I suppose I think – I hope (fingers tightly white-crossed) – that if I write about it, Depression won’t bite.

Depression’s a bitch. A big black stalking dog with swallowing jaws and a stealthy tread.

It’s been a part of my life for longer than it hasn’t.

A part of Mum’s for longer than she cares to remember.

It’s not always there, isn’t always skulking around her back door, casting long, gloomy shadows. Sometimes she manages to aim a well-placed kick and send it reeling backwards or outwards or downwards to wherever it came from in the first place. 

I can’t remember why I started writing about it. To understand it better myself, perhaps? For to fathom the monster was to comprehend my sometimes-sad-lost Mum.  To dissect a bit of me? I don’t know. It just seemed important.

But once I began, it became a habit. An obsession. A quest. A daily prophylaxis. I hope. Fingers crossed.

I submitted my CV to an editor at The Telegraph. The word Depression was written across it often. At Cosmopolitan. Marie Claire. The Times. Australian Women’s Weekly.

Is Depression all this bloody woman writes about he asked? And foolishly copied me into the email intended for a colleague.

I did laugh.

No it’s not!  I wrote back (with, I hoped, enough humour and just a trace of Piss Off indignation).

He apologised and promised to commission a story. But he wasn’t that sorry.

And I wasn’t that offended that I gave up.

Giving up would be giving in.

And it might mean lonely hours grew lonelier without words that help to keep me busy. And keep black dogs firmly at bay.

So. I keep writing.


Living Around the Blues at Psychology Today

2 Responses to “ME, MUM AND MADNESS”

  1. Libby Lamour Says:

    Hi there Reluctant Memsahib. I used to be a memsahib kidogo, and very pleased about it too, but now here I am down South, and a Reluctant Gogo (grandmother, but I’m not, but I still get called Gogo, rather sneeringly, I think).

    As for the depression thing. For a while I thought I was cured of it, over it, knew how to be free of it. Then it came back, and it was the usual struggle. The only thing I know is that you have to keep struggling. When the depression is there I have to struggle to find a way out. I can’t give up. Keeping writing seems very important to me as part of my way out, that’s my experience too.

    Then when I’m not depressed I can’t remember what it’s like. But I often feel down, and I try to deal with that too, to write when it’s there, to find my way out. It doesn’t last. I don’t call it depression. I just wonder if other people struggle as much as me, to stay on top, to keep going? That’s my reality, or one of them, because I can also see such deep beauty in things and people, and myself. I can also be intensively actively involved in giving workshops to people, immersing myself in their inside-outside worlds. Afterwards I collapse in a me-heap, and I remember that just being me is not so easy, even though my workshop participants thought I have it just so, like skating, like spinning and jumping, with that ease.

    I’m a personal growth educator, so I’m giving really good material to
    the participants to help to look inside and write what is happening there. I understand something about what they’re going through because I’ve touched into it somewhere myself and my reflections to them can be sensitive and accurate. So they think I know how, they think I got it right… It’s an occupational hazard. I’m always learning. To be me.

    Some days I think I got it right. Some days I doh’t.

    Well now, I’ve read all your posts that were available to me on your site. I felt like I was somewhere else, and that’s what I like when I read. I think you’re a real writer, yes, no doubt. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog, a reflections-on-personal-growth type one. I’ll be watching out for your posts.

  2. docmomma Says:

    I had never noticed the link to Psychology Today. Didn’t know you’d written so much about depression (clearly, I know it’s not the only thing that you write about!). I have been battling the Black Dog for about 30 years myself. Off to read more….

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