Read our posts about depression

How Food Can Affect Depression

How Food Can Affect Depression

There is no one answer to treating depression and anxiety. A recent visit to MQ, a new charity funded by the Wellcome Trust to assess different approaches to treating mental illness such as depression, convinced me that my best bet is to combine multiple approaches: drugs if need be, mindfulness, exercise, therapy, but also to be careful with the food I eat. I have never considered myself a bad eater. It wasn’t as though I ate poorly before I became ill. At the height of my depressive episodes I couldn’t eat at all but as I recovered, instinctively, I felt I could no...
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How Sports Protect Girls' Self Esteem

How Sports Protect Girls' Self Esteem

From birth, a child begins to explore her body – what it can do, how it can be controlled, what gives it pain and pleasure.  Her body is not a thing but a process and tool.  But later in childhood something happens that transforms her body into an object that is constantly viewed and judged and pitted against an ideal physique.  No one who loves her wants this to happen.  Her parents tell her that she is more than her looks.  Her teachers coach her in self-acceptance.  But by the age of 10, there is a fifty-fifty chance that she will be dissatisfied with her weight, shape...
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Losing My Identity: Sally Brampton

Losing My Identity: Sally Brampton

Quite recently, I lost my identity, which sounds rather careless given that I hadn't, until some days had passed, realised it was missing. It started with a phone call, one sunny morning. Something I had loved, and had spent years involved with in happy occupation, was taken away. It took all of three minutes. I put down the phone and looked around the room. Nothing had changed. Everything was still in its place. But everything had changed. Once I had dusted myself down, I shrugged and thought, "Well, that's that. Time to move on." I didn't take it...
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The Beautiful Game and Depression

The Beautiful Game and Depression

Footballer Gary Speed, former captain-turned-manager of the Welsh national team, had movie star looks, a million pound mansion, a beautiful young wife and two sports-obsessed sons. He seemed to have the world at his feet. But three years ago he took his own life after an embittered battle with depression. With the World Cup in Brazil only days away it is easy to cloak our footballers with the super human strength of gladiators in Ancient Rome. However when the arena clears and the applause dies away, cases like Speed’s are sadly far from rare. A study carried out by...
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Culture Tip: All in the Mind

Culture Tip: All in the Mind

I had to stop the car when I was driving home from the Tavistock clinic recently. There was nothing wrong with me, or the car, I just needed to focus on what was happening on the radio. A young woman, Sally, suffering from long-term depression and what she described as a ‘constant state of disassociation’ was telling presenter Claudia Hammond why she was nominating her friend, George, in the individual category for the BBC All in the Mind 25th Anniversary Awards. She read out part of the email she had sent to the programme in support of her nomination. Anyone who...
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Coming Off Anti-Depressants

Coming Off Anti-Depressants

After over a decade of taking anti-depressants I am now drug-free. I don’t feel entirely comfortable using that phrase, not least because I am an asthmatic and use inhalers on a daily basis, but most importantly because it feels far too evangelical, too much as if I have achieved a superior state to the one of being ‘on drugs’ and I don’t believe that one bit. I first took anti-depressants because someone tried to rape me. It was in broad daylight on a university campus. I was a long way from home, a student learning a foreign language during a long summer holiday...
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Help Beat Depression by Reading Poetry

Help Beat Depression by Reading Poetry

We are sent what we need. So it proved recently when I finished an eight-week mindfulness course with the inspirational Anna Black, teacher and author of Living in the Moment with Mindfulness Meditations. I suspected she believed in the healing power of words as she had introduced several poems on our course. As I was leaving her class one rainy Tuesday evening recently, I told her that I shared her enthusiasm for poetry.  It transpired that she had written a dissertation looking at the therapeutic role of poetry in the teaching of mindfulness as part of her Masters...
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What is Trauma?

What is Trauma?

Trauma happens just as sure as life happens. We can be happily bumbling along one minute and the next, reeling from the shock of an unexpected event. Trauma is a deeply distressing experience that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless, angry and scared. Many people describe a huge sense of loss following a traumatic event. Trauma affects both the mind and body, resulting in a set of symptoms, that continue long after the event has ended. The effects of a traumatic experience can seep through families, friends, colleagues and neighbourhoods leaving a trail of...
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Beat Blue Monday

Beat Blue Monday

As if Mondays didn’t always get a bad press for being the most miserable day of the week, now apparently we need to be alert for the fact that today is Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year. Although not actually proven by science, anecdotally it would seem that the perfect storm of bad weather, post-Christmas family angst, a flurry of credit card statements, and the dawning realisation that we’re wobbling on our New Year’s resolutions, can make even the most glass-half-full person feel bleak. To some extent, the idea of one day of the year being worse than...
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