Yesterday I said to a friend that that the first depression is never as bad as the second, because the second shows you that no matter how often you come through it, it can come back. I joked that I sometimes envy the bi-polar because at least they get highs in between the lows, but perhaps they would argue that the higher you soar the greater the crash. The bottom line is that staring an oncoming depression in the face is almost as bad as being hit by it.
I woke yesterday with that depression that always lurks on the periphery of my consciousness reminding me it hadn’t deserted me. It is rarely a big thing that brings on my depression, but rather, an accumulation of little things accompanied by a voice telling me that all this is pointless. So there were the aches as I pulled myself out of bed and the increasingly noticeable veins in my legs reminding me that in any realistic chronology, I am securely into the second half of my life. And the voice asking what I have to show for my years. Outside my window the midsummer sky was grey and the garden wet with rain, and I found myself wondering if I will make any real progress with getting my garden into shape before the winter comes. Experts tell us not to cut mow our lawns when the grass is wet, but the day before I could wait no longer and mowed the damp grass, now it didn’t look as if I would ever get to mow dry grass; the weedkiller washes off the weeds before they get a chance to absorb it and so I hand weed, knowing the roots I leave behind will furnish more of the same within weeks, if not days, and again the little voice reminds me how pointless it all is.
I look at my writing projects with depression reading over my shoulder and whispering that I am not a writer, that no one will ever read what I write and if they do they won’t like it. And so the flow is gone and typing is a struggle, a slow struggle as my fingers type a word order my brain knows is wrong, very wrong. I keep backspacing and retyping, it’s so slow and tedious and the voices tell me I am wasting my time. Voices? Yes, now there’s more than one and they are discussing me without having the decency to go out of earshot of my mind’s ear. All the time I stare at my keyboard another voice is urging me to catch up on tidying that I know will never be complete until the day I just give up trying to sort things and ruthlessly dump roomfuls of accumulated history and knowledge. I ask myself why am I carrying on?
I carry on because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, I’ve been there. The call of the pit may have a horrible fascination, but just as previous depressions have told me I am not immune from further depression they also remind me of why I will not return willingly into hell. Familiarity warns me when depression is bracing itself to swallow me, I know what to look for and I know when to fight. Yesterday I had a Skype call prearranged with a friend, isolation is depression’s ally so connection is essential, my daughter visited for a little while as well. No amount of social media can replace another’s face to fill the emptiness. All day long I kept busy, studying, reading, writing, housework, getting into the air between showers. Today is not great, but it’s better than yesterday. One thing I have learnt is to be grateful for even small things, everyday I record my gratitude in my journal, some days that awareness, that there is always something for which to be grateful, is the only thing that stops me going under, a life belt against a ‘sea of troubles’. Every day, one day at a time.
I do not know what tomorrow may bring. I know that there will be challenges, I am aware I need to find some solidity beneath me, I know I will not sink willingly however tired I get of struggling. Depression may want to embrace me, but I’m not fucking giving in! I had hoped this blog would be more upbeat and positive, affirming that depression can be overcome; it can, I’ve done it, again and again and I will not give in now. I suppose my message is depression can be beaten, but be ready to fight, don’t be afraid to cry for help and don’t leave it too late. Today is the day to fight, I shall not sit and weep at the grey sky, I shall go out in the rain, so there! Fuck you depression, fuck you sideways, just fuck right off, go directly to fuck, do not pass fucking ‘Go’ do not collect two hundred fucking pounds, I am not fucking playing! I can do this!
Filed under: autism, disability, Poetry, Writing | Tags: headache, NaPoWriMo, pain, poetry
Today I’m not recording, not up to it. This is the explanation.
Awoke this morning thumping in my head,
Hammering, hammering held me in bed.
“Do not try to get up!” The voices said.
At least the pain tells me I am not dead.
Through the day body sore and my eyes red,
Drumming in my head and my legs like lead,
I wanted to work, I suffered instead.
I faced the day with a head full of dread,
Discomfort and discord before me spread.
Painkillers taken, but still hurts my head.
The day shall soon be done, and back in bed
Shall I be with nothing done, nothing read,
Nothing written, I can’t follow my thread.
Tomorrow recovered, I’ll push ahead,
But for now I’ll take my head back to bed!
Filed under: disability, Justice, Politics, Scotland | Tags: NHS, public sector, SNP, TTIP
Concerned about the impending Transatlantic Trade agreement, I asked my local SNP candidate what his party’s attitude is. His anger confirms me further in my decision to vote SNP.
“ Dear Rory
Thanks for getting in touch about the SNP and Scottish Government
position on TTIP, and particularly the proposed Investor State Dispute
The SNP Scottish Government is not convinced that Investor State
Dispute Settlement is needed. Disputes between investors and the state
should be settled in domestic courts.
I agree with the SNP’s view that TTIP must not include anything which
enables companies to sue because they disagree with democratic public
policy. Governments must be free to act and regulate in the public
The First Minister and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has stated that she
strongly opposes the inclusion of public services in TTIP, that she
has big concerns about the rights of corporations to sue governments
(ISDS), and that she opposes any agreement that has terms like that
included in it. At First Minister’s Questions on 4th December, Nicola
Sturgeon said: “I will fight tooth and nail against any moves to
privatise the NHS in Scotland by the back door, and if the TTIP
agreement ever put that threat, it would be opposed strongly by this
The SNP are concerned by the lack of transparency of the negotiations
process on TTIP. The Scottish Government has made several
representations to the UK Government and the European Commission on
TTIP to make concerns about the national health service and public
services very clear. While both have responded saying that TTIP does
not pose any threat to the NHS, the public and the Scottish Government
must see the final legal text of any agreement to be fully assured
that this is true.
I hope this helps and if you’d like any further information, please
don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
Get in touch? I’ll get out and canvas!
Filed under: disability, Poetry, Writing | Tags: death, NaPoWriMo, poetry, weather, winter
Perhaps it is a British thing that although this Easter Sunday is beautifully sunny, the weather still preys upon my psyche. Today’s poem is about one of those commonplace tragedies that occur in any winter.
A Winter’s Tale
The rain that reigned supreme over the winter
Won from us no thanks, nor the snow that fell
Upon the fell and brought the frost that killed
The young shoots and the, tree bound, owl’s hoots chilled.
Occasional blue skies could not disguise
That down in the dell all was not well.
We could not tell for whom the church bell tolled
Some poor soul taken by the damp and the cold.
We were later told that the man was old
And unwell after he fell upon the ice.
Before it began to rain again, for fuel
Forth he fared, but winter can be cruel.
He had a slip, slid and smashed his hip.
Unable to rise, he lay beneath the skies,
His wails drowned by rain and hail as well.
As far as they could tell, where he did slip
He lay for days, cold as the ground into
Which they laid him neath the roots that winter.
Filed under: autism, disability, Gardening, Poetry, Scotland, Writing | Tags: gardens, NaPoWriMo, poetry, seasons, Spring, summer., winter
It is NaPoWriMo Day 4 and the weather has been beautiful. A cursory examination of the garden reveals the magnitude of the task before me, but on such a beautiful day out I’d impossible not to be happy. I wrote a poem and here it is.
Made Summer (NaPoWriMo Day 4): https://youtu.be/02D0uRtME4k
At last the winter of our discontent
Is past, and I do not care where it went.
Enough now to be rid of ice and snow,
‘Twas rough, I felt that it would never go,
But now it seems at last that Spring is here.
Somehow Spring Equinox marks the new year
Rather than Christmastide and Hogmanay’s
Palaver. It is the lengthening day
That brings the hope of summer to my heart,
Where springs anticipation of the start
Of sunny mornings and warm afternoons
And some evening drinks beneath the moon.
My thoughts turn once again to gardening,
I ought to have some seedlings hardening,
There’s leaves to sweep, weed ridden ground to clear
It grieves me that there’ so much work this year,
But should I wish to enjoy summer’s sun
I would need to get my garden work done.
And when the garden is tidy and neat,
It’s then I shall drink beer and take a seat
And rest knowing that my time was well spent
And best, in that rest and thought, be content.
Made Summer (NaPoWriMo Day 4): https://youtu.be/02D0uRtME4k