Fairy-tales for Grown-Ups

By August 31, 2011 Blog

First of all, apologies for the recent blog hiatus.  We’re just back from holiday and hotel wifi was like hen’s teeth.  (Which raises the much more pressing question of how  hens actually eat.   Suck corn kernels into submission? Mash it with their heads and then swallow? No wonder they’re all so scrawny). Sorry.  Moving on.. As ever, I went away armed with good intentions and acres of holiday reading.  I didn’t open a single book, but I did think …Read More

Glamourizing Misery?

By August 27, 2011 Blog

I’ve written a lot about the false stigma that surrounds depression.  But it occurs to me that we can gild it too. Here’s a a couple of myths; 1. ‘Depression is glamorous’.  For some reason we seem to consider happiness as the preserve of simpletons or at the very least, those who haven’t quite thought it through. Nonsense. Just as losing your parking space  does not equate to a dark night of the soul, genuine depression is miserable and somehow boring …Read More

Women’s Writes

By August 26, 2011 Blog, identity

Katie Price is to launch her own magazine.  I’m not sure I’ll be racing out to buy it, but it has got me thinking about what makes a good woman’s glossy  – and if I were to design one, what I’d put in it. In her book, ‘Forever Feminine: Women’s Magazines and the Cult of Femininity‘,  Marjorie Ferguson argues that women’s magazines don’t just reflect, but also define the female role in society. They do so, she claims, in a …Read More


By August 25, 2011 Blog

Perhaps you’re different, but I rarely leap out of bed with a thankful heart.  My default setting seems to be somewhere between vague discontent and low-lying worry.  To top up the moods, I’ve got a series of mental checklists that include the following: Reasons to Panic, Things That Might Go Wrong, Stuff I Haven’t Done and Really Should Have, Regrets (I’ve Had a Few), and, if all else fails, My Bum Looks Big and I’ve Got Wrinkles. Instead of challenging …Read More

Hope vs Despair

By August 24, 2011 Blog

What is it that makes us return again and again to behaviours that we know harm ourselves and other people? Why do we refuse help and choose the same old slaveries, even when they stop working? Perhaps  we are as scared of our capacity for good, as we are of our potential to be bad. Of not just letting other people down, but of the ways in which we could bless them and lift them up.  We’re frightened to hope, …Read More

Listen To Your Heart?

By August 22, 2011 Blog

The heart.  Big-screen star of Disney, Hallmark and  The Love Channel.  Soft, fluffy and shaped like Jennifer Aniston. Gets you into a sticky pickle at times, but hey – you gotta follow it – right into the waiting arms of Mr Right. (Or, failing that, Mr He’ll Do while I Wait For Brad). Of course, all this heart stuff is a whole lotta bunkum. I’d sooner follow an axe-wielding stranger  into the basement than listen to mine.  For one thing, …Read More

Does This Nappy Make My Bum Look Big?

By August 21, 2011 Blog

Here’s a bedtime story guaranteed to give you nightmares – ‘Maggie Goes On A Diet’. Maggie is a fictional fourteen year-old and the heroine of a book by the same name.  A book with a target audience of ages 6 -12. Here’s the blurb: ‘This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, …Read More

Gospel Hope

By August 20, 2011 Blog

A few days ago I was clearing out some cupboards and came across two old photo films.  I’d no idea what was on them, but popped them off to Boots regardless. Glen picked them up on his lunch break and we opened them together at the kitchen table, bathed in the afternoon sun. The first film was taken on our honeymoon.  They show two open-faced, laughing young lovers – tanned, carefree and brimming with hope and expectation. The second film …Read More

Diagnosis: Uncertain

By August 19, 2011 Blog

Are there some conditions where you’d be better off just not knowing? Illnesses or disorders which, when identified can be a help – but also a hindrance.  Not simply in the way that other people view them, but the way you view yourself? I’m thinking for example, of depression.  I can’t speak for anyone else who struggles, but in my own life I’ve  wondered if having an official label has done me more harm than good. Here’s some of the …Read More

Keep Taking the Tablets?

By August 18, 2011 Blog

The NHS issues about 40 million prescriptions a year to deal with depression.  That’s twice the number prescribed a decade ago. Recently I cornered a GP on this issue. I asked him if he felt that doctors generally were over-prescribing antidepressants. Without  blinking, he said yes. But he went on to say he had no choice. You see there’s 2 kinds of depression – one that you’re sort of born with (endogenous) and the other that is triggered by outside …Read More