iPlayer Radio What's New?

Darrell’s depression – the professional’s view

Wednesday 13 November 2013, 16:53

Lol Butterfield Lol Butterfield Mental health nurse

Tagged with:

Dan Hagley (Darrell Makepeace) Dan Hagley (Darrell Makepeace)
Darrell’s depression – the professional’s view
 
Lawrence (Lol) Butterfield has been advising us on the current storyline with Darrell (pictured) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpgr/profiles/darrell-makepeace. A qualified nurse, Lol has worked in the mental health field for 30 years and is the author of the book Sticks and Stones, which aims to tackle the stigma and discrimination of mental health.
 
My work advising Darrell on his depression storyline gave me much pleasure. If pleasure is the right word to describe such a tragic and frustrating turn of events for Darrell?  My role is to attempt to provide realism and sensitivity to his plight. However this is not always possible when people’s behaviour affects those around them in such devastating ways. 
Welcome to the world of mental illness. Any of us could experience this at any time in our lives. In fact statistically one in four of us will. 
 
Darrell may be struggling at the moment but this will not last forever. If the right help is made available, the prognosis is good for depression. We have to be willing to accept help and not stigmatise ourselves by shunning the support offered. We must also try to remain hopeful. Without hope we have nothing. Sadly many men in particular feel ashamed to be open and honest when mentally unwell. They see this as a slight on their masculinity. This is why we have twice as many women as men visiting their GPs for mental health conditions, even though men experience the same number. 
Denial
Many men go into denial  when faced with mental illness and may use alcohol or illicit substances as a negative coping strategy.
 
Mental illness in any form not only effects the person but those close to them. Darrell’s case is no exception. People can be left feeling helpless and at a loss as to what to do next. 
If the person with depression does not seem to be making any progress, people can then feel as if they are to blame. Mental illness takes no prisoners. It is indiscriminate. We should all remember this when judging those with any kind of mental illness. 
I speak as a qualified mental health nurse with over 30 years of clinical experience. I have also suffered from depression so have 'lived experience'. I therefore speak as the nurse and the patient.
 
Darrell has clearly hit rock bottom. He now needs to try to climb back out of the pit of despair he finds himself in. This is never easy. His self esteem and confidence have been shattered, his thinking will have become dysfunctional, even paranoid. His window on the world around him differs greatly from that of others. 
To empathise with Darrell, we have to try to see the world through his eyes as he views it now, and support and help him to try to think and see things differently. He has experienced loss and betrayal, as he sees it. 
Empathy
He doesn't need sympathy, but empathy. If Darrell were helpless at a bottom of a well, we would try to encourage him to climb out, maybe even help him. This is what empathy is. Sympathy would be to look down on him crying, becoming helpless ourselves. This approach helps nobody.
 
While Darrell will ultimately have to take responsibility for his own actions, those around him must not disempower him from doing this. Once his mood has lifted and he can see more clearly, the recovery process begins. Unlike a broken arm or leg it is difficult to place a timespan on how long his recovery will take. Mental health differs from physical health in that  many other external factors can all impinge on any progress made. 
All those who care can do now is be there for him. If they experienced the same despair, they would expect no less from him.
Support and advice:
Time to Change
http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Mind
http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/?gclid=CPvuufrk4boCFTGWtAodESwAbA#.UoN0A3ARDEl
Sane
http://www.sane.org.uk/About_Mental_Illness/
NHS
http://www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/guide/kinds/Pages/mental-illness.aspx
Picture shows Dan Hagley (Darrell Makepeace)
Read an interview with Dan (April 2013)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thearchers/posts/Playing-Darrell
Learn more about Darrell – and Dan – in our Who’s Who 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpgr/profiles/darrell-makepeace
Lawrence (Lol) Butterfield has been advising us on the current storyline with Darrell (pictured). A qualified nurse, Lol has worked in the mental health field for 30 years and is the author of the book Sticks and Stones, which aims to tackle the stigma and discrimination of mental health. 
My work advising Darrell on his depression storyline gave me much pleasure. If pleasure is the right word to describe such a tragic and frustrating turn of events for Darrell?  My role is to attempt to provide realism and sensitivity to his plight. However this is not always possible when people’s behaviour affects those around them in such devastating ways. 
Welcome to the world of mental illness. Any of us could experience this at any time in our lives. In fact statistically one in four of us will.  
Darrell may be struggling at the moment but this will not last forever. If the right help is made available, the prognosis is good for depression. We have to be willing to accept help and not stigmatise ourselves by shunning the support offered. We must also try to remain hopeful. Without hope we have nothing.
Sadly many men in particular feel ashamed to be open and honest when mentally unwell. They see this as a slight on their masculinity. This is why we have twice as many women as men visiting their GPs for mental health conditions, even though men experience the same number. 
Denial
Many men go into denial  when faced with mental illness and may use alcohol or illicit substances as a negative coping strategy. Mental illness in any form not only effects the person but those close to them. Darrell’s case is no exception. People can be left feeling helpless and at a loss as to what to do next. 
If the person with depression does not seem to be making any progress, people can then feel as if they are to blame. Mental illness takes no prisoners. It is indiscriminate.
We should all remember this when judging those with any kind of mental illness. 
I speak as a qualified mental health nurse with over 30 years of clinical experience. I have also suffered from depression so have 'lived experience'. I therefore speak as the nurse and the patient. 
Darrell has clearly hit rock bottom. He now needs to try to climb back out of the pit of despair he finds himself in. This is never easy. His self esteem and confidence have been shattered, his thinking will have become dysfunctional, even paranoid. His window on the world around him differs greatly from that of others. 
To empathise with Darrell, we have to try to see the world through his eyes as he views it now, and support and help him to try to think and see things differently. He has experienced loss and betrayal, as he sees it. 
Empathy
He doesn't need sympathy, but empathy. If Darrell were helpless at a bottom of a well, we would try to encourage him to climb out, maybe even help him. This is what empathy is. Sympathy would be to look down on him crying, becoming helpless ourselves. This approach helps nobody. 
While Darrell will ultimately have to take responsibility for his own actions, those around him must not disempower him from doing this. Once his mood has lifted and he can see more clearly, the recovery process begins. Unlike a broken arm or leg it is difficult to place a timespan on how long his recovery will take. Mental health differs from physical health in that  many other external factors can all impinge on any progress made. 
All those who care can do now is be there for him. If they experienced the same despair, they would expect no less from him.
Support and advice:

Picture shows Dan Hagley (Darrell Makepeace)

Read an interview with Dan (April 2013)

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    I'm very glad you have written this Lol as I have felt myself getting massively frustrated with Shula's "help" and I have found myself muttering 'empathy, empathy" rather a lot! I'm a registered BACP counsellor and have had a lot of experience working with depression and addiction. I've have written a short piece on accessing help which I hope others may find useful:
    http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/depression-snap-out-of-it

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 2.

    I don't feel any sympathy, certainly not empathy with him! I don't think he is depressed, he's always been a waste of space small time criminal, looking for the easy way out all the time.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 3.

    I think it will be very hard for any long term listeners of The Archers to empathise with Darrell; he was first introduced as a 'silent' character, a prison inmate who was 'easily led' and the husband of the hard-working Elona. When he finally turned up in Ambridge, he seemed like a waste of space, and then he got involved with a dog-fighting gang. When Elona dumped him, I thought she was right to do so, he was no good for her or her family. Now, I don't particularly enjoy being preached to on The Archers about social issues/mental health issues etc., much preferring character-led drama and stories of agricultural interest, but if we must have it, let the problems affect an established character that we (or some of us, at any rate) care about. The suicide of Greg Turner, a few years ago, was, in my view, a brilliantly-written story-line and deservedly won an award for its depiction of clinical depression. But then Greg was an integral part of village life---the partner of Helen, a game-keeper who worked with Will Grundy and for Brian etc. He wasn't, perhaps, an entirely easy character to like, but he was connected. Darrell isn't connected at all---he's just a blow-in, and it beggars belief that Shula would get so involved with him---she doesn't have a history if taking in waifs and strays. And he was a whinging, unattractive character from the outset, without a single redeeming feature; you'd have to be Mother Teresa of Calcutta to care!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 4.

    Darryls Depression?

    Tosh poorly written Blow-in like all the rest

    This is an upsum of a tedious plot device


    1) Extended prison sentence for multiple criminal activity

    2) Handling stolen goods (bathrooms for Matt)

    3) Collusion in harassing aged tenants (Matts) out of their home to the point of one of them dying

    4) Stealing an employers keys, making copies, to facilitate illegal dog fighting on employers premis (Brian)

    5) Aiding and abetting dog fighting. (ditto)

    6) Accessory to GBH and use of fire arm. (ditto)

    7) Caught red handed trying to steal Charity box (TB)

    8) Conning people out of money

    9) Stealing drink

    So. What are we to make of Darrell?

    Before I made this list I was going down the road of Tosspot Maximus.

    Just get rid of the sub zero character - who cares - tedious beyond belief.

    As for the do nothing, platitude spouting, pontificating ar*e Bunter.......

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 5.

    A very good summary, Wynkyn, of the crimes of Darrell, the majority of which occurred before he was 'depressed'. Darrell may be depressed now, but he's also weak, brainless and unappealing.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 6.

    I find it really depressing myself that a professional has thought it a good idea to have depression portrayed like this. Most people with depression would never dream of stealing. Or getting drunk and trashing someone's stuff. And Darrell never takes responsibility - nothing is his fault. In contrast, most people with depression blame themselves for EVERYTHING.

    Personally (and bearing in mind the findings of Robin Dawes that tossing a coin may be as effective a tool in mental health diagnosis as consulting a psychiatrist), I can only repeat what I wrote earlier this week in another forum:

    I'm no doctor, but I worked in mental health (as a physio) for many years, and it is still my area of special interest. In all that time I obviously have met many, many people with severe enough depression to have been hospitalised. None of them had taken the piss like Darrell. I've known mentally ill people who have done things along the lines of those Darrell has done, but they have been suffering from severe psychosis, have completely lost touch with reality, and present as the 'typical Victorian picture' of madness - not even Shula would have any doubt that someone in that state would need professional help. However, I have also known people who act exactly like Darrell, talk exactly like Darrell and who give professional services the runaround just the way I suspect Darrell would do - but I've kept schtum cos of being wary of armchair diagnosis. But the people I am thinking of have personality disorders - not exactly mental illness, because it is just the way they are and psychiatric opinion is that they are largely unamenable to treatments because they are the person's core personality. These people end up in mental health services despite the theory of them being untreatable because there's nowhere else that they can be placed. They do impulsive things like self-harm, attempted suicide, risky behaviours like drug and alcohol use. They make other people's lives a misery and end up repeatedly at rock-bottom and in psychiatric care. Obviously, like so many things, personality disorders run on a spectrum, and it is perfectly possible to have one and not be in this worst-case-scenario picture. I personally think PDs are more widespread than thought, but that many, many people actually do overcome them without ever coming into contact with services. So I disagree with the opinion the PD is untreatable. The problem, I think, is that the work you have to do to change is prolonged and difficult, and requires motivation. Those at the worst end of the PD scale have no desire to change anyway, because as we have seen with Darrell, everything is always someone else's fault. I think THAT is what makes it untreatable. Sorry, I know this is another essay, but it's something that I'm really interested in. I can't work out if the Scripties are trying to write a person suffering from mental illness and are doing so really badly, or if they really are writing how someone with a PD can wreak havoc in people's lives and are doing it really well!

    Shula has done really well meeting Darrell's immediate needs for a roof over his head, food etc, and has done her best to get him to services - he has thwarted her at every turn whilst simultaneously denying that any of this is his fault. This is not a picture of depression. His very background of low-level criminality, associating with criminals and having previous convictions/prison sentences is all more a picture of a personality disorder than depression.

    I am available for consultation in the future for a small fee, and will also ensure that 92 year olds with fractures have the correct splints applied ;-)

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 7.

    AND, "Lol", FYI, empathy is defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of others". Well, I for one, CAN'T understand him, and DON'T share his feelings! So I think your use of the word is misguided. Seriously. Pass the dictionary, Auntie.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 8.

    I'm not sure what message this story-line is trying to convey. At the moment it seems to be 'don't try to help people like Darrell'.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    I think the message is that it is exceptionally difficult to help people like Darrell. I like the fact that it is a story line that is proving so intractable, difficult and boring. Dealing with people with depression and related mental health issues is all of those things and even worse if it has yet to be diagnosed. I look forward to it grinding on and I offer an 'applau' to the actor taking on a very unsympathetic role and making it all too real for this listener

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 10.

    Darrell is showing symptoms of a serious brain condition...he faculties are slowed down so much that he is almost uncomparable with the sympathetic, enthusiastic, carpenter that he used to be. Ok, not all depressed people or alcoholics end up stealing the charity box, but to have no compassion is either admitting that you don't give a toss, or a sign of ignorance in how to deal with the associated problems. If the first, then God help the world. If the second then it's Ok, you can educate yourself.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    I thought immediately "depression" when I heard Darrell struggling to cope with what Alasdair was trying to tell him. I recognised it because I know a person who was affected in just the same way. So yes folks - it is real whether or not you approve of Darrell. The person I know who suffered depression was pulled this way and that way because of events beyond his control. Darrell was pulled between trying to support his family and staying on the straight and narrow.

    In reply to Nemo - of *course* Shula would try to help him in a practical way - just as she tried to help the Grundies .. for that is what Christians do ... She lost her job because she tried to help Eddie and the Grundies .. just as she was in danger of losing Alasdair over trying to help Darrell.

    I don't think she is capable of helping him though - all the empathy in the world will not help him .. he is beyond that. He needs to see his GP .. but of course because of his MH problems he won't see him - it is a vicious circle.
    JPBS

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Well said Av8trix in msg 10

    (Blimmin' 'eck the flea again .. tick tick .. you can tell I'm watching Prof Cox ..)
    JPBS

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 13.

    "the sympathetic, enthusiastic, carpenter that he used to be."
    When was that, exactly? When he was allowing Matt to use him as the agent to bully Joyce and Arthur?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 14.

    Makepeace? Make briefcasing trouble more like. I have no sympathy for a thieving manipulatve weasel like him, Feed to to the dogs I say and give the piece of filth a taste of his own medicine.

    TA could have used the rural poverty of Ed and Emma and their travails with the former being used to show how depression can affect an individual, his family and the local community. Mental health problems run in Ed's family but the 12 year-old scriptwriters won't know that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    He was first conned by Matt into helping him with the stolen kitchen furniture - he was suspicious and asked Susan about the contact of Matt .. up to then he didn't know. From then on Matt had him in his grip .. work for me if you want to support your family. He was the sympathetic etc carpenter when he was working for Matts brother Paul - a brother who Matt had threatened by a thug .. ultimately leading to his death. Of course Matt never has MH problems .. oh no .. for he never worries about who he hurts.. and the list is very very long indeed ..
    JPBS

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 16.

    I love how others have echoed my comments but my posts are the only ones who have multiple down ratings. Very telling, that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    I have more empathy with poor Eric. Who could blame him for punching Darrell's whiny face? Why doesn't Shula take him in as he has nowhere else to go, and Darrell can go back to the Elms.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 18.

    There's nothing wrong with running a depression storyline.

    Attaching it to someone who is established as a despicable criminal might not be a great idea, though.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 19.

    Congratulations scriptwriters, you have managed to create a character very few people care about. Lordy, to hang such a serious storyline on a character like Darryll is just a waste of a good plot line.

    He was a tedious uninteresting character to start with, and now he is just plain annoying. No amount of explanation of what the character is meant to be suffering can come near the amount of suffering the scriptwriters have inflicted on us poor listeners.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 20.

    Perhaps this article might better be captioned "Depression: one professional's view". How interesting that although over 80% of mental health nurses are female, the BBC choses a male nurse to advise on this storyline.

    Viewers have been subjected to Darrell for long enough - and have heard what an unscrupulous, amoral character he is on multiple occasions, all backed up with excuses as to why things are never his fault. thus it is almost impossible to have any empathy for a man who lies, steals, endangers old folk, aids and abets dog fighting etc. Once again the SW team pick a "cause", parachute in a character, hang the storyline upon that person and expect listeners to "empathise" with that character, presumably purely by virtue of them being on TA. Whereas by first establishing how amoral and essentially unlikeable Darrell is the character is, the SW team shot themselves in the foot, with the result that even the few defenders of the character/SL on the blog describe it as "boring". Hardly a glowing recommendation!

    Listeners have been given no reason to sympathise with Darrell. Rather, he has been consistently portrayed as a man who gives into temptation and readily indulges in criminal activities, who consistently takes the easy route out in life and only gives lip-service to the harm his actions cause to those around him. Why *should* we care about such a man?

    Sadly, the message this poorly thought-out storyline actually gives is this: do not attempt to help anyone with depression, because you will really regret it. They will take over your home, your life and your family. Surely not what was planned?

    The bottom line is this: listeners do not care about Darrell. they don't care is he is depressed or is an alcoholic or both. They just want him to sling his hook and bring this terrible SL to an end.

 

Page 1 of 5

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Children In Need auctions

Tuesday 12 November 2013, 16:13

Next
'Shula is in WAY over her head' – Listener discussions to 13 November 2013

Monday 18 November 2013, 10:17

About this Blog

Backstage news and insight into The Archers. Curated by Keri Davies.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

The Archers tweets