Aug 312011

I suffer from chronic depression.

I have done for almost 40 years. I’m not alone, indeed, 16% of all men and 33% of all women will suffer depression or anxiety symptoms at some time in their lives. Mine is said to be something genetic. I know my Dad had bad spells and so did his Dad. It’s in my makeup to be edgy, worried and tense. Has been ever since I can remember. When I was younger & still besotted by the idea of a successful career in finance & banking, I pushed myself hard day in and day out. One must be successful, had to reach management and all that garbage. It is garbage too, because despite how productive, dedicated and astute you might be, it’s the ‘old boy’ network that gets people places in finance. I’ve never been interested in

chasing anyone else’s arse just to satisfy my own career aims. So, whether it’s my genetics or the fact that I lived on stress for most of my working life, the fact remains that my brain chemistry is well & truly fucked. That’s why pharmaceutical companies make money from people like me. SSRI medications aren’t cheap, but they are very effective. When you stumble across the one that suits your brain-fuckedness. As far as medical science is concerned, prescribing the right drug from the hundreds of permutations out there is very much a hit and miss process. “here, try this one and if you’re finding it’s side-effects aren’t treating you all that well, come back & see me and we’ll try something else”. My doctors initial diagnosis prescription technique, and he is a very, very good medico.

So, why am I writing about this? Purely because I know damn well I’m not alone. Because it’s a good thing to share your experiences, good, bad or otherwise, in regard to depression. Because it’s vital that those who feel down, blue or suicidal be shown that the tunnel is not endlessly dark and the dog doesn’t need to always be in front of you. Primarily though, because I get the shits when people like Andrew Robb garner all manner of media attention because he’s a politician, he’s suffered depression most of his life, the poor luvvie, AND…he’s written a book! Well, whoop-de-fucking-doo! Don’t get me wrong, I applaud anyone, especially another male, who has had the awareness of self to realise that something isn’t quite right, and has sought professional help. That’s a real coup and a feather in the cap of anyone so equipped. But I draw the line of disinterest underneath these people who want to make a big deal out of (a) who they are; (b) how they’ve suffered; (c) and oh, by the way, the books are down front if you’d like to buy one. You can’t garner empathy from your fellow man while you’re making money from his expressions of concern. Such behaviour is very, very low on the ethical ladder as far as I’m concerned. I don’t give a fig for or about Robb’s politics, my disdain stems purely and simply from his willingness to allow his publisher to make a motza from both him and his illness, stirred along by incited media interest in the celebrity of the issue, not the subject of the issue.

Depression and other allied forms of mental illness are serious subjects effecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians. The froth on my ale is seriously disturbed by people either making light of, or worse, profiting from their own personal experiences. Especially so when those personal experiences mirror my own and of thousands just like me. If you’re going to write a book as a means of helping people to realise that they need not live in the darkness, then well & good, but to profit by it makes me feel decidedly ill.

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