The Bitch


“Do you want to reschedule?” the girl chirped on the phone as I cancelled my bikini wax. I didn’t. Matters concerning lady garden tending couldn’t have been further from my mind.

I was actually finding it hard not to cry. It perhaps would have been acceptable to tear up during the treatment. It is painful. Or after, if they’d made an arse of it, so to speak. But before would just seem weird.

Plus I wasn’t upset because of anything to do with the appointment. More that I’d had to cancel it. Change my plans just because she was back.

I don’t even know why she’d come. She hadn’t been invited. No-one likes her. One friend describes her as a “fun vacuum that sucks the enjoyment out of everything.”

I’d lost count of the things I’d had to cancel when she was around – chats over coffee, girls’ nights out, even going to a wedding. It had become easier to say sorry for breaking plans rather than risk taking her along and end up having to apologise for her.

“She doesn’t scare me. I’ll still come and see you,” Richard said. “Give her an alias if you don’t want to say her name. Just text and say ‘Priscilla is here’ or something,” he suggested, somewhat obviously for an Aussie that prefers boys. I liked his idea though. Deciding that his choice sounded too gay, in the happy sense, we opted for Katrina. Like the hurricane. Another destruction-causing female.

I’d hoped that she’d got the hint she wasn’t wanted last time she’d come over. I’d made lots of plans for the following few weeks so I’d have no free time available for her. I even booked a last-minute holiday. Drastic, but it worked, I’d seen no sign of her.

Until now. She’d turned up unannounced. Unwanted.

I was different when she was around. Moody and anxious. Constantly tired as she’d keep me up all night with her incessant chatter. I’d feel unattractive and unintelligent, hopeless and helpless. She even had this knack of making me paranoid that my friends didn’t actually like me.  I hated her. And I don’t hate anyone.

This visit was the worst. She was here with a vengeance and I had no energy to fight her anymore. I was just going to have to accept that she’d always be in my life.

Then I suddenly remembered where I could go to get away from her. Where I could get some help to stand up to her.

I walked there slowly.  I could sense her following me. I arrived and rang the bell. A woman with a kind face answered.

“I’m Jean. Come on in dear,” she said. I felt better already.

I closed the door of the Samaritans behind me and left my black dog outside in the cold.

I’m a bitch
I’m a bitch
Oh the bitch is back
Elton John – The Bitch is Back

Hey you lot, hope you are all well. I’m busy with another writing project for the next few days, so in case I don’t have time to blog I decided to post this story I wrote a couple of years ago.

Also wanted to take the chance to thank you for continuing to read. Means a lot. Especially as I know that I have a lot of readers that don’t suffer from depression (lucky buggers!) and it’s the ultimate compliment that you still come on here. Please do pass it on to people that you know, or just suspect, may have been bitten by the dog because one of the worst things about it is how isolated you feel and I can’t express how much it helps to know that others are in the same boat. Ask them to register to receive an email when I’ve posted or send them to my Facebook page where I put up inspirational quotes.

Please do comment, even anonymously, if you can relate to anything I write about. I get a bit tired of my own voice. Though my therapist would probably argue that it doesn’t seem that way.

Lastly, I’m finally getting around to doing the ‘stuff’ page. If you can suggest any links to sites, books you’ve read, tips for getting well, etc, etc that you think would be useful for others then let me know on Facebook or on

You are all wonderful and don’t you forget it!

Stacey x

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Does Cliff Richard have a Dog?


I took a big, deep breath and logged in to look at the visitor stats for my blog. Of course my expectations were low. I’m aware that I’m not exactly JK Rowling. I’m not even Robert Galbraith before anyone knew who Robert Galbraith was. Plus there was the small matter that I hadn’t posted in an age (primarily due to lack of time, rather than lack of inclination thankfully) so there wasn’t actually anything new to read. I still hoped that I’d had a few visitors in my absence though, just so I wouldn’t go all Paranoid Patsy and decide that no-one had popped in to look at my blog cause everyone hates it. Nobody loves me. Think I’ll go eat worms.

I needn’t have worried. I’d had readers. Yes I had. Quite a healthy amount in fact. Especially for a website that hadn’t been updated for a while. People had still been visiting to read things I’d written. Yay! I felt quite chuffed. My head may even have grown a little.

And then shrunk as soon as I started looking at the terms that people had typed in to Google that had directed them to my blog.

Yes, there were searches you’d expect like stacey berry black dog, ‘stacey berry dog blog’ and ‘stacey berry dog’ (which I hoped was a search, rather than an opinion.) I was confident that these terms were inputted in a bid to find this site. I could probably even argue it in court.

Some were a bit more debatable, like ‘girl (Stacey) get licked from a dog’, ‘stacey berry dog wash’ and ‘stacey braveheart’ (ok, ok, I know that one is quite unlikely to be linked to me but one can dream.)

Someone wanted to know ‘how to make a cup of tea that stacy won’t moan about’ which I also doubt is anything to do with me seeing as  my name isn’t spelled that way, it is rare that I drink tea and of course, I never, ever, moan.

There were a lot of other searches though that I have to accept were absolutely not from people looking for Bitten by the Dog. I was disappointed, but probably nowhere as near as the person that looked for ‘microwavable spoons and knives’ and found their way to a blog about depression, was. As would the one trying to find out ‘where does the rhyme “we must, we must, we must increase our busts come from?’

I can only apologise to the many, many people looking for websites concerning ‘friends with benefits’. This is basically an online diary about my mental health issues, sex doesn’t feature much on here (it doesn’t feature much anywhere at the moment for that matter.) You won’t have found any advice on what to do if ‘he doesn’t even want to be friends with benefits’, ‘how to deal with bumping into a friend with benefits’ or support when ‘friend with benefits hasn’t called all day’ (call me old-fashioned but I would have thought that was one of the benefits?)

I’m also sorry for those trying to get help for dog-related matters. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on the ‘best way to say I’m sorry my dog bit you’ but I’d probably opt for, ‘I’m sorry my dog bit you.’ My sympathies go to the person who is ‘feeling weak after being bitten by a dog’ and the other who, ‘got bit by dog next day pain’ but the good news is that there is someone out there who ‘got bit by a dog I am still alive’ so there’s a chance you may be ok.

Then there were those people that were looking for answers to questions that you’ve never thought of before but suddenly really want to know the answer to, like ‘is it ok to give dogs watermelon?’ And ‘does Cliff Richard have a dog?‘ I did meet Sir Peter Pan when I served him in an Indian restaurant but I didn’t think to ask him if he had a dog. Damn. Who cares whether he wanted poppadoms – that wouldn’t win me any prizes in a pub quiz. I suddenly wanted to know.

And I suddenly found out how frustrating it is to be sent to a website that doesn’t give you the answer you are looking for, even though it may feature all the words you’ve searched for. I ended up on a page that is adamant that Cliff Richard has a dog, a Living Dog.


Got myself a crying, talking, sleeping, walking, living dog doll
Got to do my best to please her, just ’cause she’s a living doll
Cliff Richard and The Young Ones – Living Doll

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Disease Unease


I’ve only been diagnosed with yet another bloody disease (am using ‘bloody’ in its vulgar form here, as opposed to suggesting the illness is blood-related. It isn’t.)

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that we’ve discovered you have another disease. But on the plus side it explains a lot of your symptoms. And although not curable, it is treatable. Also, as it is the third rare disease you’ve been diagnosed with, that officially makes you special, a medical marvel in fact and I’m going to talk to the Guinness World Records about you.” Is not even nearly what the doctor said to me.

Instead, after sitting in the sweltering hospital waiting room for over an hour and a half, while the one day of summer was happening outside, I saw a registrar I’d never met before. He asked me whether I liked living in town cause he was thinking of moving into the city centre. He asked whether it’s really noisy. He asked what my flat was like. He asked what view I can see from my window. And then he sent me on my way with a note to give to my GP to write me a prescription.

At least that’s the way I remember it. My appointment was mostly taken up with chat about city life interspersed with a couple of insignificant health matters. Like the fact they’d discovered something when they’d had the results back from the test I’d had previously. Five months previously. I asked why I hadn’t been informed sooner. He said that they wanted to tell me face-to-face. Of course. I can understand why he wouldn’t want to say “we discovered something” over the phone. Far better to be vague in person. Plus without seeing my expression he’d never know for sure whether I really like living in town or was just pretending.

I asked what they’d discovered. He said my pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough of a hormone and I can’t process water properly in my body. Said I needed to take medication. I asked how long for. He said “for life.” Oh is that all? That’s fine then.

Said I needed to have a brain scan to “check the state of it”. Thought that was a bit rude.

I started writing down the hormone I’m short of. Obviously didn’t spell it correctly as he took my notebook off me, crossed out what I’d written and re-wrote it. Couldn’t bloody believe it! Unless you are a teacher you have no right to cross out words. What an arse! Thought that was also a bit rude.

And also not that helpful because he’d written in doctor scrawl which I couldn’t read. I said that to him and he replied that my handwriting was also bad. Thought that was incredibly rude. True, but rude.

And then I left, with him knowing what it’s like to live in town, and me knowing precisely nothing about what it’s like to live with a broken pituitary gland.

I texted the BFF to let her know the latest in my life. I get an immediate reply.

Oh hon noooooooooo I can’t believe it! How can life be so cruel?!?! Can’t you talk now? I’m around if you need me. Are you going to be ok is all I ask? If you need a kidney, blood or anything else I can spare, you can have it if I match xxxxxxxx

Erm. Since being dumped by text (I really must make sure that this does not become public knowledge, cause apart from being embarrassing, people may understandably assume I was dating a teenager and report me), I’ve said everyone should be careful when sending important news electronically (and there should be a complete ban on ending relationships that way.) Mel’s reply suggested that I haven’t been following my own lead. I read back what I’d written.

Hey hon hows you? Would you believe that I have another fecking rare disease? I seem to be collecting them. This one answers a lot of questions but I have been so shocked that there have been tears. Will fill you in tomorrow x

Ah yes. I supppose I didn’t really explain myself properly. I should have put in a few smiley faces to suggest that as diseases go, it isn’t that bad. I send another text reassuring her I’m fine, thanking her for being a wonderful friend and say that although I don’t need to borrow any body parts, if she’s in a sharing mood she could pass on some shoes from her bigger-than-Imelda Marcos’s collection cause I’m sure there would be a match :)

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles
Forget all your cares
So go downtown
Things’ll be great when you’re downtown
Petula Clark – Downtown

Comments (3,610)

I Carried a Watermelon


So, I have this friend. She was telling me that while everyone else was embracing the arrival of the sunshine on the bank holiday, she spent a few days hiding away in her flat, only getting out of bed to move as far as the couch. She texted her friends to inform them that she was “off radar,” which they know from experience is code for “I’m having a meltdown and don’t want to talk.” (Just to clarify, I mean she was having a meltdown and she didn’t want to talk. I don’t want you thinking it was me that was spending all my time indoors like a teenage gamer. It soooo wasn’t me. Cross my heart and all that.)

She said that the dog had bitten particularly hard this time (she told me via email, before you point out that she wasn’t talking to anyone, so wonder how I know this fact. Jeez, what’s with the interrogation?) and absolutely nothing managed to raise her spirits. Not even watching Dirty Dancing, which I normally love. Sorry, I mean she loves.

Oh alright, alright, I don’t have a friend. I mean I do, of course I do. I’ve got a few in fact. I can give you names if you want proof. Numbers too. Call them. But this friend doesn’t exist. This friend was me.

Why would I want to deny it was me? Admittedly, despite the fact I’ve not had one negative remark since ‘coming out’, I am still embarrassed about the fact that I suffer from depression. It makes me feel weak. I know that’s mad (mentally insane you could even say.) Especially as I don’t think that about anyone else that has had their life blighted by the black dog. On the contrary, they are some of the strongest people I know.

It wasn’t so much for that reason anyway, more because even though I only climbed out of the black hole less than 48 hours ago, it is already hard to believe how bad I felt and that it is actually me that I’m talking about.

Looking back I can see that I’d been slipping downward for a few days. I’d been waking up feeling a bit flat, until one morning I woke up and was absolutely gutted that I had…well, woken up. And there it began.

My spells of depression are thankfully short, but ohmibloodygod they are sharp. I was in my own personal hell. I do tend to avoid speaking to people when I’m depressed, but normally because I don’t want to bring them down and cause I can’t concentrate on the chat. This time I didn’t want to converse though, because talking would mean thinking, and all my thoughts were bad. Every single one of them. It was like a weird version of Babelfish. Need something translated? Pop a positive thought into my head and I’ll tell you how to say it in Negative.

I ate a Magnum ice-cream. Instead of thinking what a nice Magnum ice-cream this is, I thought about when I lived with my Aussie boyfriend in Bondi Beach and he’d painted me a chalk board on the door and had written very artily on it that he loved me more than he loved Magnums (I know that’s actually a really nice thought, but the translator is still translating…) Then I remembered how our flat was broken into and how I was less upset about my video camera being stolen, than I was knowing the burglar would have seen that message and in my mind, would have been laughing at us. Hey presto! Translation complete! My ice-cream suddenly didn’t taste so good.

Then I watched Dirty Dancing, which I have loved, loved, loved every single one of the fifty plus times I’ve seen it. Not this time. This time instead of thinking what a good person Baby is, I noticed what a crap effort she made trying to dissuade her sister to lose her virginity to Robbie The Creep. As you know it turned out ok, (c’mon you’ve all seen it. It’s been out nearly 26 years, you would have found it harder not to) but no thanks to Baby. She was more interested in what was her dance space. I would’ve shouted at the screen if only I’d had the energy.

My mum suggested (by email obv, seeing as I was ignoring calls) that I try out my ‘old favourite’ tactics to feel better, which are going for a walk or going to the Samaritans. (I’m aware what a sad state of affairs it is, when an ‘old favourite’ involves the Samaritans. So what are your top 5 favourite things to do Stacey? 1. Watch Dirty Dancing. 2. Go travelling. 3. Lie on the beach. 4. Go to the Samaritans…)

In the end I didn’t need to. Something changed. I don’t know what, but it did. I’m feeling much better. So much so that if I throw out the crazy positive thought that I might never have a meltdown again, not only will I not translate that, but I may even just believe it.

Nobody puts Stacey in the corner.

I’ve been meaning to tell you
I’ve got this feeling that won’t subside*
Dirty Dancing – Hungry Eyes

*Yes, I’m well aware that I’m taking liberties with the whole lyric thing this time. I was naturally going to opt for a song from Dirty Dancing, but weirdly I couldn’t find any appropriate lines for this post in I’ve Had the Time of my Life.

Comments (10,245)

Fried Rice


Dear Depression,

I mentioned to my friend that I was thinking of trying that rice experiment. I don’t mean the one where you’re showing your family a photo on your phone, a dog barks, you get a fright, chuck your mobile in the air, it lands in your cup of coffee and you need to put it in a bag of rice to absorb all the moisture to get it working again. Not that one.

I mean the one where you have two jars of cooked rice that you speak to every day. One you say really nice, complimentary things to. How it’s lovely and awesome and rocks your world. Stuff like that. The other you slag off. Threaten with a life of MSG addiction. Abuse with every rice-based insult that you can think of.

It’s been said, that after a few weeks, the nice rice is still nice rice. Whereas the rice that has been told it is no good, has become exactly that.

My friend said that I wouldn’t be able to do it. She says I’d struggle to be horrible to anyone. Even a jar of grains.

Perhaps. I was always taught that you should treat people the way you’d like to be treated. I do try. And as a general rule I think people are nice to you, if you are nice to them. I just don’t understand why it hasn’t worked out that way in our relationship.

I’m like a broken iTunes download about how amazing and supportive my friends are, and how lucky I am to have them in my life. All of them. Except you.

They big me up, while you just seem to concentrate on bringing me down. They compliment me while you spend your time whispering criticisms in my ear. Belittling me. Reminding me of every mistake I’ve ever made. Telling me that my friends don’t actually like me, that they are just pretending.

At times I even start to believe you. Then I remind myself how they stand by me even when you are hanging around. They wouldn’t do that if they weren’t true friends. None of them like you. One described you as a fun vacuum that sucks the enjoyment out of every occasion. They notice that I’m different when you are around. Quieter, less confident, sadder. They just put up with you for my sake. Say they’d rather see me with you, than not see me at all.

It’s rare that I’ll take them up on that offer though. If truth be known I’m embarrassed by you so prefer not to take you out anywhere. I’d rather apologise for not going out for coffee, girls’ night out, even a wedding, than take you along and risk having to end up apologising for you.

Not that you seem to notice, or mind, when we hide away in my flat. You still manage to make it all about you. You interrupt me with your negative thoughts when I’m in the middle of doing something, so that I lose concentration and can’t remember what it was I was doing. You won’t even let me do things I enjoy, like read and watch TV, cause you want some attention. You keep me up at night with your incessant chat so that I end up exhausted and crying tears of frustration, wishing you would leave me alone.

Sometimes you do disappear. Normally when I’m working and don’t have time for you. Or I’m off on holiday and haven’t invited you. I never think of you then. I forget you even existed.

Then, just when I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security, back you come. Wanting to hang out again. Wearing me down.

You are supposed to get something out of every relationship in your life. I don’t get anything from this one. Nothing. So I’m asking you to notice that I never call, I never write, I never visit…please take the hint.

It’s not me, it’s definitely you.

Yours sincerely,

I can’t stay on your life support
There’s a shortage in the switch
I can’t stay on your morphine
Cause it’s making me itch
Pink – Just Like A Pill

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Natural Prozac



Natural Prozac is for the relief of symptoms caused by depression and being alone.

The appearance of the medicine will vary. This version is 6 ft 2, fanciable and with a body you’ll want to treat yourself to.

Please check the conditions are suitable before taking Natural Prozac. Your friend Dorte may be defensive on your behalf and say that if the medicine isn’t prepared to deal with you at your worst, then it shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy you at your best. You can assure her that you tried to end your relationship with the medicine before it had even properly started, but that it informed you that it’s not your decision to make, and if it wants to stick around and support you through your depression, then it bloody well shall.

Take as often as necessary and possible. Suitable for oral use. Do not chew.

It will make you feel good by visiting you in Manchester. It will wine and dine you. It will take you away to spend nights in hotels. It will repeatedly  tell you how amazing you are. It will thank you for helping it get through a particularly crap time in its own life and for making things better. It will message you to say that it is ‘head over heals’ about you.

You will be glad, that for once, it isn’t all about your dramas, and that despite your own issues you are able to make someone else happy. You will feel like a good person so you will refrain from pointing out that it should actually be ‘heels.’ Even if you have to sit on your hands.

Friends and family will also notice pleasant effects. Your friend Amanda will say that she likes this new medicine for looking after you, and that just like the Labrinth song, the medicine seems to want to see what is underneath and get to know all of you.

Your dad will say that you seem to have your mojo back. You will probably wonder where he has picked up such an expression.

Your friend’s two year old will jump up and down and say ‘Yay!’ when her mum tells her that you have met a nice, new medicine.

David Walliams will say that he only felt suicidal when he was alone, with no support, but that now he is married he realises how helpful this type of medication can be. He probably won’t actually say it to you. Unless you are his friend of course. He’ll  just mention it while being interviewed on Jonathan Ross.

Taking Natural Prozac may make you more argumentative. When the medicine sends you a message to say that it is going to be having pasta for dinner, you will have a mini-panic that by knowing so much about you, so early on, you have reached the ‘mundane chat’ stage prematurely. You will tell the medicine that you still want to be wooed and that pasta is not allowed to be mentioned in any future conversations. The medicine will ignore you and get around this rule by calling it the ‘p word.’ You then won’t know whether the medicine is referring to pasta or the other banned term – panties.

The medicine will kick your arse at ten-pin bowling even though you used to be in a team, so in theory, should be good. And despite the fact the medicine doesn’t even put the correct fingers in the ball.

It will also take you make you watch Les Miserables at the cinema. If you hated musicals before, then this medication will not change that. You will be so bored and fidgety, and will sigh and look at your watch so many times praying for the torture to finally end, that the Natural Prozac will wish it had gone with someone else.

This medicine will NOT cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive while on this medication.

In the event your course of Natural Prozac ends suddenly, and unexpectedly, and completely without warning or a valid reason, seek immediate advice from your friends.

They will support you through any unwanted symptoms experienced from stopping the medicine and will assure you that the negative effects will not last. They will say that it was probably a placebo anyway. They will also confess that while this type of medication did admittedly have some positive effects, they didn’t actually think this particular brand was suitable for you anyway.

They will say that the right medicine, the most compatible, the most amazing drug that will make you feel better and happier than you ever have before, is probably just around the corner. And that even if it isn’t, they’ll remind you how much fun it is finding out.

I’m gonna climb on top of your ivory tower
I’ll hold your hand and then we’ll jump right out
We’ll be falling, falling, but that’s OK
‘Cause I’ll be right here
Labrinth feat. Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful

Comments (10,257)



On Friday I announced on Facebook that I was having a duvet day but that thankfully, it was for physical, rather than emotional, reasons.

I was telling the truth. Firstly because no-one ever lies on Facebook do they? And secondly, because now that I’ve outed myself, I’d have no need to pretend – if I was feeling down, I’d tell you I was feeling down.

Not quite.

Apart from coming down with a particularly bad case of the lurgy, I was feeling okayish when I updated my status. I’d asked if it was acceptable to have ice-cream for breakfast (and my wonderful friends confirmed that it was.) Admittedly the physical symptoms weren’t exactly pleasant, but a day off work meant that I could catch up with the three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy I’d missed so I was still feeling quite positive.

That didn’t last.

I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that most people tend to feel a bit sorry for themselves when they are unwell. (Except for you men of course – even when you are battling with man-flu you are still brave soldiers.) When you are susceptible to depression though, not only are there the usual emotions going on when you are ill, but there’s also the guilt about even daring to feel sorry for yourself, along with some side orders of anxiety, low self-esteem, perhaps a bit of self-loathing and some tears thrown in for good measure.

Despite the fact I’m quite in touch with my emotions, and have started a blog detailing them, I wasn’t even aware I was developing mental, as well as physical, issues. Or perhaps after having a few weeks of feeling good, when even other people had remarked on my positive mood, I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I was having a low spell.

During a phonecall with my friend Heather, amid some coughing bouts, I told her that I was struggling to finish my next blog post and maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer.

‘It’s cause you are ill. I’m sure you’d struggle to write a shopping list at the moment,’ she said.

I told her that I’d had such a good response to my blog that it was freaking me out and making me wonder whether I should have started it. (Yes, today as I’m feeling stronger, I’m well aware that this makes no sense at all, but yesterday it did. Except, seemingly not to Heather…)

‘It’s cause you are ill. You aren’t thinking straight,’ she said.

I told her that I was worried that I’d somehow brought my ailments on myself.

‘That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!’ she said.

Actually even I realised that was a stupid remark as soon as I’d said it. I know I got ill because a colleague at my current job announced that she was dying, and should be at home in bed, but needed the money so had come to work. Nowt to do with any Uri Geller mind powers I suddenly seemed to think I have.

At the end of my mini freak-out Heather ordered me firstly to stop being so hard on myself cause, ‘That’s my friend you are slagging off.’ She reminded me that I’d given myself a get-out clause on my About page where I had explained that at times I might not always feel like writing, and so not to put myself under any pressure to do so. She also suggested that I just be honest and say how I’m feeling cause, ‘Isn’t that the whole point of your blog to explain what it’s really like having depression?’

It is. So in the spirit of honesty, I haven’t finished the post that was coming next cause I’ve felt a bit crap.

As we said our goodbyes, Heather added, ‘You might think you have things bad, Stacey, but there are always people worse off…a sixty year old guy has just winked at me on’

Don’t get me wrong
If I come and go like fashion
I might be great tomorrow
But hopeless yesterday
The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

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Show and Tell


There are rules about the right time to discuss certain things when dating. For example, it is said that you shouldn’t talk about past relationships on the first date. On the other hand, it tends to be preferable if it’s mentioned before then if the ex isn’t actually ex. I felt a bit ridiculous while out for dinner with a guy and when I asked him who he lived with, he replied, ‘my kids…and their mum.’

It’s also best not to come on too strong, too early on. Like the bloke I met online dating who told me that he was going to get a dog, but not to worry cause if we went away for the weekend together he’d get his sister to look after it. I wouldn’t have minded but we hadn’t even finished our starters.

And obviously there’s an appropriate time to reveal that you suffer from depression.

I just didn’t get the memo informing me when that was.

Sorry if you were hoping that I was going to impart some wise words of wisdom. I’m not the best person to give advice when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact a therapist pointed out that I hadn’t had a serious relationship in [cough] years and wanted us to work on that. She reckoned that subconsciously I probably thought that I was going to die after having my disease, so don’t believe there is any point. Perhaps. One thing I was sure of though, with her sessions costing an extortionate [cough cough] pounds, I wasn’t going to be working through my issues with her. It would be cheaper to just buy myself a boyfriend.

I can make one suggestion though. Which is, that when it comes to the whole depression thingy, it’s far better to Tell than to Show. And I happen to know this from experience.

My Friend had been visiting me in Manchester for a few days. We’d had an amazing time. An uhmazing time. I’d even go so far as to say an amazeballs time. That’s how good it was. I was on a high.

So naturally I was starting to get nervous. Cause the law of gravity and depression states that what goes up, must come down.

I was going to be travelling to Scotland on the train with my Friend . He was going home, I was going to see my parents for a few days. I started packing and the anxiety started kicking in. I just couldn’t work out what clothes to take. Which was especially crazy cause since being threatened with a £360 excess baggage fee when I was going to study in Canada, I’ve become a shit-hot packer. I mentioned to the Friend that I was struggling. I think he thought I was just being a girl.

We eventually made it on to the train. Me with my whole wardrobe. We snuggled up together and watched a film on his iPad. I cried at the end of it. Friend gave me a look. A lot like the one your mum used to give you when you were about to have a tantrum in the supermarket cause she wouldn’t buy you sweets. That ‘don’t you dare embarrass me’ look. Understandable as we were sitting at a table across from two business men. Even more understandable as the film wasn’t particularly sad. We weren’t watching The Champ. Or E.T. It was a Steve Carell film.

Stopped for a chippy tea after getting off the train and made our way to his house. And that is when the meltdown properly began. The floodgates opened. I cried and I cried and I cried. I couldn’t look at him. I couldn’t talk to him. I couldn’t listen to him. I couldn’t think straight. I just felt numb. For absolutely no reason at all.

Anyone would think I didn’t enjoy my dinner but it was one of my favourites – a spicy haggis supper (which as much as I wish it was, is definitely not a euphemism.) There was absolutely nothing to be greetin’ about, which just made it all the worse. I asked Friend to take me to my parents house.

He sent me a message later on. ‘I’m really worried about you.’

I replied ‘I don’t want you to worry about me. I can’t deal with worrying about you, worrying about me, so might be best if we finish this.’

Seems that therapist might have had a point.

If it makes you happy
It can’t be that bad
If it makes you happy
Then why the hell are you so sad?
Sheryl Crow – If It Makes You Happy

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Friends with Benefits


“Just tell him about your depression,” Dorte said.

“I’m not telling him anything of the sort,” I replied. “I’ve only seen him three times. He doesn’t even need to know what I look like without make-up yet.”

I’d had a few days of feeling down, my Staceyness was a bit more of the Slater variety, so I needed to get out of an up-coming fourth rendezvous with a guy I’d been dating. I couldn’t tell him that I was washing my hair because I didn’t actually want to cancel the date, just postpone it until I was chirpy again à la Stacey Solomon. Tricky. Which is why I’d phoned Dorte for some wise advice. I didn’t like the advice she was giving me though.

This happened BTB (Before the Blog) when not even all my friends were aware of my ‘affliction’. I certainly didn’t want to be announcing it to a new man. I only wanted him to wonder about when I’d finally be in the mood, not what mood I’d be in.

I decided against taking Dorte’s advice. I stuck my fingers in my ears, said ‘la la’ and re-arranged the date with no mention of the d word. Before that night came around I was out having a drink with a friend and bumped into afore-mentioned guy. Quick chat and off he went. Then he sent me a text informing me that I ‘looked good’…and…wait for it…that my ‘friend was hot’… Oh yes. I was mortified. My hot friend was mortified for me. Sensitivity clearly wasn’t his strong point. I was glad that the most personal thing I’d told him was that I don’t like mushrooms.

After a few months of bemoaning men and obviously not going on a fourth date, I was ready when a new bloke came down the love lift and into my life. Fortunately I didn’t even have to think about telling this one. He didn’t want a relationship, I didn’t want a relationship. We were just friends with benefits of…er… friendship. I wouldn’t have to inform him of any personal matters. Not only that but he lived in Scotland. I live in England. We wouldn’t see each other very often. He’d never have to know.

Until he was visiting me for the weekend that is. My brother was setting up my blog for me and had called with a query. Realising the conversation about dogs and fonts might have sounded a bit strange,  after getting off the phone I explained that I was going to be starting a blog about depression. I said it nonchalantly as if I was just telling him I don’t take sugar in my coffee. I may even have said that I had depression, rather than have. I may even have believed that was the case.

It didn’t seem to worry him and we carried on happily. Very happily in fact. We just weren’t doing well at the friendship thing.

I have wonderful friends.  I camped out overnight and was first in the queue when friends were being handed out. I like them a lot. And they like me too. But we don’t message each other all day, every day. We don’t phone each other to say goodnight. We don’t count how many sleeps it is until we see each other next. Me and my friend were doing those things though. We had officially moved out of the friend zone. It didn’t matter though cause I liked him.

The weird thing with depression, is that when you are feeling good it’s hard to imagine that you ever felt bad, or will again. I was so happy that I started to wonder if I’d been cured.

As if.

They don’t call it the black dog for nothing. A black dog with a bone. It doesn’t give up. I hadn’t seen mine for a while but it came back barking loudly,  insisting I play ball…

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Don’t cha?
Don’t cha?
The Pussycat Dolls – Don’t Cha ft. Busta Rhymes

Comments (10,817)



Dear You,

How are you? Good I hope? Cause I am. Hurrah! I’d be satisfied with just feeling fine, but to be on the higher end of the mood spectrum is a result.

A lot of that is down to you. Don’t blush – I’m being serious. If you hadn’t been so damn nice who knows what state I’d be in.

I’d been dreading starting my blog. There were even tears on the morning I launched. Mum said she didn’t think I was ready. I said I’d probably never be and that was part of the problem.

It didn’t help that when I’d asked people before starting my blog A) whether it was a good idea and 2) whether I should use my real name, most had replied ‘No’ and ‘Hell no!’

I’ve been a blogger before. I wrote about the trials and tribulations of being a single girl and a typical post would be like the one when I shared an email I’d received after joining an online dating site.

hello nice pic and profile by the way :), im single fit geniune guy just looking for some fun or relationship with a decent gal love to pamper and treat a gal, take her shopping and trips away, have to be honest,cant lie, sorry !!sporting a rather (small pecker) sorry !! well so ive been told lol :) hence open minded and happy to make up for it in other ways :) trips away, meals out, shopping etc, had an excelent arrrangement with the x gf , no offence meant !! x

Hardly a meaty topic (in more ways than one). Even then a friend said she couldn’t believe that I wasn’t embarrassed telling the world about personal stuff. The new blog would be even worse. Was I mad (er ok, I mean madder than usual) to be revealing my short-comings? (Rather like the guy above had done to me.)

Would I now forever be known as Mrs Dourface? Would I struggle to ever get a job again? Would I struggle to get a bloke? (Ok, I may have been having problems in that department anyway, but I certainly wasn’t going to be making things any easier for myself.)

Plus once I’d started the blog I knew there was no going back. No changing my mind later and pretending it had all been a joke and that I was actually as happy as Larry, a clam, a sandboy or a pig in shite. Once I’d outed myself that would be it.

I made my mind up though, took a deep breath and pressed publish. I immediately felt sick.

My BFF took me to the cinema to see Side Effects. She said it was about a disturbed young woman on anti-depressants and was bound to help me take my mind off things.

I came out and switched on my phone. Would I have had any reactions? Or worse, none at all?

I needn’t have worried, you are a lovely lot. I’ve received loads of messages. People thanking me for starting the blog and helping to stop the stigma surrounding depression. People surprised I’m a sufferer and one particularly lovely person saying she actually used to wish she was like me! And even people telling me I’m brave. I really don’t feel it, but admittedly, I probably would rather have been confessing to a bad case of thrush, than announcing that I have depression.

I’ve also had a lot of messages from people telling me their stories. And I wouldn’t have thought it of any of you. Makes me think that Dr Tim Cantopher, the author of Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong, really has a point.

I feel like I’m suddenly part of a lovely group. And one that will help me too. Probably even more than the short-lived gang I had with my friends when we’d get together to chant ‘We must, we must, we must increase our busts!’

Please do keep writing to me (I will reply to you all eventually.) Feel free to leave me a comment on here and to chat on here. Please do also share with as many people as possible. Even if you don’t suffer from depression, in theory 10% of your Facebook friends will do and I’d like them to have the chance to join the team too.

And in the meantime lets come up with a name for our gang. I’m thinking we probably don’t opt for The Doggers.

Love Stacey x

ps Oh and incase you are wondering whether I went on a date with wee willie winkie? Hardly. I have no interest in a man with such a little…knowledge of punctuation, spelling and grammar.

I’m on my way from misery to happiness today
Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh
Yeah I’m on my way from misery to happiness today
yeah yeah yeah yeah
I’m on my way to what I want from this world
The Proclaimers – I’m On My Way

Comments (6,698)