Monday, 10 April 2017

Would You Just... Talk About It?

I'm in low spirits today. Faint hangover when I awoke like windswept moors, levelling out as the day progressed to empty steppes of lethargy and anhedonia. Not done much with my day, and back at work again tomorrow.

But that's all OK. Being mindful is about paying attention to what is actually happening. It's not about turning everything into bright roses and tranquillity every day, which let's be honest would get pretty dull after a while. Mindfulness is simply about being awake right now, bringing awareness to your life in this moment, whatever this moment contains.

The last of the sun is fading from the sky and I'm sitting nursing an Earl Grey. Outside I can hear distant cars travelling to unknown places, driven by people I will never meet. I feel sad today, and small and confused. Can this be all we get? Surely not? Surely not?

And yet there is a sort of power there, too, accepting this sadness. It stops the feeling from overwhelming me; I smile at it, simply let it be. It's all right to be sad sometimes, especially after two really tough shifts at work, after tiring myself out writing these things, and then of course drinking last night. The blues after taking alcohol always undermine my antidepressants for a day or two.

I suffer from depression. It is worth saying that. Much of what I write is informed by my depression, deals implicitly with its effects -- and yet I generally pull up just short of explicitly stating the fact.

Well, as my main man Dumbledore once said, "Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself."

So let's have it on record: I get depressed. I don't want this thing talked about only in whispers and nudges any more, while it sits in the darkness back there cackling at me. And I don't want to feel that I had a voice that could have been used to help others who are similarly suffering, that I could have brought even some passing comfort, and that I did nothing.

And anyway, out in the light of awareness it's not so bad. Yes, depression wears on my nerves, fatigues me, makes complicated thoughts harder, makes what should be pleasant experiences less joyful, feels like I'm always carrying a few kilograms more than I'd desire on my muscles.

But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, that is OK. People find worth in life under all sorts of conditions, dealing with terminal illnesses, surviving in war zones, in prisons, in neighbourhoods destroyed by poverty. Depression isn't an easy thing to live with, but if it is the hand I've been dealt then so be it. Many have pulled off great wins with less.

Or maybe I'll just fold the cards into paper aeroplanes and launch them into the sea. We all get to invent the rules of our own game, after all. The only thing that really matters is that we are here and awake for the playing.


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