It’s Not Me, It’s Depression With My Face

Mental Health issues are renowned as being a health problem, that along with piles or a pus-squirting willy, people don’t talk about.
I had always resolved to do anything I could, no matter how small, to change that.
So in that spirit I will declare on social media that this year I have been suffering from depression. Before I go further I should say I’m getting much better now, thank you.
Like most men I took a long time to realise I had a problem and then seek help. Being a doctor did not make me any quicker in this.

If you’ve not had any experience of depression be it professionally, personally or through close family and friends, I think it is very hard to understand completely its effects.
You really are not you. Your actions, thoughts and behaviour are not some deep truths bubbling to the surface. They are genuinely, at least for me, completely alien.

Depression is also not consistent in its relationship with someone. So to those of you that have encountered me during 2016 I may have appeared okay. It may have been a good day, it may have been alcohol, or it may have been that I’m quite a good actor when I try!

To some of you I owe an apology. I would hope to give, and have given, these apologies personally but forgive me if I take this opportunity to send a blanket ‘sorry.’ There are times this year when I have spoken and acted in ways that shame me and are in no way representative of who I truly am or my honest and heartfelt thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
If you’ve had to suffer cruel barbs or inappropriate and childish behaviour from me I am deeply sorry. I know that I was depressed but I still need to take responsibility.

I have been off work and on medication since July but my illness started long before then. Initially I felt anger at the damage it’s inflicted upon me and others. Over time I’ve appreciated that the anger was unhelpful. So now I’ve faced depression and accepted it, belittled it, and am well on my way to rejecting it.
Medication, mindfulness, counselling and CBT have all helped and continue to do so. I suffered depression once before when I was 20–21. I feel very strongly that this time my approach and the tools I have developed mean that there will not be a third occasion.
Family and friends that have known have been very supportive and I thank them very much. I am very happy to talk about my health and hope no one will feel awkward around me. Just like my knee surgery last year it’s a health problem that I’ve had and will completely recover from. It’s not a good idea to set firm deadlines but I’m very much nearer the end of my recovery than the beginning.

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