every thought and feeling you go through
I for one do its not silly so please dont think
It is , my heart goes out too you and remember
You are not on your own x 🙂
Iain, so many of us have been there – are still there – hopefully, we can be stronger by sharing our feelings as you have done. Thank you for being strong for so many.
A really excellent well-written honest piece which I can really relate to x
You’re an awesome person and very much deserving of all the love, friendship and respect that comes to you. See a doctor about that illness you described, and know that we all hope you feel better (much, much better) very soon.
Great piece, I hope it helped to get it out of your head & onto paper (or rather the screen, via the keyboard)
I’m sure there are lots of people reading this & recognising bits of themselves.
I find being an (outwardly) upbeat person, I always find myself trying to justify to my right to ‘down days’. I have friends who suffer depression, they are depressed every day, every little thing depresses them further. I’m not like that for 95% of the time – but when I crash & burn I do it in spectacular fashion, but I do it in solitude – so nobody knows.
I bet there are thousands of others out there with an Eleanor Rigby type jar by the door xxx
” Ignore this little voice in my head that tells me I am worthless and no one likes me and actually I only make things worse for people”…
Iain, I can assure you, you certainly do not make things worse for quite a lot of people. I am a person and this person like many others who listen to your shows whilst crappy stuff is/was happening to them, gets a temporary relief from it. As if by magic, for quite a while, all is good is the world again, you know? And that is like MASSIVELY important boss!
P.S: and when no crappy stuff is happening to us and we listen to your shows, you just make things even better. Nice one!
I have suffered with depression for 3 years and every days a struggle. I work for a charity with children young people with additional needs or a disability in Luton.
Getting up every day and seeing the children makes my day.
A recent survey of actors said 70 % suffer with mental health problems.
WOW, I never normally leave reviews or comments but I’m genuinely touched and moved by your honesty and openness. I also suffer with depressive days or weeks but to the outside world I’m always happy and carefree. It seems your mind just says enough with the build up of all the small problems, worries memories or arguments. I am not as brave as you and will probably never open up to anyone and carry on with my two sides. You have my upmost respect for highlighting depression especially as you are in the public domain. May you have far more good days than bad. Thank you Iain.
It’s *always* helpful when folk share their stories and nudge this a bit more into the open. And I have a hunch that’s why you wrote this. So, cheers for that, Iain.
I know what it’s like, and thankfully (for some reason) less these days.
Depression is an awful disease / condition. I’m lucky enough not to suffer with it, but know so many who do and have in the past. I hope this wave passes as soon as it can Iain and if it’s any support at all you and your work on radio are loved by many x
Iain my old mucker I listen to you ever morning and you always make me feel abit better weather I am up or down , for me things are good at the moment I have a beautiful wife and goodish job and a lovely little family kids that I love with all my heart ,, yet a lay awake worring and feeling low I dunno why I do I just do then it will go again and I thing great happy Keith back but then it will return some times for hours some times for weeks the longest I have been was 8 weeks I couldn’t leave the house without haven’t a panic attack !!! I have tried all the drugs the doctor gives you and some they can’t but I am just living with it I wish I could just have a normal head and maybe one I will ! You have may be really think about addressing this again head on and stop just saying I am ok when I know inside I am just doing what I need to get by
Take care mate and good luck
Iain. Feel for you my man. If it’s any consolation the work you do effects thousands of people in a very good way! You are funny and very witty! Anytime you fancy a beer let me know 🙂 keep plodding on plodding my man!
You are an inspiration to a lot of people. I admire your honesty and feel privileged for you to have shared this.
“This too shall pass” keeps me going.
thanks for this. Having a similar thing at the moment, it’s come from out of nowhere.
Anyway, a brave piece. Keep passing the open windows.
Ian, thank you. For sharing so honestly and for verbalising so beautifully what I feel but cannot write. Thank you for pushing yourself last week so you were on my radio when my alarm went off. I have had episodes of depression since I was 13 but right now I am in the darkest place I have ever been and the struggle I have daily at the moment is mountainous. Your brilliant blog entry is so open, so real it reminds me that others know and understand the pain of this awful silent darkness but also you are reaching out to those who don’t know it and perhaps helping them to understand. I love your show. When my alarm goes off in the morning your voice is like a ray of sunshine out of the dark. You take great care and remember you are not alone because all of us that have depression know and understand some of what you so eloquently describe. xx
Iain, posting your thoughts about dealing with depression I am certain took a lot of thought and effort, the listener to the shows would never know how you were until you mentioned it. That is a displayed of real genuine strength of character anyone could be proud of. I have walked “the black dog” plenty so I understand that when you are in that place, peoples words mean little so I get it if this is as meaningful as a tic tac advert for you. Actually, one time years back when I was really at my worst, the biggest indicator of how bad I felt was an advert on telly. It had a stunning blond girl wearing sunglasses and a huge beaming smile that was accompanied by a song about such smiles. For just one second I hated her to my core for her smile, as she no right when viewed for my pit of utter hopelessness. It passed very quickly and felt ashamed to even think such a thing. It is a very hard battle I hope most people don’t need to fight. For what ever it’s worth, wishing you and all other victims of that imbalance good thoughts, strength and the fortitude to get through it into a brighter day just around the corner. look after yourself until it arrives.
BTW some damn fine folks posting replies, good on you all.
Are you taking about this on your show tomo ? If so I may phone in if I can get over the panic attack of using the phone first
Brave words x hope your feeling a bit better x can i come and give you a big hug xx
I’m so glad I read this, and even more glad you wrote it. THANK YOU.
In my depression I was told by a friend to pull myself together. It was only when the same friend became depressed himself did he realise what a stupid thing he had said to me, and how it did the opposite of helping.
I am currently involved in the setting up of a charity called Hector’s House, trying to help prevent suicide in young males. Suicide is the biggest cause of death of males under 40. One of the main reasons is that men are not meant to show weakness, and so don’t talk about their feelings. We donate some of our income to another charity called CALM who provide help lines and other media to make access to help easier and more cool for young men.
CALM have a great motto – “BEING SILENT IS NOT BEING STRONG”
So THANK YOU for not being silent. We need more men to tell other young men it’s OK to talk and share.
Depression can pass, it can be self managed, it is common, and many of us live with it ourselves, or by supporting a family member similarly affected.
I listen to your show every day, and you weren’t (noticeably) more cr@p than usual 😉 You have lots of highs (award winning breakfast show) but highs often have corresponding lows. Between them is average, but being average all the time can be a bit “average”.
I’ll keep listening, and keep enjoying, but with a brand new ear and understanding following your descriptive message. You’re a very clever and professional man. I like you and what you do. Thanks for that too.
Dave Barratt – General Manager
(South Beds Dial-a-Ride)
” I hated myself and everything I had achieved and simply wanted to stop existing. I didn’t want to die necessarily, I just wanted to not be.”
^ I totally get this. Its not like the “suicidal tendencies” we are supposed to have… “oh he’s depressed, hide the razor blades” etc…
I’ve never once thought of doing it, just, like you say, some days I just don’t want to be here…
If its any consolation you brighten my day up, waking up to you three messing about in a radio studio in a morning always puts a smile on my otherwise miserable face.
Thanks boss X
Thanks for being so honest. Any insight into mental health is useful for us all. To be more understanding with the people around us whether we or they have or haven’t been through the same or similar.
You have to remember it’s not you…It’s a chemical imbalance.
I always suffer at this time of year and it’s good to hear that I am not alone. I often go days without speaking to people and justifying it by telling people I enjoy my own company. In reality something in my mind is sucking the life out of me, sapping my energy and motivation and leaving me wondering wether I’ll ever truly feel ‘happy’. Those moods do pass and its pieces like this that I appreciate at these times. Thank you again for posting.
Hey Iain, thank you for writing this. I can completely relate so know that you’re not alone. Sending all the positive thoughts your way! 🙂
Since I discovered you on WM, I have to plan my weekend around you! I can’t tell you how much I love your shows, even when you’re bullying Ranjit!
Iain, I really hope you know how happy you make people. You are loved.
Thank you Iain. Awesome blog. Spot on and I totally relate to every word x
I think your post illustrates why depression is such a difficult thing to live with. Early morning you can be unable to speak because of uncontrollable giggling with Katherine and Kelly, yet the real you inside is feeling depressed and hopeless. You and the team bring a smile to my face and lift my spirits every morning as I drive to work. Hang on in there. You’ll get better as the light and sun return.
This made me teary eyed.
Whenever I feel like this, when I need help the most is when I am least able to seek help, once it has lifted a little I no longer feel I desperately need help so I end up going it alone.
On the rare occasions I have pushed myself and sought professional help I’ve ended up feeling like shit because I either play it down Due to embarrassment or I try to express how I’m not suicidal but I don’t want to be here anymore and nearly get sectioned.
It’s such an isolating disease, the only people who truly understand are unable to help because they are fighting their own battles.
I often watch people doing normal everyday stuff and wonder how the hell they do it, I want to be like them so badly, but I’m 41 now and it hasn’t happened yet.
I don’t want to feel particularly amazing, I just want to feel.
I think you’re fantastic.
Thank you for being so honest.
I love listening to you on the radio – you’re an absolute legend.
The “pull your socks up” brigade should be shot. They have no idea just what it is like to have a brain that thinks for you.
What a refreshing read. Totally honest and I’m sure many people having suffered / suffering can relate to this. Depression is indiscriminate, but unfortunately there is still a stigma attached hence it goes untreated. It makes you selfish a fact that then leads to feeling guilty. I can relate to those “black clouds” moments, having suffered for many years with bouts of depression I know my tell tale signs and I’m sure like most people we all have different coping methods. It’s good that you didn’t go down the route of calling in sick, having caught most of your shows last week you would never had known.
Listening many years ago to your old lbc days used to put a smile on my face despite the dark times, maybe what im trying to say is that our actions however small have an impact on people. Anyhow, keep positive thoughts, if you feel like it could be a serotonin imbalance then see your gp. keep up your fab work x x x
My mother suffered from depression my whole life. This was further complicated by her alcoholism which was her way of trying to deal with it.
I too experience these dark waves, and absolutely have an inability to finish anything. For example I have a Nursing degree but cannot get myself to take my board exams. I am too stuck on the fact I’m a failure.
Thank you for addressing this important topic. Most people don’t understand what it is like.
With care, ink can be removed with hairspray and a rag by blotting out the stain.
Best of luck my friend-
Really well said.
I’m just starting a depression journey. Your description was so good that I can empathise completely, which is very good given today has been a down day. Prompting me to write a comment, well that’s just plain stimulating. Thank you. I mean that.
What an amazing piece. Open and honest, which is no easy thing at the best of times, let alone in the bleak despair of depression.
I have suffered similarly with what seems to be a chemical imbalance. Thankfully under control now for me with medication.
People always want to know why, what’s wrong, and sometimes there is no answer to that.
I have listened to your show for about a year now, love it, think you are a great presenter, and had no idea you suffered from depression.
Stay strong. You will come out the other side.
Thank you for being so brave and honest.
Hi Iain, I’m still missing you on LBC! My thoughts are with you at this bleak time in your life.I have always thought that you are a very sensitive soul I do hope you come out of this very soon, my thoughts are with you. Xx
Thank you for your honesty, I really like the bit about friends that don’t understand etc… I have come across those “think of children starving …., or there’s someone always worse off than you!!!!.
For years I have suffered but only now am I able to let it be what it is and ride the storm.
The writing is a good way to deal the depression. It help to sequence your thoughts and the finished work gives a sense of worth. No one here think that you are doing it for sympathy. If you can get out to walk couple of miles with children or friends that will do wonder.
Hope you will feel better soon.
thanks for putting this on here, my friend has sent me the link and i totally understand how you feel, ive had similar feelings esp the swings from being just grey and at the ‘bottom of the well’ looking up and it seems such a long way up that it feels hopeless!
i think that yep, it comes and goes and what bugs me and probably not a good thought to hold onto, is why now ive always been a happy person and i want to be that person again. guilt yep know that one, my poor wife has suffered terribly but thankfully is still there for me.
anyhow you are definitely NOT alone!! and you did make me chuckle with the pull your socks up brigade…i know a few of those w@nkers too!! 🙂
That’s perhaps the most accurate portrayal of my own experiences I’ve ever read. Thanks.
” I was doing OK. And then it hit me. And I could feel it hit me. Just before midday, this wave of bleakness swept up my body and there was nothing I could do. I went down under the surface and let it sweep over me. It may sound odd, but it was kind of beautiful. Does that make any sense to anyone?”
Oh God, yes!
I can only echo other people’s comments – you have summed up the situation and the mood perfectly, Thank you for your eloquence.
Iain, you’ve summed it up in exactly the way my best mate does. Nice one. X
It’s interesting that you mentioned a “wave of bleakness”. Some people have a black dog, I have a black tide. Sometimes the tide is out; it’s not bothering me but I know it’s out there somewhere. Sometimes it’s just lapping round my ankles, and I can still function. Other times it’s a tsunami, and it knocks me off my feet and I have to struggle to the surface. I’m sorry you had a bad week; I hope the tide stays out for you for a good long stretch.
Sammy, that is such a brilliant metaphor.
I’ve never quite identified with the black dog, but I can certainly identify with a black tide.
A fantastic image, that I have saved as a quote to remind me
Thank you x
A very sincere thank you. A “disease of isolation” just sums it up so succinctly to me. What a wonderful eloquence through a dark place. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
very powerful words, and has given me an insight into how my wife might be feeling. Wish I could understand 10% of that. You are such a brave man. Dunno if you read the comments, but if you do I really genuinely want to thank you.
Thank you Iain. x
I’ve never really understood depression as I’m a very logical person and can very quickly put things in to perspective. This is the first time I’ve really understood what it must be like to not be able to do this…I’m a huge fan of your radio shows and have been listening to you for years and I listen to your show on iPlayer everyday and its hard to think that same person could feel like this. Really made me rethink my thoughts on depression, thank you for making me understand as I could have been that pull yourself together friend.
Thank you for writing this. Sorry that this is part of your life. The more people who talk about it, the more the taboo will crumble and public understanding will grow.
I hope you’ve found it helpful writing this. It’s obvious that lots of people have just reading it, so you’ve done a good thing.
I was prescribed drugs for ‘depression’ a few years back after experiencing all those feelings you’ve described, although I’d cry at the littlest things. I had nothing in my life to be depressed about – I’d got engaged, new house, job was fine, family well but could not ‘snap out of it’ so I did some of my own research as was not happy to take antidepressants. I’d always disliked winter so looked up SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and found myself nodding whilst reading all the symptoms. After a lot more reading I bought a lightbox and have never looked back. That was 7 years ago and I use it most winters. Some years are worse than others so need to use it a bit more. I have a desktop one at work now too. Before children, when we had money (!), we used to go on holiday in January/February as those are always my toughest months. We can’t do that for a few more years so I have to rely on my lightbox to help me through what I call my ‘grey head days’. It might be worth trying one if you haven’t already – it’s not going to work for everyone but it might just be worth a shot and you can get your money back with some companies!
Wish you brighter days soon x
To quote a truly great and inspirational man “flippin eck”. I’m not sure you realise just what effect you have on so many. Not many people will depart this ball of rock and can honestly say they made a difference and were truly good. Iain Lee can. There is nothing wrong with you….quite the opposite. All good. Man your family and friends are so lucky to be even closer to you than we can get to be through the speaker on our radios. I always have my 3 perfect dinner guests I would like to meet. As socially awkward as you are…..I would be honoured to meet you. One last thing though. Ink stains…..bad times I’m afraid. Reckon that coat is done. You could just dye the whole thing the same colour as the ink. That’s all I have. See you at 6am sharp. Thank you.
Reading this was like reading about myself, someone who finally agrees that you don’t need anything to make you depressed, depression just happens, Ive described it before as being like a big wave that sucks me in, I feel like I’m drowning, sinking deeper and deeper, until I can barely breathe, and no matter how hard I try to eacape, to drag myself out, I just can’t 🙁 or sometimes I feel that I am suffocating in emotions, that no matter how hard i try, i can’t get out and there is nothing I can do. To someone who has never suffered from depression, its easy to say to snap out of it or get over it, I only wish we could do that! If that was the case then there wouldn’t be so many of us suffering. Thank you so much for making me feel equal, maybe even normal, but more that anything…. believed! Invisible illnesses are sometimes the hardest to understand, especially to people who are now willing to accept that these illnesses do really exist!
I (heart) I L ….. Fact! Xx
For anyone who’s never been through this, you have no idea what it’s like to fall into that black hole and be unable to drag yourself out. Struggling through every bad day just hoping the next day will be better. I had bad post-natal depression after both my children were born and added to the zombification of the depression, was the zombification caused by the medication. I still fall into that hole fairly regularly but I won’t use medication to pull me out. I just wait until my head decides it wants to come up for air. Anyone who’s suffered from depression will relate to everything you said Iain. Hang in there – tomorrow may be the better day you’ve been waiting for. 😡
This is really nicely written – thanks Iain. I too suffer from this disease of isolation and like you, I’m rarely swayed by outside factors in my life and when i’m hit by a wave (which can last anything from an afternoon to a couple of months) I know I just need to ‘ride it out’ knowing somewhere in that bleak feeling that I’ll be back on the other side at some point. I also consider myself lucky I can articulate this to those around me as odd as it is to understand! This post will be a useful place to point people who don’t necessarily understand (and why would they) that conventional methods & causes of overcoming episodes of depression don’t apply to everyone and you can be in it and looking in on yourself all at once. Thanks Iain 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your podcasts over the years. You’ve made me laugh, cry and shout many times over the years. Of course when I say *you* I mean the online-persona that is Iain Lee. It’s sometimes easy to forget that its a persona and the harsh realities of life are sometimes under cover.
It’s not always the big things that bring on the storm clouds.
Reading this beautifully frank and insightful discussion of you personal life is refreshing and thought provoking. I’m sure I speak for literally tens of your readers when we say “my thoughts are with you old chap and Carpe Deum”. Or at the very lease Carpe-cuppa-tea 😉
You were able to go to work. Fair enough you felt like you were going through the motions, but you say this was REALLY bad? Mate, you have no idea. I’m grateful that people in your position are talking about this topic. It would have been even better of you to go on your radio show and say hey audience, I feel like crap. And talk about it there. Honestly, I think too many people call a bad day, feeling low, depression. There is a massive difference between clinical depression and ” feeling a bit depressed” Please be careful with that mistake and if you are not seeking medical advice or have not been diagnosed as such don’t think you know what depression is.
Trust me. I have every idea.
Iain, thanks for sharing. You have articulated precisely how it feels to me too. Only those who suffer with this can understand. I wish that those who thankfully don’t suffer from depression wouldn’t poo-poo it. It’s the most godawful feeling while you’re in the trough. Bests, James
This ‘shared’ link just popped up in my Facebook Memories from last year and I’ve enjoyed reading it just as much a second time… As well as all the positive comments. The above one has irritated me though. Oh you made it to work? Can’t possibly have depression then! What an ignorant response. I can’t imagine the pressure on a famous DJ to turn up each day. If that wasn’t there, I’m sure you WOULD’VE called in sick. Ugh. I’ve never missed work regardless of my ‘bad days’ either, but I don’t appreciate feeling belittled or that my situation doesn’t count because I’ve managed to drag myself in. Sometimes it’s the only thing I’ve got that’s forcing me out of my festering pit! In any case, different people and different situations require different coping strategies. Ignore that reply – It’s not helpful. We should all be sticking together in this, not being played off against one another to decide who wins “Depressive Of The Year”!
Iain, I hope the 12 months that have passed since you wrote this brilliant post have been kinder to you… and, if not, that you’re still handling things well.
Thanks for this.
A lot of people will say what I am going to say – thank you.
Because this is a silent illness that so many endure. But, fear of feeling guilty or ridiculous to others who are ignorant to it, feeling they owe those who criticise for what they perceive as lazy an apology forces it to be repressed, thus making it worse.
As a prominent personality you are doing a massive positive public service to all those suffering who need reassuring they are not alone.
So thank you again.
Maybe you could make a radio or TV show about it. It could act as therapy to you and viewers too.
So glad you posted this because it will help those with depression feel less lonley and less afraid to talk about it. Anyone who says ‘deal with it’ or ‘pick yourself up’ has never dealt with depression. I hope you are getting help from a professional, this is not something you should ‘deal’ with on your own. Sending you loads of hugs from over the pond!
Hi Iain. From one Lee to another, I hear you. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog and this post today. For today, I felt like ending it all. Why? Mainly due to the fact that I lost my baby daughter over a year ago and life just isn’t clear. My life i thought i would have has gone. The wave of depression, as you say comes and goes. But it’s always been there, laying dormant like some brain volcano laying in wait. I hope we both find that something to make every day more liveable Iain. Take care my friend
lain you mite be surprised and you know me I call it part of growing up as life tests us all day everyday I once was very happy good job 2 kids and all the rest until someone took it all from me lost the woman I loved to another man my kids my everything wrote off 4 cars in 10 months couldn’t see my kids and one day just totally lost it got on a train and slept on the streets of London trying to survive I did this for about 4-6 weeks from what I remember and on the first of December which was my sisters birthday rang home I was quite at first did I really want to do this or was it all to late I then Herd my dad speck he knew it was me told me he would help me and do anything to get me back so on I just listened with my heart in my mouth I was 25 yrs old and had never seen or herd my dad cry and yet he sobbed down the phone to me begging me to go home I put down the phone and went home a shoring myself did I still have a job a home had my bills been paid how were my kids how was everyone and the stresses of life came back again making me realise I’d grown up and this is what we do in life to survive I never told anyone and only close family know but me knowing you although it may be for a few minutes when I see you your a good man I can tell a family man been brought up the right way and to respect those around you it was hard going back I won’t lie life seemed easy on the streets but so hard at the same time so where ever we are what ever we are doing life will test us and the strong get through it you seem like a strong person to me Iam now 45 my kids in uni doing well and iam proud I’ve worked hard and sometime have felt those feelings come back the ones you never want to have again me and my dad became inseparable best mates and a father I was proud of he died 10 yrs ago from cancer I tried to repay back all he did for me and helped him as much as I could even leaving my job of 14 yrs to be with him and I wouldn’t change a thing to be able to spend that time with him still means everything to me the same year I lost fathering law and mothering law in the tsunami Had a baby girl and lost my best mate who was found died in his bed some how because of what I had been through it was almost easy to deal with but also very hard it put stress on my life again but some how we pull through and when I feel like you was last week its another test before we move on see what we’ve leant about life and ourselves so we can continue to be better stronger and show our kids to help them for when it there turn to take the stresses of life and we all have to do it no matter who we are or what we have I hope you get to read as a lot has happened to me over the last 10 yrs and something that I didn’t wish to mention but iam still going strong and will hopefully continue to taking the tests of life.
I guess I was probably one of the head scratching “pull your socks up” once upon a time…..until depression found me! Sadly,I relate to much of what you have written here and I thank you for sharing it.
I won’t go into reams of detail for the sake of others but you know,I’m 45 years of age and I honestly feel like I’ve come to the end of any useful and productive life.Kids are all grown and independent,been living the single (lonely) life since my wife passed 10 years ago…..and I honestly don’t know what there is left except to turn in and out of work for the next 20 years in the vague hope of still being fit enough to enjoy a lonely retirement.
I wish you all well x
I’ve always loved you, but this post takes things to another level. You’ve managed to articulate that state we can regularly find ourselves in with such panache. On a personal level, ai think it is important that you are seeing this wave of appreciation you are getting from your audience, so you know just how important you abilities are to us. But on a wider level, it is to say ‘thank you’ for articulating this swine that can overwhelm us for no apparent reason, and almost make it understandable. I love you.
Hairspray gets rid of ink xx
I don’t know your radio show but found your link on Twitter (it does have some uses!).
I don’t suffer from depression but really appreciate your article as it really imparts how depression affects a sufferer in a way that no other sufferer has done and will help the ‘pull your socks up’ brigade to empathise.
Criticising people with this attitude is unfair because often they have no idea what else to say as they have no insight into your pain or bleakness.
Hopefully all sufferers will realise that there are people out there for support, love and comfort.
Stay strong and don’t take your article down!
I mainly see the other side of this as my husband is a sufferer. It is awful to watch when there is nothing you can do but be there when eventually it subsides.Thank you for articulating so beautifully what he goes through. Try stain Devils for the ink stain.
Thank you. ..x
Thank you Iain. For a long time now I always admired how honest you are about how you feel. Mental conditions are sometimes the most hardest to control. I too have been through similar experiences to you and I have come out of the other side, more or less a different person. I dont think you ever really get over hang ups or issues that affect your very being but that being said it does help to express your sadness. I think your highlighting a much bigger epidemic than most people care to realise and most people during their lives will go through something like this. Thank you for being you, I have always supported you behind the scenes and always will. You will get past this Iain, trust me! When it does pass and everyday seems to be like the previous day without any form of trigger you will sit there and say “shit, thank god for that, its now passed”. Love you Iain.
Thanks Iain. Well put and obviously resonates with me and many many others. I hope you can mange your way up more often soon.
I know that it won’t help you a jot to hear that I think you are the most creative, talented radio broadcaster around at the moment, but I wanted to say it anyway. I’ve been down that black hole myself, and you have articulated wonderfully what depression feels like. I hope the current feeling disappears soon – from my own experience, it will pass.
Great post. Please post similar anytime you want. We are all listening x
Thank you Iain, for managing to post this. It makes sense to anyone who has been through similar. And please don’t take it down! It’s something those of us struggling to find words can point to and say: “This.”
Thank you lovely person. Big hugs. Know how you feel and wish it away for all of us. Sadly we just have to struggle through and take encouragement and hope from each other. Your post will/has helped many. 15 years on and off, pills , counselling etc, so bored with it now. Will the black dog ever leave? Take care.
Thank you for sharing such honest, insightful thoughts, I can relate as I’m sure many others can too. I hope this week is much better 😉
A frank and very candid read, thank you, I am going through depression myself and many of the things you discribe I can really relate too, thank you for sharing and good luck.
Bravo for writing this. It helps so much when someone of note puts their depression in the public domain. It helped me to read it, I empathise completely and recognise your symptoms 100%; I hope writing it helped you just as much. Having resisted meds my entire life, at 50 I’ve just started giving it a go. Will keep you posted. Be well, James ps. Try a ‘magic sponge’ on that stain, Google it. Avail in some supermarkets and R Dyas.
Hi Iain, What an open, honest person you are for sharing your real feelings! I can relate to your depression, my mother suffered manic depression (aka bipolar disorder) for all of my childhood and she would often take to her bed, curtains drawn in broad daylight and we would peek in at her lying with the covers up over her, so we could just see the top of her head, but we knew not to go in and disturb her, but didn’t know why? Now I am older and have had my own depressive episodes, laying there feeling totally numb and sad, I sort of understand what she went through. If your post was to diarise your depressive moments, a website you might be interested in is http://www.Moodscope.com – once you sign up you can record your daily mood on a ‘flip card’ system (you would have to see it!) and you get a daily email ‘reminder’ which is basically stories and feelings from others who have been to the bowels of depression, which can be surprisingly thought provoking and uplifting. Worth a try! I started listening to your show in the past month and find I couldn’t get your show on my digital radio – my routine in the morning is get up, put kettle on then listen via my mobile on the radio iPlayer app – you are priceless and preferable to my ears than say, the always ‘up’ Chris Evans, who can be annoyingly so! Keep smiling babe 😀 x
As soon as you step out of Brixton station well you gonna get mugged – Some twit of your old show around 2007
I hear you dude.
I hear you.
Well done Iain, You made it through another day. You found some inner strength and pulled yourself through it. You are not alone either. I too, am very public about my depression. You describe it in a way I can relate to and in a way that helps others. The comments above are testament to that. Keep going.
Thanks for posting this. I couldn’t have put it better.
Hey Iain. I read your words with great interest. I have been going through something strange just recently (although I’m not making comparisons). I’ve never had depression before and I’m not altogether sure that’s what I have. But, for the past 4 months, I have had this huge feeling of doom – that something awful is going to happen – &, quite often, have found myself wishing that I could just “go”, just so that I don’t have to suffer this fear & anxiety any more.
I retired 2 years ago & I love it! I’m very healthy & receive my pension next week on my 62nd birthday, so no worries there. But I find myself worrying about wrong things I’ve done in the past – that I cannot change .. things happening now – that I have no control over .. & things that may happen in the future. I’m not a pill-taker (never had a headache, so not even paracetamol!), but my doctor has prescribed Propranolol (a beta-blocker) to take when I get a panic attack coming on. I had an awful panic attack the other day, passed-out & was sick too.
Although my symptoms are not the same as yours, I found your words very revealing, insightful, encouraging & helpful. Thank you.
You know I’m a huge fan of yours & wish you well, my friend.
I read this blog and the BTL comments with interest. I also spent many years in this state. Looking back it must have been around 30 years of my life from around the age of 10 to 40-odd. On the one hand it certainly had a deleterious effect on the way my career etc panned out and was definitely a very difficult state of affairs for my OH and latterly my children, who, luckily for me, stood by me all the way through. It did have some plus sides though, in that I could tap into an enormous amount of physical and mental energy on the way back up from an episode. This energy would be channelled into my work, my relationships and my creative side to great effect but in hindsight must have made life very difficult for everyone around me – my wife, my children, my friends, my bosses and bandmates – swinging as I did between being attractively hyper and repulsively depressive.
Things all came to a head in my 40’s when my wife convinced me I needed to seek help – the GP being the most obvious choice. Again luckily (because I’d be surprised if all GPs were as understanding as mine) I went for an appointment and explained the situation and he took me seriously. He arranged for a repeat appointment so that we could chat about it at length (this was in the 1990’s). His first offering was medication which I declined so he arranged for a series of appointments for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at my local hospital.
I had a series of sessions of decreasing frequency over a prolonged period. As far as the condition was concerned it had minimal effect and probably the only positive to come from it was the early confirmation from the therapist that I was not alone, that many people are in the same boat and that in some ways it was understandable due to my sometimes brutal and abusive upbringing.
Post-therapy things were much the same – one minute it seems your full of the joys of life the next you’re laid up in bed for days (unlike Iain I was unable most times to avoid sick days from work).
Fortunately I carried on a process of self-analysis looking for the event that set things off (couldn’t find it) or the person or situation that triggered it (again no luck). What the hell was causing this?
By looking at the marked bodily differences between being up and being down I realised that there was something going on with my body. I then realised that prior to this bodily change my thoughts began to change. Tiny scraps of negative thought would morph into darker and darker internal voices with all the usual consequences – worthlessness, uselessness, failure, letting people down – what’s the point of going on? I completely recognise the feeling of wanting to cease to exist – I had it many times and it gives me some pain to admit this as I now know my OH used to worry terribly that I might actually do something to myself or even more terribly – to her or the children.
During my up periods my determination to somehow beat or control this thing intensified. I lived life forcing myself to become hyper aware of my body, my energy levels, my thought patterns and my behaviours. Every little moment to moment change was seized upon and analysed. But what comes first? Does the chemistry change your thoughts or vice-versa?
I pinpointed that very slight decreases in activity levels, a lightness of body and being subtly changing into a very gradual heaviness of limb and a slowing of thought were the very first signals that later that day – or the next – I’d start thinking and behaving negatively and soon I’d be careering down a slope into depression.
A few trial runs confirmed that this was indeed the way it happens. So now I’ve got an early warning system but after that what could I do?
First off let my OH know the siren may have gone off. Get support and whatever understanding is possible from her. Force myself to become active – hyperactive even – run, swim, pump iron, jog up and down stairs – anything I could possibly think of. Other stuff to do? Forget it. Forcing oneself into serious physical activity takes priority. Seek out the positive wherever you can find it. Do stuff with the kids, visit a friend, go to the pub and talk rubbish, constantly remind yourself of the wonder and beauty of life and the opportunities it presents. It’s all kidology of course but if I don’t do it and force myself to do it there will be a price to pay later. While the siren is going off and I’ve still got a chance of escape I’ve got to keep at it, crowbar some scraps of positivity from any source available. Fight and keep fighting.
Easier said than done of course and it didn’t always work at first or only partially worked and I’d still end up in bed. But eventually, by trying again and again, it began to have an effect. Bouts became shorter, less intense. I began to feel as if I could maybe control this beast rather than it controlling me and control is so empowering.
After a number of years of following this process I can say that it has helped tremendously. I still experience the feelings of chemical change but they’re less intense and less frequent. Importantly, I’ve now accepted that I’ll never know why it happens but I’m in control of it and there are tactics and strategies that I can use. I’ll probably always be at risk but I continue to monitor and continue to learn and develop ways to ensure life is more stable.
Thanks for this Robert…in my capacity as a mental health professional, I am regularly hearing similar accounts. Your link between chemical change and decrease in activity is interesting and its an area I always pay attention to. I think you have nailed it here 🙂
Thanks for this blog post. It pretty much sums up how my life goes for some of the time. Dysthymia is my diagnosis – don’t you love labels? For anyone who may read the comments, that’s a permanent low mood with occasional bouts of major depressive disorder. Those used to come every five years, with amazing regularity, but I’ve been fairly stable for nine years now. I’m pretty sure I could be more proactive about my life with an increase or tweak in medication, but I don’t want to rock the boat when overall I’m doing pretty well.
I’ve survived my husband having a stroke leading to major personality changes and cognitive damage, and organising and helping the moving firm move us from Germany to Florida. I’ve gone from a cheap hop over on the plane to two days of travel at a hefty price, and until Monday hadn’t seen my family in eighteen months. They’re staying ninety minutes away right now, which is amazing. So being on the same dose of medication for seven years is pretty damn good, I reckon.
I’m lucky to have supportive friends who know when to shore me up.
I hope your depression backs off for you soon and you get back to around the middle. Stable is good, even if slightly on the low mood side.
You have summed up amazingly well how I feel at times.
I find it almost impossible to explain how it feels exactly but ‘I present a radio show and man, was I ever just going through the motions. It felt like I was sitting in the studio watching myself present a radio show’ is very similar to how I explained my condition to my Doctor.
I said I knew it was me, I was looking through my eyes but I was just a passenger in my own body. I could see what was happening and what I was doing but it was like I had no control, or indeed no feeling or connection to the world around me.
Writing and reading this back now, it still sounds strange but it comes close to how I feel when the dark fog encircles me.
You are not alone.
Thanks for writing this.
That is such an accurate description of how I feel, I could hug you. I too am hovering over myself watching myself get on while the watching me cries silently. The only thing I have found that helps is to do things for other people. No matter how small, focusing on helping others helps me enormously. I didn’t know that when I decided I wanted to commit suicide. I just decided that if I didn’t want my life I would give it to everyone else. 12 years on from that decision has brought me away from suiicide to a life of joy. Mostly. My mum died recently so I am back in despair but everyday I do something for someone else and in that moment I am happy. Be kind to yourself, be your own best friend and try and focus on some small thing of beauty to help get you through.
Hi Iain thanks for posting, people go on and on about stigma for people with mental health issues, I have had mainly from people ” You depressed?” In a way it’s testament to all of us of how strong we real are at hiding real pain. The person who is such a bastard to me about my mental illness is ME! I’m sure people how suffer will know what that is like. I hope you sort out the jacket 🙂
Ian 54, Bipolar down but not out!
Wow. I am inspired by how honestly and brilliantly you have hit the nail on the head in explaining how it feels to be in the grips. As a sufferer I often find it so hard to articulate the feelings and emotions that lead to the behaviours.
Out of bad you have made good. Don’t be anxious about posting this – it’s brilliant. You are strong – I’m sure in a well mood you know this but when in an ill mood you need reminding like the rest of us. Look after you and try to be kind to yourself. This time WILL pass.
Stain Devils get rid of ink. I think that there are two separate ones for Boro or runny ink. Also, as a bonus, you find them in the sort of shop that has shelves of cookink implements Rawlplugs fancy teapots, cheap makeup, glitter glue, and union Jack waste bins.
as someone who had a bad year I can relate still have bad days, weeks but with support and being able to talk has helped me . I guess it will never go away so I have to learn how to deal with it and knowing your not alone is a big help so no sympathy but congraulations for being able to post this.
Well said. I found myself filling up with tears at work the other day for no good reason. I had to leg it into the loo as one of my staff was walking up the corridor. I try to talk to my wife but I can sense the she’s listening but wishes I would stop moaning and get a grip. The Steve McDonald storyline on Corrie really hit a chord with me as my general personality is not too dissimilar. I was watching thinking ‘that’s me’ I was also thinking ‘why isn’t anyone else saying that’s you Jay”, then it hit me how much we internalise our own negativity and the realised how exhausting it is to put on the daily front. Self doubt and self loathing are two key factors in my general struggle to be interested in ‘normal’ life.
Keep up the good fight!
didn’t want to die necessarily, I just wanted to not be.” Yes! Well done Iain. Putting this feeling into words has evaded me for years.
I feel as though its so hard to explain to people how I feel when experiencing a depressive episode and this summed it up so eloquently.
Being told to ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘snap out of it’ is just so off the mark.
Thank you so much for speaking out and writing this.
Thank you for writing this. I listen to your show every morning and would never have guessed this is how you were feeling last week, although now on reflection some conversations do make more sense! That is the whole issue around depression, no one can see it, and most of the time we can hide it, but every now and then life – or just being – gets too overwhelming and we just want to hide. Your words echo how I was describing my feelings to my husband last summer – the sad, tired, self hatred, meaningless, not wanting to exist, just not wanting to ‘be’ any more but not die, and the description of watching yourself in a sort of satellite delay situation (de-realisation I was told it’s called) I went through that for weeks and weeks. It becomes exhausting putting on a ‘show’ so everyone thinks you are your usual cheery nothing really gets me down self. At the breaking point it’s like an implosion of emotion, rather than an external outburst, at least that is how it was for me. I hope you let us all know how you get on tonight at the DPM event. And I hope to hear you on 3CR in the morning.
When you feel up to it, try taking your coat to a good dry-cleaner and making it their problem. As long as you don’t mess with it first, they can often get stains out.
And I hope you get well soon.
Hi Iain, sorry to read your not feeling too good, you must go to the Dr, don’t suffer in silence, there is medication that can help and people who can help, you talked about your kids so I take it you have a wife/partner, cant you talk to her or a friend, because it does help, there is nothing worse than sitting in the house bottling things up, I have good day’s and bad day’s caused by depression but I’m not going to say anything about my problems as I want you to think positive, hope you feel better soon, let us know how things go Eleanor (hugs) x
WOW, you guys all rock! There is a lot of love out there for you Iain, be strong brother!
Iain, It’s so brilliant that you’ve published your thoughts and feelings like this. Thank you. I hope you can see, from the heart-felt and wise comments in response, how much it is appreciated.
“I was faking it to make it. I was acting what I thought Iain Lee should say and do.”
Oh this resonates.
People around me would be astounded if they knew I wasn’t a happy person. I feel like I’m constantly acting ‘cheery’. It’s exhausting.
The alternative is worse though – if I really expressed how bad I often feel, I would be filled with more self-loathing than I already am.
I kind of cope by trying to balance time spent around people with time to myself. It’s a fine balance – too much either way can tip me into the well of despair.
Over the last year I started cycling to and from work – this has been noticeably beneficial.
It’s not easy, but it does help to know you are not alone,
You are not alone.
I wish you well.
Thank you Iain, I love you, you are a wonderful person, well done xxxx
I’ve stumbled across this article through social media and I thank you for positing this. It’s great that you can let the feelings out and not keep them bottled up. Anyone who judges you for this piece is a lowlife idiot with no sense of what this actually is.
I have my ups and downs and too have tried to work in the media.
I put myself down for not achieving, not hitting the bench marks that I have set ridiculously high. Sometimes I go for long long walks or runs and contemplate what life is actually worth. I have moments when I’m at my lowest but also feel that real sense of beauty with it. Again I can only describe it as a realisation that life is what you make it. I hate clichés but there is no other way to describe it.
I’m 24 and have recently moved towns, away from family, friends just to try and achieve something but for what? And for who? I don’t know. I’ve had some family trauma like yourself and boy I have only just got over that feeling of being winded.
You’ll probably not read this post as you’ve got a lot of replies from what looks like some lovely people, people that make you appreciate where you are today. People that you know would just give you a pat on the back rather than a patronising glare.
The guardian have some really well written articles on this and I would really recommend having a Google.
That’s not a euphemism by the way!
All the best.
Thanks for this. I’m reading them all.
I am a long term sufferer and can go month years but it always comes back. I lost my girlfriend,kids and home because of this few years ago. It takes a sufferer to understand the feelings you get and how pointless people saying I’m here for you is.It’s a solitary illness no1 can help you drugs can manage it but the end of the day it’s down to the individual. Your words rang so true
I get the waves of feeling good then feeling not so OK. That is the time I think I’m crazy. I can go from feeling invincible to feeling like a POS within seconds. I know I’m a strong person who has survived a tremendous amount of pain and consider myself a ‘survivor’. I, too, want to go to sleep and not wake up. I don’t want to die, I just get to the point of ‘I can’t handle living anymore.’ Sometimes I read the obits and think to myself “WOW – that lucky SOB – it’s over for them. They are at peace.”
i honestly wish my partner had some understanding of what depression is to me, this sums it up so well. I’d show it to him but he’s read the first paragraph and tell me how whiney he thinks it is, completely missing the point.
It’s pretty lonely right now, as sick as it sounds im glad someone is doing the same as me.
I think I’ve only left the house 6 times this year.
Thankyou for posting this and making me feel less alone x
Wow mate … Means a lot to read your tale, for once really felt I wasn’t alone. I know it’s hard, but try to remember you’re loved. I know when it hits me being loved is probably the last thing I want, but need.
Love you mate x
my name is Nathan, you don’t know me, not many people do…
just recently i had a similar experience where i could not get out of bed just after New Years. I don’t drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke or take drugs, only medication prescribed. On this Monday morning after new years as i said i could not get out of bed, i ached to my very core and felt like nothing i had before. I had to phone in sick, i had not slept for nearly 2 days and had terrifying nightmares, i told work of my lack of sleep and that i would not be fit for work. Now people would of thought ‘yeah had a hard party new year’ but i worked through the xmas and new year apart from the bank holidays and as i have said do not drink. Later that day i managed to get a doctors appointment, which can be a mission, was told i may be suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress / shock disorder).
To be honest i thought no, but after explaining to me what it was and that i possibly had it, i realized he could be right.
See last June i was made redundant and luckily i found a new job, hooray, but last September i was involved in a nasty crash with an ambulance on an emergency call while i was working. Unfortunately the ambulance hit my drivers door of my works van at quite a pace and i nearly lost consciousness and my bowels control, and had to be cut out of my vehicle, if had of been in a car i would not of survived, Luckily no broken bones but i do have muscle and nerve damage plus i am unable to us my right hand, arm and shoulder as i used too.
Only after a week off from work i returned to my job, now i felt fine, or so i thought, a little pain, that will soon go, get on with it, and if i ever mentioned it to my mates ‘yeah just get on it will go you’ll be fine’ so i did…
Months passed and the pain just became a numbness and i felt like i was watching myself become a this robot of getting up and going to work getting going to sleep. Gave up speaking about my pains and that the crash had pissed me off because of the others saying i should man up…
So over Xmas and New Year i felt very strange numb and with no energy or wanting to do anything even see people. And even contemplated why i was here and what use i am, lets end it…
I spoke with i thought a very close helpful friend who just said ‘i don’t want to know… if you gonna do , then just do it…’
I have suffered with depression in the past and i know when i feel wrong but this was different and but similar at the same time.
Now i have been having some real terrifying nightmares and flash backs of the moment of impact and especially just before new year.
i havent worked since my doctors have signed me off till march this year. I have been given Painkillers and muscle relaxants and anti depression meds. I have also been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
At this time of my life i do not care about anything and what will be, will be….
i totally understand and sort of know what you mean Ian.
Wow! You are brave but not alone as you can see. Such a taboo (based on ignorance) surrounds our mental health. Don’t be hard on yourself. No one person will ever truly know how another really feels. Keep talking please. When you have profile such as your own you really can help others at he same time as helping yourself.
You can manage this and there is help but its finding the formula that works for you. Medication, healthy eating gentle exercise can all help stave off another bout but you have to wait for the cloud to pass before you can start to do anything about it and that’s the hard part.
If you were a diabetic you would take the insulin without question. Address the chemical imbalance and then you will be able to start to put some sense back into place.
Good luck and keep talking and we will keep sharing. xx
Although I’ve only had a ‘tiny meltdown’ a few years ago it was very scary and that was only a fraction of what many people go through. I’ve had family members who suffer from depression and it is such a debilitating illness. I think you’re very brave to share.
Thank you Iain for articulating something I have never been able to do.. no other description has ever truly sufficed. Thank you a million times
Your post has emotionally touched me and I found myself welling up. Someone that understands, someone that just completely spoke my mind! Thank you for posting this brave piece.
Oh that bleak fog, I know it well. Good man for sharing, you’ll have helped so many. Take care
I can relate to everything you said about how you feel…I`ve been having the same for at least 5 years now.
It is really hard to deal with it when no one understands or tries to. I have days when I sit for hours and wish to dissapear and days when I actually feel better and do things, that last is the reason why people don`t take me seriously when I say I am depressed, everytime I am having a good day, they`re like : OH you are not depressed, you are just a drama queen or worse they say I am sad because I pity myself too much…
I`ve noticed that is very hard for me to deal with it when everyone expects something from me and everyone blames me for being like that… the feeling just becomes worse and worse…At some point I was blaming and hating myself for being like that, but then I accepted that there is nothing I can do about it…
Thanks for being so open and for showing other people who feel the same that they are not alone.
That was so profound and true to my own experiences…the black cloud of depression that wraps its self around you pulling you down into the darkness. Wanting to just bury yourself until hopefully it passes trying to ignore the mental taunts that you throw at yourself….the feelings that people would be better off without you! I know instinctively what is about to happen…….its useless to fight against it! I just pray it will pass quickly.
Thank you, very helpful we are not on our own!
ps ive had “this too shall pass ” tattooed on my forearm for a few years now.. those 4 words have been my rock x
I haven’t listened to your radio show but can empathize with what you’re going through. To those who say they have it worse, it’s not a competition. You may not be tortured with paronoia or hallucinations or in immediate danger of self harm, but “even” mild to moderate depression can be seriously frightening and debilitating. We cope as best we can and talking to others who have dealt with depression too is a great sign. Always reach out if you can. For a little black humour on the subject, check out Hyperbole and a half on depression. Priceless. Wishing you light at the end of the tunnel and a very cosy duvet while you’re in there riding it out, Wendy
How very well written and articulate, and how well you have captured the awfulness of the ‘black dog’. Keep on keeping on, in the knowledge that you are not alone, and that there will be hope and light around the corner.
Iain, thankyou so much for taking the time to write this piece. You have managed to perfectly describe something that I have been struggling to define to my husband since I was diagnosed with PostNatal Depression 14 months ago. Unfortunately, he is a member of the “pull yourself together” brigade and, as a result, our marriage has floundered. Because of his lack of understanding (not helped by my inability to articulate it) I find myself having to only ‘live’ my depression when he isn’t around. Forced to put on a brave, happy face to keep the peace, makes episodes last longer, causes resentment and distance between us. I don’t view depression as a problem that can be cured, rather an illness that goes into remission with treatment, but can creep back in for no particular reason or with no cause. Although I’m on the road to recovery now, I cannot bare the thought of going through another severe bout as a ‘single, married mother’. Feeling it would be easier to survive it on my own with my son, than having to act my ass off to hide it to keep my husband happy. It would be easier to have no support, than it is to deal with the pressure of negativity and judgement of someone I love. It just compounds my already present guilt for having depression in the first place. Who needs that!
You’re an inspiration. Wishing you good health for the future.
Bleakness, auto-pilot, watching yourself interact with a world you feel totally disengaged from… All of these I recognise and applaud you for trying to express to people via your blog.
Cheers Iain. It means a huge amount that you shared.
Peace & love from a fellow depressive.
Great piece iain, takes balls to be honest sometimes. Hope this helps http://www.rd.com/slideshows/how-to-remove-ink-stains/ x
Thank you so much for writing this. I have suffered from depression for many years and go through highs and very low lows. My other half used to be in the “pull your socks up brigade”, and to a certain extent still is, but he has seen what I have been through, especially over the last couple of years. I still have plenty of occasions when I don’t want to get out of bed, and there I then stay, as you say, either napping or wide awake. We will get there and we will manage, that is what I have to keep saying to myself.
Thank you. I am going through the week you’ve had. My usual sessions in the gym are not working. In fact I found myself crying there on Monday whilst trying to get the blackness out of my head….desperate doesn’t come close. I’ve started waking up at 5 30 and the hideousness going round in my head is torturous. Yes, I don’t think I want to be dead, just not to be. Depression is a dreadful illness which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Thank you so much for explaining it so well and I hope the sun comes out for you and everyone else whose lives are touched/blighted/hammered by it. X
Been there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I suffered depression for 40 years culminating in 4 suicide attempts. Many people believe this is totally selfish and that one has no consideration for the affect that one’s death would have on those close to you. The truth is that when one is that low you believe that everyone would be better off without you because you are worthless and a burden. I eventually, with the help of my understanding GP, recovered from my illness by being prescribed SSRI (selective seretonin reuptake inhibitor) anti-depressants, which I am still taking 10 years on. I tried living without these drugs with disasterous results. I now accept that I need to take this medication, not only to live
a decent life, but in order to survive just as a person with, for instance, a heart condition. So please TAKE HEART all of those suffering from this horrible ILLNESS, there can be a very bright light at the end of the tunnel!
If more people like yourself Iain would share their feelings and thoughts, it would help this battle you all have. My 23 yr old daughter is stuck with no help for her borderline and anxiety. I see no future for her without mire understanding from the government and money to help.
Your description is so accurate Iain. So many suffer on a daily basis. I have just emerged from a 3 month severe episode and have finally returned to work. Yet I know that depression is hiding round the corner ready to pounce again when I least expect it.
Thanks for sharing x
wow! i am thankful for you putting this post out for everyone to read. i was just scrolling through my facebook newsfeed and came across it. to be honest, i am feeling exactly this same ways for weeks now… its just awful when you realise that you are alone..but thanks to your post i feel that there are so many people feeling this way at the moment… hope things get better from now on…really clinging on to my last bit of hope…
How brave of you. Congratulate yourself and be kind to yourself. A friend of mine recommended a book called The Curse of The Strong by Doctor Tim Cantopher. It’s not flowery, it’s not some new age claptrap, this book made so much sense to me. In fact it is filled with common sense but perhaps only by those who have been unfortunate enough to experience depression. For anyone reading these comments I would recommend getting a copy. I think everyone should be handed a copy by their GP if depression is diagnosed.
Anyway, I am in a better place than i was last August. I am ‘getting there’, but part of that was accepting that it is what it is. Know that the illness is part of you and that by acknowledging that is a step forward.
Thanks for sharing Iain.
Just thank you x
the part about not wanting to die, but not wanting to be, really struck a cord with me. sometimes i say ..i wish i was dead.. but i dont want to be dead really..i just dont want to be! i felt relief to know that im not the only one who feels like this
I am in the same boat and it hurts like hell when the kids get told by their mum i am not feeling happy. The get treatment/help brigade have no idea what a living hell it is at times. Good days come and go but the bad days outnumber them. Be strong mate you are not alone.
Thanks Iain, all of it … yes. And just thanks.
This has been so helpful to me as I visit a friend regularly who has depression. We sit and talk, with me listening most of the time and when I leave she says she feels a bit better.
Thank you for this x
I’m sorry you don’t feel well at the minute, but you will feel better eventually. It helps when people like you, who are in the public eye and are known to be generally ‘upbeat’, acknowledge that they sometimes feel depressed.It helps reduce the stigma around mental health and it helps people like me know that other people also struggle with depression. I hope you also realise that you do a good job on the radio and probably cheer up listeners days.Don’t feel silly for writing your blog.Write more!! x
A brave -and hopefully,theraputic – writing for yoy to post.
Well done Iain 🙂
This depression business is a horrid life accessory that I know folks who have it, wish they didn’t. That is, when we aren’t telling ourselves that we deserve to be feeling as bad as low as we do.
Just really want to say that you are not alone (I know, that means nothing if it is said at the wrong time) and I hope the path ahead had some far brighter times for you.
All the best,
You’ve done a great thing by speaking and sharing. Many of us will know that gap, where you can hear yourself speak – if only it were existential. But it’s bloody here and now and so dull – the aching.
With your words others will identify, normalise this subject so it receives less attention and more understanding. The millions who identify with depression may even feel not quite as alone in their heads (for a few seconds perhaps). Your children will love you ‘with’ it, as do we. We see your anxiety in posting these words as your courage.
Thank you, Iain.
It’s touched me too. I’m going through depression at the moment. I had it for years but managed to beat it. It was triggered this time around by my father dying last May. Thank God I’ve still got Mum. Reading this means it’s not just me.
Thank you Iain.
Hiya I used to listen to you on LBC and you irritated the shit outta me but I still listened-then one day -I got you and realised you are bordering on the genius and I would howl with laughter-most people with this gift are bi polar- then I saw you on TV and knew yo suffered with depression=I could see you were acting albeit badly cos I do the same- I have a joint now and again and it clarifies things for me and makes me realise how tense I am -once the body relaxes the mind does too-sod the antidepressants -the pharma industry are poisoning us with chemical coshes.just do what you gotta do -listen to shamanic drumming ifyou don’t smoke-it takes you to another level-wish you well matey wish you were back on the radio xx much love
Thank you for sharing your thoughts & feelings. I have been at a very low point recently & just beginning to come out the other side. It was comforting to see I am not as alone as I feel I am. At my lowest I too isolate myself & cannot bring myself to talk it through with anyone, especially when being told you need to get a grip & cheer up. I am sorry to say the lack of support at work has kept me in a dark place for longer. I have been going through the motions just to get through the day & hide away when I get home. Thanks again for posting this.
Your words have taken me back in time to when I too felt like you. Thank you for sharing so eloquently. You will get through this, hold on, you are loved.
Thank you Iain,
Insightful and helpful.
Appreciated . . .
Thank you for this – it articulates my own experience with depression very effectively. Wishing you health and happiness for the future. x
I’m sorry if this isn’t the place, but I’m not on facespace, twitter etc…..I am absolutely gutted that we are losing an hour of your lovely stuff on a Saturday (I feel for you, Finn!)to make way for compost and hopeless mango trees. So you’d better enjoy your lie-in, you lazy plum!
If you feel like rating The Monkees…..Wool Hat, Jones, Dolenz, Tork.
I hope your clouds are shifting, and you’re feeling better.
Hi, I just wanted to say that I have 2 sons age 9 and 11. Last year the younger fought cancer, the older fought depression. As a parent both are traumatic, but the depression left me feeling far more helpless than the cancer. Although the elder had been on a waiting list for over a year previously to see someone about depression, when the younger was diagnosed with cancer, thankfully the elder was immediately seen for his depression by the London hospital treating my younger son. Things are more stable now but it is a shame that it took my younger to get cancer, for my older to be recognised as a child in desperate need too.
I so get this. Had a bad week/fortnight recently. And yeah you know that life is ok, nothing bad is really going to happen but you can’t lift yourself. I take my tablets daily knowing that on the whole they help keep it at bay but they will never stop it when it does come. I also from time to time relish in the bleakness because battling is draining and sometimes you need the break from “being strong”.
I m very sorry for you when I red your post.
You must share your problems with your beautiful family. You have two amazing gifts and a wonderful wife who loves you and cares about you.
We all have problems, but we never give up, thanks to people love us!
(thanks to google for the translation also!)
Thanks for sharing your story man. Good luck.
Chris Evans has bum cancer and he’s not getting a day off either.
Lisa Munter Human Resources….(Bon rétablissement x)
Thank you so much for posting this. I have been in a similar situation for a couple of years, with those same abrupt descents into utter bleakness, the wanting not to be, that you describe. Reading about someone else’s experiences helps me immeasurably every time. Knowing that you’re not alone with this thing… it’s very powerful. Sadly, I can’t yet summon the words to write about it. Maybe one day. Love to you and to all the commentators who share this struggle x
Couldn’t agree more Andrew. I have a springer and she brightens up my day every day just by being there.
Hi Iain, I do not suffer from depression, but my wife does. It is a horrible thing to see the person who you love most in the whole world suffering with the utter and all consuming blackness of depression. We have been together for 16 years, and in that time the sadistic blackness has always been there waiting to consume my wife at any moment. It hits hard at times, and others less so, but for my wife, it never goes completely. Doctors prescribe medications, but they are in no way a cure and at best they take the edge off. Unfortunately depression is not the only illness my wife has, I won’t go into everything else but to say she suffers in an understatement. I am disabled and my wife is my sole carer, and even at the darkest moments of her illness, my wife has still managed to get me up and dressed and has cared for me. This is truly miraculous considering how bad things can get. I feel it is important to let people know that the family are also victims of this illness, as it kidnaps the loved one who suffers from depression and leaves a void until they recover. This can be devastating and can tare families apart. Luckily I am strong and my love for my wife burns brighter than the sun, and I am not looking for sympathy, but for people to see all sides of this illness.
Iain, I hope you and your family remain strong and I wish you all the best….
Sadly, so true, thank you for letting us know that we are not alone with these miserable feelings 😉
Thanks a lot for sharing, and thanks to all the great people who commented on this.
You sure can relate completely with all these stories when you have been through it yourself.
You had a perfect way to describe the way you felt (feel), and the way so many people feel, and you had the great courage to show what people see as weakness.
Thanks again, it helps to see I am not alone, and it probably helped you reading all these great comments, I sure hope so.
Let this one pass, it will… I guess I have learned to live with it and enjoy the great moments inbetween. I am lucky to be surrounded by understanding people who give me space when I need it. Solitude is what I need in these dark moments, I don’t want to be seen like that (by my children above all) and other people thoughts sure don’t help if they have never experienced it.
I have never read your blog before despite being a fan for quite a while now but my cousin liked this post on Facebook and so it popped into my feed. I am a relatively recent sufferer of depression and today I am having a particularly hard day so it came at a very fortuitous moment.
I just wanted to say thanks, it has really helped. One aspect to this whole thing that I wouldn’t have predicted is how scared I feel. You took away some of that fear today.
I know what you mean about the small things. I work with very difficult and challenging children and can spend the days trying to help them while they are being verbally abusive, disruptive and demanding. This can be exhausting and wearing but even small rewards make it a great job but the other day a colleague said in all innocence “or you could even ask rosy” and just that one word “even” just made me crumple inside. When you are feeling small, it takes very little to make you want to disappear.
I can relate to so many of the comments – and as far as the “pull up your socks” brigade are concerned, I just hope they never become truly depressed. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Hey Iain, just wanted to thank you for conceptualising this so perfectly. I’m 21 years old and recently been diagnosed with depression and am fairly new to it. It does seem like nothing will get better and I’m the only one going through it however; reading the post and all the comments has been very reassuring as a young person going through this.
Thank you very much again Iain for opening this up to everyone and thank you to everyone else for the comments. They have genuinely given me so much hope which is exactly what I need at this moment in time.
Thank you for sharing Iain.
Yes I get it. And I totally get it. Had it last week really bad. To the point that I called in sick all week (lied about the real reason). I don’t usually ever do that but literally could not face it. Every pore, inch, cell in my body wanted to fight against any attempt to drag my clothes on and drag myself out the front door. It’s exhausting even SEEING other people when I’m like that, more so if they SEE ME back (“don’t look at me ffs!” is what I’m screaming in my head to the poor innocent bloke / woman / kid on the tube) but even MORE SO if I actually have to INTERACT with people! Supreme effort!!! …Often though the initial climb is the worst bit and the actual interactions (forced pleasantness/ cheerfulness/ professional face) seem to drag me up by the end of the day. But not last week. Couldn’t do it.
It’s a desrire to totally shut down. Obliterate all thought/feeling. Sleep is the best way. Earplugs seem to help. *Need to create distance from the actual living world out there and the horror of the moment-by-moment lived-experience of being inside my brain*
Anyway – it improved. Still not great – I’m supposed to be alseep right now – but it did improve. With random moments of joy as well, when coming out of it..?!?!
I totally get the waves suddenly washing over – like a black mist which chokes you. all encompassing dysphoria sweeping over. What IS that? It can’t really be traced back to anything obvious occurring or even a thought…
Thanks again for sharing. Just to kow that there are many who feel the same, suffer the same, go through it and come out again. We share it.
We do share it.
…on an aside, I listened to a youtube video which really lifted me at the end of last week. He was a psychiatrist and a philosopher also… he said at the end – we should not see those who get depression as weak. Actually, they are those who wanted too much, who hoped for too much, and who tried too hard. They had great visions of what it would be like ….(life)…and life fell short. Or words to that effect.
Dear CJ, I have those thoughts too. They pop into my mind, about it all coming to an end. Its silly because I literally could not cause such awful pain to those I love. And I know that. But the thoughts still come back “but what if…” I guess its looking for a way out or fantasising as an escape in itself…
I really feel for what you have said. I can imagine you driving around in your car. It’s heartbraking! I’m sure you are the loveliest, most considerate person. I know it does not mean much, I don’t know you, but I am still thinking of you, sending you some light.
I have had help from therapy, and although it doesn’t prevent the depression, or the dark thoughts, I now love myself and give myself more of a break with it. Would you consider talking to someone? Just to truly share with another human being how you really feel and for it to be truly heard, and met with acceptance. Will you reach out..? x
Thank you for being so brave as you voice how you feel most people cannot do that and especially in the way you did which was extremely courageous. We need more people like you to voice how they feel as I think that will help people get through this. I have found recently opening up to people close tome who are going through this too has helped so much. The comments on your blog are so helpful too. I hope that by doing this you will have helped alot of people. You have helped me today and I thank you so much. Its just taken the edge off that darkness 🙂 cheers
Thank u for sharing your story .I hope its helped you telling it as much as it will help others reading it.its hard to put into words how depression really makes you feel but I tell you , you did a damn good job .may the minute, hour , day etc get lighter on the mind .I hate the saying ‘aw give yourself a shake) trust me I would be sitting on top of my washing while it was spinning lol. Best wishes x
I had never had depression until these last 2 months. Reading this explains a lot of what I am going through and i know i am not alone.
I have been fighting this sometime i thank all and i hoope extra help and surport already
A little bit of wee leaked out when you did the Dresden thing. So wrong, but so funny.
Hope you’re feeling better, and getting there.
Best love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hi Iain – thanks for shining such a strong light on this well hidden subject. Years ago I had a brief spin with the black dog so I do understand your words. Finding this is very timely as a young friend of ours is deep in that dark pit and I’m sure your words, and those of the many responders, will help him work out he is not alone.
Thanks again – great work 🙂
I am so thankful that I’ve found this brilliant charity and read your inspiring blog. I am suffering from depression for the first time at the age of 42. Three months down the line and I’m still battling but making progress. Those first six weeks were total hell, I’ve never felt so alone and lost. You feel so worthless and by not being able to function as a wife, mother, teacher or friend makes you feel even more like a failure. I have just started my own blog as it is carthartic and if it helps anyone in any way then my job is done. Thank you for sharing your story, it helped me.
Thanks for this Iain. You are more ‘manned up’ than most people it know for putting this into words. X
You did make me cry and you made me remember and then I thought I would tell you that you made me “remember” because that was then and this is now and you can come through it and life can be wonderful and exiting and fulfilling and this can be a memory.
Big hugs. Get the jacket dry cleaned.
I was driving down to London on the M6 and I happened to come across your show about whether we need lollipop people etc. Before I turned on the radio I had been feeling miserable and thought to myself, here we go again(with black thoughts)but I enjoyed your show so much I looked it up on BBc iplayer when I got home. I’m going to recommend your programme to my daughter who works for her uni radio & tv station in Birmingham. And thank you for brightening my day!
Just wanted to say thanks for posting. Keep writing x
I don’t know any words that would help, but you’re one of the funniest, smartest people in broadcasting, always a joy to watch or listen to, and you brighten people’s lives without realising it. I hope so much that you continue to push through the dark spells and that you can find peace of mind, however often you need to. Thank you for sharing something so personal. Wishing you well.
Thanks for writing this Iain. I’d phone you guys up a load if I wasn’t feeling the way I do. Most don’t realise what its like. And I don’t think many can see the intensity of it, they just see “presentation”. And that’s the worst bit. Living in it is a bit like living in a Kafka novel.
I’ve been following you with both admiration and concern for many years. Admiration because you hold down what you do so well, and concern because I can tell your spirit is not always in the best of places.
I’m sorry I didn’t read this sooner, or phone in for your “how are you doing?” 3Counties show. I caught it on listen again at a time where I could cope with listening to noises outside of my own head.
Much love, Iain.
Thank you for writing this. I have spent months feeling and behaving as you described, going through the motions of every day as though I was watching myself from a great distance and feeling utterly wretched all the time. This week the media has been filled with people writing and saying absolutely awful things about depression but for me the fantastic thing has been I have found people like yourself writing about your experience. Depression does make you feel utterly alone and sharing as you have is brave and wonderful
You’re not going to like this, avoid medication try meditation.Might take a few weeks to get any benefit but if
you break depressions hold on you this way it will never return.You are not the voice in your head and it can’t be stressed enough how liberating this realisation is when it hits us.This route works for those of us who can get over the stigma around meditating.Good luck to all suffering.
Why not both? Sorry but medication has literally saved my life.
I’ve just read your account of the lousy week you had and I’m sorry to hear how you have been feeling.
I have experienced depression and I know how hard it can be to deal with but, I think you have done a good thing in putting it on your website as I do believe it will also help other people.
Thank goodness we live in an age now when people can actually say, “Hang on, I’m not the usual upbeat sharp thinking radio presenter that I usually am, in fact I feel like crap today!”
instead of having to “put on a brave face” etc etc.
Hopefully Iain, you already know that you have a lot of fans out here who have followed you on various radio stations for a number of years now and really enjoy what you (and the other guys in your Team) put into your shows.
The serious topics are always professionally dealt with and the comedy stuff is great entertainment!
It’s a shame Alix rarely ‘phones in as Barry like the old days….bring back Barry!
Take care mate, I wish you a much happier rest of the year and beyond.
All the best,
Iain, I have been meaning to write this for some time. No idea if you’ll read it but that’s not the point. I knew you were in a tough spot from Twitter/FB posts and this is the first time I read your blog. I have no idea about depression so am not going to pretend to offer any useful advice as I have none. I can only tell you how much I appreciate what you do. It’s genius and has kept me thoroughly entertained for so many years. The past few weeks podcasts have had me laughing out loud on the bus. Luckily I live in New York so nobody cares. Life sucks and that’s a fact – we cope the best we can. If you can draw some comfort from knowing there are people out there who simply love what you do then I am happy for that. Don’t give up on the blogging and the book idea!
Hi Iain – I’ve been suffering from major depressive disorder for a little over six years now. I’m meant to be at a party now but instead I’m lying on my bed with my laptop reading about depression and came across your letter at therecoverletters.com Thanks for sharing your experiences – i feel a little less alone and ashamed. Thank you. Cheers, Jim
It’s utter shit, isn’t it Jim? I hate it.
Thanks for your message. Appreciate it.
I loathe cliches, I often go out my way to avoid them by saying nothing, which I think is better than an old worn out cliche. But, when I read this I could not help but think ‘he’s writing about me’, such was the similarity. This may sound wrong, but I’m glad that you wrote this and felt this way, not because I want you to suffer or feel bad, but that I’m not alone in feeling like this. In having those blue days, weeks or months when everyone can sod off and even a below par cuppa can throw you into a bout of ‘why, oh why me?!’
And similarly, even though I know you were a fan of saying ‘you don’t care’ when callers ask how you are, I genuinely hope you follow your own advice and accept that you’re not alone either, not while there are moody blue sods like me around.
Hi Ian hope you are in good shape. Sorry for not replying as didn’t want to intrude if you had found benefit in the medication route. Anyroads’ just wanted to say from one heterosexual man to another, how you stood tall for our gay
brothers took character. You’re a good man and the best of luck.
Iain – I understand. Totally. And I’m guessing now is probably similar. Thinking of you. X
Major thanks for the article post. Awesome.
I completely understand Iain.
Been there since about 1989.
Glad to find you again, on talkradio a few weeks ago!
Thanks for the laughs.
Thanks for writing this. It describes exactly how I feel about half the time, right down to the spirals of self loathing that come with feeling like I should be trying harder to ‘pull yourself together’.
Keep fighting the good fight Sir, you are not alone.
Iain, you describe your feelings very well, over the years I have had to learn to be an excellent actor. Putting on a brave face doesn’t work, but it’s less tiring than dealing with idiots asking ‘what’s up with you”? – or “smile, it could be worse” – these people are so, so destructive and their words cut like a damn knife. Depression is so very hard, but dealing with people who don’t have the faintest idea what it feels like is way harder.
You’re a gem Iain, a very honest and funny man – thanks for sharing how you feel.
My thoughts exactly. I think he’s a fellow ADDer. With a brilliant mind, like most of us!
Hi Iain, Thanks for writing this. I’m struggling at the moment, although as the wife of my husband who has suffered on and off with depression for a very long time. Unfortunately apart from talking to me he has never had professional help, a couple of times he has reached out but he or the services haven’t persevered with the ongoing help he probably needs. Consequently, and particularly intensified following a close family death, he has found himself on a very dark path which is now having very profound and real life consequences devastating me and our family. So for all those suffering from depression please do the responsible thing and seek professional help as you would do if you’d broken your leg, you’ll be potentially saving your life and those of the people who love you. We do love you and we are here for you always, even to the point of accepting you can’t see it because of where your mind is at xx
Hi I have just started campaigning on twitter a few weeks ago now hoping to get enough followers so local authorities will listen to what i have to say. I have lived in social housing all my life as has my family, I make a living driving a white van deliveries. I have noticed over the past few years, my estate taking a severs nose dive, friends walking around, shadows of who the used to be with nowhere to go because our local meeting places have all but gone due to austerity. Anyway I decided I would start campaigning to have these services restored and try to make some difference to the lives of people in my community. I campaign for restoration and investment into community based on neurological and medical evidence. There is significant evidence demonstrating that people who suffer from loneliness and are isolated are 20% more likely to die younger of preventable disease.
Loneliness is a normal neurological, evolutionary adaptive response to isolation. Loneliness has a function, it is a signal something is going wrong, you are in danger, you are isolated and that’s dangerous. It’s a normal neurological call to action reconnect, just like hunger is a signal to eat, thirst a signal to drink and pain a signal to rest. If we ignore or can’t answer the “lonely” signal because we have weak family connections or community connections (or both) then the consequences are very dangerous. The prolonged stress of loneliness, causes over activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis releasing high levels of cortisol. Good in small doses as a primer for fight or flight response, but high prolonged levels are thought to be the cause of Cardio Vascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, Type Two Diabetes, Suppressed Immune System, Depression, Cognitive and Behavioural Problems (brain shrinkage ie hippocampus and other areas) and dementia, basically anything you can think of.
We are social creatures our brains have evolved to the large size, relative to body size, because we have always lived in communities. Our brains literally grow (neuro genesis) when we communicate face to face. But when we don’t have face to face contact our brain shrinks, don’t use it you lose it.
All the above are the result of un-addressable loneliness, not just in deprived areas, anywhere no matter your post code, income or profession. But poorer communities such as mine in Lancashire, do have it hardest. We have very little of community left to connect to in the North. There are many reasons for the erosion of community and family structure. Declining, religious values, trade unions, workingmen’s clubs, pubs and deindustrialisation. However, over the past years, austerity has had a devastating impact on a wide array of community services. We have seen Local authority cut backs in children and adult support services and community support. Resulting in local library’s and community centre closures, and over 500 children centre closures. Whilst the number of enquiries the NSPCC received to its helpline, and then referred on to the police and social services, has increased by 40%
Poor health is just the tip of the iceberg. For many communities loneliness and isolation in our communities form one end of the UK to the other, has caused untold social problems, particularly with youth. We have seen a rise in Gun and knife crime, isolated and scared youth carrying knifes in school, gang crime, addiction, depression and early death.
Anyway, the message is, most people have to know that loneliness is not a , illness, virus, disease it is a normal neurological response to isolation (not to be confused with solitude) you are normal like me, we all feel it. Its not a mental health issue, it doesn’t have to be medicalised, we just need connection to real people to develop meaningful relationships. Sadly many cant do this because our communities are being destroyed.