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Depression

I am not going to write about the various books on depression that I have read over the years, there are too many of them. I can see one on my shelf from here, called Undoing Depression. There are those hardliners who see it as some sort of choice that is simply made or reneged. The choice to be balanced, rational, emotionally healthy, mentally well. There are those who claim that it is not a moral issue but who then insist that it requires a moral solution; that it is nothing more than self-absorption, self-centredness, laziness, greed, rage. It may be one or all of these things - for them. But that's not how I have ever experienced it - and it's experienced differently by each sufferer, in any case it ends up debilitating, one's emotions, thoughts, actions in a vice-like grip. It is not, as those who argue that 'sadness' is a part of life, just that, nor is it a 'low' period. For me it slowly picks up speed to become like living in a dark cave. The world is a place to retreat from because everything is too sharp - I think I can see everyone's motives; threats are everywhere; life has no meaning; my physical body becomes heavy. One minute I am breathing too fast with anxiety, the next I am breathing too slow with deep apathy. I cannot engage. I certainly cannot read anything of value - sentences and speech become minefields of slipped meanings; little makes sense and yet everything makes perfect, bleak, annihilating sense. It is a prison. Going to work in zombie mode - trying to hold onto the reason why one must go and pretend all is ok - because not to means having no money, the only currency this world seems to understand and value. It is a nightmare. Looking back what I have found that I always need is time and space. How can one get that? That's the problem. Carl Jung went through his 'creative illness' for 7 years. He was fortunate in the sense that he didn't need to keep turning up at work. He could retreat and explore it - finally bringing this hard won insight into his work. Most do not have that luxury - there is medication - non-addictive SSRIs that keep one either functioning or treat the depression sufficiently whilst the person can look around, take stock, be open to changing things. But sometimes even that can be trial and error. And there are those who think its all a big pharma conspiracy. Some people try religion. I once did this myself - for a long time. It left me in a terrible state. It hardly surprises me to learn that religious psychosis is a condition in its own right; that many mentally ill people who fall over the edge see themselves as the messiah! There is always death - the permanent solution to varying degrees of temporary problems. For some this temporal state grinds on and on and on. A man I knew, not particularly well, but with whom I once watched a football match with and talked about trees (he was a tree surgeon) this week decided to end his life. I took the news, today, with the sane shock and then heavy sadness that I had taken the news of another person I knew who killed herself about seven years ago. Judith was a brilliant, bright woman. The one thing she needed was time and space. She didn't get it. She had a demanding job which she fretted over and wanted a much needed change from. There should be sabbaticals built into life. That's what I feel. Sabbaticals not to 'navel gaze' as some without a clearer and more compassionate understanding of the human condition would term it, but room to settle, and then decide. To make decisions and to find time and space to act on them. Or simply time to be. The Daily Mail this week said Thatcher had left a great legacy in that this country was one of the hardest working, as though we were robots who had been the most efficiently programmed. Some legacy! What's the point of life if we cannot find the time and space? No point - and some are so aware of that that it becomes intolerable.



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