Chaddy The Owl And Why I Am Immune To Depression

by Neil Bamforth

Depression is, I am led to believe, a bloody awful ailment. You can be extraordinarily rich and still suffer from it. People with no reason to have a care in the world have been known to commit suicide because they were depressed. If you had asked them, obviously before they topped themselves, as to why they would do such a thing they probably wouldn’t have been able to answer other than to say ‘I’m so depressed’.

That’s the thing with mental illness. It’s often hard to identify and even harder to fathom out why someone has a mental illness. You see they’re either too ashamed to admit it, unable to recognise they have it or, sometimes, too loony for it to be worthwhile asking them anyway.

There is a massive spectrum when it comes to mental illness. People can be completely loopy and living in a world of their own or they can merely be suffering from anxiety. Now when I say ‘merely’ I am immediately, if I meant it, making the mistake many make regarding sufferers of anxiety or, indeed, depression.

It is easy to say ‘pull yourself together’ or words to that effect. It is easy to say ‘anxiety? Try having a few hundred thousand mortgage and you’ll know about anxiety’ – in other words, it is often not taken seriously.

In Britain mental health is so underfunded that it is quite usual to see people wandering around talking to themselves – mind you, I suppose some of them must be on a hands free mobile. If not then we’ve even more loonies than I realised.

I myself was once diagnosed as suffering from depression. I refuted the diagnoses quite simply by pointing out that I had, at the time, been supporting Oldham Athletic Football Club for over 40 years therefore, had I been suffering from depression I would, under such circumstances and beyond a shadow of a doubt, topped myself in a gas oven or something like that long ago.

Let’s face it, supporting a football club that spends most of it’s time staving off bankruptcy by the skin of it’s teeth, avoiding relegation by even less skin of it’s teeth on a regular basis and often has a crowd of about 3,000 tops including a chap dressed as an owl called ‘Chaddy’ cheering them on you’d have to be either completely nuts or immune to mental illness.

The doctor, whilst far from convinced, decided that either I was telling the truth or had devised a dark sense of humour sufficient to control any symptoms. He was correct – er – which bit I have no idea but one of them is anyway.

It will be mildly interesting to see whether diagnosed cases of anxiety or depression increase in the USA after the election of Trump. I think cases have increased in Britain as a direct result. I must admit I try not to think about it too much myself. I’ve enough on my plate with Oldham Athletic to be worrying about without including some kind of Trump Armageddon on the horizon.

Given the ridiculous lack of funding in Britain for mental health, I imagine it’s even worse in the USA as you haven’t got a free National Health Service – mind you I’m uncertain how much longer we’ll have one the way things are going.

On the plus side we still have a free NHS for now so, even given the lack of funding, it is still possible to get treatment for free if you suffer a mental illness.

Perhaps it’s something to do with mental illness still being somewhat a taboo subject? People are often embarrassed to admit they have a problem. Sometimes their jobs could be on the line if they admit to it and, of course, once diagnosed it’s on your medical records so even getting another job could become problematic.

You would think, in the 21st Century, humanity would have grown up enough to understand that mental illness, if treatable, is also curable or, at least, controllable and yet we shy away from anyone who admits to suffering. Perhaps we assume anyone with a mental illness is one step away from our shower curtain with a carving knife in their hand or something.

I suppose you could say that there is clearly hope for anyone suffering from mental health issues though.

After all, one sufferer just got elected President of the USA.

See, there’s hope for us nutters yet!

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10 Responses to Chaddy The Owl And Why I Am Immune To Depression

  1. Rachael Reply

    March 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

    It’s a terrible disease Neil, and the stigma attached makes it even worse. I liked this article by the way. I nice change.

  2. Lyndon Probus Reply

    March 2, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Depression has increased significantly in the United States since the election of Donald Trump. Until he is removed from office I expect that trend to continue. Good article.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      March 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Ta old bean.

      Half the time the entire bloody world depresses me – well, the humanity bit anyway -…Trump’s an amateur!

  3. Michael John Scott Reply

    March 2, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    We all get depressed from time to time. It’s a normal part of life. What is not normal is when we are depressed all the time. That probably sucks.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      March 2, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      There’s 12 of us. Best pals from the age of about 4. There was 14. Lost one about ten years back to an aneurism. Lost the first about 20 years back to suicide. He never let on he was depressed or anything and we had no idea.

      To this day we just wish we’d known or guessed and maybe we could have helped.

      For 55 years we’ve been there for each other when ever needed but we didn’t know to be there for Ade.

      Every get together we toast his memory – and Jeremy who we miss terribly but at least he didn’t choose to go…..

  4. Peter Lake Reply

    March 2, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Every single day, when my feet hit the cold floor, I’m depressed. It’s because the floor is cold and Donald FUCKING Trump is president.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      March 2, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      switch the heating on mate…half the problem solved! 🙂

  5. Mark R. Willis Reply

    March 2, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    I’ve suffered from depression all my life. There are medicines you can take, and, if you keep taking them, you will be fine. If not you are quite fucked.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      March 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

      There are indeed various medications and, when they work, they can be a boon. Sadly, with the aforementioned lack of funding, often there is no suitable medication as in one size never fits all. Still, excellent yours works old bean!

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