How low can it go?

I don’t know what it’s like to have depression. I don’t wish to know either. Like back pain it is one of those ailments that is easy to roll your eyes at, until the day you get one or the other and then perhaps you may wish you had been a touch more sympathetic. I don’t have back pain either but I do have pains in my back once in a while and I am always grateful they are not any worse. This heavy fog of a low that depression claims to deliver doesn’t sound like much fun: unable to function or to believe that if you could it wouldn’t be very much worth it. At the moment it is sometimes hard to haul my tiny arse out of bed and at night if woken by bleak, twisting, grainy dreams it is ever so much harder to drift off again; it’s harder to think positive thoughts when there isn’t a lot beyond family and friends that could be considered a plus.

Regardless, I am very sure that true depression is not something that blights my brain. I’ve known a few depressives in my time and to witness them in action is something I can only observe, perhaps with a kindly word or two, but never truly empathise with. I expect a few depressives aren’t really depressives but just like to use the label as an excuse to do as little as possible and get away with it by flashing the mental health act, but on the whole who would say they were a manic depressive that was not: it hardly attracts the most attractive of company, at any given time. And now is a flourishing age for depression, the conditions are perfect for it to pollinate and blossom, and it seems that depression can catch almost anyone out. I hope you are wary of it. I am.

January is traditionally the bleakest month of them all, but February doesn’t fall far behind. If you’re looking for a bonus then at least Valentine’s Day might not be so much of a fuss this year, and if you were looking for love then at least you won’t have to splash out on a dying rose, a slab of leathery sirloin and a heart shaped bowl of Angel Delight, all lit by a candle fit enough only to illuminate the ludicrous bill. And if you’re desperately searching for a glimpse beyond the black dog curtain that envelopes us all then just think – it’s only another month and a bit until the schools might open again and then a slow roll out of other normalities like walking around Primark in a face mask or using an app to order a pint of mild and a bitter lemon for the lady. How very exciting, that really must cut through depression like a warm knife through a muscular dog turd.

My point, if there is one, is that I can’t remember a point in my life when I’ve felt so uniformly, consistently low. It’s a low level kind of low, but you try telling me it’s not there and we might have to fall out. I know I should be thanking someone for three things every day but that feels like being grateful for three square meals when you’re being punched in the stomach twelve times an hour. Around the clock. There is a special, unique sense of gloom that is everywhere and it doesn’t matter how many vaccinations are being done; they still feel like pouring a thimble of water onto a raging fire and hoping for the best. I think we were supposed to be joining together in a ‘national clap’ (we already have the national clap) for Captain Sir Tom at 6pm but I didn’t hear a whole lot going on outside. It is possible everyone was wearing thick gloves. So, whatever it is you need to keep you sane I suggest you grab it and hold it tight for the next few weeks. It’s a very long tunnel out there and the light seems a longer way off than some would have us believe. Anyway, where are my manners? How are you? I hope this cheerful little ditty has lifted your spirits, such was the original intention.

G B Hewitt. 03.02.2021

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