The Secret Diary of a Secret Diarist (or the Secret Diary of Steve Braunias).

Day 1
It was exciting to see and hear all the tittle-tattle and tale telling from Simon Bridges and Jami-Lee Ross.

Talk about dirty laundry being hung out to flap in the media breeze.
I can see some material in all this to take a dig at the bloke Ross, as it appears he has gone for broke and upset everyone.

I mean, no one feels sorry for him or Simon Bridges. Both have managed to make fools of themselves along with most of their political bedfellows.

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Day 2
Drafted Secret Diary column. Was amused by my own wit — especially the framing of JLR situation as reflecting a mental health crisis.

The bit about being "unwell" and "mental breakdown", with a bit of "dark places" thrown in was a brilliant touch.

I added the hint of euphoria just to be sure readers would know where I was going with this.

Day 3
There it was in the newspaper – all witty with wall-to-wall satirical tilt.

The ending was a goody. The confusion, the drama, with all the depth and breadth of satire that comes from alluding to a politician having mental health issues.

Day 4
I read it again this morning just to appreciate the beauty of taking a shot at a man who is clearly not well.

True, there are people who do experience mental health problems but he did put himself out there — press conferences, taped conversations, scandals. He is a public figure so he is fair game.

Day 5
Some minor nobody columnist called Tel has written a satirical piece about me.

It suggested that not only was my Secret Diary of Jami-Lee Ross not funny or satirical but it was a low shot across the bows of every person who has ever experienced a mental health crisis.

It was "playing the man and not the ball" while "kicking a man when he was down". The mixed sporting metaphors were a worry.

The bit about not being funny was a tough call as was the assertion that sarcasm is not satire. It was something of a shock to see my own material being flung back at me. I must find out who this "Tel" person is and do a secret diary about him.

He did say that he used to like my columns but they have lost their way and should be abandoned. That sounds a bit harsh.

An unread column is a lonely thing. The whole idea is making me miserable.

Day 6
A few people have stopped talking to me. I have been told that denigrating those with mental health issues is not a good look.

Apparently, my column has done nothing to diminish the stigma attached to mental health concerns and, in fact, MPs have their share of mental health problems just like all the rest of us.

Day 7
Today I am writing The Secret Diary of a Contrite Columnist.

I admit it was not funny to make fun of someone experiencing a mental health crisis and that them being a public figure does not make this any better. Sorry.

Terry Sarten (aka Tel) is a writer, musician and social worker — feedback: tgs@inspire.net.nz