Sudden Wild Enthusiasms
This time nine years ago, my mental health took a sudden swerve for the very unpleasant. Out of nowhere, I was riddled with acute fear. Suicide seemed extremely attractive. In those days, I used to do a monthly newsletter, but as I was incapable of writing anything coherent. I cobbled together a few sentences explaining that I’d gone a bit mad and that I’d be back as soon as I was “unmad”.
To my surprise, admitting I had depression triggered a small media fuss, including one article, of which the gist was, because I had “a handsome husband” and a well- paid job I had nothing to be depressed about.
It made no odds to me – I was in and out of a psychiatric hospital, I was trying to stay away from knives. I had other things on my mind, shur, you know yourself!
But after a few years, I improved, and I began to mind on behalf of other sufferers who might have read that piece. Guilt, self- loathing and a total absence of compassion for oneself are core parts of depression. It doesn’t take much to stop an ill person asking for help.
I still worry about people who might have read that irresponsible article and thought that because their husband still had his hair, they had no right to feel wretched.
Since then, though, Ireland has begun to understand that depression is an illness like any other. That sometimes it’s circumstantial but just as often isn’t. That it’s not a choice, it’s not self- pity and that it can’t be cured by practising gratitude/ eating bananas/ copping on/ climbing the Sugarloaf/ whatever you’re having
Guilt, self- athing and a total absence of compassion for oneself are core parts of depression. It doesn’t take much to stop an ill person asking for help