I have written words about Depression that I had forgotten I had written.
I have described madness as being a part of my normality. A part of what defines me. It was there for so long. And even when it wasn’t, palpable reminders remained of this most intangible illness: prescriptions, books, appointments penciled into the diary. Palpable evidence of an illness that’s all in the mind. How ironic.
Is there a story here, I wonder, as I trawl through virtual pages of words that begin to swim on the screen in front of me, so long have I stared at this too-bright light in a room that is growing dim so that the glare is growing exponentially, punishing. Is there a useful message? Does the arc of this tale deliver hope? Understanding? Insight? Am I the person to write it – she who rode, let’s face it, in relative comfort of pillion position.
So I begin to dig through files tucked in the secret, invisible, recessed archives of my laptop. If I could touch them, I’d have to blow the dust from pages, tease cobwebs from folders, wipe them clean with the back of a sleeve to read the text, so long have they languished in the dark, years. Years! I come across dozens of articles published, I come across dozens more that never saw the light of day, I stumble upon thoughts I’d forgotten I had, countless blog entries. I unearth a whole, forgotten manuscript; 100 000 words of Mum’s story threaded with research, pertinent quotes, poetry as I tried to unpick this illness, rationalize it to myself.
That’s how much the madness morphed as normalcy; excavating it, dissecting it, trying to get beneath its skin meant it got under mine. It became part of my subconscious.
I print all the words out. Sheaves of paper. A door stop. A draught excluder.
Do I dare tell this story, the whole story? From the beginning?