OUR Phil has really lost the plot. He’s only gone and given the Press credit for something. But is it all in his head?

Phil writes:

Our media’s approach to mental illness, from Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) to post-natal depression, is much more sympathetic and informative than it used to be .

Today, newspapers, radio and television openly discuss it, just like any other medical condition. A decent night’s sleep is vital for our mental well-being. Yet a recent survey revealed one third of Britons are so job-stressed, they check work e-mails several times during the night.

And, for 75% of the population, worries about debt, unemployment and other issues come to the fore at bedtime. The next day they’re so tired and even more stressed that the cycle of anxiety continues. Today, showbiz celebrities and sporting personalities have no qualms about revealing their struggles with depression, when once they’d have been reluctant to.

From the great clown Joseph Grimaldi to Spike Milligan and Paul Merton, comedians are particularly vulnerable to mental fragility as they face rejection every time they stand up in front of the public. I always try to be supportive and encouraging to my fellow performers, despite the fact that the world of comedy can lack professional respect.

We somehow learn to cope with life’s highs and lows. But, if we suffer a relentless run of bad luck without respite, it takes a very strong person not to become so depressed they’re unable to see that a brighter future is possible.

Having a partner, family member or friend who is understanding, uplifting and prepared to really listen to your problems is incredibly important at these times.

You may not believe their positive advice at first, but, as things gradually improve, you’ll remember their words and be grateful for them.

Mental illness has no boundaries of class, age or occupation. If I’m ever affected by it, I hope someone out there will say, “Phil. It’s okay. We understand. This will pass, we’ll get through it together and all will be well.” And that will be the moment I begin my recovery.

Phil Evans writes for Llanelli Online

You can visit his website here

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