BBC3 have launched a series of programmes which are difficult to comprehend but in my view necessary for anyone and everyone to watch. The Mental Health Season has been an eye opener for those who have limited or no understanding of mental health issues and for those who fall foul to its mind numbing presence a welcome release as it explains how it affects them and the people that they care about. There is a stigma attached which is unfair and is labeled a ‘selfish disease’ implying that you have stopped caring about anyone but yourself; this is far from the truth.
One of these documentaries is ‘Football’s Suicide Secret’ presented so sincerely by Clarke Carlisle ex-footballer and chairman of the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) who by his own honest and heartfelt admission tells us, the viewer about his personal battle with depression. Whether you like football or not really doesn’t matter as this gives a true account of what it feels like to be in this un-welome haze and how it impacts you and everyone around you. I was so touched by his story and could identify with him and the people he interviewed all too well.
So much so that I tweeted about it urging my followers and anyone who came across my Twitter feed to watch it. A friendly tweet and by no means aggressive or over emotional lost me some followers, I was and still am trying to understand the reasons for this and can only draw one conclusion, ‘fear’. Mental health issues frighten and confuse a lot of people and they would rather avoid the subject all together than face it. I don’t blame them but the sufferer of this misunderstood condition will be more scared than they could possibly be.
If I’m going to write an article of this nature then I have to be honest with my readers and say that I have been through some of the darkest moments purely because I didn’t address and face up to things. Trauma is hard enough at the time but ignoring and pushing it to the side like it meant nothing and becoming what people see as the bravest person on the planet does even more damage. The problem I had was trying to find the words to express my feelings to the people closest to me. On the one hand I didn’t want to bother them yet on the other wanting so desperately for them to understand.
To ignore and be ignorant are two things which I now know, through my own experience to be the most detrimental and there is far too much hiding going on; you hide from the truth and the people you thought would be there hide from you because they don’t recognise the person you have painfully become…another fight starts, the one to regain your old familiar self.
There are different levels of depression so I can’t speak for everyone but I wish every sufferer the strength to rise above the blanket of cloud that hovers over them. I would also like to give a mention to those around them who have the guts, patience and compassion needed to stay by their side and for those who just by noticing the slightest change choose not to ignore the signs which are at times hard to read; don’t blame yourselves if the signs weren’t clear enough.
As for me I have come a long way, all the way to Yuppee Magazine and a writer’s life! A new life which now includes some of the most inspirational people I have ever met! Somehow I knew in the back of my own mind that they were waiting and I was going to have the pleasure of knowing them. Healthy, happy and ready for my next chapter…what’s so mad about that?