Some stories need to be told.



Today on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I have spent the morning talking to the kids about our favourite Roald Dahl books, how we all love the magic of his wonderful imagination and how a wonderful book can be an excellent escape from the world of homework, housework or every day life.

Sometimes a nice story book isn’t quite enough to distract us from the reality of every day life.

I have been open before about my husbands battle with depression. This is a story he has allowed me to share. Ben finds it difficult to talk openly about his journey but he also recognises the need to be more open about mental health issues and how we, as society, need to continue to talk more in order to break down the stigma and shame surrounding depression.

Ben has struggled with depression since he was a teenager. He has seen some pretty ropey mental health professionals and as you can imagine, the techniques used 20 years ago are often things we shudder at the thought of now.

Two weeks ago Ben had a really awful day. His medication had been increased two months ago and we really felt that he had turned a corner. Ben has been on medication on and off for years, he has never needed to stay on it long term, however this time due to extremely slow appointments, it has taken a bit longer to get on top of. However over the past few weeks Bens moods had dipped, small issues in work began to overwhelm him and I could see he wasn’t in great shape. However he had been refered to the gym as part of a mental health incentive by the GP  in connection with the local mental health team and this had been helping massively.

On this Tuesday, however, Bens mood was particularly low and I could tell by the tone of his texts through the day he wasn’t in a great mood, that continued as he got home. Now just because I acknowledge my husband has depression and I am aware how serious that can be, it does not make me super human and as a grumpy wife I argued with him when he got home because he was just in a mood of doing his own thing so after a long day I had to settle the kids while he went out to the gym.

However what Ben decided to do was put a pretty worrying post on facebook just as he headed out the door. By the time I settled the kids and checked my phone I had about 10msgs from people worried about him. Of course when I tried to ring him his phone was off. Panic did set in. In the logical part of my mind I knew that Ben would be at the gym working through his mood and processing his feelings in the way that works best for him. But the other part of me worried, that deep fear that one day it will just be too much for him and he will make the decision that I dread.

I packed up the kids and headed to the gym, his car was there, managed to check that he was definitely inside and then I headed home. When Ben came home he thought nothing of it.

It wasn’t until the next day that Ben was able to open up a little about how he was feeling.

We had a routine mental health appointment booked for Ben that afternoon and we headed there together. After being left sitting for 40 mins and then getting yet another new doctor (every single one of bens appointments is someone new), Ben was pretty fed up. It lead to us pretty much getting nowhere, having been told they would change his meds for the doctor to then go and check with someone else and then come back to say no they wouldn’t be changing anything it just felt very pointless. I can see why its so hard for Ben and others to seek help. The system is so flawed, no doubt because of lack of funding but still flawed.

On Tuesday night Ben had suicidal thoughts and on Wednesday a doctor told him he didn’t need any further help.

This just isn’t a system that works, people slip through the net and there is just no one to catch them. I recognise that Ben is tricky, he’s not keen on counselling although its not actually been offered, he doesn’t want to work though his issues as they’re so painful. For there to be nothing, no recognition of not being able to just walk that through alone, if Ben was a single bloke on his own with no family around to boost him, I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t be here.

Why are we failing as society. How did our culture become so cruel. Where did the Health service go so massively wrong? There are people out there who are desperate to make a difference. There are doctors who are unbelievably talented and want to help people. There are people doing research because they want to find more effective treatment.

People care, people want to help! why are there barriers and how do we help to bring them down.

We’ve all seen the posts ( I’ve posted them plenty of times) , saying a smile or an act of kindness can make a difference, and yea I have no doubt that it helps, don’t stop doing that. But more often that just isn’t enough, there’s a chemical imbalance that needs to be addressed, there is 24/7 support that needs to be given. There is support needed in every single aspect of life and the thought of that is overwhelming. To want to help and to actually provide it is two very different things.

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  • Lynda

    Sometimes you have to face up to the stuff that you think is too painful so that you can overcome it. Yes it is bloody hard and terrifying but the difference on the other side is well worth it. I did it so I’m speaking from experience and I’m glad I faced up to it as it has changed me as a person for the better.

    09/13/16 – 10:39

  • Carla

    This is a really wonderful post Nikita. Thinking of you and your family today.x

    09/13/16 – 09:06