Chris Packham is a very honest person. He has spoken incredibly honestly about his depression. He suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome which is a condition within the autistic spectrum.
His story is poignant. It reinforces what we know, namely, that many people can form a relationship with their companion animal which is stronger than a relationship with a human including their long-term partner. This certainly applies to Chris Packham. He would freely admit it and his long-term partner mentions it.
Chris Packham has considered suicide twice. On one occasion the death of his one-year-old dog Fish brought it on.
He said that he was returning from a football match in a car. I believe his partner, Charlotte, was with him driving. She said to him that Fish loved him so much, more than she could love him and that he loved Fish more than he could ever love her. He says that this was not a derogatory remark but a simple recognition of the truth and both parties accepted it.
Charlotte dropped him off at his home. He says that within 10 minutes his dog, who he loved so much, had been killed on the road. He had been run over and he had died in his arms. From that moment on everything fell apart for Chris Packham.
Earlier, when Chris was 14 years of age he says that he lost his pet kestrel. He had similar struggles with suicidal thoughts as a consequence.
It is probably true say that people who suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome can and often do form very close relationships with companion animals and find it more easy to do so than with a person. The strength of this bond may have been a major factor as to why the impact of the deaths of his pets plunged him into deep depression and suicidal thoughts.
He didn’t know that he had Asperger’s Syndrome until he was 34 years of age but he knew he was an outsider. People with the condition lack social skills and can have problems communicating. Animals are often very therapeutic.
On the death of Fish, Charlotte bought him two miniature black poodles, Itchy and Scratchy, to help pull him out of his depression. He says they loved him. They kept him alive. He says that he owes his life to them and that he always will.