Black oil in the mind…

E4 is not aimed at my age group, it is a channel for young people. I had read a very good review on My Mad Fat Diary, based on a real diary kept by a girl in her mid-teens. I wondered if the reviewer was just ‘getting down with the kids’. So I watched it and was surprised how very good it is, it isn’t perfect but it works and works well. Dealing with mental health issues is not easy; dealing with teenage issues of sex, body image and so forth is equally not easy; dealing with families is not easy. This was excellent, funny, sad, moving and has some great early 90’s music. It is excellent without being hung up just on the issues, it doesn’t preach and it deals with young peoples’ mental health issues in a way that doesn’t sideline, make them freaks, or figures of ridicule. The dialogue feels right and reminds me of how I have heard that age group speak to each other when I worked with them. Sharon Rooney the lead actor is superb and is surrounded by a very good cast.

The story is based on a real diary by Rae Earl. Teenage mental health issues for many years were swept under the carpet, as if they were just naughty children. There was a time you could not officially have mental health issues until you were an ‘adult’, and not get the help needed.  For most people whether teenage or adult finding you have a mental health issue is quite disarming. I have at times had a medium level of depression, it has made unwelcome arrivals when I felt like I had a thick black oil in my mind that was hard to see a way through, even though there appeared no outside reason. Things were very bad for a couple of years but luckily for the last three years it hasn’t returned with any venom. I keep a record of how I am feeling and when the chart starts to go up try and work on things to alleviate matters. I can tell that things are going a bit awry when I stop writing, watch daytime tv, have unwanted thoughts. It isn’t easy to readjust, but as I am able to see myself as another entity, I can normally work it out. The worst thing is when people say “Just pull yourself together”, it isn’t that easy. These feelings are not wanted, but arrive like a creeping weed.

I remember reading about how TV is a depressive. You take no active part in it. Attending theatre, dance and even film has positive effects on you. Speech radio is very good for your senses as you need to use imaginative parts of your brain. Even better is actually doing the activities, such as writing, acting, dancing, visual arts. So doing this has activated something in my brain and perhaps doctors should give prescriptions to writers groups and workshops (perhaps theatre tickets!).

Today’s photograph taken at 11am on a cold, overcast day waiting for snow. It appears James Bond has cut up his canoe and dumped it outside my flat!



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