When I worked for LTSB Foundation one of the priority areas for London was ‘mental health’. A subject dear to my heart. During my time there I heard the following 2 stats hundreds of times.

“1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and one in six experiences this at any given time”

“Between 8-12% of the population experience depression in any year”

There are a lot of people wandering round who are not as alone as they think they are. Part of the reason for this overwhelming feeling of isolation is the nature of depression. It becomes totally consuming. But another big part is the stigma or perceived stigma of telling people.

It has been my experience that people are more likely to share with ‘strangers’ on the internet possibly because you are more likely to get a reciprocation. I have heard more “me too’s” online than IRL, which doesn’t make much sense when you consider the 2 stats above.

I have been taking various types of anti-depressants since I was 18. I can remember all the names and the side effects or general lack of effect that caused me to change over and over again. I have Major Depressive Disorder and in the past everytime I had begun to get better and came off anti-depressants it wasn’t long before everything spiralled downwards and I ended up paralysed by my depression before I sought help again. The last (fourth) bout was easily the worst I have experienced and me and my GP decided, once we found an anti-depressant that worked that I would probably be staying on it forever. I don’t mind. I’d rather be pilled up than depressed and the tablet I am on (Mirtazapine) seems to have fewer undesirable side-effects than any of the other tablets I have tried in the last 14 years.

I know a lot of people would rather have a ‘talking treatment’ than take drugs but I’ve tried that and talking to someone just didn’t help. I just felt ridiculously self indulgent talking about myself for an hour a week. I firmly believe that the malignant sadness I suffer from is down to my brain chemistry and talking just won’t help a chemical imbalance. Of course that doesn’t mean a cuddle isn’t appreciated every now and then.


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