Friday, February 12, 2016

Warm heart

Hi,

A post of light and dark this evening. If this isn't your bag (baby), feel free to scroll on as required. :-)

The Dark

Last month, I visited a friend and found out, they'd been struggling with depression. Struggling, is now, perhaps too light a word for what they had. Swamped, drowned, consumed even. All words that may convey there sheer onslaught of what they went through, and, bless them, still are. They're having treatment, but by no means are they out of the woods. Yes, it's that type of serious, the poor bugger.

I sat, listened, and sipped my tea as the story unfolded. I've made no secret, nor poster campaign, that I had depression. If being honest means someone else knows it happened, I'm fine with that.

For my friend, it was not, a happy tale, and, perhaps like my own visit from the Black Dog, it had no true beginning. Just a realisation one day, that you've had a string of Off Days, or you find your temper flaring up, for matters you'd usually shrug off. So begins the slow descent and crawling back up, when you're not your best, is far more easily said, than done. Before you know it, the Beast is your new Worst Best Friend and you listen to its lies:

Hound of the B*stard Ills
Stay in because what's the point? 

Don't visit, because really, who'd want to see you? 

Don't bother, because you'll just feel the same, later on. 

It's just you and me now. Let's lie here and just breathe. I'll always be here and you're mine. 

Sleep, or rather, lay, because you won't rest. We've a dozen things to worry about, haven't we?

Etc.

You, and the slow ticking of a clock. A march of seconds that feel like minutes, and hours that drag. When you're stuck down in that pit, it may feel like there's no way back. Or... more darkly, there is only one way out.

I would like to point out, that doing yourself in, as I put so glibly, is not the answer. That's the illness talking, not you. Hell, I'll be as honest then, as am I now: I've thought about it when things were very bad. You take the idea out of its box and examine it. Turn it over a few times and run through some plans. What's the best way? Which would cause the least fuss and hurt the least?

But, you don't. A little bit of you says hang on, so you do. Even though it hurts like a b*stard, you keep breathing and take each day at a time. Eventually, laughter will return. Not gallows humour, but good, old fashioned jolly snorts, or inane giggles. You will feel joy again.

----

So, as per, I've rambled around the topic and I guess, I've a few things to say.

Firstly, if you recognise any of the phrases I've used, there is hope for you. People may say oh, it's an illness, you can't fix it. Maybe, and yes, I've used that line too, but it doesn't mean you don't have a choice. Let's put that last bit in underline, 'cos it's important: you do have a choice. Get help. Do something you used to like. Get out and walk, or visit people. The Black Dog hates exercise and misery sure don't love company. Friends won't judge you. Hell, you might find out who your 'real' friends are. People, in a crisis, surprise you.

Secondly, while I recognise those emotions, I can't connect with them, thankfully. They are distant memories: incidents compressed down to some tags and imagined scenes. They don't have any power any more, and if you fall over, there's no shame in asking for help, in getting back up. I might brush the dirt from my knees, but I'll not dodge the question, if someone asks if I fell.

Lastly, why are so many folk depressed or suffering with a mental condition? I'm sure there's some Followers of Woo, who will tell us it's down to the chemicals in our food, or other bunkum. Is it we're losing touch with each other, than modern life, is well, just rubbish? Or, is it more than we're getting better (!) at diagnosing these conditions, and that with people being open about their experiences, we're shining a light on what was once missed?

Here's Sarah, with the weather.... :-)

The Light

Chams went well, although I was late arriving. With the weather taking a turn towards actual Winter temperatures, I broke out an old favourite (see snap - thanks Val). Say what you like about fashion and style, but sometimes, there's a lot to be said about being cosy. :-) A jumper dress, good boots and leggings where enough to keep the chill away.

Downstairs, I managed to mingle a bit and catch up with folk, I don't usually get to see. We also had a new lady visit us, and I popped over to say hello, so she wasn't on her own too much.

Later on, I somehow got drawn in to taking photos. Now, I'm no expert, but I do know how to use Google :-) Seriously, kids, if you want an IT job, your first step to being a Computer Jedi, is knowing that you can use a search engine. Surprising how many folk just forget that. ;-)

Anyhoo, I read a few articles about how to pose for a photo, and found myself instructing a few would be photo victims, in what to do.

How to Pose for Pictures: 10 Tricks Every Girl Should Know

How to Pose for Flattering Profile Photos

How to Pose for Pictures

As I was saying to Helen, it's so rare I have my photo taken in guy mode, it's almost reflex to go into certain stances. When we had our snaps taken for work, I almost 'dropped' my hip and tilted my body on reflex. :-) Whoops. Nearly self-outted again. :-D

Take care,
Lynn



5 comments:

  1. Our newcomer was being very shy last night. I did invite her over to join Melissa, Fyona and myself but she declined so I'm glad you and Val managed to have a chat with her. I don't know - these people who are very shy and nervous when they first turn up at Chameleons!

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    1. She was, bless her. I suppose, for some, it must be very intimidating. Thanks for offering the proverbial olive branch, though.

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  2. Boy, do your comments on depression ring true for me, especially the bit about not wanting to go out because you feel no-one will really care if you turn up to a social gathering or not. Feeling as though depression is "your new Worst Best Friend", as you put it so well, is something that also applies to OCD, at least in my unhappy experience with the latter thing. At times, that condition makes me feel like there's some impostor exerting a stranglehold over my mind, that impostor being a "friend" I don't need, and certainly don't want. While I've no time for those religious kooks (I've encountered a few online) who regard mental illness of any kind as a "spiritual" problem rather a medical one, and claim the cure is to be found in "getting right with Jesus" (or somesuch nonsense) rather than relying on medication or therapy, I've found that mental illness can feel akin to demonic possession, in the sense you feel as if something malevolent is taking control of your mental processes against your will. If only it were so easy to cure it by performing a simple exorcism - many a time I find myself wishing I could exorcise the "demon" responsible for my OCD, and then strangle it. Slowly.

    Here's Sarah, with the weather.... :-)

    This reminds me of a blackly humorous memory I have from the early 1980s, a particularly dark period, as I recall, at least in terms of the nuclear brinkmanship between the two superpowers. I was listening to the news on the radio one night back then, and hearing the announcer going on with some suitably depressing stuff relating to the nuclear arms race (probably something about how many times over each superpower's respective nuclear arsenal could wipe out all life on earth, or how likely a nuclear war was within the next few years). Then, without skipping a beat, they announced it was time for the football results. Pretty surreal!

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  3. As I was saying to Helen, it's so rare I have my photo taken in guy mode, it's almost reflex to go into certain stances.

    Funnily enough, I remember once getting some portrait photos taken of myself (as a guy) at a professional studio, and having the person taking the shots get me to adopt what were probably some pretty feminine poses (the shot I ended up buying from them, for example, had me resting my chin in my hands and smiling coyly at the camera). Always makes me wonder if their trans-dar (for want of a better term) was working particularly well that day!

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    1. "Oh, we've got a right one here!" ;-)

      If they knew, they kept quiet. Probably for the best, if they'd like to be paid without issue :-)

      Yes, a quick exorcism; maybe a waff of incense, using the magic feedback box or raising a glass to Mr Sunday - whatever your preference is, wouldn't that be just super? I'm guessing it may take a little more than Level 4 'Remove Curse', to be effective, but what would I know? :-)

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