I have cancer – cancer of the mind, thankfully I am currently in remission but the last episode almost cost me everything I have or hold dear.
This is not a self-help guide or a wallow in self-pity (I’m not a celebrity) it is a frank account of the last four years of my life battling against depression and it is a battle.
I realise of course that calling depression a cancer is medically incorrect (at least currently) it is both controversial and provocative, its meant to be. Mental health, despite claims to the contrary, is the poor relation of the medical profession and the NHS in particular which is already in crisis over funding.
If depression were to be redefined or reclassified as a form of cancer perhaps it would receive the attention it deserves and needs as its proliferation is of epidemic proportions.
Cancer charities are among the best supported, have the highest profile, government backing, the most media coverage and public sympathy. I therefore have no compunction for wanting to purloin some of their market share.
Mental health, by contrast, is a difficult subject, a taboo not to be raised in polite society, even impolite society! It is often hidden away, a guilty secret, a weakness, a fault. It engenders fear prejudice and hostility.
So, I’m calling it Cancer of the Mind in the hope of changing perceptions, maybe it will catch on but for now it’s just not sexy. Things are improving, it is being talked about more, it is more widely in the public domain, and it is becoming, for want of a better word acceptable.
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10/04/17 Tracy J Donald