Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

David Walliams health: ‘It’s been very long lasting’ Children’s author’s condition

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The all-round star has been putting on a happy facade for many, many years. Yet, in his autobiography Camp David, he reveals his inner torment with depression.

Candidly, he wrote in Camp David: “It was not just the terrible elemental sadness I felt, but fear.

“Fear of death, fear of life, fear of love, fear of everything. This went on for six months.”

Starring on Bear’s Mission last summer – where celebrities try to survive two days in the wild with Bear Grylls – David spoke about his battle with depression.

“There have been periods through my life when I’ve been very, very down and it’s been very long lasting,” he said.

However, becoming a father to Alfred – who he shares with Dutch fashion model Lara Stone – has changed his outlook.

“I’m certainly in a better place now,” he admitted. “One great thing about becoming a parent… your whole life starts revolving around them.

“You do stop dwelling on your own problems so much, because you don’t have time to.”

He also sought help with his mental health and said it “really, really helped”.

What’s depression?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) differentiates depression from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in life.

Depression is defined by “depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy for at least two weeks”.

The mental health condition results from a “complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors”.

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People who have gone through unemployment, bereavement and psychological trauma are more likely to suffer from depression.

Tips to cope with depression

The NHS recommends staying in touch with friends and family, even if you feel like withdrawing.

Exercising will help to lift your mood; if you haven’t exercised for a while, commit to a 20-minute walk everyday.

If you find yourself self-isolating, or losing the confidence to drive, for example, face your fears.

“Facing up to these situations will help them become easier,” encouraged the national health body.

Another tip is to not drink too much, as alcohol is a depressant and doesn’t help you solve any problems in life.

When people feel down, they can slip into poor sleeping patterns, which involves staying up late and sleeping during the day.

Try to stick to a routine, such as sleeping by 11pm and waking up at 7am everyday.

If you’re still feeling down after a couple of weeks, you may want to book an appointment with your GP.

They will be able to offer psychological therapies and antidepressants, which may help.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

David Williams will be appearing on The Graham Norton Show, BBC One at 10:45pm on Friday, October 30.

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