This brief blog is triggered by an article in this week’s Sunday Times penned by India Knight. The basis for her article is that swathes of celebrity autobiographies have been published and that many are “heroically” describing their battle with depression. India’s basic point is “we know. We understand.” And she goes on to say “everybody gets depressed, and one person’s depression is not a million miles from another’s.” I know that she could challenge me for quoting out of context but this is her basic premise.
Her article is more meaningful to me because at this moment my brother-in-law is in a secure unit on suicide watch due to his deep depression. I have watched him battle with this for 10 years now. Each time he has an episode he appears to get a little lower before the drugs he is prescribed bring him back up to just short of where he was before this episode. They never seem to restore him back to “normal” whatever that may be.
So why would I include this in my blog? I rarely use this as a platform for my own issues or just to spout forth opinions. In this case I think there is learning that I can extract from it that may help or inform others. At this point I feel it necessary to state that I normally enjoy reading India Knight’s column. I find her witty, articulate and intelligent. Equally I can’t expect to agree with everything she may have an opinion on and may be that’s the first part of the learning. It is OK to have a different opinion. This is one of our rules of anger management and like a lot of truisms it is easier said than down. However, I have found that once I am regularly practising this principle it is one of the most empowering attitudes towards life I can have. I have spent years embattled with others opinions expending energy unnecessarily when I simply could have walked away and spent that energy on something more constructive.
Back to depression, and this does relate to anger. There is evidence that suggests that internalised anger and depression are close bedfellows. A large proportion of our clients will articulate that as well. It is only with the realisation of the development opportunities we provide for them that they make the connection. To quote a colleague of mine who experienced this material we deliver and went on to train in this work “I have spent 5 years in therapy dealing with depression and this weekend has taught me more about my depression than anything else.” This is not a “you had better believe it” advert. Those were his words and his battle with depression was by no means over. I know he has to face it every day, but the personal development work we do in Anger Management enabled him to understand more the root causes and to deal with the anger that exacerbated it and prolonged each dip.
So, does India Knight make me angry? No. I do feel somewhat sad that she could possibly be so uncaring. I have to bear in mind that she is paid to be controversial and also that the written word can come across to the reader harsher than it was intended to be delivered and that this is affected by the state of mind of the reader. That consideration I show her only goes to emphasis how hurt those that do suffer with depression may feel when they read her words.
With regards to my brother in law, I am going to write him a letter. I reflect that my support for him could have been better and will take a few moments to let him know I care. Would my work help him? Yes I think so but he has to be ready to confront himself and look inwards. May be one day.
In summary her article is useful if she intended to stir up a debate. I can learn lessons from it and I can reflect that the work I do, does help. Meanwhile, the list of celebrity confessions about mental or emotional challenges will continue and if they help others come to terms with their challenges then some good is done.
If you want to know more call 07850614042 and ask for Julian or 07950344658 and ask for Paula.
From their offices in the East & West Midlands and on line Calm People deliver transformational workshops and work one to one with those that have issues with both sides of aggression and anger and stress anxieties. If you want to know more about the anger management, stress management, and emotional resilience courses run in Derby & Birmingham call the above numbers or click here