Cooper Brown: He's Out There

'These pills must be working - I'm feeling positive about stuff and can almost be bothered to get out of bed'
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The Independent Online

I'm not feeling too good at the moment. I don't know if it's an after-effect of Morocco or some weird hidden message from my brain telling me to run away from the whole marriage/baby thing?

Everything in my life so far has been moving towards exactly the opposite of having kids and marrying an English Sloane Ranger but here I am, it's happening. I thought I was kind of cool about it but your brain screws you up and tells you the truth when you're not looking. I went to see this doctor in Harley Street and he said that this kind of mental downer is common in men my age and that it was a chemical imbalance, not a psychiatric problem. This was a big relief to me, as the one thing I know is that I'm totally sane and not some wacko.

The quack gave me some pills to take that I don't really want to talk about too much. The hell with it, I will - someone's got to, and most of the country's on them, apparently. I'm on antidepressants, Seroxat (or paroxetine if you want to fool people that it's something else). Forty milligrams a day, but they haven't done anything for me yet. The doc said it would take up to two weeks before I felt anything and that I had to go on them gradually. Not exactly an instant cure, but things are pretty gloomy in the Cooper head right now and I'm not ashamed to say that I needed help.

I think I've got a kind of prenatal depression, but the doctor said this was unlikely and that it was more my age, the pressures of my life, etc. He suggested yoga and I told him that I'd been there, done that and felt more stressed than before. I've just turned 40 and he said that this is a big landmark in people's lives and it's not unusual to have a bit of a "turn" (one of those expressions that you Brits use to describe anything personal that you don't really want to talk more about).

You don't see David Cameron (who is exactly the same age as me, same day!!!) necking pills and moping about. Actually, what am I saying? Who would have guessed, before this came up, that the Cooperman would have problems? Maybe DC does have this kind of thing too, and that's why he's so green and stuff? Maybe this will be a new bonding experience between us? Maybe it's hip to be mental? These pills must be working because I'm suddenly feeling positive about stuff and can almost be bothered to get out of bed.

I'm writing this from the Cooperdome. Victoria is away in Sri Lanka at the moment doing some holistic retreat and I can't get hold of her, so the only person I've seen recently is my thieving cleaner, whose visits I actually quite enjoy. We tried to talk about world politics yesterday. It's incredible how people who only know a couple of words of English can say stuff like, "George Bush, he bad man, he crazy Hitler."

Now I don't think Bush is the smartest card in the deck, but you've got to admit that he's got some great guys on his team. Rumsfeld is smart and tough - and send Cheney into Iraq with a handgun and he'd sort the whole thing out single-handed. As for "Condi", I don't think Bush had ever really met a black person before and he went totally prom-date on her and I suspect he's nailing her.

I'm waiting to see the Arnie-Hillary face-off. Now that's going to make some movie! The freaky thing is that my cleaner, who hates Bush, would love Arnie to become President. She just doesn't get it. She just says what everyone else says and doesn't really understand the details. That's why, really, democracy is a crap idea. You should have to have a certain IQ before you can vote. I guess I'm kind of a patrician. Maybe I was destined to marry a Sloane Ranger after all?

What I'm getting at the moment in my head is actually not an odd thing for world leaders. Churchill had his "black dog", his depression that used to visit him and put him to bed for days. It didn't seem to stop him doing well. (That's one of the cool things that the doctor told me.)

If you have this kind of chemical imbalance, it normally happens to people with big brains and good imaginations. You don't see coal mines full of miners grumbling about how depressed they are, or that they just "feel a little weird right now". That's because they're dumb and uncomplicated, so actually I'm secretly quite pleased to be feeling like this because it sort of shows I'm smart and different. Wow, maybe these pills are working, looks like Cooperman might just be getting back on his feet. Writing this has helped a lot actually. Speak soon. Cooper out.;