Well, here’s something I never thought I’d say, “today, we sat on the This Morning sofa and had a chat with Amanda Holden and Ben Sheppard.”
It all started last week. Someone from the Wales Online asked me whether it would be ok to run my postnatal depression story on the website accompanied by a doctors take on the illness to help back it up a bit.
I was a little bit apprehensive about it, but eventually I thought to myself that since it’s already in the public domain via my website, then why not have it reach a wider audience? After all, part of the reason for publishing the story on the blog in the first place was to try and normalise the whole thing. If another person would see the post, which can be found here, then maybe that will be another dad who may open up and talk about it. It’s all about creating that snowball effect that helps more and more people as the story spreads.
One thing I didn’t account for when I said yes to that news post, was that other outlets would pick it up. The very next day it was on the Daily Mail, The Mirror, the Sun, and I’m not even totally sure how many other places. Then my phone was suddenly lighting up with notifications via the blog, Facebook or even my personal email with requests to appear on This Morning, Lorraine, Good Morning Britain, and then BBC Five Live. I think there were others, but they all got lost in the confusion. Suffice to say, it was bloody surreal.
It was a hard couple of days for Rachel. Seeing the comment sections of the news articles, as well as those on Facebook and Twitter was a hard read. As you would expect with the internet, I got slagged off quite a lot. People called me a terrible dad and a monster, they abused me for apparently trying to steal away a woman’s issue and turn it into a male one, they also slated Rachel for even allowing me near Isabelle. As you would guess, it upset Rachel quite a bit. I on the other hand, really didn’t care. These people don’t know me, and they don’t actually care about this. For them this is just the current topical thing for which they can sling their abuse at. Do they care now? No chance. It’s old news.
In the end, though, and after plenty of discussion with Rachel, we opted to go with This Morning. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t want to do it, well, neither of us did. To be exposed on national TV and sit there in front of however many people and tell them how I hated Isabelle was a daunting prospect. But I ultimately felt that it wasn’t about me, I’m done with postnatal depression, I’ve come out the other side. This was about those who are suffering and those who might still suffer.
Doing the Show
As you would probably expect, it wasn’t exactly an enjoyable experience in the build up to the show. Almost every waking minute after saying yes was spent thinking over what I was going to say. I was worried about having them say something simple like “when did you know something wasn’t right?” And me just bricking it and replying “shit” on national TV. And there was a part of me that had to take into account the fact that they might try and tuck me up and get me to say something stupid, despite saying that they wouldn’t.
But I did my work and I employed a tactic called positive visualisation. I’d used it before when I did my skydive, and in essence, it involves you going through a situation in question as many times as you can in your head. I would lie there and go through the interview, start to finish, multiple times a night. That way, when I was actually there, my brain would think “well I’ve been here before” and accept it, and hopefully not get as nervous. It worked incredibly well for the skydive, my wedding speech, and I think it worked here too. Well, you can judge for yourself:
My Issue With This Morning
This is less an issue with This Morning, and more an issue with these types of shows in general. And it’s the fact that individual topics are over incredibly quick, and they’re immediately on to the next subject. I understand it, they have a show to run, and in general, people don’t like to absorb themselves in one topic in too much detail. But there’s the problem. This issue, much like many others covered on the show, is one that needs more than 7 minutes of air time.
I guess I’m a little different than most in the sense that I like lengthy, drawn out discussions about topics and issues, even if I didn’t have much interest in them prior to listening. I listen to things like the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, whose podcasts feel short if they last under 2 hours. That means he has anywhere up to 3/4 hours talking to a guest about anything from political correctness, health and diet, mushrooms, UFC, space, and hundreds of other topics.
When you listen to people talk about an issue in that much depth for that amount of time, you actually get to understand it. Not only do you get it, but it stays with you. It helps to shift your perspective on life and on other people’s views and introduces you to new ways of thinking. I used to hate the idea of hunting, and thought anyone who did it was a terrible person. Then I listened to 2+ hours of hunting discussion and my thoughts changed. Now, I understand it. I still wouldn’t want to do it myself, but I get why someone does.
What was frustrating with This Morning is how much I felt was being left out. And how many people quickly took to Twitter to abuse me when the things they were slating could’ve easily been discussed had it been a 2 hour chat. Now, I’m not saying that they should’ve given me that time, obviously it wouldn’t work, I’m just saying that I don’t see these types of shows as the way forward. I prefer depth to a topic rather than just being broad and covering a lot as quick as you can.
Either way, going on This Morning was a bizarre experience, and it’s something that Isabelle can use when she’s older and has to do one of those awkward ice-breaker things where everyone has to say three weird facts about themselves. She can simply just show everyone this: