Friday 9 December 2016

Let's grab the chance to face the stigma and talk openly

Whether you believe it or not, serious clinical depression is very real – and it can happen to anyone

Published 20/04/2014 | 02:30

‘We still don't acknowledge the fact that men can be as vulnerable to depression as women’
‘We still don't acknowledge the fact that men can be as vulnerable to depression as women’

It was Gloria Steinem who said it best. "Depression," she noted, "is when nothing matters, and sadness is when everything matters."

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It's a distinction that many people still fail to make. Far, far more than we would suspect. And while I make no claim to interpret the comments made by John Waters in this newspaper last week – "I don't believe in depression. There's no such thing. It's bullshit. It's a cop out" – I note that many of the more understanding reactions to his words came from people who have admitted to suffering from the very illness he says is non-existent.

Why is that? Well, first of all I think that people who have suffered from the trauma and stigma of mental illness understand the currency of kindness. Judge not, and all that. No one knows what is going on in another person's life or how they may really be feeling – and we have no right to speculate.

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