Thursday, January 25, 2007
Black Dog (der Schwarzehunde)
Winston Churchill had it.
Ernest Hemingway had it.
To some extent, the late and great American columnist, H.L. Mencken had it.
.Melanie Long, of Newmarket, Ontario understands why some of the most noted leaders and writers of the world had this pet name for this particular illness.
Like Mr. Churchill and other notables, Ms. Long has lived with her own Black Dog for years. She is the mother of five children of various ages. Her depression began at age 21 when her father died of cancer.
"I didn't know how to deal with my dad's death," Ms. Long said. I just didn't have the coping skills". This is where the depression set in.
And like the British prime minister, she too, finds is difficult to explain how bleak, painful and disabling a chronic depression and anxiety disorder is.
Some people refer it as disappearing into a dark hole.
"It's an accurate description," Ms. Long says in an interview with the Era-Banner newspaper, who had sought her out as a depression survivor..
"There are days when I can't get out of bed."
Lately, however, life has taken a positive turn for the atractive 47-year-old mother. So much so that Ms. Long works with the Canadian Mental Health Association to put a voice and face on depression and to educate others about the often-misuderstood condition. She is also working with the Salvation Army, helping others while herself getting help.
She has also found a creative outlet.
"I felt as if I had no hope, that last time, she said.
"I felt I was without value. But there was a little spark. I love to paint."
There is a corner of her warm and pretty living room that is her place, a place to dream and plan.
The story was written by Joan Ransberry, and I'm just alluding to it obliquely, but haven't we all known "that place where the faces turn so cold", as Richie Sambora had put it in "Dead or Alive"?
I had the double whammy recently. An Either/Or situation (We could all benefit by reading that other manic-depressive, Soren Kierkegaard).
Myself, I am at different times greatly elated, other times depressed.
But there are people with few periods of elation, of real mental clarity and those are the ones I feel sorry for.
What, no corresponding high from the low?...Like everything is black, black, black, all the time?
This, I couldn't handle.
My depressions usually tell me something I am like a hen over a nest. Something is boding, that's why the depression.
But this depression, this one before me, is a doozer.
My "Fire in Bradford" seemed to be accepted locally by theatre folk as a play, but when I went to an important publisher in hopes of putting it out hardcover, I got a flat rejection.
What, no foreplay?
Apparently no foreplay.
"We hope you approach other publishers with your work."
This after forty years of writing, after hailed by some teachers at York University as the best post-modern novelist in Canada? My :"Black Icon"l novella has been used as lecture material by the University of Ottawa, and probably, on the sly, by York University.
Is this what is bothering you, Bunky?
All right, all right. Rudyard Kipling says you should never breathe a word about your loss, but what the hell, it hurts like the Dickens, and when it comes to Kipling, WTF, hardly anybody reads Kipling anymore; nobody "Kipples" in the twenty-first century.
Ah, but we "rounders" find a way around it.
Some do it legally, some illegally; others find that the grape is infinitely better and less damaging in side-effects than the pill.
Drugs, legall or illegal, make short work of depression.
Drink a whole pot of Tim Horton's coffee. Swig it down with a cigarette or two. Hang the smoke and nicotine nazis!
Lady, you got it bad.
I am starting to enjoy my depressison. I got a whole whack of Tim Horton's coupons; won something for a change. Suddenly, almost inexplicably, the room brightens.
I am anticipating the sunrise around the corner.
'Cause I hate to see that evenin' sun go down."