A Good Week

This morning’s post was going to be about something else, but I’ve just finished watching a BBC programme called “Mind Games: Depression in Sport“, and I’ve started writing this with tears in my eyes.

Not just of sadness, either – they are tears of something like joy at the sheer wonderful bravery of the four sports personalities who were the focus of Gabby Logan’s interviews. Ex-World Heavyweight Champ Frank Bruno, cricketer Marcus Trescothick, soccer player Neil Lennon and former All-Black John Kirwan shared their tales of woe and of the added agonies they faced at suffering depression during lives which most other people would have imagined as a dream come true.

The programme was not without sadness, of course – indeed, the whole programme was prompted by the recent suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke, and also mentioned the deaths of Justin Fashanu, David Bairstow and Ireland’s own Darren Sutherland. Overall, though, the way Frank, Marcus, Neil and John have coped with their illness can only fill a fellow sufferer with hope. It was great to see how well they all seem now, and wonderful to hear Frank Bruno laugh again, as he is the only person in history who genuinely laughs “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk”.

Gabby seemed slightly taken aback by the black humour sometimes shown in these cases – John Kirwan revealed that a NZ comedian has started a depression-awareness group called “the Nutters Club”,  while Marcus Trescothick revealed that his team-mates now refer to him as “Mad Fish”. She seemed horrified by this, but I think it’s very funny, and laughter of any sort when you’re really down can only help. To the very few people who know about all my problems I regularly say things like “since I started going mad”, or refer to the fact that I now have a psychiatrist as “now that I’m a mental patient”.

When I wrote first here that I was being sent to see a shrink in St John of Gods I got comments of encouragement like “Good luck, you big nutball” (Jo), “doesn’t matter that it’s in the loony bin” (Mwa) and “going to visit the nut house will be great for you” (Laughykate). While the main thing those three remarks proves is that women are wagons, the irreverence shown was a great help at the time, as you all knew it would be. It felt as if we were laughing at the whole thing together.

Anyway, it was a super programme, and one I hope got a huge audience among people like me.

And, finally, while we’re on the topic, a guy called David Adams wrote this in the Irish Times last week. 


I wanted to post a link to it at the time, but didn’t feel like doing another depression post. Now we’re on the topic anyway I’ve put it in. It’s one of the best descriptions I’ve ever read of how you feel when another bout is starting.

Though he never says it, you get the feeling that David Adams is writing from personal experience. If he isn’t then he is showing a wonderful empathy with depression sufferers. Either way, I’d like to thank him, and wish him well.

All in all, a good week in the fight against depression, and in making talking about it more acceptable.

6 thoughts on “A Good Week

  1. Mwa

    You’re doing a similar job on here, you know.

    I find it helps immensely to talk about stuff like this. I know I was terrified to let anyone know when I first went to see a therapist, but now I’m less worried about it. Other people helped me make the first step.

    TV programmes can be excellent indeed. I had a real aha-moment when Stephen Fry did his one on manic depression. I’ve never been told that’s what I have, and I’m not as extreme I suppose, but that resonated with me for weeks.


  2. Jo

    I hope I didn’t say ‘good luck you back nutball’. Because that makes no sense… I’m guessing it was big not back 🙂

    I do love the expression nutball. But you know I don’t mean it…

    I caught the end of the programme, it was very good. I was working away but himself was transfixed.

  3. tinman18 Post author

    Sorry, Jo, yes I noticed the mistake this morning & I’ve changed it (so now it’s today’s comment that looks as though it makes no sense).

    I never really heard the word ‘nutball’ before, but I agree, it’s great.

    And, er. wow, Mwa, I never thought of myself as helping other people with this stuff. I’ve always thought of it as you lot helping me.

  4. laughykate

    I’m quite fond of ‘nutjob’ as well. Some members of my family have got manic depression and there have been periods of their lives that have been characterised by being super looney. Hey, at the end of the day it’s just a chemical imbalance that manifests itself in behaviour. (And makes you feel like shit or, if you’re lucky, superhuman. I do know of one guy who, in a particularly manic stage, went out and bought six brand new ford falcons.)

    John Kirwan does loads for depression down here, he’s part of a big television campaign that has high profile New Zealanders talking about dealing with their depression.

    And Tinman, I think you’re doing just fabulously, ya big nutjob.


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