DODIE CLARK

Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS -

22, YOUTUBE MU­SI­CIAN ‘I felt I was look­ing down at my body – rather than be­ing in it’

‘“It’s dan­ger­ous to di­ag­nose some­one so young with a men­tal health prob­lem.” Those words from my doc­tor in 2014 val­i­dated the mes­sage in my mind: you’re not really feel­ing this pain; you’re in­vent­ing it. I spent the next two years slip­ping in and out of de­pres­sive episodes. But when the in­tense lows sub­sided, I had this sense that I could never open my eyes wide enough to see the world prop­erly; it was as if I was drunk. I’d come home from a hol­i­day with no mem­ory of it, and I had a sen­sa­tion of look­ing down at my own body, rather than be­ing in it. I’d lose whole days won­der­ing who I was.

Life went on; I wrote songs, I vlogged for over a mil­lion subscribers, I ended an emo­tion­ally abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. Then, last year, I broke down. I spent days in bed. Mov­ing my body felt point­less, be­cause my mal­func­tion­ing brain would still have to come with me. I needed an ex­pla­na­tion – and one that didn’t dis­miss my feel­ings. A new GP ex­plained that, in ad­di­tion to se­vere de­pres­sion, I had de­per­son­al­i­sa­tion dis­or­der – pe­ri­ods of de­tach­ment from your body and thoughts. An­tide­pres­sants only took away my abil­ity to feel an emo­tion. In­stead, I sur­round my­self with friends – on and off­line. They never fail to re­mind me who I am.’ Se­crets For The Mad: Ob­ses­sions, Con­fes­sions And Life Lessons by Dodie Clark (£16.99, Pen­guin)

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