I have started off the day firstly pleased, because the flu seems to have shifted itself and then secondly saddened after reading of the suicide of Elspeth Thompson. I didn’t know of her at all, although I may have read one or two of her Observer articles without realising.
However, reading her obituary, I was struck by how much I wanted to have had her life. The great education, the travel, fashion sense , creativity, the writing of books and articles for major newspapers, lots of wonderful things to have had in a life, in fact to me, it sounded like the perfect life – and then I read how she had died, a year older than me. Feck..
For any of you out there who still think that depression is ‘all in the mind’, something imaginary – that we have power over and is all about self-pity, that it can’t cause physical symptoms, or that it is something to be ashamed of – think on..
Depression thrives in the dark, in the secret, on shame and self-hatred, it likes you to be ashamed of it and try to cover it up. It likes to be alone and silent, a huge, yellow, invisible bruise that covers your body and soul. It also likes anger and irritation, sarcasm and hatred and pain. It will try to remove you from every person who you have loved or who loves you. It likes to hide and lurk in your body, showing itself in symptoms similar to other diseases, fatigue, sleeplessness, aching limbs, wearing you down like a great vulture on your back. It will lift off for a while, just giving you time enough to think yourself free, before settling once more and taking itself another strip of flesh..
What it doesn’t like is openness and understanding. It hates mindfulness – it wants you to dwell on the past and worry about the future. It hates love, self-love, self understanding, thankfulness, tenderness, kindness, fresh air, people moving, talking, caring, companions, laughter, optimism, patience, hope..
If you are out there reading this and haven’t got it already – please seek help.
A poem from Elspeth’s blog..
by Thomas Clark
May the best hour of the day be yours.
May luck go with you from hill to sea.
May you stand against the prevailing wind.
May no forest intimidate you.
May you look out from your own eyes.
May near and far attend you.
May you bathe your face in the sun’s rays.
May you have milk, cream, substance.
May your actions be effective.
May your thoughts be affective.
May you will both the wild and the mild.
May you sing the lark from the sky.
May you place yourself in circumstance.
May you be surrounded by goldfinches.
May you pause among alders.
May your desire be infinite.
May what you touch be touched.
May the company be less for your leaving.
May you walk alone beneath the stars.
May your embers still glow in the morning.