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The Great Pretender

I don’t know why I do it. I must be a glutton for punishment.

The rage I feel when I read the comments section on Mail Online articles is extreme. I swear my blood pressure experiences a surge every time I take a glance.

I promise myself I’m going to delete the app. It’s not a news site.  It’s a place for bile, hate, judgement and poor journalism.  So many of the articles are littered with rubbish spelling, grammar and, being candid with you; I’m of the opinion many of the journalists who ‘write’ for The Mail are just extremely talented when it comes to the art of cutting and pasting.

There’s been many an occasion I’ve written about my disdain for the articles published on the Mail Online. Their obsession with women purportedly “showcasing their curves” when they just happen to be wearing a bikini on a beach or “flaunting their figure” when they’re taking a walk down the street one day is laughable.  It’s laughable as it is offensive.  These women are just living.

Recently the wife of a Premier League footballer visited her local gym a few weeks after giving birth, The Mail Online wrote this woman was “showing off her trim post-baby body”.  She wasn’t.  She was wearing sportswear and a parka coat.  There was no showing off.  She didn’t have a sign around her neck that read “LOOK AT ME EVERYONE, AREN’T I A SHOW OFF”.

Morons. Utterly moronic.

Anyhow, the reason for me writing today isn’t so I can regale you with the latest outrageous and poorly written articles on The Mail Online. No.  Today I’d like to raise awareness of something else.


Chrissy Teigen is an American model and TV presenter. She’s also married to John Legend.  As well as all of these things, she happens to be one of the funniest celebrities around at the moment.  In my humble opinion of course.

Chrissy is hilarious. She’s down to earth.  Self-deprecating.  Intelligent.  All the things I admire in a person.  She’s also honest.  She’ll tell it how it is.  She won’t think nothing of calling out bullshit in a public arena and she won’t arse kiss either.  And while I don’t know her personally of course (sadly), I like to think she’s genuine with all of these qualities she possesses.

This week Chrissy wrote an open letter for Glamour magazine. She talked for the first time about suffering from Post Natal Depression following the birth of her baby last year.

Every time someone in the public eye talks about mental health I internally applaud them for doing so because they are helping to smash down the stigma that in my opinion is still commonplace with mental illness.

Chrissy spoke candidly about her diagnosis that came about in December 2016. She decided to speak out to show that it is a condition that can affect anyone.  It doesn’t discriminate.

I commend Chrissy for doing this.

Yesterday evening I happened upon the Mail Online reporting on Chrissy’s open letter. I foolishly and annoyingly went to the comments section. I kind of had an idea of what was to come.  As well as being open about her post-natal depression diagnosis, Chrissy has also been open with her opinion of Donald Trump.  And it ain’t exactly a good one.  Thus, you can probably imagine how popular she is on the right-wing Mail Online.

“She’s been posting non-stop since the day her child was born. If you’re so depressed why all the selfies” wrote “Miss Bliss” from New York.

I eye rolled. Hard.  In fact, I eye rolled with such ferociousness it’s a miracle they’re still working today.

Allow me to educate you here “Miss Bliss” on just what it’s like to have post-natal depression.  Selfies an’ all.

2014 was probably the worst year of my life. It was my first full year of being a Mother.  I felt shell-shocked, panicked, anxious, sad, angry, stressed and isolated.  Despite having a wealth of well meaning, supportive people around me, I’d never felt so alone in all my life.

I knew I wasn’t well. I knew I wasn’t myself.  I knew this wasn’t right but I was scared.  Scared to admit just how bad things were.  Certain I’d overcome it in my own way.  Certain I’d snap out of it.  And certain that life had to carry on as ‘normal’ as can be.

I’d paint the picture. I’d exhaust myself by pretending that everything was A OK, that I was coping, that life was good.  That I was happy and settled and everything was as it should be during my first year of motherhood.  I’d never admit I wasn’t coping.  I’d never confess to feeling anxious.  Even when I was seeing a therapist for the first few months post-partum, who was helping me manage my OCD and anxiety, I’d never let on just how bad things were.  Partly through fear of being judged but also through fear of having to come to terms with the car crash that was my emotions.

To my friends I was Rach. I tried to put on this façade that everything was fine in my world, when in reality it was far from fine.  Still active on social media, still attending nights out and parties; posting selfies that told a totally different story to what was really the truth.

The façade broke down in December 2014 when I could no longer carry on pretending just how bad things had got.

I was exhausted.

I won’t do it very often but there are times I will scroll through my Instagram or my camera roll and go back as far as 2014. I see myself smiling in the hundreds of photos I took that year but I know the truth behind that smile.  I know exactly what was going through my head, the emotions I was feeling, the sadness that would hit me when I woke in the morning.

So “Miss Bliss”, just because Chrissie has posted selfies on Instagram, or shared fun photos of herself and her daughter on Snapchat that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel sad or overwhelmed or angry or anxious. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have post-natal depression and is trying to come to terms with how or what she is feeling.  Ignorance isn’t bliss, “Miss Bliss”.  It’s dangerous.  It’s unhelpful.  And the stigma surrounding mental illness will always be there whilst ignorance is exercised.

Chrissy, you won’t read this. Not in a month of Sunday’s.  But I hear you.  I get you.  And I know.  I just know.

If you’d like to read Chrissy’s open letter here is the link.

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