- Mental Health
A Black Cloud Day, Depression But Not As We Know It.
The glorious sunshine is coming through the bedroom curtains, and is playing the light fantastic, bouncing wonderful colours back from the wallpaper and the mirrored wardrobe doors. It hints at the beautiful day outside. Bird song in my ears and the occasional whir of a car engine in the road below. It is Monday morning again!
Nothing changes, but this morning is different. I am comfortable, cosy and with my head under the covers, and I am in need of a comfort blanket or should I say comfort quilt? The happy pills have not been helpful recently, and so I pull the quilt over my head and refuse to let the day begin.
I can see soft billowing white clouds, or can it be the fibre filled quilt, so worn by age that I can see the quilting becoming thin in places. I look again and as I thought, it is the inside of the duvet allowing light to pass through the thinning fibres. I have many days like this, filled with misery and disappointment.
Determined to make an effort, I look at the clock, 9.44am, I really must get up. I sit up in bed and look around trying to find some incentive, but there isn't any. So I pull the quilt back over my head and settle down once more to wallow in self pity. Suddenly, I hear the latch on the garden gate and someone knocks at the front door. I don't move, I will not make a sound. They will go away. I can hear my mobile phone ringing downstairs, but I will not go and answer it, I am not here today. I try to be brave and have even put my foot out to touch the carpet, but I can't stand. I know I have to get up sometime, after all the kids are coming for tea.
Today is not a goldfish bowl day, which I have more recently become used to. I swim in my lonely bowl of existence, hearing people talk but the words do not make any sense. They talk to me and as I swim my way to the surface, no words escape my lonely mouth. I try so hard to be heard, but trapped as I am in this terrifying place in my mind, I have become non-coherent. My life is passing by and it is leaving me behind.
I am a creature of my own making, a life in two halves. The first half is bright, bubbly, intelligent and as my family will tell you, very loving. The second half of my life is foreboding, dark, almost sinister with a self destryuct button primed to go off at any moment.
There used to be a time I could see both halves of myself clearly, but now the latter takes over more often and I no longer have the strength to rescue me. I have grown tired, weary, and this self help theory is now hard to understand, I live each day as it comes. The changes hour by hour are now my life and I fight my own devils daily.
I am writing a book, triumph over tragedy, what a laugh? How can I write with such inspiration and clarity, how can I introduce the humour necessary to portray bravery in an intelligent way, when I am sitting in the depths of despair? My alter ego takes over, which one I ask? Why, the bubbly, intelligent and loving one I reply.
The nice determined to live side of me accomplishes many things, some of greatness, for I am a community carer, and a good one at that. I look into my clients eyes and there is where I find my strength, the wonderment that has been within those eyes, young and old alike. Many lovely people who once played an important role in the community, a husband or wife, father or mother and a trusted friend and neighbour. Eyes that were once full of vitality stare at me now with such great sadness. It takes so little to make those eyes shine again. A smile, hug or a kiss costs us nothing, a question asked about their past lives show those eyes light up once more and you have made a friend. Kindness, compassion and a little bit of interest enriches those lives who's simple existence has become a living nightmare.
So if you are like me, fighting with the dark side every day, remember the courage and bravery of those millions of people for whom the dark side never changes. Those lovely elderly, intelligent people who once had a lively and vibrant life, who now sit in eternal darkness in the recesses of their minds day after day, month after month and in some cases, year after year. Many will tell you that they now just sit and wait, and as each friend passes on they ask "when is it my turn?"
So, the moral of this story is embrace every day that arrives, even if like mine yours too are black cloud days. For every cloud has a silver lining so they say, you could be that silver lining of others people's days. A friendly smile, a chat or a simple hug is all it takes to let the sunshine in. Can you give someone a hug today? It is the best medicine you can get.
This little piece of writing is dedicated to all my lovely people who have shared their lives with me. My friend Ruby, who I will never forget, I miss you terribly. Mollie for the sing songs we had before you went to bed and Barney, you where a typical crabby old man, with a huge heart and a wicked sense of humour. Charlie who always made fun about my very unreliable car and you left me with Florence who I love as if she was my own granny. Paddy for caring that my knee was sore though you could barely walk yourself and Annie for the open arms and loving hug I received each day I visited you. My lovely friend Lila for the precious time I still spend with you. The day it rained so hard you wouldn't let me leave the house without one of your headscarves. Even having such bad eyesight you insisted that the bow you tied was in the middle of my chin. And for all those awe inspiring stories you told me about working in the 'big house' and the bombing of Belfast.
I will continue to have my 'Black Cloud Day's' but as long as I have my little people to care for, that is all the encouragement I need to stand on my own two feet. God bless you all.
Depression is as much a part of every day life, be it diagnosed or not. We all have our Black Cloud Days, but spare a thought for all those people that depression is a way of life. No amount of medication will give them any quality back.
How much of it is our fault as a human being? We are all capable of great things and much love. Make someone's day tomorrow, give them a hug.