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Darrell’s depression – the professional’s view

Wednesday 13 November 2013, 16:53

Lol Butterfield Lol Butterfield Mental health nurse

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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)

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Comments

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  • 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.

 

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