“Hi-yaaaaa!” the voice chirruped. “I haven’t seen you in aaaaages. What have you been up to?”
 
Bollocks. It was one of my friends. Or to be more accurate, one of my Facebook friends. Since adding me after we’d met on a hen do, I’d been privy to photo after photo of her perfect family life. She’s the sort of person I aspire to be when I’m a grown-up. And the last person I wanted to see when I hadn’t been ‘up to’ anything and in actual fact had been well and truly down.

I’m Stacey, a thirty-something Scottish lassie living in Manchester. I reside in a flat I love, I have an erratic, but fulfilling, work life and was first in the queue when family and friends were being handed out. To some it may seem that things are great for me.  And a lot of the time they are, but having suffered from depression on and off for the last twenty years, there are many occasions when I wish I didn’t even exist.
 
I almost laughed when someone once commented that I’m ‘always in a good mood.’ Just on the inside of course, ‘cause obviously depressed people don’t find anything funny. It did make me question whether I was living a lie though. Okay, my immediate family knew about my depression, aswell as a few close friends, but that’s all. I’d felt too ashamed to tell people. 
 
For some reason, which now surprises me seeing as I couldn’t even say the ‘d’ word, I had the crazy idea to start a blog about my experiences with depression. I mulled over it for a few months but then decided to go for it and Bitten by the Dog was born. I linked to it on Facebook so that there was no going back (I could easily pull a post down but I couldn’t exactly say ‘Ha! That was just a joke!’’ once I’d ‘outed’ myself.) I immediately felt sick. What on earth had I done?
 
 

What I’d done turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The support and feedback I’ve received has been phenomenal. I’ve not had a single negative remark. Even the person that said he’s had no experience with depression (lucky bugger!) so thought it would be incredibly boring, reckons it’s a really enjoyable read.

And as for my Facebook friend, turns out things weren’t so perfect for her. As when I started mumbling that I hadn’t been up to much, she told me that she’d read my blog and confided that she’d had terrible post-natal depression with both of her kids. She said she envied me for being so open and wishes she could have talked about it back then as it may have helped her. A problem shared as they say….

 
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