General ramble about a topic close to my heart.

Today at uni during my BCM311 class we had a special guest come in that Kate interviewed right in front of us. Now normally I’m the guy that sits there and doesn’t really pay attention to the stuff that goes on around me in class however, generally Kate seems to know how to get me to pay attention, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time. Anyway that’s not what I wanted to write about here, generally this blog has been an academic blog with a lot of posts that bore the shit out of me. This is the first post I am making that really doesn’t follow the guidelines of “This is for an assignment.’

Anyway, during said interview with the head of students of my university, he said something so casually in the conversation and it has been on my mind all day. He said he suffers from depression. For those who know me personally they would know this is a topic that I am highly attached too, its something that really hits close to home because I too suffer from it. What struck out at me is how casually he dropped it in the conversation. For me I consider my depression to be one of my 2 biggest flaws in my character yet he didn’t seemed phased by the idea of it, and to top it off it wasn’t until the end when he mentioned how he noticed he was acting at the beginning of the interview that things started to click to me. I have similar tells to what he was doing at the beginning of the interview when I am in situations that I feel uncomfortable in. I tap my feet under the desk, I try to keep formal and I watch the way I talk to people. I basically go into what I used to call ‘parent mode’ essentially. In fact the me I thought I was basically changes and I become this other me, a me that is more polite and more respectful of those around him, compared to the normal me that really couldn’t give 2 shits about anything anymore. It just interested me that the idea of me being in parent mode is really me being so nervous and anxious about the situation that I don’t feel comfortable being myself. People always ask what is wrong with me when I am like this, and I sorta seem to understand it more now.

Another thing that has perplexed me is how open he was about the situation. I tend to keep my feelings about how I am with it to a close circle of about 2-3 people. It used to be 1 person, but lets say that person is the reason I am like I am now. I’ve never really gone out there and claimed all the fucked up things that have happened to me, even though these experiences no matter how fucked up they are have truly shaped me as an individual. I feel the interviewee in the class has something I tend to hide from. That’s courage to own up to the struggles depression can lead someone down. I am able to admit I really admire people who can do that because for me I feel it is the hardest thing to do. Now while he didn’t go into detail about what he went through, just the fact he dropped he had depression in conversation is something I find hard to say unless it is around my close friends who know of my problems of the past.

So that’s something that happened to me today and has really stuck with me basically all day. Its not often shit like this happens, but I felt this was important for me to write, even if it just helps me gain a little bit of courage to be able to own up to my faults of the past. I guess I’ll end it with this, My name is Andrew Clarke and I have suffered from depression since I was 13 and I hope one day I can say I no longer suffer from it.

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7 Responses to General ramble about a topic close to my heart.

  1. Kate Bowles says:

    Look, really, just bravo. This post is a total honour to read.

    When I chose to say out loud on my blog (which otherwise was about fairly dull things to do with work, technology, policy etc) that I had been diagnosed with cancer, I sat back and thought: wait, wait, what? What did I do now?

    But I realised that in owning it, I was taking a step towards living with it as something that is relevant to me, and that I’m making it my business to try to understand. I had it, I might still have it, I hope not to have it in the future, but there it is. Being straight about this publicly, especially in relation to work, has been a confronting but actually very liberating experience, and I’ve never completely understood why until I read your post. I’ve been reluctant to think in terms of courage because everyone says this about cancer patients and frankly it irks me (“Oh! You’re so brave!”), but in this post you’ve explained courage in a way that I can think with.

    This is a great bit of writing, btw. So thanks on two levels.

  2. Great post man.

    Depression is such a weird thing; I have had it, in fact I still have it and things are far better than they used to be but every now and them shit will just come up out of the blue.

    I used to be quite ashamed of it and slowly learnt to except it. The thing that changed for me was doing an assignment on using marketing to solve a social issue. I chose mental health on campus as my focus. The thing that came up in the research for that programme is that mental health stigma (on campus at least) only exists in peoples heads for the most part. Which is painfully ironic. But in the end the truth is that so many people live with depression but being able to just say it free from the fear of public ridicule is so liberating.

    Enough about me though, it’s a really great post man and I’m with ya on the depression front. Great post man, a really good read.

    ✌️

  3. Elan Morgan says:

    I love this. I have suffered from depression off and on since I was a small child, and it used to be something I hid as much as I could, or at least I did until my 30s when I started blogging and letting some of this out bit by bit.

    Writing about it in public has changed my perspective and given so much more hope. I am now in a position where I don’t feel shame about my depression and anxiety, and I know it is not something I am at fault for. It is a part of who I am, at least for now, and it brings gifts along with what it takes away. It has given me a sensitivity and a compassion that I’m not sure I would have otherwise discovered. Of course, I’d prefer that my depression would just leave already, but its impact has not been entirely negative, strangely enough.

    It has been such a huge relief to write about it, and it’s a powerful thing to do, both for the writer and the reader/listener. You have reminded me why I sometimes write about things that make me feel vulnerable and the power that exists in it. Thank you.

  4. richardhall372 says:

    Hi Andrew. I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I think that in getting to class and in posting this you have demonstrated more than *a little bit of courage*. What has been important for me are perseverence, feeling able to talk about this (and doing so is scary and takes time/courage/faith), knowing who to trust, and forgiving myself a few things. So when you write about being *able to own up to my faults of the past*, I hope you can also be kind to yourself. I also hope that one day you can say you no longer suffer from it. Take care, Richard.

  5. richardhall372 says:

    Hi Andrew. I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I think that in getting to class and in posting this you have demonstrated more than *a little bit of courage*. What has been important for me are perseverence, feeling able to talk about this (and doing so is scary and takes time/courage/faith), knowing who to trust, and forgiving myself a few things. So when you write about being *able to own up to my faults of the past*, I hope you can also be kind to yourself. I hope one day you can say you no longer suffer from it. Take care, Richard.

  6. Sue Turnbull says:

    Hi Andrew, I read your rather amazing post and then hesitated, not quite sure what to say or how to respond. What can I offer, I wondered, except another brief ‘me too’ story, hopefully one with a point about that helps you. My first bout of serious anxiety and depression occurred when I was 15 during my first external exams at school, at which point I was medicated up to the gills with tranquilisers and an interesting drug called Mandrax which I later discovered people took on purpose to get high. So far so not so good. But at that time (1965) no-one actually used the word depression or even offered any kind of useful treatment. It’s therefore taken a long time for people to understand what depression is, and or how it affects us, and it took me even longer to work out just what effects it has had on me in certain situations – most of which I’d like to forget. Owning depression, as Joshua did, and knowing how it makes us behave is actually a way of taking back the control. I think you are doing this just brilliantly.

  7. Emily Stuart says:

    Oh Andy, I’m so proud to call you my best friend. You’re so brave and you’ve honestly come so far. I can’t wait for that day that you’ll be able to say you once suffered from depression too. Love you lots bestie!

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