The Depression Profiles / BITTEN BY THE DOG

The Depression Profiles

There are times that I’d expect to be asked if I’d ever had mental health issues.

Like when going through my medical history with a new GP. Or if I was buying a gun.

I did think it was an unusual question to be asked over dinner though.

Especially on a first date.

I nearly choked on my steak. (Or I would have if I was actually eating steak. My friend Amanda says best to avoid it on dates after she went out with a guy who said ‘order whatever you want’, but then calculated his portion of the bill when it arrived.)

I nearly choked on the cheapest main on the menu.

Woah there cowboy!

Don’t get me wrong – I love it when a guy shows an interest in me, but surely that question features in the First Date No-No’s Rule Book? Just after ‘should we have two children?’ And ‘will you be paying for my steak?’

Or was I being unfair? I mean we didn’t really know each other having only ‘met’ through a reputable dating website where people go to find long-lasting meaningful relationships Tinder, so all he had to go on was my name, age and anything he’d gleaned from my photos – like the fact I own a purple dress and have ridden a camel.

And those things might not be accurate. I may have borrowed the dress.

Perhaps he just liked what he saw and wanted to know a bit more about me before we confirmed our quota of kids.

And I do think it’s important to be truthful when you are dating (‘that’s strange you don’t think I look like my photo. I can assure you it’s me. When I was 21.’)

So in the spirit of honesty, here is my revised profile Mr Tinder. Lets see if you want a second date after you’ve read this…

 

Stacey’s Depression Profile

The basic stuff                                                                             

They call me Stacey. (That is my name. That is my name.) I’m a Scottish lassie but live in Manchester, which I absolutely love (or at least I do when I’m not depressed, cause then I find it a struggle to even like anything.)

I’m 38 (much to the amazement of the young guy that asked me for ID in Aldi recently. Said I looked good considering I was ‘so old.’) I’ve never wed or bred and I’m single (which should be obvious seeing as I use a dating app, but sadly doesn’t appear to be a rule others abide by.)

Spent most of my working life in telly as an assistant producer in TV documentaries and filming hotels abroad for tour company websites. Now working for a market research company, though still deal with videos. I’m also still freelance and my hours are still sporadic and erratic. Bit like my moods.

My favouritest things include receiving post, a good blether with my friends, lying on the beach, drinking Champagne and the sound of crickets.

My least favouritest things are the scratchy noise when you take something out the freezer (bang goes me ever working in Iceland. The store or the country.) People that say the word ‘panteez’ (I can’t even bring myself to write it properly.) And Tinder dates.

When did all this depression malarkey stuff start?

I previously would’ve said, quite confidently, January 1994 when I was the grand old age of 17 and also when I was diagnosed with a rare lung disease (Churg-Strauss Syndrome). I was on chemo as well as high-dose steroids that made my face so round that even my own mum said I looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid.

I remember telling a consultant at the hospital that I felt depressed and she replied that it was understandable and bound to be down to my fat face the drugs I was taking.

I’ve since found a diary from the year prior though (pre-chubby cheeks) that contains various entries such as…

Thoroughly depressing day. I was on such a downer. I didn’t go out. I would have been very bad company. I just watched Eldorado and went to bed.

So who knows whether I did actually have depression before then. Or I was just being 16. Or just depressed about the acting in Eldorado.

And what about since then?

I had a couple of really memorable bad spells in my 20s but looking back I realise now that it’s always been there bubbling away under the surface. And even if I wasn’t suffering from the main symptoms associated with depression (low mood, feeling helpless and hopeless etc) I’ve pretty much always had some other ones (self-loathing, lack of energy, inability to concentrate.)

There’s been no disputing it over the last few years though. It arrived with a vengeance and I’ve accepted it is here to stay and just needs to be managed.

What flavour is your depression?

It’s more of the mood-swing variety. I can veer between being as high as the clichéd kite and then come crashing down as low as a worms boobs.

At one point I wondered if I was bi-polar but I went to see someone at the Priory and she said not. Reckoned I don’t fit the criteria as I don’t go on crazy spending sprees (though I’d argue that paying £240 for a Priory appointment would constitute as exactly that.)

So seemingly I just have the bog-standard type of depression. Vanilla, you could say if you were ever foolish enough to compare depression to ice-cream.

How do you deal with it? Drugs/therapy/crossing your fingers?

I was prescribed anti-depressants once, when I was 17. I was walking back from the pub (sorry did I say I was 17? I mean 18 obviously #lawabiding) with my then-boyfriend  and we started having an argument. He was being such an arse that I felt compelled to give him a slap (a girly one on the arm – I’m not Kelly Brook). I took a run at him. And missed. He laughed.

I decided it must be down to the anti-depressants (rather than the Diamond Whites I’d been drinking) and they must be stopped immediately. I wasn’t concerned that they were inducing violent tendencies when I was normally very placid. No, just that they were giving me a crap aim.

I’ve never taken depression meds since. I know they are miracle workers for many people but after having so many side-effects with my chemo I’m always wary of taking any medication unless I really, really have to.

I’m a big fan of therapy though. Getting to talk about yourself for an hour. What’s not to love?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work. It can be mentally draining and that’s if you even make it through the often year-long wait/endurance test if you are getting it on the NHS. I totally recommend it though. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s saved my life.

Anything you want to say about depression?

I’ve just told you that I love therapy…I can always come up with more to talk about. I’ll finish with my own quote though (which I came up with for info purposes, rather than to feature on my gravestone) which I think just about covers it.

“Having depression is like having an orgasm…you can never really know what it feels like without experiencing it for yourself.”

They call me Hell
They call me Stacey
They call me Her
They call me Jane
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

If you fancy doing your own depression profile (you can remain anonymous if preferred) then email me at bittenbythedog@gmail.com and I’ll let you know what’s needed. Go on let’s make The Depression Profiles a thing!

  • truebrit

    I’d have answered with a question of my own ‘That’s a strange question, why do you ask ? do you have mental health issues yourself ?’ take that ! pah ! lol
    tb

    • Stacey

      I couldn’t do that because that would be deflecting. Oh okay don’t tell my therapist but I did ask him. Take a guess at his reply…

  • Matt 79

    Great post, and I like the new profile (whether you really use it or not) – blunt honesty is a good thing in my book! There’s a quote relating to sharing information like this – something like “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.”

    • Stacey

      Doubt I’d use it for Tinder…not sure I’d be getting any swipes to the right! Happy to share on here though and looking forward to posting up other peoples profiles!