Katie Hopkins, a ‘journalist’, whose modus operandi seems to be to anger, hurt and shock, she’s done it again:
she describes depression as “the holy grail of illnesses”, “the ultimate passport to selfobsession”, she says that sufferers should “get a grip” and that “People with depression do not need a doctor and a bottle of something that rattles. They need a pair of running shoes and fresh air.”
One thing is for sure, Hopkins knows a thing or two about self-obsession!
Would Hopkins tell comatose diabetics to ‘get a grip’ and that they do not need insulin?
Would Hopkins tell asthmatics having an ‘attack’ to ‘get a grip’ and that they do not need their inhalers?
In yesterday’s Daily Express, Vanessa Feltz defended sufferers from that attack by Katie Hopkins. I sent a message to Vanessa in which I thanked her for that public defence – I hope she sees my thanks.
(if you click on the link to see Vanessa’s comments, scroll down – there are a few unconnected comments on the page):
So, when I was caught in the eye of the storm, I was wallowing in self-obsession, was I?
When the walls were closing in on me, when the tears were streaming, when the darkness was heavy, when I couldn’t leave the house for fear of anxiety attacks which were all-consuming, which ‘removed’ me from myself, which caused me to feel like I was on fire, when Yaf, my beautiful wife, would sit in front of me, in tears, and I wanted to hold her but my hands would not move, when my gorgeous, loving 2 year old son ran up to me and I couldn’t ‘see’ him, when I felt completely detached from everyone and everything around me, that was self-obsession, I didn’t need to see a doctor, I didn’t need medication and all I needed to do was ‘get a grip’ and go for a run?%$#@! If all I needed was a run, how is that when, a few years ago, irresponsibly, without medical supervision, I reduced my daily dose of ‘citalopram’ (an SSRI antidepressant), I could no longer function? Did I just need to ‘get a grip’ and go for a run? If I do not take the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), my serotonin (our ‘happy chemical’) is ‘re-uptaken’ by my brain. The citalopram inhibits (I), the re-uptake (R) of serotonin (S), the SRI in the SSRI. Depression is real! Beta blockers keep my anxiety attacks at bay.
Sadly, this ignorance is widespread. Why is it so difficult for people to understand, appreciate and accept that clinical depression and associated conditions such as anxiety are real, genuine, serious, illnesses? Some people suffer with heart disease, some with asthma, some with AIDS, some with diabetes and some people suffer with clinical depression! Why is it that if the heart is ‘compromised’, the lungs are ‘compromised’, the pancreas is ‘compromised’ or the immune system is ‘compromised’, the individual is seen as ill and worthy of sympathy but if it’s the brain which is ‘compromised’, the individual is expected to just ‘get a grip’? It’s as if people like Hopkins think that we control our brains, not that our brains control us! In fact, people like Hopkins don’t even think that the brain is ‘compromised’ in depression sufferers, ignorant people like Hopkins don’t think anything is physiologically wrong with sufferers.
Depression and associated illness, it’s a ticking time bomb and not only will the future human cost be increasingly heavy and tragic but the financial and economic ramifications if the ignorance continues will weigh heavy of society. Cancer, heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimers etc are all scourges attacking society but depression and mental illness is missing from such lists….that must change.
I want to educate the unaware and the ignorant (back to Katie Hopkins) and I want to help sufferers to see that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. The starting point is to clear up the confusion which abounds over the definition of ‘depression’
There are two classes of depression:
1) what I call environmental depression;
2) clinical depression.
The first is caused by an external event or situation, e.g. bereavement;
The second is clinical (just as diabetes and asthma are clinical)
Feeling a bit low every now and then, perhaps because you don’t really like your job, that is not what I’m talking about when I refer to depression. If you haven’t suffered from ‘real’ depression, you can’t really understand it, you can’t just imagine how it feels. There are degrees, of course, but at its worst, it is so overpowering that sufferers take their own lives – THAT fact, and the knowledge of it, should have been enough to stop Katie Hopkins shooting her mouth off in such an offensive, insensitive and ignorant fashion.
There is still a long way to go on the journey towards lifting the stigma attached to depression and mental illness generally. Education is the key!