I would like to begin by thanking everyone who commented on my last post, the one where I gave the vague impression that I might be one whiskey away from cutting my head off with the jagged edge from a tuna can.
Not only was I very touched by your thoughts, I was also intrigued that some of you recommended I go see a doctor. It was then that I remembered; I did, once upon a time.
It was about 10 years ago, when I felt as devoid of spirit as I do now. I had felt useless, aimless, and somewhat desperate. I was working at the BBC back then, had a couple of panic attacks while I was there, and knew there was something very wrong with me. Then, as today, it wasn't particularly evident, certainly not in the real, living, walking me (unlike the wrist-slitting impression I give here), but my unhappiness was genuine; a profound disappointment with myself and everything I'd achieved.
So on my Mum's suggestion, I sheepishly booked an appointment to see my doctor.
I walked into the doctor's room. The usual doctor was away and in her place was a young and attractive locum. I remember thinking that I was pleased to be wearing my sexiest shirt, which boosted my confidence when I saw her. I greeted her with an awkward little smile.
The locum, cute though she was, also seemed fed up. She almost certainly had a raft of other patients to see, and didn't hide her exasperation very well.
'So you're not feeling so great,' she stated.
I sighed, and shifted in my seat. I'd never met someone I fancied before only to freely admit how shit I felt. 'Yeah, it's a bit embarrassing,' I began, trying to scan beyond her cool exterior to see if she actually give a hoot. 'I feel pretty bad, like I'm cracking up or something.' She looked back at me pokerfaced, then turned to the notes on her desk. I continued.
'I wouldn't normally waste your time with something like this, but I - I just feel a bit empty and lost.'
I felt stupid saying it. That was all that was wrong with me and there was nothing more I could add. As much as these thoughts consumed my every waking moment, it now seemed a woefully inadequate reason to be there.
'Do you think you've got depression?'
'Yeah,' I said. 'I guess so.'
'Well you don't,' she replied, not bothering to look up from her notes. 'If you were genuinely depressed, you wouldn't be able to look me in the eye.'
That was the moment - that bit right there - when I felt really fraudulent. Not only did she piss on my depression chips, but she made it clear that I can't be flirty and miserable at the same time, not to mention that I clearly wasn't her type. I wanted to leave immediately.
'You've got the blues,' she said. 'We all get it from time to time. We do have group evenings with a psychiatrist. I can add your name to the list, if you want.'
'Yeah,' I mumbled as I stared at my shoes, now appearing properly depressed.
'We'll send a letter out to you.'
'Ok,' I replied. I left the surgery as quickly as I could. The letter never arrived, and I managed to get on with my life anyway.
Ever since that humiliation, I'd been careful to consider just how depressed I actually am whenever I feel down. Managing to force myself out of the funk helps, doing anything positive. At the moment it's January, and I'm probably a candidate for SADs. I normally baulk at self-diagnosis as well as dodgy modern syndromes, but this one strikes a chord with me.
Best, I think, to be stoic and British about this; shut up, go for a walk, right all my wrongs (somewhat an understatement), and - oh yeah - never, ever, ever bother with professional help again.