Not About Depression

This is not, and was not intended to be, a blog about depression. Mainly because I think Allie Brosh at “Hyperbole and a Half” did that so well I have little to add. It’s what she said.

But there is a gorilla in the room and after four years I have had to suck it up and seek out a bit of outside help again….

There are a lot of misconceptions about depression. I’m not convinced that anyone who has not experienced it can ever really get the idea of it, and it tends to be seen from the outside as just being a bit miserable and self-pitying.

Nope. And if there is anything I can add to the debate, it is to simply repeat that there is no place in society for the marginalisation of mental health issues and those who suffer with them. We are not just feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, OK? Nor am I defined by an illness. I have many voices, but this is one of them.

It’s also hard to generalise because like most things related to ill health, there are a basket of symptoms and it will present differently over time and from person to person. I’m a lot more philosophical about it these days. I get worse, I get better. Self-Knowledge of what it is and that it can be managed, treated and generally dealt with is half the battle. The other half is doing the stuff you need to do on a consistent basis. Complacency is the real enemy.

For me the worst is the anhedonia. Depression is often not a storm of negative emotions. It is more often a whole heap of nothing. The inability to take any pleasure in anything sucks your motivation dry and even puts your identity under siege. If you have no preferences, then how are you defined?

Hey Paul! Want to go see a film?
Yeah OK.
Hey! How about this. We go to town, tie a pineapple on your head and chuck bananas at you?
Yeah, whatever. Sounds like fun.

I posted a poem on the website I contribute to about this, and someone who I have never met that read it commented with a thank you that she had needed to read that, on that day. Which is both not much, and really something.

I know

I can do anything
Catch a film
Phone a friend
Feed a duck
Make a list
Maybe a bus to someplace nice
To eat a peach and
Watch sugar slowly sink
Through the froth
On my cappuchino
While people chat with
Shopping bags and kids
Around their ankles.
Or find a bar
With beer and book and sup
And watch the girls
Too young for me breeze
In with stolen glances
Even for this old fuck.

I could do it all.

Just have to peel
Out of these stinking clothes
And open up the door.

I’m not raging.
No crucifixion of grief
Paints me here.
Just bone bone tired
Of wanting.
Waiting numb.


The walls will crumble down
I know
Darkness fades
I know
Sun will lift on wings
I know
To feel again
I know.

I Know


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