Not really but I wanted to post about a documentary I watched last night by well know English actor, writer, comic and all-round entertainer Stephen Fry about his battle with manic depression.
It was extraordinary because it was an exploration of the illness and its treatment from his own point of view; that is, the point of view of someone with this mental illness.
He also took the time to share experiences with other people who have been diagnosed with the disease, which gave the viewer a deeper appreciation of how manic depression can be both debilitating and exhilarating.
All in all, it was his very personal journey through this disturbing landscape made even the more powerful, I think, because of his and others willingness to discuss their own reactions – not necessarily that of others – to their ill health.
The latter especially resonated with me for, although I do not have manic depression, I do suffer from depression.
It took a very, very long time for me to admit my mental illness not only because of the stigma, but because of my pride.
Admitting I needed help with my depression was akin to admitting defeat. I was so angry at myself for not being able to cope that I delayed seeking treatment until I had reached breaking point.
I won’t bore you – or myself *g* – by going into the details of my personal experience, but I will say, that although I am off my medication and am managing pretty well, no one but another sufferer can imagine what you put yourself through.
On top of the sadness, you have feelings of self-hatred, anger and shame, which many people think they should hide by showing a smiling, happy face to the world and this in turn adds to the burden you constantly carry with you. At least, that’s what it was – and sometimes still is – like for me.
Anyway, this post was not meant to be a downer – hey, I get to tell jokes like this 🙂 – , but rather just the need to chat a (very) little about my own experience after being inspired by the terrific Stephen Fry.
If you do get the chance to watch this documentary I would strongly suggest you do.
Depression is a widespread illness in our society and, with predictions it is likely to increase because of the stressful socio-economic situations many in the world now find themselves, I think it’s something with which we should all be more aware.