Depression Can Be Fun


SKU paperback Category

175 in stock


By Helen McNallen

ISBN: 9781849912013
Published: 2010
Pages: 262
Key Themes: depression, bi-polar disorder, autobiography, empowerment, relationships


Depression Can Be Fun is an initiative of Helen McNallen who has suffered from Clinical and Bipolar Depression and wants to help others and spread the word. The book’s name originated from the ‘black comedy’ of her experiences of manic depression and is certainly not meant to offend or belittle Depression. Humour is a powerful antidote to Depression as she found out and you will find out in the book. It is also an acceptable medium to explain Depression and take away the misunderstandings and stigma still sometimes attached to depression. The book is concise, accurate, humorous, sympathetic and informative all at once and gives a relaxed approach to dealing with depression and reminds us that although life is hard, if you look closely and long enough, you will find something to make you smile. Whether you are depressed or not, we will all encounter depressed people, and understanding depression and mental illness can make us more helpful to them.

About the Author

Helen McNallen is 41 and lives in Nottinghamshire. Helen was diagnosed with physical and mental exhaustion in 1998, with clinical depression in 1999 and then bi-polar depression in 2003.
Having suffered a breakdown as a trader in the city of London and subsequent depression for many years, she is keen to help others avoid the terrible grips of Depression and its side effects by raising awareness of depression and supporting people in any way she can. Helen has set up a website to support and inform depression sufferers and their carers, and has written Depression Can Be Fun to help others capture that glimmer of hope that she lost sight of for a long time. Helen also works with the NHS and is involved in the Time to Change nationwide anti-stigma campaign.

Book Extract

Hello to you and a very warm welcome to my book, Depression Can be Fun. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “Can it?” Read on and see.

I hope you’re well and that today’s been good to you so far.

I wonder what your reason is for picking up this book.

Maybe it’s out of interest, maybe you yourself are suffering or have suffered from depression or maybe you know someone, a loved one or a dear friend or colleague who is suffering from depression or you think may be suffering from depression. I wish that it could be the first ‘Maybe’ for everyone and that none of you have had to go through or will ever go through the depression that cripples people’s lives. But let’s get real here Helen, if the statistics are correct (and who am I to doubt them!) currently 3 million people in Britain alone are diagnosed with depression, which in varying degrees affects most people at some stage in their lives. Apparently only half of the people suffering from depression actually seek medical help. The other half go into comedy!

My name is Helen McNallen. I have officially suffered with depression since 1999. When I say officially, that is when I finally conceded to seeing a doctor about my condition and the doctor officially diagnosed my clinical depression in Spring 1999. I had been doing some very strange things for up to a year before that however, which would have set alarm bells ringing if I had known then what I know now.

It was 6 months after I started a new job and 3 months after I got married.

My husband really drew the short straw. He waited until 40 to find ‘The Right One’ and as soon as he married me, I became someone else and certainly not the person he had met and fallen in love with some 8 years earlier. He fell in love with a NORMAL, fun loving, positive, athletic, energetic, determined, busy, intelligent, city trader. I turned in to a depressed, unconfident, lethargic, overweight sloth. His ‘cliff edge proposal’ was just the start!

I was totally happy as the first person and longed for her to come back when I turned into the second person. I did not like the second person at all. I felt like a completely different person. I felt like I had lost the real me. I could hardly believe what had happened.

But then if I look back now at how unhappy I was in my job, the stress I was under at work, the long hours that I was working versus the hours I was resting, and my obsession with organizing my home life and keeping fit and worrying about everyone else, it was a potent recipe for Disaster and Depression.

My career had meant everything to me. I had put off having children because of my determination to succeed and provide security for myself and my partner. I felt all the more need to achieve as I had made myself the major breadwinner in our partnership. The more money I earned, the more money we spent. When you earn more, you can always spend it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t live up to their means. I know many people who live beyond them. It became a vicious mental circle that I had to keep going at my unreasonable pace to sustain our standard of living. I was terrified of losing what we had. The more we did have, the more terrified I became of losing it. I was fuelling my own fear.

I thought of downsizing drastically by selling our house, by selling our luxury items before the inevitable happened and we were forced to downsize.

The fear escalated because I so hated the job that was sustaining this lifestyle. I had already sealed my own fate by leaving a firm that I loved and a job that I was very happy in for a lot more money and a job that I hated and a lifestyle that needed the job to sustain it.

Humans have basic primary needs of food, water and shelter. If we don’t have these, we die. Then come commonly shared emotions and physical needs. If these are not met, we are unhappy.

Unhappiness in one area of your life often leads to unhappiness in most other areas of your life and it can be very easy to blame the wrong area of your life as the culprit for your unhappiness.

My job was my unhappiness but for a long time I blamed my husband for my unhappiness. Both my job and my husband were NEW in my life and I felt like my Depression was NEW as far as I was concerned. I blamed the wrong one.


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