Depression - the 'elephant in the room' exposed

Written on 24 Jul 2012

I watched Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions on Channel 4 last night.

Ruby is herself a sufferer of clinical depression and believes the Government could save billions in the long term by tackling the root causes of mental illness.

In the TV programme she focused on three successful business people who bravely opened up to their employers/employees/work colleagues about their depression and found nothing but support and admiration for their courage, paving the way for others to do the same.

Depression is one of two most frequently experienced psychological problems, the other being anxiety. Around 20% of women and 12% of men will suffer major depression at some time in their lives. It is recognised as a signal that a person's needs are not being met.

For most people depression starts as a reaction to an event such as loss, defeat, humiliation, a sense of failure. It's become known as the 'Black Dog' and unlike someone with a plaster cast attached to their arm, it won't be obvious to other people that all is not well. And even if they are aware, they may tiptoe politely around the 'elephant in the room', trying to ignore it, acting awkwardly and with embarassment, not sure about what to say or do.

Dorothy Rowe, a clinical psychologist who is well-known for her work on depression, in her book 'Depression – The Way Out of Your Prison' writes “depression is not a genetic fault or a mysterious illness which descends on us. It is something which we create for ourselves, and just as we create it, so we can dismantle it”.

So, good luck, Ruby when you go to Downing Street to persuade ministers to reverse funding cuts into the causes of mental illness. It makes such obvious sense.

If you've been affected by the topic that I've covered in this blog post, and would like to discuss your feelings, you can leave a public comment below. Alternatively, if you'd like to communicate with me on a one-to-one basis about any issues you'd like to discuss further, you can either email me or call me on 07946 517967.


S.P's picture
S.P 03 Oct 2012

I'm finding I'm experiencing some symptoms of depression. I've been having a hard time at work especially with my boss hassling me about the most minor of things. I've adopted various coping techniques for depression and anxiety that I learnt at an NHS facility in London - however, these haven't helped much.

Alison, could I give you a call next week to discuss the possibility of having some counselling for my depression and anxiety? I live in Surrey so should be a relatively easy trip to your place of work.