Depression is such a lonely illness and it takes a lot of courage for people to reach out to others. But I love hearing of stories when someone does reach out and gets a positive reaction.
Crystal Nunn was going through a deep depression when she found the courage to send Stephen Fry a letter. Fry’s history with manic depression is well documented, but never in a million years did Crystal think that Fry would reply to her letter.
The letter which I’ve transcribed below has a wonderful message and it well worth a read.
April 10, 2006
I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.
The above picture says it all really. Sometimes its the simple little things that make all the difference in life.
I may as well go on the record and say that I’m not the biggest fan of psychiatrists. I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but I’ve had the unfortunate experience of meeting too many bad ones.
Maybe its because I hate their reliance on medication, when sometimes counselling is all that is needed. Maybe its because a lot of them are so clinical and don’t have great people skills.
I also hate the empty feeling you are left with after spilling your soul to a complete stranger only to have them write you a prescription and ask you to come back in a few months.
But a puppy on the other hand…. is always willing to cheer you up, always there when you need a hug, and is never in a bad mood.
If I was a psychiatrist I would spend my time prescribing puppies to people who are depressed. My dog has made such a difference to my life, and I know a lot of people who would say the same.
What’s your opinion on psychiatrists? Or puppies for that matter
I’m re-posting this blog post as this week is Bipolar awareness week.
About seven months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Although this came as a shock, I had known that something had not been right for a while. I had suffered from deep dark depressions for years which were followed by periods where I was unable to sleep for days. Although the diagnosis was scary, it did come as some sort of relief. Finally I had a name for what was wrong with me.
But I doubted the diagnosis, how could I, a normal 26-year-old who experienced a few highs and lows be diagnosed with something ‘crazy’ people had. I thought of all the celebrities who had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Britney Spears and Kerry Katona were two names that came to mind. But how could my Doctor compare me with two celebrities who had clearly gone off the rails?
Since then I’ve been unable to come to terms with the diagnosis. Until yesterday I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it, mainly because the diagnosis scared me, but also because I didn’t want anyone to think differently of me.
But yesterday I was in a conversation with someone when for some reason I dropped my bombshell. We were talking about life and the obstacles that it throws at us, and suddenly before I knew it I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I couldn’t believe that I had divulged such a private detail about myself. Especially something that I was so ashamed about.
But I guess it happened for a reason.
As it turns out my ‘secret’ wasn’t such a bombshell after all. In fact the person I was with was completely understanding, and had experienced their own highs and lows.
I guess the moral of the story is that I was so busy keeping my secret that it was in fact eating me up. Sure, I don’t have to tell everyone that I have Bipolar disorder- as it’s none of their business. But that doesn’t mean that I have to let it burn a hole inside of me either.
I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if I have ups or downs, that is not what defines me. What matters is that I pick myself up after each fall.