An introduction to #timetotalk day

Time to talk 2015As I said last night, we are marking the Time to Change campaign’s #timetotalk day today to encourage all our readers to take 5 minutes out of their day to have a conversation about mental health. We have a series of thought provoking articles and it may be that, like last year, some more come in on the day.

I’m going to kick off with a brief post along the lines of that covering the themes suggested by the Time to Change campaign.

My name is Caron and I have experienced Depression and Anxiety on and off since I was a child. I’m currently in the middle of the worst episode of Depression I’ve had in 12 years.

My mental illness has affected all sorts of things. At times it has been pretty life-limiting. About 20 years ago I went through a spell where it would completely overwhelm me to be in any sort of busy, crowded environment. At the moment, one of the most irritating things is that I have the concentration span of a goldfish so even the tiniest, simplest job seems to take an age to complete.  I’m ditsy enough most of the time, but not usually to the extent of heading out for an hour and a half with the dog and coming back to find the door unlocked. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, tell my husband that one… So, it is very likely that I’m going to forget things at the moment. I try to deal with it by making lists so I don’t miss stuff, but it is not a failsafe.

My greatest source of support has been family, friends and an environment where it’s become increasingly possible to talk about this sort of thing. It really makes it so much easier. When I was a teenager, there was no way I could share the darkness so I had to struggle on my own. There was no CAMHS which, once you actually get seen, is very good.  On the medical side, in the last couple of decades, I’ve been really lucky. Our GP in Nottinghamshire was very into nipping mental health problems in the bud by making sure people had access to counselling. The last time I was really ill was back in Scotland and it was the patience and dedication of the Community Psychiatric Nurse that got me through it.

My hope for the future is that there is sufficient resource put into mental health. I know teenagers in dreadful circumstances who have had to wait for a year to see a consultant psychiatrist. Allied to that, I think it’s vital that there is no cliff edge at 18. At the moment, kids move from a reasonably supported environment to not very much just like that on their 18th birthday. The support needs to go on for as long as people need it. It will save lives.

I’m taking 5 on Time to Talk Day because I don’t want others to struggle alone and unsupported and initiatives like this really help.

So that’s my 5 minutes. Please feel free to share your experiences and support each other on our pages today.

You can find out how to get involved in the day’s events on Facebook and Twitter here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Ruth Bright 5th Feb '15 - 8:53am

    Wow Caron what a gem of a piece.

  • Maria Pretzler 5th Feb '15 - 11:24am

    Thanks for writing about this, Caron.

    I sent in a rather less personal piece for today’s #timetotalk theme, but I am writing as somebody who has lost four years or so of a career to stress-induced depression.

    I think it particularly important to explain the symptoms, since depression (in its widest sense anyway) does not necessarily involve ‘being sad’.

    Lack of concentration is such a typical sign, and many people just try to go on, not even realising that it may be a sign that they really should pay attention to their mental health. It took me some time – even after I had lost the ability to concentrate on reading more than a few paragraphs at a time.

    The best description I have found for what I experienced was ‘a paralysis of willpower’. Everything that takes any sort of willpower becomes very difficult indeed – concentrating on anything for a longer stretch of time, resisting distractions, eating sensibly, getting out of bed.

    I am getting better now, it seems – and so will you, Caron. There is a time when it is possible to know this rationally, but it does not feel like it is ever going to happen. After a while, I found, you can’t really quite remember any more what it was like if you could just do things without those extra obstacles, what it is to be you without that … mental health problem. So I am just saying: it can get better, and I hope it will get better soon!

    Wishing you all the best!

  • Thanks for doing this, like you said one of the best way through these problems is being open about them and talking to the people around you.

    I hope things improve for you asap.

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Feb '15 - 12:07pm

    Well done Caron. It can be so difficult to talk about. I wouldn’t have known you were depressed. When I first found out Lib Dem Voice were taking part in Time to Talk day I went “Yayyyyyy” in my head. 🙂

  • My respect to you. Yes the teenage experience, met in many times in my work fields. Very courageous to identify it as you have. I feel quite humble.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Feb '15 - 12:25pm

    Thank you all. Maria I so relate to what you are saying. I know it will eventually go away. It always does. But part of it is that it feels like it never will. It has been coming back for short visits every now and then – like a puppy nipping at your heels to let you know it can, but this time it’s the black dog on the chest. We’ll get there.

  • Really sorry to hear things have been tough lately Caron. We’d never know from the great job you do on Lib Dem Voice. There’s some really great user-friendly info on depression on the RCPsych website. There really is light at the end of the tunnel – but we can’t always see it until we get nearer to it – even though it’s always there.

  • Stephen Hesketh 5th Feb '15 - 10:36pm

    Caron – What Judy says!

    Perhaps we could ask Nick Clegg just how he manages to be so damned resilient ;-0

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