What Is Smiling Depression?

Smiling Depression

Over the past few years, the conversation around mental health has become much more wide reaching and publicly acceptable. Yet, there are still a lot of common misconceptions that need to be dispelled. The latest term to make the headlines has been ‘smiling depression’, which follows the age-old principle of don’t take everything at face value (literally) because they might just be smiling through it. Read More…

BiPolar and Me

Bi-Polar-4

Diagnosing somebody under the blanket term of depression and handing them a pill is like shooting in the dark and hoping the bullet will find its target. Which is why, every time I read about depression in the media or hear that somebody has just been diagnosed by their GP as having depression, I think, well, what form of depression? Oh, you know; depression. Yes, but what … oh, never mind.

But, really, it does matter. Depression is not a singular illness but a complex set of disorders. Is it mild, moderate or severe? Is it reactive or chronic? Reactive depression – or a reaction to a difficult life event might be regarded as a healthy response. It is only when that depression becomes embedded and morphs into clinical depression that it becomes part of pathology. Is it Bipolar I? Bipolar II? Could it be defined as dysthymia, rapid mood cycling or cyclothymia?

That one word, depression, covers a world of pain and misunderstanding – not simply amongst the general public but among sufferers themselves. More worryingly, it leads to misdiagnosis and, sometimes, death.

I don’t mean to sound alarmist but in my own experience (and it is only my experience because depression is always subjective; no two cases are the same) it took me ten years, fourteen different medications and two suicide attempts to get the right diagnosis, which is Bipolar II – or what my psychiatrist refers to as rapid mood cycling because he is cautious about stamping labels on people’s foreheads. Read More…