As my partner’s dad has always said to him, in the darkest of times, it too will pass. All is transitory. Somebody wise once said to me on the subject of depression (although I don’t remember who, and it may even haven been something I have heard in my own head so often I’ve attributed it to someone else when it was a once just a seedling of a thought) the most dangerous thing about this illness is that it makes you feel that what you feel now is the truth and the truth forever. As we get older, we know nothing is forever, not even pain – although it does draw itself out like space (I remember asking as a child ‘what is after space, mum, a wall?’ Her answer was ‘just space’.) Having been there more times than I dare to remember, I can say to patients from experience, not just education, that the most important thing you can do when you’re low is to remember that it will end, the sun will rise. It’s not a cliche, it’s like a rope to cling on to when the earth is sinking. Don’t believe what you are feeling now is what you’ll feel forever.
There have been happy pieces to the week: watching Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them with my daughter’s head on my shoulder; spending the whole day today with my partner – me mainly reading the papers in bed with the woodburner lit, crackling with sticks, and hiding from the world with cups of tea. I’ve also enjoyed watching NW – I though Zadie Smith did an excellent job of portraying humans, humanity and our struggles. It was well-adapted for the screen too.
I want to say thank you to my sister, Sarah Donnelly, for improving the graphics of my wesbsite and for her generosity and encouragement. She’s brilliant too in her own write (not a typo for once).
I’ve been so caught up in the struggles of here and now I’d forgotten it will pass, feeling neither calm nor accepting, wanting to know when will it pass?? and no doubt causing upset to my family. The truth is we don’t know. I enjoyed listening to Michael Stipe on The Andrew Marr Show this morning. I thought of him often in the run up to the elections. It’s important to remeber the creative, musical, literary United States and the devastation they must now be feeling. There’s no over-reaction to extremism, racism, bigotry, sexual offending, discrimination, inciting hatred…It is as bad as it can be. A rotten movement is well on the march globally. I hope this poem says something to this effect. It’s not a ‘book poem’ but the message in it somewhere, I hope, and the message is it will pass.
The Cat that Comes and Goes with the Mist
We know when it’s coming,
ears to the ground like Red Indians –
like hooves up the track, pawing the earth.
What started as anger – that red roar on the plains –
returns as fear now, fear
shifting like sands, paralysing whole villages.
It’s worse when darkness falls.
Its hunger’s a palpable
gnawing in the chest.
A heart digesting itself.
Light torches, stoke fires, take to high ground
clutching what you hold most dear to your breast as amulets.
It loses interest. Sun will rise.