Councillor hopes her frank admission will help others

© DC ThomsonConvener of city development Lynne Short
Convener of city development Lynne Short

A city centre councillor has spoken publicly  of her struggle with mental illness for the first time.

Councillor Lynne Short was elected as a representative of the Maryfield ward last March.

The far-travelled councillor is a regular at a host of public events.

But despite her happy-go-lucky nature, Ms Short has at times struggled to cope with mental issues.

With Dundee set to host its own mental health awareness festival in April, the councillor decided to share her own experience in the hope of helping break down a stigma which still clings to the subject.

MS Short said said: “I am perceived as being a cheery sociable person but am I waving or drowning?

“I used to think I was weak and couldn’t do what other people could, juggling jobs, home-life, single parenthood, money worries.

“I crashed, it was a dark place but I was lucky I have a family that are incredibly supportive and I was able to ask for help and knew where to go.

“With the help of my GP, counselling and medication I was back to waving and not drowning — I was on top again. Then, because you don’t like to be labelled, I decided the medicine wasn’t needed any more; I could do it all.

“Then the waves came back, it took a second time round for me to admit and work out that it wasn’t failure, it was chemicals. I need the medicine to go back to waving and not drowning.

“In this time of mental health awareness I hope coming out as being someone that does suffer from a mental health condition I can encourage others to speak up. It isn’t always easy to start to feel better again, help is there and so is hope.

“I am more than happy to help anyone that needs it.”

Heart Tay Heart, Dundee’s mental health festival, will run from Friday April 21 till Friday April 28.

Poetic help

Ms Short cited the following poem as helping her to put things into perspective:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.