116. The black dog…

Although I’m a glass-half-empty kind of girl, it has to be said that I have been extraordinarily lucky with my lot in life. I’m not stuck on a mountain in Iraq, nor in a refugee camp in Gaza. And when it comes to dealing with the everyday ups and downs, I do have kith and kin who are second to none.

Incidentally, don’t you think that ‘kith’ is a great word? Madam, you have greatly insulted me, so I am going to unkith you from Facebooke.

Even so, there was a mercifully brief period, a couple of summers ago, when I was overwhelmed by depression and anxiety. An accumulation of chemical changes in my Parkie brain, combined with the diagnosis – worries for the future and all that crap – knocked me off my feet for a while. The care of kith and kin and appropriate medication stood me back up.

I know, I know, this was in last week’s blog. And really, I wasn’t going to mention it again because I’ll get complaints from the management about not being sufficiently jolly. Then I’ll have to get my own back, by telling everyone how Ma said “it’s so much easier to park at LittleSis’s house since she’s had Y-fronts put in her front garden”. (For ‘Y-fronts’ read ‘dropped kerb’. No, me neither.)

But, as it happens, this has turned out not to be the week to avoid the subject of depression.

It was the physical symptoms which surprised me most. I hadn’t realised that depression – or anxiety – or whatever it was – actually hurt, in a tingly, achy, on-the-point-of-something sort of way. Even writing about it now, starts to be very unpleasant, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll cut the description short there.

I can now sort-of see how people might just get overwhelmed by the physical pain of being depressed; and just want it to end, to the extent that they can’t think outside of that feeling. I was lucky to only be in that valley for a short while and to be quickly helped out of it. I do have friends for whom depression is a recurrent condition: their tenacity in pulling themselves into the light, time and time again, is inspirational.

I guess poor Robin Williams just hit a moment when he couldn’t see a way out. Awful for anyone to find themselves in that position. And sad for those of us who enjoyed his gifts.

Totally from a selfish point of view, I’ve found the coverage of Robin Williams’s death quite hard. It’s simply that reading about depression quickly evokes feelings that I’d rather not have evoked. I need to be further out of the woods before I can comfortably look behind me.

But if this week has been tricksy; boy oh boy – tomorrow’s going to be a challenge and a half. Because this evening, tucked between my colleagues’ holiday photos, was the news that Robin Williams had just been diagnosed with the condition of choice. Followed by a series of comments from people helpfully saying how their father/mother had Parkinson’s and it reduced them to a shadow of their previous selves and so on and so on.

I don’t want to know, OK? I am solidly burying my head now in HMS Denial and am not to be disturbed, regardless of how mixed-up my metaphors are. Tell me when it’s over.

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