I remember coming home from school one day when I was about thirteen. As usual I went into the kitchen to talk to my mum. Mum was always quite laid back and calm.
'Mum, I'm depressed' I said
My mum rounded on me , the ferocity in her voice shook me to my core, this is what she said:
" Don't you dare use that word in this house! Depression is a very serious illness and that is a word you don't ever want to own, don't ever wish such an illness on yourself, that is a dark, lonely, ugly place you never want to visit, it will ruin your life. You can be fed-up, very fed-up, peed off, I don't care but don't ever use the 'D' word with me.'
I had never heard such a tirade from mum before, it was almost surreal.
I have never forgotten that day and indeed I have been 'fed-up' and 'very, very, very fed-up' over the years but mum's words of warning that day have always rushed back into my brain thus keeping depression at bay.
I think it's important that we teach our young people the importance of not 'owning' a feeling. It would have been easy for my mum to take a different, more 'mum like' approach as would probably happen today but I am really glad she reacted like she did.
I have two daughters aged 30 and 27 and they have heard the 'D' word story many times over the years- such was the impact it had on me.