I see two red lights in the dark
of a Cork dawn
pitch black broken
by the shape of day to come
the motorcar shivers
I see two red lights in the dark
of a Cork dawn
pitch black broken
by the shape of day to come
the motorcar shivers
Last night my doctor told me I didn’t need to take anti-depressants any more.
I’ll write reams about this later but I must plant a flag in celebration.
The child Grace will show her face in seconds. It’s 0655. She’ll interrupt. She’ll demand to be lifted, and fed.
It’ll be Wheetabix time. It’ll be Kiwi, apricot, raisin, prune and banana time.
It’ll be “how can I get enough goat’s milk into her today?”
And all the time I’ll be sitting on this momentious news.
Fanbloodytastic… dinninoutaltogether… fuckingbrilliant…
Wake up child. I want to tell you something you won’t understand but you’ll sense. By god, you’ll sense…
In a recent post I wrote about “something” without naming it.
It was tryptophan..
This is “found as a component of dietary protein… is particularly plentiful in oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts. It is found in turkey at a level typical of poultry in general.” (Wikipedia article)
I’ve found another link which suggests that tryptophan was banned in USA at the same time that Prozac came on the market. There are people who think that the ban on tryptophan was instigated by the owners of Prozac for commercial advantage, and is not justified on scientific grounds.
I took Prozac for a few days…
… during one of my bouts of depression. It disagreed with me. I felt like vomiting all the time. So my doctor took me off it, and prescribed a different anti-depressant.
I was disappointed because I’d heard that Prozac was a wonder drug. Whatever I took instead of it didn’t prevent me suffering, or having other bouts.
I’m going in search of tryptophan in health food shops - to see if it’s available as a supplement. I’m not going to take it, even if it’s available in Ireland.
If it’s available, I’ll read more about first and also see if my doctor knows anything about it.
And, if I ever get to see the psychiatrist, whom my doctor wrote to asking for an appointment, months ago, I’ll ask him too.
I’m a cautious person. Or, I’m becoming a cautious person…
(In case you are reading this blog for the first time, or haven’t read it recently, I am recently recovered from a bout of severe depression. Since 2 January, I’ve been writing post-it notes about my experience of depression. This is about number 25 in a series which doesn’t seem anywhere near an end.)
The first time I went to a doctor with depression I broke down in tears.
I knocked on his door, and somehow found my way across the small office into a chair. No words came out. Fingers and palms surrounded my eyes as I squeezed them tight. Tears dripped out.
[I’ve never been able to cry much. (Mother used to say that she’d talk to me when I stopped crying…) As the eldest of six children, I suppose I also ingested the notion that the first born should be strong - not a whiner like the young ones. These days I think that one tear from me is equivalent to(or even of greater import than) floods of tears from any woman.]
I sat bent over in that chair throughout the consultation.
“I can’t take it… I can’t take any more… I feel awful… It’s terrible… I feel so ashamed… But I can’t help myself…”
That was all I could say.
Slowly, the doctor reassured me with soothing words. “It’ll be all right… You’ve done the right thing coming here… I deal with many people in similar distress…
“You are in no fit state to work. You need some time off. I’ll give you a certificate…
“It doesn’t have to say ‘depression’… “
So he wrote ‘viral infection‘.
I felt he was cheating the NHS, and my employer, but said nothing. I felt powerless, and gradually a bit relieved I’d finally admitted to some authority that I was unable to cope.
I remember holding the piece of paper in two hands as I walked out of his room, out of the surgery, out on to the carpark opposite the train station in Bradford upon Avon. It ‘advised’ me to refrain from working for two weeks. There was no prescription. I didn’t want drugs.
I could now ring my employer and say that the doctor had advised me not to work for two weeks. I had a virus. It sounded to me as if it might seem to others that I might infect people if I got too close to them.
… to that day in 1995, I realise that I took an important step in crossing that threshold. However I blurted it out that I wasn’t able to cope, that was the first step in reaching out from privacy. I’d been holding my trouble in, within my private space, within my immediate family. At last, I was sticking a finger out into the wider community, into the social institutions which are meant to give support.
I was incoherently inarticulate.
But I was helping myself.
I tuned in to the end of Marion Finucane today (RTE Radio).
Someone was talking about something which appears to be good at combating serious depression. Something with occurs natually in food.
Mackerel, oats, bananas, apricots, and seeds - sesame, pumpkin and sunflower.
I’ll willingly eat more mackerel. Oats I already eat. Any more bananas in this house and we better grow a tree. The Wiffe eats seeds - and doesn’t suffer from depression.
William Styron (Darkness Visible) has written:
“Throughout much of my life I have been compelled, perhaps unwisely, to become an autodidact in medicine, and have accumulated a better-than-average amateur’s knowledge about medical matters… and so it came as an astonishment to me that I was close to a total ignoramus about depression, which can be as serious a medical affair as diabetes or cancer. Most likely, as an incipient depressive, I had always subconsciously rejected or ignored the proper knowledge; it cut too close to the psychic bone, and I shoved it aside as an unwelcome addition to my store of information.”
“the disease of depression remains a great mystery…”
That was written in 1990.
Is that still the case? Has anyone discovered the cure for depression?
We all know about writer’s block.
Directly or indirectly, it’s a well known cliche, and experience.
But how well do we know the terror? The excruciating feeling of anxiety that makes the writer want to hide from the page. The nightmare you have while awake. The haunting that never goes away… the blank page… the empty chapter… the vicious table of contents that finds you where ever you hide… no matter what displacement activity you engage in.
How well do we know the paralysis?
I didn’t see it as paralysis the first time.
I ran away to England, so I was on the move. I invented a rationale. Found a formula that did, or seemed to do, the trick.
I became a bus conductor. I got hooked into opera, and went three nights a week when I was on ‘early turn’ (shiftworking).
I couldn’t finish the thesis.
I’d been a great researcher but a terrified writer.
I experienced paralysis and hid it from myself by reinventing myself.
But the avoidance of self-knowledge germinated. The trick failed. I eventually had to face myself, warts and all.
(It’s time to hit the road to Tralee, with Adrian, to meet the brother and see the sister’s curatorial eye at work: an exhibition. More to come…)
(Wrote this yesterday but saved it in draft instead of publishing it. Apologies dear readers. Befuddled mind.)
I had coffee this morning with a neighbour.
She’s recently returned to Ireland after living in USA, Germany and a few other places. She told me she was finding it hard to settle back in. People she used to know, and had kept in touch with over the years, didn’t seem to be making any effort to meet up with her.
I think she missed her old friends and was a bit lonely. She’d come back ‘home’ expecting to knit in with her old mates, and somehow that didn’t seem to be happening. She’d made efforts. She’d phoned people and tried to arrange to meet them, but there always seemed to be a reason why it couldn’t happen right now.
This reminded me of Brian with whom I used to be good friends throughout my youth. About ten years ago, after not having seen him for 20 years, we met up. We drank and played golf. I went back to the UK and we exchanged a few emails. Contact petered out. But when we moved to Ireland, I phoned him.
“Sorry, can’t meet this weekend, but leave it to me I’ll get back to you.” I’m still waiting.
The returning emmigrant comes with hopes.
Hope that someone will remember him.
Hope that someone will be pleased he’s back.
Hope that someone will want to see him.
The migrant is dimly aware that people have been getting on with their lives, without him as a presence. A nagging feeling that it’s been a much longer time than ever intended, a sense of being a bit of a stranger to the daily lives of folk at ‘home’.
Off the boat loaded with hope & expectation: “it’s great to be back” - uttered before any testing of the water.
Down the RyanAir steps with a spring: “it’s great to be back… when are you coming to dinner?” - imagining a host of invitations.
Instead, it’s not Christmas or a special birthday celebration. You are here to stay, and that means you haven’t a clue what lies behind the front door of everyday life. No one has a clue what you’re like these days: whether you’re an untrustworthy gossip, or an almighty bore, whether you simply don’t understand the basics that underpin modern social interaction in Ireland.
It’s changed. You’ve changed. Nostalgia is fine for fleeting visits but it means little when it comes to being fitted in to a busy & packed competitive life.
Too much has changed for comfort.
The returnee is the outsider. Watch out, he might be judging you. At least if he was from Afganistan, you’d know where he was coming from.
Is it any wonder the invitations to join the old gang don’t materialise.
You may have to serve a long induction and probationary period.
When I went to my doctor in August 2005, I was in great distress.
The depression had returned and all I could think to ask of him was a renewed prescription for anti-depressants. I’d run out. More of the same please…
He listened to me tell him that my depression had flared up again. He obliged. I couldn’t engage him in serious conversation about how distressed I was. I was able to say that I felt awful, but I felt he didn’t know enough about me and my history of mental illness.
It’s not his fault that nothing of much value was achieved that day.
I left feeling pretty isolated and yearning to be back in UK , where I felt I’d left a network of support: “Team Omani”, as I’d called it. (Remember Darren Clark , the golfer, saying something similar about how he got through his ordeal and emerged to play again.)
In UK I had a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, a familiar village in Weston (suburb of Bath), and I felt on the same land as most of my friends (however far away they were). With nostalgia, I looked back on the UK as if I was well there, well supported.
In truth, this was a massive exaggeration of whatever wellbeing I’d ever felt there. Whenever I got depressed in UK, I felt completely alone, and beside myself in misery.
The doctor was helpless.
He didn’t know what to do. He needed time to see how I responded to the anti-depressants. So he simply let me off without any advice on what I could do to help myself. He didn’t even give me another appointment. It was left up to me to decide when to see him next. My UK experience is that you get only a very short time with the GP (5 minutes), but always another date. Doctors there are on the lookout to make sure you don’t kill yourself, and slip through the net.
I knew the anti-depressants would not stop or abate my depression. I knew I was at the start of a spiral downwards which would not end for ages. Anti-depressants have never stopped any depression I’ve had, once it’s begun. Whether they have prevented the onset of depression, or retarded it, is another question.
… still writing….. a break for a shower and to attend to a little girl who’s obsessed with water and toothbrushes…
In Ireland, there doesn’t seem to be any time limit on seeing the doctor. (I’ve been in with him for over 35 minutes.) But, maybe because you have to pay at least 50 euros for a consultation, once you’re finished, you’re on your own: the doctor doesn’t say “I need to see you again in two weeks…” My doctor probably said I could give him a ring in a few weeks - when the anti-depressants had kicked in.
I knew there would be no kicking-in, because I was simply continuing to take the anti-depressants prescribed for me in UK. Anti-depressants have never kicked me; they have simply become part of the furniture, the background to my life.
I went back to see the doctor after about four weeks. Weeks during which nothing changed: the desperation & despondency thrived. He changed my medication because he was disappointed at the failure of that prescription to make a difference. I would have taken anything he suggested.
I noticed he said nothing about counselling…
cognitive behaviour therapy, self-help group… It was as if he was not aware of Aware, or of any alternative to anti-depressants. He asking me nothing searching, nothing about my daily routines. He did ask about my eating and sleeping, but not about whether I was getting any fresh air or exercise. I registered all this slently, but said hardly anything to him about what I considered to be a caring, but uninformed, approach.
I was my own worst enemy.
If it was a slipped disc I was suffering from, I’d have advanced several alternative actions designed to shorten my pain. It was as if I wanted the despair to endure. At times I saw this trait as a sort of death wish.
I asked him about Aware. He gave me the wrong phone number. Maybe that was deliberate, so that I would have to look to my own resources - get off my arse and find it myself. I asked him another time about cognative behaviour therapists in Cork. He took ages to find someone I could contact, but I saw that there was no list of therapists at his fingertips. It looked as if the doctor dealt in medicine, rather than health.
But he seemed genuinely concerned.
I don’t think a UK GP would have taken me off the anti-depressants which I’d been on for two years and more, which had been prescribed by a psychiatrist. He looked up in a huge book and said “there’s no point staying on something that doesn’t work. You must have a decent life.” He used the phrase “quality of life” during one of the consultations and that phrase stuck with me, and helped guide me later. My quality of life was unacceptable. We had to find a solution. That was his approach.
I never rang the person whom he recommended for counselling. I was never sure whether she was a properly qualified counsellor or a doctor who did a bit of counselling on the side. And I didn’t have the will to find out.
It was especially hard being away from the only place where I felt I had a semblance of a support network.
Moving house during the depression meant that this house if forever associated with loss of hope.
Nothing changed until late November, when I told the doctor the new anti-depressants had made no improvement. The best thing that happened to me was that I had a kind of panic attack, while failing to fit two toilet seats.
When I saw the doctor, he prescribed something for coping with panic. Something to calm me down. These turned out to be the famous purple tablets, to which I’ve referred before. I had the good fortune to break down almost entirely, sitting on the ground floor outside the downstairs toilet. No, I didn’t shit myself literally, but metaphorically I shat myself.
Chaos reigns, eh?
Like the butterfly that flaps a wing on the other side of the world and causes a tidal wave on this side, my excess of anxiety that day caused my recovery weeks later.
I’ve often said to myself that I was at my worst immediately before I began to recover. I say it again today.
As the poet Omani says
There are dashes of blue
splashed onto the cloud
over Cork today
with the speed of lichen
crossing Cork today
ps : last night I finished a book: “Darkness Visible” by William Styron, the last line of which quotes, I think, Dante :
“And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.”
My sister Dee knows well that I suffer from depression.
She sent me a book of poems, “Staying Alive” “real poems for unreal times”. Actually she sent the book to the Wiffe and me, from all her family. So even though I’ve always regarded the book as sent to me, I realise that Dee meant the book to be for both of us: the depressive and the one who lives with the worst the depressive has to give.
Just after writing that, I opened the book and found a postcard inside: a photograph of “The late Micho Russell from Doolin Co. Clare”. A tin whistle player, face illuminated from above, wee wisps of white hair creating an aura round his head…
I’d forgotten it was there.
It said: “Hi Guys, Delighted to get your news, & may the morning, noon and night illness pass soon E.
“Here is the book I talked about P …”
This means that Dee send the book while the Wiffe was pregnant with Grace -2005 - and must have talked to me about the book in 2004, or early 2005. I’m sure she intended the book to be a support to me in my struggle to remain well, or cope with the pits.
I find the 3rd section of the book, entitled “Dead or alive” - 51 poems, including poems by Jaan Kaplinski (”‘To eat a pie and to have it…’”), Brendan Kennelly (”My Dark Fathers”), Robert Bly (”Defeated”), Kathleen Jamie (”The way we live”), Fleur Adcock (”Things”), Jenny Joseph (”Warning”), Elizabeth Bishop (”One Art”), Bertholt Brecht (”Epistle on Suicide”), Stevie Smith (”Harold’s Leap”), Anne Sexton (”Her Kind”), Robert Frost (”My November Guest”), Edward Thomas (”She Dotes”), RS Thomas (”The Cry”), Ezra Pound (”And the Days Are Not Full Enough”) and other poets I’ve not heard of.
Here’s a bit of Elizabeth Bishop:
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that there lossis no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster
There is more to the poem but I love “Lose something every day.” And “Then practice losing farther, losing faster:” I love this because when I’m depressed, and lose something every day, I feel miserable about it. It’s helpful to know that losing something is not the end of the world.
You may feel that losing yourself is the end of the world, but it isn’t - however bad it feels.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that men of a certain age lose that easy memory they’ve relied upon until middle life.
I have yet another notebook in which I’ve recorded my depressed days. This time there are four pages of writing and about 61 blank lined sheets. A hard covered orange number imported by Hunt & Broadhurst Ltd, a company in West Yorkshire.
I found it about ten days ago and I’ve been protecting it from publication because I’m afraid it may be the last notebook I’ll find containing words written during one of me bouts of severe sadness.
These words (dating I guess back to 1999) are my only road back into what it was like to be crippled with depression. The memory is dead and gone. The experience of the depression, and the recovery from it, are not lost to my unconscious- but I have no way of transporting myself back to those days through the normal act of memory.
Depression murders memory.
I know for sure that I am in depression when I am unable to remember the simplest thing that someone said five minutes ago. Actually it’s more like one minute ago… Depression for me is characterised by an absolute lack of interest in the future. In order to help prepare for the future, memory is normally active and reasonably competent. During a bout of depression I remember almost nothing, and after a bout I find it almost impossible to remember what went on throughout the period I was embroiled with my self in that coracle of doom and despond.
So you can see how precious all words written during depression become later. At the time they are being written I feel they are rubbish. Almost incoherent and certainly without the slightest artist merit. I look at the handwriting and it looks as if it too is cracked up. I notice every slip of the pen belong the line. (I now remember being in the earliest school desk with a nibbed piece of wood and inkwell, and learning to write between four lines: two close together and two wider out. I remember the effort to write so that the ink sat
perfectly tangential to the line… Maybe not exactly what I’m trying to say, but it’ll do for now.)
I write with a departed spirit and a shaky hand during those days.
Is it any wonder I stay away from paper.
Memories in Writing:
This piece ,from the hard-covered orange volume, begins with the word “Friday” underlined.
“I bought this book in order to write into it a description of my current life: I thought I would put into it the things I was afraid of putting anywhere else - in other words the truth.
“It is now almost 10 AM and I have dressed after lying in bed listening to 5Live. I’ve taken 100 Dutonin, half the dose recommended by Dr S. Also a homeopathic remedy which LV gave me.
“I am sitting on the sofa in my front room in 30 Churches. The house seems to be a mess - papers all over the place, under chairs, classes in this room which need to be washed and cleaned away.
“What am I going to do today? There are at least six work projects hanging over me which I have not made any progress with all week. Since I came back from Dublin on Monday I have spent two bits of time with Dai and loads of time watching TV and playing minesweeper, Solitaire and Hearts on the computer.
“The sun is shining, inviting me to go out for a walk. Perhaps I shall go out. One of the attractions of going out is that no one could reach me on the phone. I dread answering the phone and when I do answer it I immediately concentrate on finishing the conversation as quickly as possible. Last night Nina rang to ask whether I’d like to come to London in April, when Steve and Ann-Marie are over. That is something I don’t want to do because I don’t want to see people. Steve rang to say he wanted to send me an e-mail. I wanted to get off the phone asap. He asked me how E. is and I said she was OK and was doing some work defending her budget.
“E. rang from her office at 1000pm. I wanted to get the phone call over so that I could go back into my cell-like existence.
“Today Ben and Jacob are coming for the weekend I don’t want to see them.
“I don’t want to see anyone: except someone I can later forget altogether.
“Jan gave me the name of a psychotherapist who might be able to see me. I have not rung him. I want people to be concerned, fussing about me, worried about me but I do not want to do anything for myself. A baby, refusing to grow up!
“Work: I want to spit in the face of those commitments. The Workshop for P.Ms (Property Managers) which is due in November, I do not want to organise it, contact people to help me run it.
“I hate my job and hate my whole life I do not want to live and am angry. Angry at noone in particular, nor over anything in particular by resentful.
“How can I waste this day? Working back from the fact that I shall need to have this house ready for Ben + maybe Jacob the last afternoon, that gives me a few more hours to kill.
“I’ll go for a walk. Noone would criticise me for going out into the sun. I could go down to see Roger in the bookshop…..”
There is one more page, dated Thurs. 12 Aug 99. I’ll keep that for another time. Wouldn’t want to spend all my pocketmoney in the one shop.
Interruptions happen for a good reason…
I got a phonecall from Adrian while I was writing this. He asked me for the name of a recruitment agency in Cork. I got my big red notebook, my A4 hardback. I wrote down “
This blog didn’t publish yesterday.
There was no warning. After a flurry of postings this year, the author missed a day.
Is this the start of a slippery slope?
No. I drove to Dublin and did an inventory of the house.
The last time I drove the road to Dublin I was wrapped in curdling depression. There is nothing in my diary to remind me of the date but it was autumn 2006. I remember a few things: having a panic at the entrance to the ‘motorway’ - Fermoy by-pass - when I couldn’t figure out which lane to use. I couldn’t understand the signing, got stuck in the wrong entrance and had to get out of the car and run across three lanes to a man to get change. I held up a procession of cars. This seemed proof that I was incapable of doing even the smallest thing properly. I was alone in the car, flitting from station to station, desperately trying to kill the time.
Although I can’t remember doing it, I’m sure I looked at various bridges and speculated whether I could drive into them at high speed without ricochetting into other vehicles.
I had a focus, a piece of paper on which I had written the task and broken it down into little bits. I knew I had to collect keys from Sherry FitzGerald (estate agents), clean the clutter in the house which tenants had left, go to a shop to buy sheets, duvet & duvet cover for three beds, put them on and find my way out of heavy traffic back to Cork - in one day.
I’m proud that I did it.
I hated every minute of the time it took. Hated every conversation. Struggled with every system I came across, including the marvellous system for finding your car in Dundrum Shopping Centre car park. The drive home, alone, in the dark, over 165 miles - I kept going mile by mile, all the time self-conscious. I don’t think there was a minute of that day that I wasn’t primarily self-obsessed, full of self pity and pain.
But wasn’t it amazing that someone feeling that bad could succeed with such a complex operation…
Yesterday was totally different.
This time I asked my friend Adrian if he’d like a day out in Dublin, so that I’d have someone to chat to in the car. I knew it would be a long slog and did something to make the journey enjoyable. The time flew.
I went into the house and was impressed at how clean it looked and how there was no clutter: I’d done a good job last time. I realised that yesterday. The house looked in good nick… (Anyone want to buy a lovely house within walking of the Dundrum Luas ?) The garden which had looked like the inside of my mind (a cesspool) last time, simply looked like all other winter gardens, in need of a decent trim for Spring. No problem there. Hopefully it’ll be sold by then.
I had my first ride on the Luas, into St Stephen’s Green, into Neary’s, into Davy Byrne’s, into Lewin’s shirt sale, into Hodges Figgis, which has a bargain basement you should not enter if you are already laden down.
I bought (1) first edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (one of my heros), (2) “Promises Promises” by Adam Phillips (because the first essay is called “Poetry and Psychoanalysis”) and (3) “Kiss & Tell” by Alain de Botton (because he wrote the most brilliant book on Proust).
Geeses… is that the time! I have been in reverie…
Yesterday I logged on to J L Pagano’s blog (All Smoke and Mirrors) and discovered I’d won an award.
Link of the Week - indeed.
This man is so supportive of others. He helped me with some technical stuff when I was starting to blog, in November 2005. (I didn’t know how to put in hyperlinks. Reminds me whatever happened to the idea of running an introductory series of workshops for bloggers? Is there a good ‘training course’ for beginners? Perhaps it got set up behind my back?)
He has several blogs, including one for his songs and poetry. At one time he had one blog aimed at people living in Ireland and another aimed at people living in USA. Himself has lived in both places. So he brings into the open a perspective hewn from the meeting of cultures.
I was thrilled to win an award from him.
Just as I’d be thrilled to win Blog of the Year 2007 in the 2007 Irish Blog Awards.
But this blog doesn’t even deserve to be nominated for consideration. It’s been unreliable. It went underground and didn’t publish for about four months. Readers were offered no advance warning. There was no explanation forthcoming until “From Bath to Cork with Baby Grace” revived again in January 2007.
Not only does this blog not deserve a prize in the prestigious annual Irish Blog Awards, but it deserves to be punished for letting down its small band of loyal readers.
Imagine if the PDs (Progressive Democrats - an Irish political party which has a small band of loyal voters) shut down for four months, simply stopped speaking in public, no MacDowell, no Harney, no whatevertheirnamesare… Would you vote for them?
What is the appropriate punishment for a blog that disappears, and re-appears, without warning?
In keeping with the fashion that “the customer is boss”, I’ll leave it to readers to let me know what they think would be a good, tough, motivating punishment.
But this time next year, when nominations need to be in before the end of January 2008, I hope this blog will be nominated - if not by several of its readers, at least by its author.
Those purple tablets
I mustn’t forget that they saved me from my latest depression.
Was it simply luck that caused me to have some sort of panic attack in November, which led the Wiffe to insist that I go back to the doctor, which led him to say “your anti-depressants are not doing the job by themselves; you need something extra”, which led me to take a small purple tablet without knowing what it was supposed to do, which led me to be amazed to find my mind returning to me and led me to take those tranquillisers for five consecutive days over Christmas, which led me to cope and even thrive amongst two wonderfully demanding families in Limerick, which led me to return to Cork and not take a purple since, which led me to be writing this?
If I had known about the purple tablets in August 2007, and if I had taken them quickly, is there a chance that I would not have collapsed with depression? Is there a chance that I might not have lost my life for months, that my poor Wiffe might not have had to endure days and days, weeks and weeks, of getting no response from me?
If I had know the purples in 1992 (or their equivalent), I might not have suffered all those bouts of depression which disrupted my life and came to characterise my life of those years?
If only… if only… if only…
I almost want to have another depression - just to see whether the purples would pull me up out of it.
Perhaps the purples only work in conjunction with antidepressants? But what if purples are independent agents?
Perhaps I don’t have depression after all; maybe it’s acute anxiety that I get? Why do so many people who suffer from mental illness refer to depression and anxiety in the same breath?
After resisting anti-depressants for years, I’ve been taking them for years. Is it possible that I could stop taking them and have the purples handy in case I start sinking?
There’s a research project here. A participant observation study.
I need to go lie in a quiet place and pace myself. I need to meditate on the breath that flows over the surface of my lips and brings life into the pit of my stomach.