Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. In fact, more than 264 million people worldwide have been affected by depression; in the UK, one in six people will deal with a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) in any given week.
Despite the huge numbers of people dealing with depression at any given moment, there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding the mental health condition. This stigma can then lead people dealing with the condition to feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit that they’re struggling, and ultimately avoid seeking help.
That’s what makes public conversations about mental health – including stories and experiences from people in the public eye – so important, as it helps people struggling with their mental health to feel less alone. And in some cases, stories from celebrities can also serve as a poignant reminder of the realities of dealing with mental health, as Katy Perry’s new words on depression have shown.
Speaking in a new interview on Good Morning America, Perry spoke openly about her experience with depression over the last two years, describing that period as “really difficult”.
“I’ve been writing [the album] over the last two years and at the beginning of those two years, they were really difficult,” she said. “I was kind of clinically depressed coming out of that and didn’t know what my life was, and if I was gonna be – I couldn’t really even imagine living, to be completely honest.”
Speaking about her recovery journey – and how her experience has influenced her upcoming album – Perry admitted that the work she’d put into recovering was not yet over.
“Now I’ve done the work, and I’m still doing the work emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically,” she said.
“And not only that, I’m gonna bring life into the world,” she added, referring to her recent pregnancy announcement. “So it ends in a positive place so far.”
Perry’s words are a powerful reminder of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in recovery from depression. It’s easy to assume that recovery is linear, but Perry’s words highlight how living with a mental health condition is an ongoing process – that to maintain her mental health is to continue to put the work in, no matter where her head is at.
If anything, Perry’s experience should serve as a reminder to us all that living with a mental health condition requires constant monitoring, attention and treatment (whether that’s therapy, medication or self-care) – and it’s OK if your recovery journey isn’t as quick or straightforward as someone else’s.
Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
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