A Blog by Rob Hollands, MFX Ramblings

A Blog. 1.

Blog.

Ever since I said I was going to write a blog I’ve been wondering back and forth about what I should write about. At first I thought I should just write about football seeing as I’m more than a little bit obsessed by Crystal Palace FC nowadays, but then what self-respecting person wants to read about Crystal Palace, let alone write about them!

It can’t be about wrestling because I don’t watch it anymore. I can’t make fun of something I don’t totally understand anymore. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon formed by British tabloid papers by mocking something I do not understand.

So that’s where I am now… looking at the stories that are posted on the internet where people are mocked and laughed at and it hurts me on a very personal basis. For the last week I have been suffering very badly with my depression. Before yesterday I couldn’t get myself out of bed, I didn’t open the curtains, I’ve barely eaten anything and generally, I just felt awful. It’s not because anything particularly bad has happened to me, it’s just what life with depression is like. There’s no way to say “cheer up Rob” or “think happy thoughts Rob”, these are things that are much easier said than done.

Suicidal thoughts have not entered my mind. They rarely do present in a real way. That’s the last resort kind of thought process which will always be the very end, I won’t get to that end. I will be honest with you though, they’re always there, niggling at the very back of your mind. And in a week in which the British media has distorted and fractured mental health issues in such a way to openly discredit them, I feel the record should be set straight.

I think back to the video that circulated the internet a few years ago of a young black guy singing along to Drake and Rihanna on the tube with everybody ripping the shit out of him and how recently it’s emerged he was manic depressive and was merely having a manic episode.

Sings On Tube

People tend not to understand mental disability. As a whole society likes to put those of us that do suffer with such a disability into a little brown box marked “Psychopath”. We’re not all serial killer nutters and we don’t sit listening to Joy Division whilst slashing our wrists.

There is a genuine effort by some in this country to recognise how debilitating mental illness can be with websites and adverts and segments on The One Show, some of which I will list at the end of this for you to have a look at if you’re interested. But whilst these websites are helping raise awareness with those that are ignorant, there’s still programs like EastEnders and Coronation Street which send totally the wrong message. “Lets all point and laugh at Jean, the fucking idiot.” This is how they’re portraying someone with obvious learning disabilities. How is that right

You can even look at how some people talk about Paul Gascoigne and his drug and alcohol addiction. I feel tremendously sorry for the guy and I really can’t join in with those that say it’s his own fault. It was the people around him in football that didn’t properly manage a crash like he had after the ‘98 World Cup. Within football there should’ve been a support network in place because that’s a hugely difficult place to be in. I suspect he probably had to hide his insecurities and his low feelings because of the atmosphere in the dressing room’s and in the stands in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

I feel sad for him and everyone around him because he’s been dehumanised so much that he’s no longer Paul Gascoigne. He’s now this guy that drags himself round Boscombe high on drugs, giving fishing rods to serial killers.

As I touched on before, the fault has to lie with the media. They’re the ones that paint these horrific, gruesome pictures of people as if they’re things to be pointed at and not human’s to be loved. Recently, the British press have found it upon themselves to print something that glorifies this. The Daily Telegraph, a British institution, reported on the suicides of two people from a rival media outlet. They used the fact these two people died for personal gain.

They didn’t think about the implications to family members or friends or the people that do work there. Of course they didn’t. It’s a horrifying thought but these people no longer saw the deaths of fellow humans as anything but tragic, they saw it as a way to belittle competition. I wonder how they can sleep at night?

News UK, the publisher of The Times and The Sun, has launched an internal investigation after two members of its commercial department took their own lives within weeks of one another amid fears that staff are being put under unreasonable pressure to hit targets.
In addition to the tragic deaths, at least nine other staff members from the company’s advertising arm have been signed off recently with stress-related complaints.

They might paint a pretty picture with words like “tragic”, but does anyone believe there is any sincerity in the above quote? I don’t.

But this is the kind of thing I mean. In a society where the top dogs in media can’t take mental health issues seriously and instead parade them around like some sort of sideshow attraction, how the hell is the public supposed to? This article has surely done nothing more than just point and gawk at mental disability.

So I guess I’ve gone on a bit of a strange tangent with my first entry, but I hope it’s made you think about mental anguish and how hard it is to get from one day to the next. God know’s I’ve had weeks where getting out of bed and going outside has been a serious challenge. I said in passing that every Christmas and New Year and birthday I get to, I consider it a personal achievement and that is true, I am very happy to be here for the most part. Life is a gift. I hope I’ve opened your eyes to some of the things I’ve dealt with over the past week.

I’ll leave you with these websites, if you’re interested, please do take the time to read them 🙂

www.mind.org.uk

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

www.depressionalliance.org

Thanks for reading,

Rob.

  • Fantastic stuff Rob. Thank you for sharing your experiences with depression and your take on how media and society react to them. As someone who has battled with depression in the past, I can really identify with this blog. Keep this coming, keep sharing and keep fighting buddy. Thanks for contributing to MFX!

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  • dq

    As I mentioned on the forums, very happy to see this covered, it certainly opened my eyes a bit. I only just now watched the sings on tube video though, and I don’t get it, to me it’s just a guy singing, not particularly well, not hideously bad, an every day occurrence I would have thought. Not sure why anyone tapes it or why it circulated but that’s kind of off topic I guess. I’ll just try and be more objective in my own experiences and remember that there can be very strong unseen reasons for the things people say and do.