An open letter to Katie Hopkins

Dear Katie Hopkins,

I have no idea how I have even heard of you, but unfortunately I have - all the way from Australia. It is probably due to the completely ignorant tweets you posted which were (verbatim):

“To be diagnosed as depressed is the holy grail of illnesses for many. The ultimate passport to self obsession. Get a grip people”

“Most depression is just genuine sadness at a social situation. Like being caught in torrential rain with a bag from Primark”.

Now, I don’t even know what Primark is, but considering it is a bag I am assuming it isn’t an umbrella. It would be unfortunate to be stuck in torrential rain with only a bag, but guess what. You get dry. To compare depression to a bag, umbrella and rain is like comparing having a stroke to a large glass of wine, some party music and a curfew. There is no fucking correlation whatsoever. 

Let me tell you what depression is really like. 

It is like living in a gaping black hole that you are stuck at the bottom of, screaming for help but nobody can hear you, while someone is covering it with sand. 

It is like trying to get out of bed in the morning but your head feels like cement and you physically cannot lift it off the pillow.

It is like having a million voices going round in your head telling you that you are worthless and not good enough, certainly sometimes not even good enough to be living - so your mind swarms with this day in, day out.

It is dark. It is lonely. It is isolating. 

But you know what it isn’t? 

It isn’t a holy grail, or something people aspire to, like an Olympic medal. 

It isn’t self obsession, which you seem to have in droves and I believe that is called narcissism. 

It isn’t genuine sadness. This is where you are unfortunately uneducated, ignorant and blatantly wrong. 

Do you want some education? Well too bad, you’re going to get it. Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia amongst 15-44 year olds. The suicide rate in Indigenous men is five times higher than non Indigenous men. 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness and it is people like you that make those suffering not speak out. To not seek help. To feel ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. 

Well Katie Hopkins - congratulations. Congratulations for winning the gold medal in intolerance, for using genuine illnesses you know nothing about to bring some kind of public awareness to yourself (like I said, narcissistic), and to try and make yourself relevant in some way or another. 

To those struggling - these are the kinds of remarks that make people who advocate for mental health want to fight even harder. You won’t win against us Katie. Maybe you should get yourself a subscription to some scientific journals, or at least some kind of job so you can stay off Twitter. 

People don’t ask for depression. Much like people don’t ask to be stuck in a torrential downpour. But people with depression - the ones who stand up and fight every day for a better life and to try and get some normality again - they are dancing in the rain, sans umbrella and couldn't be prouder.

Erin MacauleyComment