Sunday, 14 July 2019


Happy Birthday Allan!

My friend, a previous editor of this newspaper, has done a runner. Up on stage in a packed arena, I’ve given him a high fallutin’ tootin’ introduction, but just as he would in real life, he’s shunned the massive crowd and had it on his legs.

Enter stage left Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, who come over to tell me that it’s all right, really. Everything’s okay.

I wake up and wonder at the inside of my brainbox. Three times every night it delivers crazy vivid dreams.

I’ve slept eight hours, so why do I feel so tired?

What’s happening today? I’m off into Galway to see friends, and for once I don’t have a big list of stuff to do.

Just drive in and have a laugh. That’d normally put a smile on my face, but I’m feeling all fuggy. A shower and a healthy breakfast will sort that out, I tell myself, and 45 minutes later I’m in my car, Joey SX, heading south.

Why is there is a frown on my face?

Where is my usual exuberance at the prospect of hanging out on Quay Street in the sunshine?

Why do I still feel so tried?

What is this feeling that’s enveloping my being?

Ah, yes. I know it.

Hello old friend. It’s never good to see you, but after a lifetime together, I do know that my depression comes with benefits.

It’s been a long while, and considering what happened over the last year, I'm truly surprised this is the first time I’ve been visited by my black dog.

Then again, it makes perfect sense for it to come now. I don’t have any control over when depression arrives, but this timing seems more than coincidental, as this is the first period my schedule has been clear, save for the most important thing of all: my own writing.

I’ve been waiting for a reaction to all that has happened, and now here it is.   

At least this time I realised what was going on. Rather than my usual two months of denial, I woke up and two hours later I understood.

Often there’s no apparent reason for the darkness arriving, but this time it’s no mystery.

Needier than usual, I sought support over the last year, yet it sometimes felt as if others turned their backs or disappeared entirely.

My head doctor says if you have two people in your life that you can talk to and trust, then you are a lucky person. 

I have four or five times that many, and truly know I am blessed, so each hurting has been successfully counteracted by giving thanks for how lucky I am.

Throughout the last year that worked really well, but little by little a succession of personal disappointments eroded my spirit.

Enter depression.

Before you all sigh and tut “poor thing”, you must know that for me there are many positive aspects to being depressed. I suspect that this particular depression will actually be quite helpful, even though I wouldn't say I'm enjoying it.

My depression can be quite liberating, because as showers of lethargy wash over me, I know I will expect nothing from myself.

I can just abandon myself to it, because there's nothing I can do about it. Things will not get done. Lists will be ignored, and that's all fine, as usually I'm so on top of my lists and getting things done, that they're all done.

Well almost. There's always stuff to do, but now is not the time to be doing.

Freed from obligation, my emotions can flood out, uninhibited by any need for me to keep it together.

Exercise will return the day the depression leaves. Getting on my bike every other morning is my mental and physical medicine, just as exercise’s absence is the flag bearer of my darkness.

I miss it and let it go. I allow myself to let everything go while I’m like this.

Maybe by the time you read this I’ll be emerging fresh, re-invigorated, pumped full of the joyous creative torrent that accompanies my upswing.

Maybe it will last for months.

Whichever, it will pass.

Depression is an essential part of me, as much as my arm, my heart, my imagination and spirit.

Fighting it would be as senseless as cutting off my hand because I’d broken a finger.

I am in my altered state, where I feel enclosed and stifled, while the world outside my existence appears to have changed. It's as if I'm the same and everything else is different.

I don't need mending, because I am not broken. 

I don’t need reassuring. 
I don’t need to be told to hang on in there, or to cheer up.

I will be like this for however long it takes.

This is just another form of me.

My self knowledge is almost comforting, yet it isn’t. It just helps me to feel safe, because I understand what's going on.

At the moment and for the foreseeable future, I'm in my dark place.

Safe and unsound.

As I write this I’m sitting by Ballyloughane Beach on a cloudy day, staring across the calm still grey waters of Galway Bay, towards the faded pink hills of the Burren.

The scene reassures me, yet I know that while I can see the beauty, I cannot experience it.

I will be patient, and appreciate what is going on.

I don’t want to bum out your summer, or rain on your Arts Festival Parade, so I’ll stay here, in my sanctuary, where I can be exactly the way I need to be.

Thank you universe, for giving me this peace.

I’ve accepted depression, and know it will pass.

It’d be great if you could accept it too.

©Charlie Adley

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