An incredibly brave Kirsty Blackman MP speaks openly about the impact of massive workload, the Brexit mess and the lockdown on her mental health, and her struggle. Here she makes a difference.

First published in September 2020.

I have no idea how to post about this but I feel like I should.

We are living through a global pandemic. Life has changed in ways nobody predicted and we couldn’t have imagined even at the start of 2020.

Many of us have been ill. Far too many have lost loved ones. We have not been able to seek the comfort of spending time with those we love.

At the start of 2020 my mental health was likely already on a shoogly peg and the massive increase in workload coupled with trying to be a perfect parent, on the back of three general elections and the mess that is Brexit meant I needed a break so badly to recover from it all.

I don’t have a job where it’s possible to take time off. At least without feeling guilty. I have been working full time since I was 19 and I’ve never been signed off.

This summer I have needed that time. I have been so grateful for the support from the SNP Westminster team, from our First Minister, from politicians of all parties, from my wonderful staff and from so many constituents.

It is unusual for a politician, or anyone in the public eye, to talk about their mental health issues. Only a break and antidepressants has got me to this level of recovery.

The worst thing was the lack of energy. Some days I couldn’t find the energy to get off the sofa. I felt so sad and worried all of the time. Eventually I was diagnosed with moderate depression.

I’ve also been more introverted than ever before. I usually love the company of others but I’ve found it so tiring to spend time with people this summer.

I’m not yet better. I am much better than I was but not back to my usual enthusiastic, optimistic self. Recovery is a really slow process, especially in the midst of a pandemic.

If you’re in the same situation I am, or in a worse place, please keep working with your medical professionals. If your antidepressants are not working or are causing side effects, go back to your GP who can prescribe an alternative.

This is a long road for all of us. Please know that you are not alone.

It is okay to not be okay.🔷

Kirsty Blackman, Scottish National Party MP for Aberdeen North.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 25 September 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Twitter/@KirstySNP.)

PMP Magazine articles are FREE. Please do share this article widely.
Members of PMP Magazine can read our articles first. We call this “THE TIMEWALL”. If you too would like to receive all our articles in your inbox before everyone else, BECOME A MEMBER NOW!