Depression has long been stigmatised and The Guardian has done nothing to help matters. If a journalist from a respectable newspaper diagnosed you with mental health issues how would you feel? Instead of discussing how I dealt with my issues The Guardian have opted to suggest I still have them.
Below in bold are quotes taken from this Guardian article that has upset me and the people closest to me.
I appreciate all the messages of support.
I am asking that you email Alan.email@example.com at The Guardian and ask that the inaccuracies are corrected and request that I receive an apology for suggesting I have mental health issues. Thank you.
"Hadn't even released a single, walked away without a penny."
FALSE: I had a single. It went to Number One. Knocked Band Aid 20 off the top of the charts only to be replaced by Elvis. A bit of trivia there! - oh and I made approximately £100,000. Not bad, but not what was written on the tin, and not worth the years of tabloid bullying.
"His book mentions “battling my demons” a lot, and it seems clear to me that he has mental health issues"
I've had moments of what I like to call “lazy sadness”; I call it this purely for my own benefit. This in itself has offended those with depression and I can understand why. Laziness raises negative connotations but that was how I liked to play down how I felt. A teenager with depression is likely to be seen as lazy. I don't think my dad thought of depression when saying "Get up lazy!" - he wasn't to know how I was feeling. I wasn't even sure how I was feeling. Winston Churchill famously described his depression as a black dog but for me it was reduced to those two words. In fact I was not even aware of depression in the 80s and 90s. Some people suffer terrible depression but luckily I had never felt so bad that I thought I needed to seek help. I'm a strong person who has survived some unpleasant experiences but I'm eternally optimistic and believe I have grown into a better person over the years.
When I told my manager of historic abuse (from a person no longer in my life) and alluded to it with the Closer and Sun interviews I was so taken back by the response that it made me angry, upset and untrusting to open up about it for a long time. The conviction of Max Clifford earlier this year and those stories of victims coming forward was a major factor in me discussing this again.
Yes, I had dark times but 10 years have past and this book was written with a clear head and it is wrong of The Guardian to suggest I have mental health issues now. The historic abuse has not been an issue for me for some time. The reaction to me discussing my past, however, is an issue for me but not my mental state. The article suggested otherwise. I am focused and driven and in the last eleven months I have released a book and a new album. I also have a young family.
“The reception Brookstein’s new book has had shows they’re still at it even now, he complains”
FALSE: I didn't 'complain' I was stating a fact about daily tabloid media. Only one Sunday tabloid has yet mentioned Getting Over The X and that was recently removed from the online site. I have done over 20 regional radio interviews including BBC. I've been a guest on The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 and I've also done interviews with The Metro and....The Guardian.
“His publisher did do a deal with the Sun for exclusive coverage” -
FALSE: The deal was set up by PR man David Jeffs an ex-journo for The News Of The World and The People. You can read how that came about here.
“and I don’t like the Sun, but I was talked into it, ’cos apparently I mustn’t appear bitter,” he says, rather bitterly.
Well, what can I say? Obviously I said it bitterly. He says rather sarcastically.
“humourless, arrogant, hubristic and resentful, isolated in the toxic fog of his perpetual huff”
See above gag - but seriously, if I did have mental health issues Ms Aikenhead was aware of my revelations of historic abuse. So her diagnosis and these insensitive observations of my character are both extremely unprofessional.
“his disarmingly sweet self-deprecation and excruciating vulnerability take me by surprise”
It was before a photo shoot on a cold morning; I was tired, had no make up, 3 stone heavier and 10 years older. The press still used photos from 10 years ago and The Guardian wouldn't allow me to use my own photographer. Yes, I was self conscious but I still manage to get up on stage and perform at gigs. Worth pointing out that she also stated “You're not as angry as you appear in the book.”
So to reinforce a belief of what she thinks the book represents she quotes me:
"I know I can get angry, I lose my temper, I know all the parts of my character."
I also said I get happy and sad and down. I was discussing how I will embrace the moment of the emotion. How I dealt with depression through freeing my mind. I didn't expand upon this but this quote was taken out to context.
"Do not think about yourself, but be aware of the thought, emotion, or action that makes you think of yourself." - Jiddu Krishnamurti
"even after he’d won, his first thought the following morning when the alarm clock went off at dawn was: “I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t imagine a footballer doing GMTV the morning after winning the FA Cup.”
This is taken out of context. I had spent the last 5 months playing the media game which included me being abused and manipulated. She is painting a picture of ungratefulness. No mention of the adoption allegation or the public humiliation of being branded a fake and compared to Fred West over the week leading to that quote. Even still, I never shared my feelings at the time. I got up and went and did everything asked of me without complaint.
“He is so heartbreakingly delusional that by the time he erupts – “Louis Walsh is a complete imbecile. He is a complete imbecile. What’s he had? Westlife. Westlife! Louis Walsh is irrelevant, musically irrelevant. Simon Cowell is musically irrelevant” – not even Walsh himself could have mistaken the outburst for anything other than guileless insecurity.”
FALSE: Passionate maybe but I did not erupt. It was 11:15am I was drinking coffee and knackered. I was still wiping sleep from my eyes. “guileless insecurity” when describing Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell musically irrelevant? Louis' last act Wonderland flopped. He managed Jedward and prior to that, WestLife. Simon Cowell has done Telly Tubbies, Power Rangers, Robson and Jerome, One Direction, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle. He has sold lots of records and I even said he was a great businessman and I had great respect for him as a businessman. She excluded this which shows a bias in reporting facts. She may disagree with my views of their musical relevance but that doesn't mean I have “guileless insecurity”
"Brookstein was still smarting when he gave a fatal interview to Closer magazine"
FALSE: I was not smarting. I did every interview knowing one day I would discuss my past. To suggest that it was a irrational impulsive action is an insult and inaccurate.
“His explanation for this hostility would be more persuasive if his other notions didn’t indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of how the media works. He considers his vigorous Twitter commentary on the current X Factor series a subversive signifier of his “active opposition” to the show, unaware that such avid attention in fact looks more like an endorsement”
10 years on – Getting Over The X went to number one in iBooks biographies, your article has had a massive 2500 shares, nearly 500 comments and X Factor semi-final ratings hit a series low of just over 7m viewers. Not bad for someone with a “fundamental misunderstanding of how the media works.” and who was buried by Max Clifford.
“The incontrovertible truth, however, is that Cowell has created a culture in which it’s easy to forget that contestants are real people.”
FALSE: No the incontrovertible truth is that The X Factor works on a belief that the public are supporting real people with the chance of living their dream. They constantly remind us these are real people. Whether it be Ben the Van man, Andy The Bin man or Sam “Screwbo” Bailey. My real sob story was never told because I never told a soul…. but I was the “pub singer” - What X Factor then does is allow the public to ridicule the ones they don't want and protect the ones they do. Hence, Max Clifford.
"His distrust is so acute that any doctor who suggests anti-depressants is instantly dismissed as a charlatan “selling drugs”.
GSK fined £297m for bribing doctors. Obviously some people need medication, but not everyone. I have never sought help as I believe that the condition I had could be solved with exercise, socialising and lots of fresh air. This was in my teens and early 20s. By the time I entered The X Factor I was in a very good place emotionally. It wasn't my last shot at fame – it was an experience that was meant to open doors and a chance to move forward. Sadly, my openness and confidence about my past meant that I was buried. You can't make this up - another article but this time in the Guardian. GSK fined $3Bn for bribes.
“It seems to me that the public eye, let alone the X Factor stage, is the last place where Brookstein should be. But he refuses to give up and walk away, “’cos then they win”. For his own sake, I wish he could.”
Singing in public is my job. Coffee Shops, Butlins, Ferry, Pubs, Pizza Express - these were picked up by The Sun and News Of The World. You don't criticise the tabloids for putting these stories in the "public eye". I didn't ask for this - I was just going about my business of singing. Doing what I've done for 25 years and I will continue to do. My book has still been ignored by The Sun.
I appreciate all the messages of support. Please email Alan.firstname.lastname@example.org at The Guardian and ask that the inaccuracies are corrected and request that I receive an apology for suggesting I have mental health issues. Thank you.
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