May 15, 2013

Katharine Welby | Photo taken by Jonathan Self; all rights reserved 2013. www.jonathanself.co.ukSo, I am sitting here, writing a blog for Time to Change on the impact and effect that writing a blog post on depression has had on me.

This week, I am in retreat mode. I want nothing more than to run away from everyone, not because people have hurt me or upset me. Not because I wish I had never written the blog but more because I am simply overwhelmed and exhausted. How do you process gaining 1000 followers on twitter, in less than a month, all because you spoke about how you are often miserable?

Within a couple of hours of posting the blog, a journalist had been in touch to let me know they would be running a story on it the next day. By the time I went to bed that night, I was getting tweets, emails and messages from all over the place.

I had emails coming in from all over the place asking for interviews and I began to get a little nervous that this can, I had opened, was something that would perhaps be a little more than I could handle.

Interview requests aside, the thing that really struck me was the number of people commenting on my blog, tweeting me, emailing me, and later writing to me. I have had depression for a long time and have often thought about the fact that depression is often not spoken about or mentioned, particularly in church.

More often, when I have told people that I have depression, there has been an awkward silence. However, some people say 'me too but I don't know who to talk to'. Depression is a common thing, yet, here I was, surprised that so many others were relieved to hear someone, speak of it themselves.

I realised that I didn't want to be someone who mentioned it briefly and ran, so I decided, with the help of Time to Change, to speak a little more. I knew of Cole Moreton and he had asked for an interview for the Sunday Telegraph, so I decided, that this would be, a good way to go.

That interview was relatively easy and he was so kind, generous and funny that I relaxed. I am not really afraid of talking about my depression, on a one on one basis. I never have been. However, when I first saw the article in the paper, I suddenly realised that it was a little bigger than I had imagined. I was terrified. Everyone was going to know how 'messed up' I really was. All my fears came out and I just waited, wanting to see the response. Cole wrote a very kind article about me. He was considerate and sensitive, but it felt like I had bared my soul for anyone to see.

The reaction was huge. It was generous, loving and kind. Once again, hundreds of people in a similar situation got in touch. I felt overwhelmed, I was touched by the fact that simply talking about my depression had had such an impact.

I then had another interview coming up, that was for BBC breakfast. I did that last Thursday evening as a pre-record and I can say that it was harder than anything else I had yet done. I find myself now, the night before it is broadcast, emotionally drained, thinking about what I have done.

Life has changed and I can't help wondering whether perhaps the 'title' I gave myself as ABCD (Archbishop of Canterbury's Daughter) will now become ABCDD (depressed daughter), in response. Will this illness be what I am known for? Will it be my defining feature in the eyes of those who encounter me?

I guess it is one of the great fears and reasons that so few speak out. Who wants to be defined by their illness? However, I see no reason why I should be. I am glad I have made a noise. I hope that by doing so others will feel that they can tell their family, friends, or go to the doctor, without fear of judgement.

I am many things and one of those is depressed. Yes, it affects my day to day life. Yes, it might last a long time. But, no, it is not my defining feature. Those who have only seen that side of me, might only be able to define me by my depression but those that know me, will not find it possible to see it as all that I am.

I am happy I wrote the blog and I am grateful for the enormous support and encouragement I have received since. Thank you, and I would encourage you to speak too. I have received a huge amount of love, from the most unexpected places. If I could take one thing away from all of this, it is that we are not as alone as we might have thought.

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Comments

How about ABCDE for

How about ABCDE for Archbishop of Canterbury's Daughter (Extraordinaire)? :) You have been brave and I'm sure your courage will inspire others and make people think, especially in church. You are an exceptional young lady and I hope you continue to feel the love. Thank you.

Katharine Welby

I too have had depression for many years. I'm relieved that at last people are talking about it because its only by doing this and sharing our experiences with each other that we will find any peace and comfort. Katharine is in an excellent position to get the message across that people with this illness are normal, can work, have families do all the ordinary stuff ,but and here.'s the but, there are times , dark , bleak, hopeless times when we need help and support which is all too lacking in society as a whole and by medicine in general. But things are getting better, and with people like Katharine to champion the cause eventually we will be accepted. Thanks. Jacqui.xx

Your Mess Is Your Message

It doesn't matter what others say about you or what they call you. God is using you to bring awareness and to help so many people. Embrace who you are in Christ for you were wonderfully made. Thank you.

Labels

You are more than the label 'Has Depression'. Don't let yourself just be defined by your illness. Gods love for you never changes however you are feeling.

I was wondering

It was but a few days ago I became aware of you and what you were doing. I have had a significant amount of empathy with those who suffer from depression. Indeed I had a friend who suffered and I was the best friend I could be to her, however I wasn't much use to her, and neither were any other friends or professionals. I thought she was a nice girl / woman (she was just over 30 when I lost contact). What I want to contribute is this. I do not consider myself to be suffering from depression as an illness, but right now, I am very sad and angry because one 'bad' thing happened then because of that another happened ... long term partner started cheating. Not for the first time in my life, I found myself feeling that I was trapped in this loop of sadness, that would just happen again and again. I couldn't keep any relationship, yet this has always been important to me. However I must say, in general I think I am an up-beat person, positive minded and I know some close friends would say the same. So to the point.... Things I have read and heard about you (Katherine) ring so true, how you have expressed your feelings etc. . You cannot tell anyone who is suffering that 'things could be worse' it really doesn't help at all. People have said to me "you wouldn't do anything silly would you?" My answer is always to say that I would not do anything silly. That means whatever I do or did, would be well thought through. Suicide is really no different than those who seek assisted suicide because they know their life is just about intolerable and it will only get worse. Animals get humanly 'put down' because the suffering is thereby kept to a minimum. I think it is very important that people realise that the way to deal with depression sufferers, need to be able to show them there is real hope, and not just religious hope. They must be able to logically demonstrate why these individuals have every reason to be very positive about their future. For you Katherine as it was with my former friend there is probably really good reasons for genuine optimism. My friend needed to see that she was attractive (I was able to put some logic to my argument) and that she would become even more attractive if she moved to e regime of healthy eating and healthy exercise. I did notice that she seemed to get a lot of male attention, but she was only happy with men that would give any male model a run for their money. I stupidly tried to show her that her target was probably not going to be within her grasp just yet, and she would need to solve her eating problem first. Finally I was wondering if most depression (long term or short term) is almost always linked to self image?

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your experiences honestly. It helps us all!

An Inspiration

I have been diagnosed with depression for last 3 months and knowing it will be an uphill struggle is hard enough and just stumbled across this page thank's to Google . I put on Facebook without pre-warning ANYONE , I just opened EVERYTHING up .i have amazing friends and Fiance that are so patient . I just thought I was down bit sad and lazy before. Now I understand reading comments and other people speaking to complete strangers on here get's it out your system . So thank you Katharine a hi5 to you

Thank You

I am 62yrs old, a christian, and suffered a severe breakdown and hospital admission 11yrs ago. I was invited to share my story to my church, on understanding depression, also looking at what God says about suffering. I used your news article as one of my examples of different people who are, or have suffered from depression. I have been completely well for the past 11yrs, and wanted to say " ther is life after depression ". So thank you Katharine for being so brave sharing your story, others WILL be helped, God Bless.

Depression

Hello, I just watched Katherine Welby's interview on depression and was moved by what she said. I have depression,anxiety and low self esstem. I'm also ordained so her Dad is my earthly boss. I have felt rejection from the church, i've been passed aside and sent into exile until I'm better, like i've committed some crime. I had a fulltime job in an office which i was made redundant from at the same time my mum was suffering from cancer, i came out as Gay and my life crashed down, where was the church, no where to be seen. Two years on I'm still unable to work (support money has run out due to atos saying i'm fit for work - currently appealing againist this), i feel usless and at times I'm sucidal, yet i still cling onto hope, hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

Depression interview in WOMANALIVE magazine May 2015.

Dear Katherine, Thank you so much for your brilliant article in this months WOMANALIVE magazine, you nailed it. You worded and said everything that I'd like to say, but get my words muddled up and end up talking tripe! Thank you for 'baring your soul' it is precious not only to your family and friends and God, but all who read your brave and bold account of what it's like to live with depression. I have had it since I was a teen and am now in my early 40's, I have other long term health problems and live with chronic pain, but God is good and if anything, all the things that I've been through and continue to go through, without my husband and children, I wouldn't have got this far and I wouldn't be this close to Jesus either. I understand so much of what you say and where you're coming from, but you know what, you're doing okay, stay you : ) I also love your Dad (!) he was in last months WAM and he is so grounded and real and honest, he brings God to life in a very real and gentle way, you're so blessed to have a father like him, I don't but wish I did...oh well, I have a Heavenly Father who thinks the world of me!! Anyway, I'm rambling sorry (!) it's my prayer that you wont suffer from this forever and that you'll feel God gently surrounding you and breathing peace into, especially when days are dark and you're at the bottom of a well. Love, Dawn xx

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