I'm speechless this week. (Doesn't happen often.) Last week I wrote about how I was suffering from depression. I wasn't being noble; being in a black cloud of dread, you don't really care about anything much at all, even being shunned.
But the opposite happened. I had such a powerful response it made me think there really is such a thing as - cheesily naff I know - community.
One lot of neighbours brought me chicken soup; another offered to look after my children; others asked after Spotty (still hanging in there, woof, dribble); I got sent a sparkly card.
Turns out people really want to help you if you ask for it. I got many messages of solidarity.
"Yes! Depression sucks, I have been there! I wanted to be sedated, or become an alcoholic except alcohol all tasted like sour vinegar to me. The constant feeling of dread. I never understood it until I had felt it for myself. SSRIs are my friend, and they will soon start working for you."
"As a fellow runner with the black dog I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you some sunshine."
"The important thing is to remember that the black dog will run away, tail between its legs, when you find your own way to tell it to bugger off."
"One of the hardest things (for me) is the lack of understanding; the people who think I will 'come right' if I could just eat better, if I could just get out and get more fresh air, if I could just wake up and do some affirmations and think positively - the list goes on!"
"My antidote when I am at rock bottom is just to hang in there for my kids. By this I mean putting less pressure and expectation on oneself, frequenting people who are more understanding and less focused on achievement at the expense of wellbeing."
"Churchill's 'If you are going through hell, keep going', is a favourite saying of mine."
This was all very uplifting, but the truth is that, for me, part of my depression seems to be a deep feeling of self-loathing, and no matter how supportive people are to you, no one can really help you with that except yourself.
In fact, kindness can make you feel worse because you don't feel you deserve people to give you hugs and beef stroganoff casseroles.
For me, the drugs have started to work and make me feel more normal (although they are ruinous to one's sex life). But I am also working on doing small things to get to like myself better. I have a harsh, rigid, judgmental voice in my head that says nothing I do is good enough and I am trying to be kinder to myself.
But I also realise self-loathing can be expressed in different ways. When I was a hard-nosed business journalist I probably directed some of my own self-loathing towards bullying other people I deemed deserved it.
I try not to do that anymore.
This week I've been reading Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics. It has made me wonder how Cameron Slater really feels about himself.
He certainly does not lack for loathing, except his loathing is projected outwards in his attacks on, often, vulnerable people - what Christopher Hitchens would call "the disdainful shudder of a man who despises or fears the swinish multitudes".
(Disclosure: I judged Whale Oil Blog of the Year at the Canon Media Awards. In my judge's comments I explained this was for breaking the Len Brown story which was one of the scoops of the year.)
A psychologist might say Slater's courting of outrage has an element of "acting out". Freud considered that patients tended to act out their conflicts in preference to remembering them; that was too painful.
As Hager points out, vengeance is a theme of Slater's. He seems to need to hate the "other"; what wound has made him need to seek revenge?
Maybe some of the kind people who have been offering me hugs and understanding and casseroles ought to send them to Cameron Slater instead. I think he needs it more than I do.