Health

Susan Calman: The Scottish comedienne’s depression is no laughing matter

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Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Susan Calman is well-versed in witty remarks and laughable fodder. It’s with this sense of humour, though, that she drew attention to a serious matter.

“If you make people laugh, you can tell them things that might otherwise be uncomfortable,” she told The Herald in 2016.

Speaking about her tell-all book Cheer Up Love: Adventures In Depression With The Crab, Susan spoke about her own personal struggles with the condition.

“I very much wanted to make it a fun book,” she confessed, “but also an honest book.

“To try and explain exactly what the depression is like, you have to be quite honest about it.”

In the book, Susan revealed at 16 years old she would self-harm, feeling so low as to attempt suicide.

Sectioned in hospital for her own safety, Susan admitted she “still finds it difficult to talk about”.

“It’s something which is part of my life,” she candidly expressed. “It’s something which I feel almost embarrassed about sometimes.”

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Are you suffering from depression?

The charity Rethink Mental Illness defined depression as a “long-lasting low mood”.

Affecting your ability to do everyday things, depression “is one of the most common mental health illnesses”.

Symptoms of depression require medical assistance if you’ve experienced the following signs every day for two weeks or longer:

  • Low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry
  • Having less energy to do certain things
  • Losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy
  • Loss of concentration
  • Becoming tired more easily
  • Disturbed sleep and losing your appetite
  • Feeling less good about yourself (loss of self-confidence)
  • Feeling guilty or worthless

People suffering from a low mood may feel less pleasure from things, feel more agitated, lose interest in sex and have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

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Treatments for depression can include talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Other talking therapies may include counselling, interpersonal therapy, bereavement counselling, or behaviour activation.

The type of therapy you may be offered will depend on the cause of your symptoms and their severity.

Self-care is crucial to good mental well-being, which includes your diet, exercise, and relationships.

Caffeine, from tea, coffee, or fizzy drinks, and alcohol need to be limited.

Keep hydrated by drinking up to eight glasses of water every day, and avoid skipping meals.

Your diet needs to consist of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and oily fish if you’re not a vegetarian.

These lifestyle adjustments may not have an instant impact on how you’re feeling, but they’re important for long-term recovery.

“Exercising regularly can help your mood,” testified Rethink Mental Health.

Any form of exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you breath faster is going to be good for your physical and mental wellbeing.

Ideas include going for a walk, cycling, gardening, jogging, the gym and housework.

Take one step at a time. However, if you’re struggling book an appointment with your GP.


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