Breaking the Taboo

Depression is a funny thing, and something that remains a taboo subject even in the 21st century. It’s more spoken about, a more acceptable topic of conversation, but people still do not quite understand the ramifications of what having depression actually means. If you say to someone you’re feeling depressed they think that you’re a little down, that a cup of tea, a chat, or going out will instantly cure it. For some that may work, but for the vast majority of people who have depression it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, not something that a glitzy social afternoon with wine and friends will help ward off. When you mention to someone you’ve been feeling down they assume that you’re feeling a little blue and under the weather, not that you got into bed at 3pm and lay there for seven hours staring at the ceiling, unable to move for being paralyzed by a huge black pit of despair in your stomach. That responding to a text, even when the phone is next to your face, is too much pressure. That summoning the energy to even think about getting up is difficult to find.

I’ve managed my depression, without drugs, for years. I hate chemicals, even if they’re supposed to make you feel better. They mess with your system, they kill your libido, and whilst you may not feel down, you feel nothing. You don’t laugh. You don’t cry. You don’t get incredible enjoyment from the smaller things in life. You just go from stop A, to stop B, to stop C. I’m a happy, optimistic person. I know my symptoms, I deal with them, and then I get back on with life.

I can normally tell when a bout of depression comes on, and as my good friend recently pointed out, it seems to occur when everything in my life is going right. As soon as my personal life sees sparks, or a big opportunity comes up professionally, I shut myself down. I go into ‘hermit’ mode. I blank everyone in my life no matter who they are. It’s happened again this week, and whilst it crept up on my slowly this time, after cancelling a studio work day for Saturday I recognised the onset. I LOVE working in a live studio, the buzz, the responsibility, the social and fun working aspect, and I’d been looking forward to yesterday immensely. But on Thursday I found myself phoning the production coordinator, making my apologies by saying I had a bad IBS bout, and that I wouldn’t be able to make the day. I commonly use IBS, how can I say “I feel down”? People simply don’t understand. And whilst today, on this wintry but lovely Sunday, I’m feeling much better, this 4 days of blackness has cost me both professionally and personally.

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4 responses to “Breaking the Taboo

  1. hi, saw only now your writing about depression. I live my bf with depression. Its not easy sometimes, but cherish the good times. When I saw your picture I could see it on your face written. It shocked me again.keep talking about it and find a person to talk to. .famous gardener monty has got depression. Take care, Acanthus71

    • Thanks Acanthus, I really appreciate it and with a partner who has it you’re probably someone who really understands how it works. I’ll be fine, it comes and goes, but you’re right….talking about it helps and certainly brings it into the open,

      Geoff x

  2. Hi Geoff,

    I wrote my first blog post on 6th Jan 2010 and started reading your gardening blog at around the same time. How has it taken me this long to find your ‘hermit’ blog??? Anyway I am glad I have as I love the honesty in your posts and I understand depression too well.

    2011 will be a good year for you but when it strikes, talk about it!

    Take Care x

    • Thanks David. To be honest, I haven’t really publicised this blog much as, like you say, it’s a completley honest account of who I and my thoughts and feelings. Therefore it can be a lot more raw to share with people…but actually, I’m finding it a good tonic!!

      Depression is a funny thing, but yes, talking about it is a must for those who want to get through it.

      G x

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