“Your always so cheerful you put me to shame!” I exclaimed to the ever happy person who served me at the Tesco by my house today. “You don’t see me when I’m not in work though, I’ve got depression actually to” She replied “Someone actually bought me a chocolate bar yesterday for always being so happy and cheerful” She added, obviously touched by the gesture. (I guess this is the equivalent of a tip when working as a waitress – it’s that extra ‘mile’ which gives you a satisfactory ‘oomph’ to your working day – knowing you’ve made a positive difference to someone’s experience” What touched me most about this interaction was how open she was about her depression, sadly I think I still often ‘whisper’ about mine, or hope not to be heard out of fear of judgment. I’m ashamed of my diagnosis a lot of the time. However, other times I’m an open book and I’ve done written pieces, radio appearances and a TV documentary about it…I guess to made me sad to reflect on this, that firstly such a bubbly happy lady was actually sad within (to the extreme of depression). Secondly, that perhaps I’m sometimes not as open about my ‘diagnosis’ as I should be, this is possibly due to the fear of repercussions, but, largely due to fear of stigma too. But it’s sad because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I certainly didn’t ask for depression or anorexia, nor do I choose to pursue it. So why whisper it? Ok, I’m not saying it’s something to be proud of or shout from the roof tops – but perhaps if, as a society, we could be more open, we would be more able to confront it sooner and treat it better? I wouldn’t think someone with a broken leg would whisper ‘I’ve got a broken leg’ and I quiet often hear people discussing their ‘headaches’ or ‘period pains’ – so why silence mental health issues? Am I alone in these thoughts and experiences?