Video: Ridiculous 999 calls WMP (Birmingham Mail)
Alastair Campbell has admitted that he would let his partner Fiona Millar ‘take blame’ for his mental health issues at the height of his battle with depression, because it was easier than facing up to his illness.
The former political aide, 63, who has struggled with bouts of depression, appeared with his long-term partner Fiona, 62, from their North London home and spoke about the affect his condition has had on her over the years.
Journalist Fiona confessed that it took her a ‘long time’ to understand the extend of his depression, and that she would secretly cry when she went swimming, because she felt she was ‘unable to make him happy’.
‘I didn’t know it for a long time,’ said Fiona. ‘It took me a long time to work out what was going on. So now I can understand it better than I used to, because I don’t have to take blame for it anymore.
‘But the trouble is, for people who don’t know what’s going on, it’s difficult and you immediately get cast down by the situation. So If I can do anything in this situation, it is to say, “It’s not your fault”.’
Alistair went on: ‘First of all to say, I as the depressed person would play into that. It quite suited me to think “I can let let Fiona think it was all her fault”, so I didn’t have to own up to it myself.’
It was when he was 28 that the extent of Alastair’s depression revealed itself, and he had his first breakdown which led to and an on off relationship with anti-depressants.
Fiona explained that it took her a long time to adjust to her partner’s illness, and that she herself was left ‘very depressed’ because she ‘didn’t know what to do’.
‘Now I try and just be myself and carry on as normal,’ she told. ‘But that is relatively recent. The first 25 years, I went around the place feeling very depressed.
‘I would go swimming and cry while I was swimming, because I didn’t know what to do and I thought, “Why can’t I make him happy?”. But it’s really taken a long time.’
He told that his psychiatrist even asked to meet Fiona and her three children, to tell her that her partner’s illness ‘isn’t her fault’.
‘I saw a psychiatrist who said I want to meet your wife and children so he could say to them it’s not your fault’.
Sharing his advice for the loved ones of those suffering with depression, he went on: ‘Don’t tell someone “You have lots going for you, don’t say just go for a walk, think about the good things in the world”.
He told that they should simply ‘be there’ for their loved ones, while still ‘giving them space’ to deal with their condition.
Alastair previously told how he evaluates his mental health every morning, rating his mood on a scale of one to ten – with one being ‘utterly delirious’ and ten being ‘not able to face it anymore’.
Explaining his method today, Alistair said: ‘Today is a really interesting example, I couldn’t sleep last night for some reason.
‘So when I did get out of bed, I said “How are you feeling” and it wasn’t good. It was a five, which is when I start to worry I could go either way, but living with Fiona helps, the fact we both went for a swim helped and now I’m up to a four.
‘It’s not a thing I have hanging around me the whole time, it’s just every morning. I have little tactics now when I feel I’m going too far to the manic or depressed end, I have these tact tics I can use.
‘So I’m now in better shape than when I woke up, because i’ve done some of those things.’