Depression – don’t make me laugh!

 

A beautiful still night a few months ago, picture-perfect, with an almost full-moon wreathed round in a tracery of white cloud. On the balmy air, the scent of night-scented stocks. In the distance the seductive lapping of sea kissing beach. And did I stop to admire the sky, inhale the scents, dream to the rhythm of the waves? Like hell I did. My prevailing thought at the time, the one that finally brought me to the realisation that something was wrong – not just wrong, but really wrong – was ‘I wonder what it would be like simply to walk into the sea, to just keep on walking, to feel the waves closing over my head and then . . . the blessed relief of nothing’. That’s what I longed for. Nothingness. Not to feel. Not to exist. Erasure, from everything and everyone. Oh yes, I was more than prepared to thrust off the mortal coil, and not just go gentle into the good night but to go galloping head first. Depression! The realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t just a bit down, out of sorts, having a bad day or the hundred and one  other trivial things I had tried to persuade myself I was suffering from, to one degree or another. I was depressed. Dangerously so.  Enough to seriously consider ending it all.  The black canine had me by the throat and he wasn’t letting go.

Looking back, it’s easy to see the signs but, as they say, when you’re in the moment, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. Besides, I was too damn tired. Lethargy was my constant companion. With a publishing deadline looming, this is not a companion you would actively seek out and many and oft were the days I found myself sitting in front of a blank computer screen willing the bloody book to complete itself.

And crying. Boy, did I cry a river. A veritable cauldron of emotion, I went to pieces over anything and everything, from the sublime to the ridiculous. I once found myself welling up over a schmaltzy advert for baby something or other, the kind of contrived tripe I would normally roll my eyes over whilst sticking two fingers down my neck.

Wine! Wine, Lethargy and me spent several cosy evenings together. Me, the girl a boyfriend happily once described as a very cheap date, owing to my abstemious penchant for soda water and lime. Did I become an alcoholic – no, but I can see how it can happen, the insidious way one glass can lead to two and from thence to a whole bottle.

Yet, on the outside, I was switched to automatic and managed to keep up a good pretence at normality. Nobody knew, nobody suspected that I was wearing a shell, a walking, talking occasionally even joking shell. Inside, out of sight, I was all shrivelled up, hopeless, guilty, joyless – a complete mess.

With the wonderful hindsight that is of 20/20 vision, I can pretty much identify the main triggers for my depression and despair – the death of my mother in January, an altercation with a family member that shook me to my core, ongoing problems with an adult son, who is more child than adult.

Oddly enough, almost as soon as I acknowledged/realised the extent of my depression, it began to lift. Words flowed onto the screen once more and I completed my book (Blue-Eyed Girl, for your information). Energy flooded back. I sought out friends again and socialised. I actually answered the telephone with enthusiasm. One day, I found myself singing, as I washed the dishes, a sound no one had heard for many months and, I confess, no one had missed.

Now, why the depression should so miraculously have lifted I have no idea. But, this I will say, hand-on-heart, had it carried on, I would have had no compunction about seeking medical help.

Today, I feel good again. The sun is zipping round the sky in his golden chariot. The sea is moving back and forth, which is what seas are paid to do. This time, though, I’m happy to stand on the beach and admire it curling and unfurling from a distance.

But wait! Is that a black dog I see before me? Yes, but this one is chasing a ball. Run, Spot. Run!

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When Cold Callers Make You Hot Beneath The Collar

I am a writer, something many people seem to think does not qualify as ‘real work’, and thus take advantage of my being at home to interrupt me any old time at all. This is especially true of cold callers who normally send me into a frenzy of rage, unless I’m feeling particularly mellow, when I like to engage in a bit of harmless fun.

Fun with Cold Callers – Part 1

Trrrng Trrng (very poor sound effect of phone ringing)

Me: (mellow version) – Yaws?

CC: Can I speak with Tara Moore?

Me: (tutting sympathetically) – Oh, dear, you’ve not heard then?

CC. Er . . .uch . . . (or Indian equivalent)

Me: We’re holding the wake now? Would you like to pass on your condolences?

CC. Uh . . . ah . . . (or Nigerian equivalent)

Me: Hang on, I’ll just fetch one of the rellies. Back in a mo.

CC: No. . .no . . um . . . I only wanted . . .

Me: To send flowers? How kind. Lilies were her favourite you know. Stargazers, in particular. Did you know the stamens are poisonous to cats? No? Well they are, so keep Dibbles away from the vase. And they stain your clothes too. Not cats. The stamens. Although your own personal cat might stain your clothes  – it’s not for me to make accusations against the feline fraternity.

CC.  Strangulated sound . . . (or Northern Irish or Liverpudlian equivalent) . . . I’m . . . ah . . . only doing an energy survey

Me: Energy? My good man, the woman has no energy. She’s dead!

CC. (doing vowel wounds) aah, eee, iii, ooh, uuu . . . sorry to have troubled you.

Me: You can still send flowers

CC. click …. brrrr (very poor imitation of dead line)

Fun with Cold Callers – Part 2

Trrrng Trrng (usual very poor sound effect of phone ringing)

Me: (officious) – Inspector (cough!), who’s speaking?

CC:  (hesitant) Er . . .can I speak with Tara Moore?

Me: (snappy!)  How do you know the deceased? Can you account for your movements between 5.00 p.m. yesterday and 7.00 a.m. this morning? Do you own a Samurai sword? Have you ever learned butchery? Stay where you are, we’re coming round.

CC. click …. brrrr (very poor imitation of dead line)

Try it– you’ll be amazed how good it makes you feel.  Must go, the phone is ringing. Now, am I feeling mellow . . .

Fitness – It’s a mug’s game – How I gave it the finger!

It’s that time of the year again when the sight of the sun shining through a dusty window brings on a panic  attack. Not because the window is dusty (who cares), but because it is a reminder that sooner, rather than later, one’s pasty white limbs are going to have to emerge from their cocoon of thick tights, long sleeves and longer hemlines and put themselves on public display.  This year, I vowed things would be different. This year, I would be prepared. This year I would not need hypnotherapy to confront my fear of sh . . . sho . . . shor . . . shorts!  In a nutshell, I was going to get fit! I was pleased with this intention and things got off to a good start with a trip out to St Margaret’s Bay (a rather beautiful part of Kent).  The intention was to go for a brisk walk along the cliff tops, whilst keeping a weather eye out over the English Channel for signs of a Napoleonic  invasion. Actually that phobia belongs to my husband who, in a past life, might even have been Nelson.  I wouldn’t tell everyone this, but as we were going to sleep last night, he leaned across and whispered lovingly in my ear ‘Kiss me, Hardy.’  I digress.  The intention, as I say was to kick off my get-fit campaign by going for a nice walk and, indeed, we reached our destination with no trouble. That came just as we got out of the car and I managed to catch my finger in the door, which my other half promptly locked, thereby ensuring no means of escape.  By the time my screams penetrated his brain, the damage had been well and truly done and, upon its release, my finger looked like the leavings of a sausage after a Rottweiler has had a go. Our walk, therefore, turned out to be no more than a step – two, actually – one out of the car and one back in.

Was I defeated? No! Bloodied and bowed? Hell, yes, but being made of stern stuff, I vowed not to let  a semi-amputated finger scupper (Napoleon/Nelson again!) my plans and so, two days later, I set off for my local gym and an appointment with Biceps Brian. I looked the part – I really did. New trackie bottoms, ample tee-shirt, brand new trainers (all singing, all dancing with interchangeable soles that promise to make your calves look like Linford Christie’s in only five minutes a week).  Alas, all the machines required pulling or pushing , a big no-no with a bloodied, broken, lacerated finger.  And so BB (we were on intimate terms in a very short space of time – parting with hard cash facilitates these matters) advised me to stick with the treadmill.  I did, for fifteen minutes, till the skin of my heel stuck to my brand new trainer.  I peg-legged home – in my stocking feet. Fitness? Pah, it’s a mug’s game! Now, does anyone know who stocks opaque tights throughout the summer?