Thursday, 26 October 2017

I Hurt

Want to know why you should never tell someone suffering with depression that "they have so much to be grateful for" BECAUSE WE KNOW and it doesn't help!....

I always remember watching Stephen Fry's amazing documentary on bi polar. The moment when a wave of bi polar sized depression hits him and you can see the effect flash across his face. Fry insisted that the cameras continue to roll and what you witness is exactly the true nature of what he, and others like him, have to battle. I admire Stephen for his honesty and for letting the world into a space that normally only fits one. I haven't got bi polar but I do suffer with Depression and, at its worst, it paralyses me so completely that just the act of getting out of bed exhausts me. I have also said many times, that when I am depressed I cannot write. It shuts down my creative pathways so effectively that even the most simplistic of sentences alludes me. Well guess what, today I am punching the black dog square on the nose because I am currently suffering from a terrible and agonising wave of depression... and I am going to write about it.

I know what triggered this particular outbreak but so often its nothing. I guess it doesn't really matter because the pain is always the same. J.K Rowling based her vivid depiction of the Dementors on her battles with depression, so the Dementors Kiss must be the most virulent of all attacks. Rowling said that depression was "...that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again."The feelings are universal and, I am sure, every single person who suffers with depression will associate with her words. Trying to explain depression to someone who has never experienced it can be a frustrating and humiliating task. Depresssion defies labels and ignores logic and, most crucially, cares little about how successful you are or how many friends you have. The disconnect that occurs every time the black cloud envelops me is so tangible you can see the veil of sadness descend over my eyes. I wonder sometimes how many suicides are caused by walking in front of a bus but are actually nothing other than the person just thinking they won't be hit. When I am depressed I occupy a murky world of half light, of semi existence and I am out of sync with every one and everything around me. My tremendous friend and film maker, Crazy D Lane, brilliantly portrayed this disconnect during his music video for Late Cambrian. Just Another Broken Clock has a moment when family life is going on at the dinner table. Conversations, fun, laughter and children being childish. A water bottle sit unopened in front of a man who is there, but isn't. No one can know the pain, the sheer agony that is going on within my head at these times.

It's like this. Imagine you are in a swimming pool, one of those with flumes and water showers and the wave machine. Normally, a siren sounds out when the machine is about to switch on and the waves build with intensity, buffeting all those in the pool from side to side. Now, imagine what it would be like if you didn't hear the siren, what would it be like if you had no concept of what a wave machine was like. Imagine, if you were with your family, enjoying some quality time and smiling at your children as they enjoy themselves. As the first wave knocks you over, you attempt to stand and are knocked back down. Again and again, with increasing ferocity, you are slammed back to the floor until you give up. You lay, bruised and broken as the waves wash over you threatening to replace the breath of life with the deathly waters. Soon but not soon enough it ends and you pull yourself to your feet, vomiting water from your aching lungs. You take your place with your family and act as if nothing has happened but the pain still flickers in your eyes. Over time you begin to recognise the signs and sometimes you can here the siren. Some days you can stand as the waves pull at your feet but some days its too dark to see and your ears are deaf to the siren. Those days, the wave machine in the swimming pool is transformed into a nightmarish tsunami and on those days you fear for your life. Switch it off, break it, the wave machine that threatens to drown you and sucks at your soul.

Writing this increases the pain but its also freeing me. I have learnt that sometimes I lose and I hate that it beats me. Bowie, Cobain, Lennon all people that I admire but all had demons they battled with. Their most astounding works of art were marked with times in their lives where they struggled to survive. Some of them didnt and in the end the black dog took them. Why must those who have the greatest talent, the biggest hearts struggle for every breath? I should be better than this! I AM better than this. As the tears flow down my cheeks I think of my family, my friends and it will hurt them to read this. I want to say sorry all the time, I am sorry for hurting you I am sorry for not being more I am sorry for being me, for not being me. I am an intense hypocrisy of a lie. A pretence of self confidence that is paper thin, I can promote others and summon words that make others want to see what i see. Yet, my words don't effect me, I don't see what others see I see an empty man, I see distortion and I see what shouldn't be. My mind tortures me and yet I strive to create beauty. I see beauty and yet I don't see it in myself. So, I must end with the words spoken about the worlds greatest painter, spoken by an actor who talks of Van Gogh...


When the wave machine is switched off again I will get to my feet, but I am on the swimming pool floor at the moment waiting for the tsunami.

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