Acres of words have been written about depression and what I am about to write will be no earth shattering insight into this dreadful disease for those of you who already suffer its blight.
But I am prompted to write this post following the recent news of the death of writer and columnist Sally Brampton who took her own life this week after many years spent fighting her depression.
I find myself greatly saddened and unsettled by the news.
Sally’s book “Shoot The Damn Dog” received much praise for the candour and accuracy of the description of her battle with the disease.
She wrote, with great poignancy, “‘Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive.’
I have a mild form of depression which, at its worst, sucks the joy out of existence and turns everything grey.
For those of us suffering this burden, nothing gives any pleasure. It doesn’t matter how much we have or how many gratitude lists we write but at some essential level we just cannot ‘connect’.
Trapped in our own heads, we can only watch with a sort of helplessness as life carries on around, and inspite of, us.
Proof, as though we needed it, that in our heads we don’t matter.
We feel like puppets whose strings have been cut, only able to twitch but not quite move.
The worst thing, for a parent suffering from depression, is that we cannot receive love. And we cannot seem to find the impetus to show it either – even when we know that those around us are crying out for acknowledgement, a smile, a glimpse into our soul to say “it will be alright”.
Somehow we need to explain to our children that our emotional deadlock does not mean we don’t love them.
This is one of our greatest challenges.
Today I imagine that any of us suffering from this curse and having read this news will be feeling a little more down. If Sally couldn’t make it after fighting so hard, can we find the strength to carry on?
We know we must.
But we also know that getting to the point where we want to, the lights go back on and the carousel starts to whirl again to the sound of music, well, that may be a very long journey.
If you are living with a sufferer then please keep an extra special eye on them today.
If help is needed you can call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local Samaritans branch or go to www.samaritans.org.
You can find a list of alternative helplines here.