Depressed:

by | Nov 11, 2023 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

I would like to say that, before you think that this is some morbid example of melancholic introspection, think again. This is an actual celebration of the discovery that I am, in fact, a member of the growing number of people who have this condition. This statement is not a rash one that has been thrown out there randomly. In fact, it has been several years in the making. It came to a head last night in a discussion, strangely enough about an Egyptian movie.

However, I would like to take you further back than that, to something a very good friend, and avid reader of this blog, told me on several occasions, over a couple of years.

“You don’t look right,” she said. Not that my whiskers were too long, or my nasal or ear hair had become to errant. Just that I didn’t seem myself. This from someone who, although they hadn’t known me that long, knew me well enough to spot this anomaly. Unfortunately, for reasons I’ll never know, I didn’t take her observations seriously. Had I done so, events of recent years may not have taken place.

Going further back, it is no secret to readers that I suffered a catastrophic loss just over four years ago. My wife of thirty four years, at the age of fifty nine, died of pancreatic cancer. She kept it hidden for long enough to ensure that, from diagnosis to her last breath was twelve weeks. A flash in the pan, a blink of the eye, a stab in the heart.

unbeknownst to me, my brain had already gone into crisis mode to cope with the trauma of cramming death into three short months. I got to know it, became it’s best friend, shared every second with it. When, eventually, it left without saying goodbye, at Miriam’s double funeral, with her step father, I was left without my fairweather friend. The Grim Reaper, whom I’d got to know by his first name, was nowhere to be found.

I promised this wouldn’t be an exercise in glum navel-gazing, and it’s not. What happened last evening was a revelation. It was as if my whole life had just made sense. I could now speak the language of the “D” word. I was in the exclusive club of those with a mental health issue and it was mint!

I could now read the signs because I could talk “Depression” they were no longer backward squiggles, like the Arabic I’d been learning for over three years. Each one made sense, shining light on every one of my sad, daily routines. They clarified events that were cast in stone, those which I thought were unchangeable. Jumping on the Metro every day, clutching my bag and a copy of the paper of the same name. Sitting in the same seat in the ‘Cat, completing the crossword and staring at the same faces. Continuing the routine with a thoroughly unpleasant journey home in the company of dour commuters and manic schoolkids.

Then there was the drink. The lifeblood of the depressant. The fuel that powers the relentless delusion that “everything’s alright”... A poison more potent that substances we’d never allow in our bodies, but we gulp it down copiously in the name of “fun”…

Its not until one has endured three consecutive days of drunkenness and the following day, it feels it would be better be dead that suffer the aftermath, that it finally kicks in. “Perhaps there is something wrong with me.”

Then there are the random actions. Those to which you give credence but in the world of the sane, are foolish to say the least. Taking up with someone from another culture, half your age. Buying and selling cars like pairs of trousers. Jumping on a plane to Paris to buy a book. Receiving that familiar look that says, “do you really know what you’re doing?”

So, here I am four years into an illness I didn’t know I had…or did I? Had I hidden it like Miriam hid her cancer? Was it the shame of admitting you were one of those folks that suffers from the ever increasing number of acronyms? It’s like a lottery win, It Could Be You! and it is.

Depression, eh? Well I never. Here’s me thinking it only happens to other peoplešŸ„ŗ.

3 Comments

  1. Ken Childs

    Soul searching honesty there.

    Reply
  2. Alix Campbell

    Oh Brian, wouldn’t wish depression on anyone.
    You know I know and I’m only a text away.
    Love you.
    Xxx

    Reply
  3. Lee Dickson

    Nice piece, Brian, and all too familiar.
    Cheers
    Lee D

    Reply

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