Smiley, bubbly TV presenter Fearne Cotton is the last person many would assume to have struggled with mental health issues behind closed doors.
However, her candid account of battling depression is not only important in encouraging conversation about mental health, but also stands as testimony against the idea that depression only happens to certain types of people. In reality, it’s fairly non-discriminatory.
“I had a real lack of energy,” she told the Mirror of when she first started noticing the symptoms a few years ago. “I felt so drained and my lust for everything that I love wasn’t there any more.
“I’m very optimistic by nature, I wake up in the morning and I’m very excited about my day, I’m so pumped and enthusiastic about the smaller things in life and that was dead.
“Everything was a drag and felt heavy. I felt anti-social, cut-off, alienated and they were massive warning signs. Everyone has that lightbulb moment that they need to do something differently, but for me it was feeling stuck.”
At the time, Fearne was working as a mid-morning presenter at Radio 1.
“My job became a hindrance and a help. It was very draining, but at the same time it was possibly helping me in the right direction. Having one thing that feels quite normal, when everything else is chaotic, is quite healthy.”
She eventually decided to see a doctor, who identified that Fearne was suffering with depression.
“It took it away from being my fault,” she continued. “I was prescribed anti-depressants. I decided it would get my head above the clouds for a moment. I’d never taken them before so it felt like it be worth a go.”
Fearne says she was only on the medication for a short time, but long enough for her to have the uplift in her mood needed to find long-term strategies to cope with her depression.
Since then, Fearne has written a book about her experience, called ‘Happy’. She hopes it opens a dialogue about mental health that will help others.
‘Happy’ will be released on 9 February.