Depression – my lifelong companion

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We all have acquaintances. A mere handful of them can maybe be considered as friends. As for the rest they are what I refer to as ‘fair-weather’ friends, people who while professing genuine friendship towards you, cannot be relied on to sense that all you really need is a shoulder to cry on and a real hug from time to time, two of the things a life long depressive like myself constantly craves, together with actually sitting down talking to people, face to face.

Apart from a brief eighteen month period back in the middle sixties, I have always lived alone. The fact that my mother and father never showed any recognisable sign of love towards each other or me come to that, probably has a lot to do with it.

Not once while they were alive did I ever see them so much as hold hands. Nor kiss or a hug each other. It was as if being demonstrative towards one another was somehow a crime, something I still fail to understood to this day. Take it from me, when you grow up without love as I have you crave the love and companionship of another human being on a daily basis.

Is it any wonder that as I get older, I write to keep myself from giving up on life itself? Not that I’m brave enough. If you will pardon the bad pun, the dead giveaway for all of you would be if you saw no more daily posts from me, here on my blog.

I’m sorry if this post is a bit disjointed. I really hope I snap out of this mood soon. From past experience I know it normally takes a few weeks before I begin to perk up…

😦

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30 thoughts on “Depression – my lifelong companion

  1. Well, Jack, in a way you’re not alone in this. Although I’ve been married three times and now live with a fourth partner, the feeling of loneliness is constantly there. It’s the human condition of artists, I guess. All my life, I felt a relentless spleen. I’ve learned to live with it, as I am sure you have learned too. There are ups and downs and during the downs, I tuck my head in like a turtle and wait, just like you, for it to lessen…It will…In the meantime: courage, my friend.

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  2. Sorry for not liking this post… Not because it was badly written, but because I don’t like it when people feel this way. I too have had periods in my life, where depression hit me and can relate to a certain degree. Having followed you for a while now, I know that there is good reason for you to suffer it, besides what you described above, and that those reasons are far more serious than mine.
    What I have learned from it though is that finding gratitude is a great remedy. That is the reason I started my blog, to be an example of how to feel better, to cheer others up and feel better myself in return for doing so. Maybe it is an idea to write a list or post of things you can find gratitude for? Like a nice sunset, pleasant Spring day or a chance encounter with a stranger that made an impression, anything, there is always something to be grateful for! Even if it just cheers you up for the time you are focused on it…

    With a big hug and gratitude,
    PollyEsther

    P.S. I loved reading the Guardian recently and have started Celeste πŸ˜‰

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  3. my dear friend, of course you’r not alone. we’re all together to get through this “not very happy” world around us but, we’ve a common: love and friendship! these give us the power to stand this very stony way, so long we keep remaining in this life! take care and stay tuned dear Jack.

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    • Thank you Aladin. It’s a fact that depressives need reasurance much more than normal people. Thank you again my friend. The slightest setback can so easily trigger our condition. πŸ™‚

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  4. Pingback: Feel better through meditation | Happy Pollyesther

  5. Hi Jack, sorry you’re being hounded by the ‘black dog’ at the moment. I’m glad that you know it will pass.
    I picture mine as the sky. It starts off as a completely black sky and then bit by bit, I see blue sky which eventually takes over. Once I start to see blue, I know ‘It’s’ lifting and that makes me more positive which helps make the sky more blue. I make myself go outside, make sure I have something to eat and sometimes I buy myself flowers as the freshness of them helps :0)

    I know you like stories, so this is one I’ve dabbled with (original story not mine this is an adaptation):

    The Melancholy King

    There once was a disgustingly wealthy king, so wealthy his throne was made of platinum and encrusted with gems and covered with ornate patterns. He only wore his clothes and shoes once and they were replaced (the ‘old’ clothes going to the needy well off who then passed their clothes down to – well you get the picture)

    He was beloved and adored by his subjects. He could have anything he wanted. The royal court was full of entertainers, wizards, jesters and comely women who would fall at his feet if he so much as looked their way.

    Despite all of this, the King felt alone and was prone to severe bouts of melancholy.
    Nothing held worth for him as it all came so easily. He would sit in an isolated room in the topmost tower and stare out the little window whilst the kingdom worried about him.

    His best Vizier suggested to the King that he should set a task to his people to find something to relieve his mood.
    So a proclamation was issued and sent out to the four corners of the kingdom. It said ‘The King will pay the worth of a quarter of the kingdom to anyone who can cure his melancholy’.

    There was fervent action all over the kingdom. People turning up at the palace with idea, after idea, getting more crazy and desperate as they went along, from someone juggling jugglers to a rather large lady bathing in warm custard accompanied by a piccolo band.
    After six months of this, the vast majority of the populace had been to see the King.

    Nothing had worked.

    The Vizier was getting really worried by this time and the King’s mood was starting to rub off on the people. The court became more an more quiet, the colours started draining from the fabrics and became drab. The people were becoming listless.

    The Vizier went over the list of people again and again and realized they had missed someone.

    The one person who had not come to the royal court was a wizened old woman who was the only wedding ring maker in the whole country. She lived in a little village in a secluded corner of the land right next to the border. The Vizier sent a Page to the old woman to ask why she had not come to the court.

    The old woman replied that she was too old to make the trip and her only talent was the making of wedding rings and the king had no need of her services as yet.

    The Vizier was at his wits end and took umbrage at this perceived slight. He advised the King of the old woman’s rebuff hoping the King would punish her.

    The King looked up at the Vizier and told him ‘Get a horse and provisions ready. I will go in disguise to see the old woman personally’.

    Shocked, the Vizier agreed, but tried to persuade the King to take some body guards, but the King refused. ‘No, I will do this alone’ he said commandingly.

    The King, now dressed as a traveller, had a weary month’s ride in front of him.
    On his third day he was mugged by a small troupe of starving itinerant actors and had all of his provisions stolen ‘dramatically’ and ‘with feeling’.

    But he refused to give up and go back The troupe had left him his horse and water, and hadn’t ‘roughed’ him up (there was no motivation) so he soldiered on. He met poor people living alongside the road who shared their last food with him, people in little villages who let him stay in their homes even though they didn’t know who he was.
    He washed in horse troughs and slept on hay bales when he stopped in between villages(basically he was camping – but without a tent).

    Eventually, he got to the old woman’s village and knocked on her door.

    ‘Go away’ shouted a voice from within the house.
    The King, taken aback a bit – knocked again.
    ‘Go away, I’m busy, leave an old woman in peace’ she shouted.

    The King, was now very put out as he’d come all this way and survived perils and misfortune to get here. He knocked a third time.

    The door was jerked open and there stood the old woman. Her back was bent from leaning over her work table all her working life, but the eyes that looked straight into the King’s were sharp as diamonds and studied him from under bushy white eyebrows.

    ‘What do you want? Harassing an old woman in her dotage!’ said the old woman gruffly.
    The King not used to being spoken to like this and being more than a bit peeved decides to tell the old woman who he was.

    ‘I am your King old woman and I have travelled all this way and suffered actual hardships just to visit you. To then be shooed away like some errant boy! You are the only subject who hasn’t brought an idea for a cure for my melancholy.What have you got to say for yourself?’ said the King testily.
    The old woman chuckled and gestured to the King that he should come in to the house. The King stepped in and looked around the little home.
    ‘And what did you find on your quest to get here my Liege’ said the old woman completely ignoring the King’s question.
    The King sat down on a bench next to a small wooden table. This wasn’t what he was expecting at all!
    ‘I have met rogues and ruffians but also met kind, generous people who helped me when I needed it even though they didn’t know who I was. I have seen the sunrise over a cornfield and watched the moon glide across the heavens from the top of a haystack. I’ve eaten Humble Pie and Venison, drank beer and water in exchange for a few hours work in the fields.’ said the King.

    ‘So, what have you learned?’ said the old woman, handing the King a large mug of broth and a lump of bread, even though the King hadn’t requested them. The King thought for a moment as he nibbled at the bread, it was soft and tasty.

    ‘I’ve learned that there are more good people than bad and that help sometimes comes from unexpected sources. I understand how privileged I am and will keep that in mind when making laws in future.’ replied the King. He took a big swig of broth – it was really good.

    ‘Excellent!’ said the old woman ‘Your journey has done you good!’
    She made her way over to a cupboard that stood in the corner of the room. She took down off the top shelf, a small, but beautifully made ebony jewellery box.
    She handed the box to the King.

    The King was intrigued, ‘What is this, old woman?’
    ‘It’s for your melancholy. It is not a cure, for there is no ‘one’ cure for such an ailment, but it may help’. said the old woman smiling.

    The King opened the lid of the box. Inside were two smaller, but no less beautiful ebony boxes. He opened the larger box to find it contained two plain, gold wedding rings.
    The King laughed. ‘Ha! I will not be needing these for some time old woman, I have no betrothed as of yet and I don’t think marriage is a cure for melancholy.’

    The old man chuckled. ‘No my Liege, I will not be around for much longer I think. I feel ‘stretched thin’ you might say. It comes to us all – pauper or king. They are a gift from me to take with you for when you do.’
    ‘Thank you old woman’ said the King he felt quite touched by this gift. He felt sad and happy at the same time.

    The King then opened the second, smaller ebony ring box. It held another plain gold ring. Puzzled the King looked at the old woman ‘Three wedding rings?’
    The old woman shook her head. ‘No Sire, look more closely, there is script on it’

    The King took the gold ring out of the box and had to go outside to see it more clearly in the sunshine, for the home was quite dark.
    The ring glistened like molten gold and as the sun bounced about it, writing appeared on the inside. It read:

    ‘This Too Shall Pass’.

    The King was a bit perplexed and turned to the old woman. ‘What does the inscription mean?’
    The old woman followed him out in to the sunshine and said ‘Next time you feel your melancholy weighing heavily upon your shoulders, read the inscription’. As I said, it won’t cure it, but it my help a little.’

    The King laughed out loud. It did indeed help.

    ‘Thank you! It is indeed the best response to my proclamation. Therefore, a quarter of the wealth of the kingdom is yours. I will inform the kingdom that the prize has been won. May I ask what name you hold old woman so it can be known to all?’ said the King.
    ‘I need no fortune your Highness, use it to help the poor.’ replied the old woman.

    ‘But you can still tell me your name as it feels wrong to keep calling you ‘old woman’ ‘said the King.

    ‘Hope’ replied the old woman ‘My name is Hope’.

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  6. You’re not alone in having undemonstrative parents. Mine were like that, and I have a friend who suffered the same childhood. Leaves you craving hugs! Without realizing it, I married a dear man who unconditionally supports me but also came from such parents and is not a demonstrative man.

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  7. I too have bouts of gloom when everything — and I mean everything — seems hopeless and ugly. Funny about the “black dog,” though. There is such a dog in my household now — a Newfoundland called Nelly. She makes me smile (even while complaining about dog hair, muddy footprints, etc.). Hugs to you, and I hope things look better soon.

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  8. Hi Jack. I’m sorry to hear your depression is biting at you right now. Just know that even those of us who don’t suffer from this surely have our own dark moments and demons at times.
    I also can’t recall any demonstrative love shown between my parents, or grandparents for that matter. My paternal grandparents didn’t like me when I was a child because my mother got pregnant with me on purpose to snag my dad; as though it were all my fault.
    Growing up in a constantly broken home was damaging to me (the eldest) and my 3 younger sibs. Everyone deals with their demons differently. I was lucky, I was determined to overcome the damage from my upbringing, and even though my sibs would never admit, there’s still so much broken I see inside them. So just know you’re not alone. We all crave a friend to lean on at one time or another. I especially feel that as a writer, absolutely nobody – friend or relative, understands how our heads function, as only a fellow writer can. πŸ™‚ Hugs

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  9. The old black dog hits me too often without any reason. I had a not-very-happy childhood, but now have a wonderful wife, three daughters and three grandaughters, who I love dearly, but I have had this plague all my life. It hits randomly and with no recognisable trigger. It holds up any productive enterprise, and leaves me unable to look forward to better days. My major health issues that I suffer from do not help, but I don’t see them as a trigger for the depression. It just happens for no apparent reason. All you can do is ride it out, because it does go away eventually. But it is hard to see forward with this weight on your shoulders.

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