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Dear depression

Joanna Woodward by Natalya Chagrin
Joanna Woodward by Natalya Chagrin

by Joanna Woodward

We’re delighted to be to featuring actor and writer Joanna Woodward’s letter to Depression, which she describes as her ‘battle-cry’ after her own experience of maternal mental health issues.

Dear Depression,

As I go into battle with you once more, I think I need to warn you of a few things, so that we’re on the same page.

First of all, I don’t have time. You see, when you come along, there’s usually something else I’d rather be doing. Sometimes it might be practical things like washing bottles or doing a food shop, but quite often you show up when all the work is done, my husband is home and I’m ready to unwind on the sofa with a glass of wine and a Netflix series. I realise it looks like I might have time for you at this point, but I don’t. The thing is, I really need those moments to unwind in a more calm and positive way. I know you think you’re doing a good job of warning me about all my misdoings and you think you’re keeping me safe in a little duvet cave but it’s just not working out. It’s not you, it’s me. I Don’t. Have. Time.

Secondly, I’ve really grown as a person over the last few years. I’m a lot more in tune with my emotions and what I really want in life. Granted, I make mistakes. I really regret the times lately when I’ve left the key under the mat for you to let yourself back in and into my bed. It just hasn’t been fun for me, not even a little bit. I used to think I could learn things from you, and I have, but nowadays you just leave me feeling shaky and tender, and not in a good way, Romeo. 

And no, before you ask, long distance isn’t an option either. I’m quite bored of even suspecting that you might want to meet up with me to be honest.

That means today, tomorrow and in a year’s time when you think you can call up for that cheeky rebound session. Not available.

Thirdly, these little tricks you keep playing on me to make me feel like I’ve got control of you are rubbish. And really damaging. I don’t want to pretend anymore.

I don’t want to just cope with how you make me feel and then wonder when you’re going to swoop in again to knock me off my usually resplendent high horse. So I’m being honest with you. I am writing this letter so that you GET THE MESSAGE. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE. And you know what, I’m doing alright. No, not perfect by your standards but really, really alright. Perfect doesn’t exist anyway, man! It’s about time you learned that life is a series of choices. It doesn’t matter which route you choose, just as long as that route is true to you in that moment. Some things don’t pan out, but that doesn’t mean we have to have a super-galactic shit-fit every time things get a little bottled up. Let it out, man. Life’s too short.

I just really need to take some time to focus on myself and that is what I’m going to do. Don’t try and convince me otherwise and don’t try to tempt me when I’ve had a glass of wine – I do that to have fun with my friends, why do you have to be such a killjoy?

Genuinely, just don’t even bother. I am smarter than you, we know this. Accept it.

Bye mate, get gone. And don’t even think about visiting my friends, those people don’t have time for you either.

Never yours,


THIS PIECE WAS REVIEWED BY professor mary nolan.

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