Girl Talk: The pretty face of depression

Girl Talk

I woke up this morning feeling like my head was filled with helium. It's the kind of ominous flu-fog that makes you want to curl up in a little ball and tell the world to bugger off for the day. But, because you work for yourself and have blog content to upload and a list of 254 things to get done and 3547 emails to check and a flight to book and errands to run, you dutifully report to your MacBook rather than treating yourself to a sick day. Call me Martha Martyr.

Thankfully, I've been somewhat awoken from my stupor, so I can pen this here post... apologies if I'm lacking in coherency! I showered (very important), put on some mascara, took myself outside to get a little Vitamin D care of the sun and patted my dog, and then my bestie dropped by to have a quick chat and deposit a cute card and gift in my hands (you can buy the necklace at GWAS sponsor site FrockYou!).

But some days nothing will get you out of the dumps – particularly if your body, mind and spirit are all singing the same dreary Coldplay tune, which Lyndsey Rodrigues, 28, who bravely talked about her depression in The Sunday Telegraph this past weekend, would know only too well.

Not feeling yourself is something I've become accustomed to in my recovery from eating disorder. Like a woman who dyes her hair so often she forgets what her natural colour is, you forget what it's like to be fit and healthy and energetic and exuberant. Functioning at 100% is impossible. Your mind is so frazzled that it's impossible to give your creative/cerebral/verbal/physical/spiritual all. I'm surprised Rachel Zoe gets anything done in a day; clearly her body has gotten used to the deprivation.

Anyway, imagine being a public face and battling a debilitating mental disorder like depression. Having to front up to work with a smile on your dial to have your makeup applied when all you want to do is make like a Hobbit and hole up in your bedroom. I applaud Rodrigues for being so open about her mental health issues: particularly as her health would seem so at odds with her role as the host of Channel 9's What's Good For You (she's also on the cover of Men's Style this month). I've no doubt a lot of women felt relieved to know that someone so seemingly PERFECT could experience something so debilitating.

Talking to the Tele, Rodrigues says she's experienced depression since her teens, but her symptoms worsened when she returned from the U.S.(where her show, MTV's TRL was replaced by It's On With Alexa Chung) and after breaking up with her fiance. Like my eating disorder symptoms, it seems Lyndsey's depression was laying dormant (she's had it since her teens) until the right environmental trigger factors came along.

"At my worst moments, it was almost like a fog I just thought I was never going to come out of," she says. "It would sometimes last for days. I would cry for no reason, felt depressed and I didn't want to leave my house... I found coming home really hard to adjust to. If it weren't for work, I just didn't leave the house and made excuses not to see friends and all that stuff."

Rodrigues manages her illness with anti-depressants and sessions with a psychologist, and is working with beyondblue to reduce stigmas associated with mental illness. With such a bright future ahead, I hope she finds her way out of the fog permanently.

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Teneal said...

What a strong woman. Actually, both of you are. I am a depression sufferer and found myself nodding along through your whole post.

I am quite open about my depression, mainly because I am frustrated that an illness I have had for years, and is so common, has such a stigma.

Thank you for posting this :)

Kirsten said...

I followed the link to the article that you provided and it annoyed me greatly that someone very narrow minded suggested that maybe people with depression find life here in Australia too easy, so therefore it's boring... Obviously they haven't known someone close to them who has suffered depression..

It's narrow minded people like them that frustrate and upset me, someone who is a sufferer myself from depression.

I applaud Lyndsey for speaking up in this article, it shows that someone who is in the media spotlight a lot / a "celebrity" suffers just like anyone else.

Joni said...

I really like this post. The verse is awesome. It totally sums up the whole issue.

Alison said...

Great post Erica.
You're right- sometimes just venturing outside with you chin up and a smile on your face is a courageous and brave thing to do!

Messy Jackie O said...

Love this! I'm still getting over my ED and am still kind of suffering from EDNOS (i think those thoughts are something you never really get over) so thanks for posting this!

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