Please imagine my depression is asthma


I've had depression since before I knew what depression was. Actually my primary affliction is anxiety and my unwanted thoughts make me feel despondent but the intricacies of other people's melancholy are really boring so all you need to know is, sometimes I feel rubbish. 

I've been to GPs over the years and been offered variations of 'chin up love' but after I had Roscoe, tiredness and hormones made my crazy hit factor batsh*t. My baseline mode of low level anxiety, mixed with parenting anxiety, led to anxiety squared and I became convinced that a series of terrifying but ridiculously unlikely things would occur (think tsunami in Brighton) and I didn't want to tell health professionals about it because I was anxious about their reaction. And so I wrote down what I was feeling (something I recommend if you're feeling anything similar) and took it to see my GP, Dr Punja and he said, 'Mate, you're obviously depressed and I can offer you therapy but to be clear you're 37,567th in the queue, so I'd recommend these drugs.' And it was one of the happiest days of my life. 

Those pills made me feel seen; they made me feel heard; they made me feel validated. Prior to recently I didn't really talk about my depression because I acknowledge I am in a very privileged position within the world of mental illness - I have supportive friends and family and I can function and hold down a job. But also, there's always an also, I didn't really talk about it because depression sometimes seems so basic; like such a soy latte, cracked iphone screen cliché. 

I decided to start being more upfront about it because this blog is about truth and this is my truth and also because my antidepressants felt like a badge of that truth, unexpectedly my prescription made me more likely to speak about it and not less but when I started to speak I got some curious reactions. I got a lot of... 

'I don't believe in drugs.' 

'I think you should try to get off them.' 

'They're really addictive.' 

'Drugs are over prescribed.' 

'Have you tried yoga?' 

'I don't think you're depressed.'

'Have you tried cutting out dairy?' 

This is not a post in which I criticise my friends, each and every one of them cares about me dearly; it's because they care about me that they are perturbed by the idea of me taking drugs. I don't want anyone not to express themselves, I hate those posts that are like 'don't you dare ever say these things to a pregnant women/mother/Take That fan', all I want you to do is consider if you would still make those comments if my depression was asthma...   

My asthma is so bad today, I can't get out of bed. 

I'm knackered, my asthma kept me up all night. 

I'm gonna be late for work, I had a really bad asthma attack this morning. 

I've been given new asthma medication and had a bad reaction. 

I take this medication once a day and it totally keeps my asthma under control, I feel wonderful.

If my depression were asthma and I told you that corticosteroid was keeping my alive, would you still encourage me to ditch it?


Nine out of ten people who experience mental health problems say they face stigma and discrimination as a result. This can be even worse than the symptoms themselves. Time to Change is England's biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. 

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                                           photo credit: Asthma Inhaler via photopin (license)

29 comments

  1. great post and one that you obviously feel strong about. I am living with depression and so is my daughter, I also have asthma,so yes, i would never tell someone to come off a drug that is makingthem feel better. Perhaps one day you wont need them, but until that day..........

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    1. Thank you! Much love to you and your daughter.

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  2. People are bonkers aren't they? Imagine saying I don't think you have depression! My Mum died of cancer very quickly (5 days after diagnosis) and I had a few really stupid phone calls in those few days. One person said 'I dont believe it, its not true, you shouldn't be telling people such things'! and another told me I was a bad mum for telling my kids as it would upset them! Well done for being upfront and wishing you all the best with your depression and asthma (and I don't mean to make the comment about me - just illustrating the point!) x

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    1. I'm sorry for your loss. I think people often say these things out of fear, they don't want it to be true x

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  3. Fantastically written post. I suffer with asthma and wouldn't think twice about taking my inhaler and talking to my friends about it. I also suffer with anxiety, and like you found that adjusting to a new baby sent it into a whole new realm. (Think: we have a fire ladder, a torch and a spare pair of trainers each under our bed as obviously our house is highly likely to burst into flames at any point). I hardly speak to anyone about it as it feels as though they will judge and just won't understand as I think it's just one of those conditions that people don't seem to be able to grasp unless they've experienced it for themselves. Good on you for spreading the word and fighting the stigma x
    #bestandworst

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    1. Many thanks! How interesting that you are thriving with both these challenges. I think it can be hard to explain but I feel happy that people close to me have a better understanding of who I am x

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  4. I think I jist emailed you instead of commenting, sorry!! Any chance you can copy and paste what I just wrote?!

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    1. Thanks Amanda! Will do:

      It always amazes me how often people assume that you've been prescribed medication when really something else would do... I mean, there are strict guidelines for prescribing medication of any kind, so the fact you've been given them means you need them. It's even worse when you're prescribed something "off license" because the specialists have weighed up the pros and cons and decided you really need it enough for them to go against the guidelines in this circumstance. I've seen it in so many cases, my own and others' and usually in a condition (both physical and mental health related) that is unseen and misunderstood, just like depression! And it is so hard to have to explain why you need this medication and why it is worth taking them. But it's only through speaking about it that we can slowly but surely change perceptions about it... I'm glad that the prescription has not only helped with your symptoms but also with the validation that there is something wrong and that it's okay to ask for help. That is a huge step forwards. Keep going, you're doing so well xx

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  5. Great post. My Grandma used to say "the problem with mental illness is you can't see it". She was quite low most of her life. I'm glad you have a great GP who helps and is supportive. It's tough when people just don't seem to "get it". Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst and continuing to raise awareness :-)

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    1. Thank you, what a wise woman. So many people suffer with hidden or invisible illnesses and disabilities. You don't need to see something to be supportive.

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  6. I'm so glad that I came across this post. Not because I suffer from depression, but because so many people do and I think that it is so important to talk about it and to enlighten people. Your asthma analogy is simple but so effective. I think that being so honest takes bravery, but you are simply telling it how it is and I think this will really help others too. Alison x #BloggerClubUK

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  7. There is still such a taboo around speaking about mental health issues. I know people who have been scared to talk about their problems particularly in the wok place due to fear of judgement. It is time people started to accept that it is an illness. I think there's also another issue here, why aren't there enough counsellors or psychologists available to support people? Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

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    1. It's just money. It costs the NHS £20 to fund an antidepressant prescription for the year and then the patient often pays twice as much in prescription feed. Prevention is better than cure I'd love to see more creative ways to support people such as nutritional advice and free access to exercise and mindfulness classes.

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  8. People always have some sort of judgment or view that you should be doing things differently. As long as it works for you nothing else should matter. Great to gave this post out there to help others #stayclassymama

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  9. I am so glad you finally saw a good gp who gave you the medication you needed to start feeling better. I'm sure people would no way say the things the have said to you if it were asthma you had instead of depression. If the drugs are making you feel better then surely that is a good thing. Maybe one day you won't need them but for now people should maybe learn to think about what they are going to say before they actually say it xx #bestandworst

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    1. Popping over again from #bloggerclubuk xx

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  10. Such a powerful and important post. I can't abide it when people judge for using medication. Beginning my citalopram in January 2015 changed my life. It made me feel like getting out of bed wasn't such a tough task, it made me deal with my anxiety. Life wasn't such a challenge anymore, dare I say it, it became enjoyable and if someone wants to judge me for deciding to take medication then so be it. I really couldn't give one. #brillblogposts

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    1. Thanks Rach, I'm so glad it worked out for you. I really don't think someone can judge you for wanting an enjoyable life

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  11. This is such a great point. What don't people see mental illness as an 'illness'?! It;s baffling! My mum has suffered with depression since I was a child and she has avoided medication her whole life for some odd reason. Recently, after a relationship break-up she eventually sought medical help and is now taking anti-depressants. She feels so much better and it's amazing to see her happier. I just wish she'd chosen to go sooner and not accepted her 'illness'. Hope you're doing well and I admire you for talking about your condition, raising awareness and helping others understand. Tor xx #coolmumclub

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    1. Thank you. I'm so glad your mum feels better today. I know so many people that think they have to suffer in silence.

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  12. It makes it sound so real when you put it like that. I hated taking medication for my depression but it was something I needed to do as I was struggling to get through the day. I hated it so much as I had people round me telling me I shouldn't be taking it, it'll do worse in the long run etc but it helped so why would I stop taking something that helps? x #ablogginggoodtime

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  13. The asthma analogy is such a good one. People would never judge someone for taking asthma medication, so why would they judge someone for medicating their depression? Mental illness is still illness and it needs to be treated. If you found something that works for you, why change? #stayclassymama

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  14. I just wrote something about my depression and my triggers and will post it tomorrow. I havent gone to the doctor yet as I am scared they will take my son away from me. Thanks for this honest post. Something that answers some questions in my head! #ablogginggoodtime

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  15. I am a suffer of anxiety and depressionn. Like you heightened when I was pregnant especially as I previously has a miscarriage which caused intrusive thoughts. I can't love without my pills they help clear my head, slow my thoughts and sleep at night. I am not ashamed everyone is different. I like this idea about as my ha so true with mental illness you feel guilty abd think people will think she is being melodramatic and the like. There is so much stigma out there. Thank you for sharing X#ablogginggoodtime

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  16. I love this perspective, hopefully will make people think about mental illness differently. I blog a lot about depression & anxiety following the PND I experienced after my son was born and also feel really passionate about changing people's attitudes. Thanks so much for sharing this xxx #ablogginggoodtime

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  17. Such a great post and so true that if we had the same attitude towards mental illness as we did towards physical illness, there would be much less stigma involved. Having suffered with depression myself, it is hard enough trying to get through that feeling of "if only I try harder, it will be better" and realising that depression is an illness and there is no shame in needing medication to get better, without other people adding to it.

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  18. This was a really well written post about mental illness. It really highlights the normality of it. You make such a good point about others opinions too. Sometimes I need tablets to help with an anxiety problem and my mum acts like it's the end of the world every time this happens. I still feel embarrassed to talk about it but I love that you can. It'll definitely help some people who come across it x

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  19. This is a really great post for normalising anti-depressants. I hate that people can be so against them when they can make such a difference to our lives. Thanks for the honesty.

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