Duke’s Diary - February 4, 2012

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It’s sad for Brad but not that bad

I can be quite sympathetic about many things but – and please help me out here with a bit of support – surely I can’t be the only man who did not entirely feel a gush, or even a trickle of pity, on reading that the actor Brad Pitt once suffered from depression.

I tried, I really did, to put myself in his shoes. You know them, they’re expensive designer ones and there are lots of them. All very clean.

I tried to imagine what would drive the unfeasibly handsome, unimaginably wealthy actor to despair. Does he wake up on a morning unable to remember whether it’s flaky Gwyneth Paltrow (dumped), gorgeous Jennifer Aniston (divorced) or Hollyrexic Angelina Jolie (still married) who is bringing his breakfast to bed?

Is he tormented by the sheer number of noughts on the end of his film contacts? Does he have problems remembering the names of all the children the Brangelina household has gathered and bred over their years together?

Or was he, as the London-based Rethink Mental Illness said “sending a powerful message to all who face mental illness in their lives.”

Oh, I know I’m neither showing the milk of human kindness here nor being particularly politically correct but if being rich, famous, handsome and constantly accompanied by the hottest women around makes you that depressed then try something else at the time. Empty dustbins, clean out toilets, sweep streets, do it really well then go home and tell your wife and three kids that you’ve still just been made redundant because we are, after all is said and done, all in this together.

I think a lot of stars with “depression” are actually getting a little confused. Try “I was feeling a bit fed up” or “I just felt like most other people feel a lot of the time - particularly on Monday mornings in winter when they don’t want to go to work but have to or the bills won’t get paid.” It’s not depression.

The mental Illness spokesman added “Brad Pitt’s story shows its possible to recover which will give many people renewed hope.” And so, probably, would Angelina Jolie bringing your eggs over easy to bed on a morning or a director offering a few more million dollars to enjoy yourself in a shoot ‘em up Oscar tipped part (but don’t go to the award ceremony – you’ll only get “depressed” if you don’t win or your wife wont let you eat the beefburgers).

I’m more with the recent research which revealed that ordinary people who work for 11 or more hours a day are twice as likely to suffer from major depression as those working the standard eight hour day. That’s 11 hours proper work Brad, not learning lines and getting into character whilst sitting in your luxury trailer.

Incidentally overtime leads to a 60 per cent higher risk of heart disease. Now there is something to make you (or actually me) depressed!

Depression is set to become the leading disease burden in high income countries (yes, we are still classed as one of those) by the year 2030 (I probably won’t be around then, how depressing is that?). It used to be colds and sniffles, then it was back ache, now official figures reveal that more than 40 per cent of most working days are caused by depression, anxiety and stress. Oh cheer up!