One of our former politicians, now retired from politics at the ripe old age of 54 years with a full government pension (something the average Joe is only able to access after the age of 70), who is now a full time Dad to his kids and makes money on the side having opinions possibly better kept to himself has taken it upon himself to declare that depression and anxiety don’t exist.
Now I know that this revelation will be an enormous boost to those of you who suffer from these disorders, they don’t actually exist, toss out the pills you are currently using as a middle class crutch and skip off to work knowing that now this has been explained to you are a better and healthier individual.
Apparently, according to this individual, mental illness is just a popular self-indulgence that used to be called worry. Worry has always been a part of life like worrying about minor issues like driving in the wet or our children’s welfare or more important daily concern over your favourite sports teams latest performance. These issues are so trivial that we should just get on with it and toughen up instead of indulging in melodrama and medication.
Of course, currently, Australian politicians pocket around 4x the average national wage in pension payouts per year so I imagine worrying about mortgage repayments, school fees, utility bills and how to juggle being a wage earner and a parent are not things that are of great concern to the esteemed ex-member.
In the end of the day though these are just worries not depression or anxiety and anyone who has lived with the black dog of depression knows that although worries don’t help they are certainly not the deep sucking tar pit that you can find yourself sinking in without hope of ever breaking free. They are not the mind numbing darkness that envelopes you even while you wonder what is wrong with you, life is so good, why do you feel so soulless. Nor are they the twin vortex of worrying that there is something wrong with you because you have nothing to worry about so there must be nothing wrong with you, a confusing and terrible place to dwell on your shortcomings as a parent, a spouse, a human being.
Now of course I and many others are free and liberated from these demons, if only someone had thought to tell us before that they don’t exist!
Personally I would like people who have not experienced depression and anxiety first or even second hand, people who lack even basic empathy from their skill set, to refrain from weighing into the non-existent debate on this issue. I could not and would not ever express an opinion on anyone else’s experiences in regards to their mental health, nor could I or would I speak for anyone else in this regard. Each one of us is individual, a single being made from the sum of our own particular biological chemistry, life experiences and inherited genetic material, similar maybe but never ever the same.
For me, depression and anxiety do exist and medication does help and, trust me, I am forever grateful for this small mercy.
Please, please, please don’t tell me how I feel and please don’t be dismissive of other people’s concerns; they are not yours to judge.