To support Time to Talk Day on 3 February 2022, our Creative Writing Group led by Michele has come up with a series of wonderful and heartfelt pieces discussing mental health stigma.
The third piece is called “My Old China”. It features a fictive pub discussion between two male friends about depression. It is written by a client of MFT and a member of the Creative Writing Group.
“Alright Steve? Sorry I am late. What are you having? Same again?”
“Yeah, why not.”
“Two beers luv and one for yourself.”
“Oh, don’t mind if I do.” said the barmaid. “I’ll have a large gin and tonic.”
“Oh, and 2 bags of cheese and onion crisps.”
“That’s £8.99, Will.”
“There’s a tenner. Keep the change Beth.”
“Right, now what’s all this about then? You and the misses been fighting again?”
“She thinks I am having an affair”, says Steve, incredulously.
“What? You having an affair!” Will chuckles. “That will be the day. Why does Cheryl think that then?”
“Well. I ahh. You see, we ahh.” There is a nervous pause. “I h’ve been having trouble in bed recently. You know what I mean. The truth is I haven’t felt like it. And I keep saying I’ve got a headache. And now Cheryl, upfront, last night asked me, if there was another woman. And I burst into tears. Which made things worse. I didn’t know what to say. Cheryl ended up sleeping on the sofa.”
“Bloody hell, Steve. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Since my Dad died, I can’t stop crying.”
“Ohhh, I see. Have you told Cheryl?” asked Will understandingly.
“Told Cheryl what?” replied Steve inquisitively.
“That you’ re depressed.”
“Depressed? I’m not depressed.” Steve bursts uncontrollably into tears and covers his face.
Will gets up and sits next to Steve and puts his arm around his shoulder.
“There’s no shame there, mate.”
Steve sobs for a whole 2 mins snot running out of his nose. Beth comes over concerned with a hanky and signals to Will not to say anything. Steve takes the hanky from Will and wipes his nose and eyes.
“What makes you such an expert all of a sudden.”
There is another pause.
“Well, do you remember last year when I was made redundant and couldn’t find a job? And I stopped going out and answering the phone?”
“Well, things got worse. I wouldn’t get out of bed. I stopped eating. Carol was at her wits end and called my GP who was so worried she made a house call. And you know what GPs are like these days, they never makes house calls unless you’re dying. Well to cut a long story short, she told me I was suffering from clinical depression.”
“You’re kidding? Why didn’t you tell me, Will?”
“I felt ashamed and less than half a man. It took me ages to start to talk about it; how I was feeling; and to understand that, what I was suffering were symptoms of a mental health problem. Nothing to do with me as a man, you see. I needed help. And I got it. Believe me Steve. You’re not alone. I know it’s difficult, but the best thing you can do is talk about it. You can talk to me anytime. That’s what mates are for. However, I do have some bad news for you Steve.”
“Oh, yeah” says Steve concerned, “what’s that?”
“Well Steve, alcohol makes you more depressed. So, from now on it’s crazy golf on Saturdays for you and me, until you are feeling better, my old china.”
Want to celebrate Time to Talk Day with us?
Visit our Time to Talk Day page to hear about our plans or visit our blogs section to read our Time to Talk Day blog posts.