What I've been thinking of recently is the people who have managed to lead successful lives despite being depressive. If you haven't ever really suffered depression, it's difficult to explain how it circumscribes your life. I know that I have to be careful not to over-commit myself to activities when "well" because when the low points come, I cannot do more than just function. And then I let people down. I do.
I'm amazed that someone like Alastair Campbell managed to hold a very responsible and high-profile job because the thing is, you never know when it's going to come back and get you. The ultimate bogeyperson. It makes life feel very risky. I'm not a great fan of Tony Blair but when Campbell told him about his mental health issues prior to working with him, Blair said "I'm not bothered". That sounds a bit callous but I think it was a blokish way of saying "it's all right".
Of course for every Alastair Campbell there's a Virginia Woolf playing Pooh-sticks with herself in a river. But talking about it, being open, accepting the condition and having it accepted is vital. We are not defined by our illnesses. We are not victims of them either.