Poet Posing on Prose Platform

Writing, had a weep, tidied up files to find this


I am closer to 76 (78) than 75 (77).

My first experience of serious depression was at age18 after two people I knew were killed in motor vehicle accidents. My suicidal impulse at the time was held in check on two grounds. If I was not successful I could be prosecuted (attempted suicide against the law). If I was successful I could not know whether the In Memoriam notices in the West Australian would number something between that of one friend (1) and the other (column after column). By the time I stopped worrying, the suicidal mood had passed.

And this is the trick! The mood passes.

Just sit it out. When feeling a danger to myself, I used to go to the nearest hospital and ask to be allowed to just sit in safety. That was all I needed. It also helped when I had a circle of friends who did not need telling, but somehow knew we should sit up all night, putting the world to rights till the sun came up. Also, even when it feels as if alone enough to successfully suicide, my experience was that there was Something Out There which ensured a close, but failed attempt.

But for ordinary, non-suicidal depression, I found the best, the quickest way out of it was to surrender, play some really, really sad music, make yourself as miserable as possible as quickly as possible because, once down there in the pits, the only way is UP. For me, that became the creative writing time.

The death of friends, of a child, of parents. These are all reactive depressions and normal. Hormonal upheavals either monthly or after birth, again part of normal living. Loss of jobs, partners by either death or divorce and all those other events which tally up. Most of us will have experienced same or similar. Top this off with bipolar, genetic predisposition, lying dormant until triggered by stress and then crash and burn and phoenix-like rise again knowing that you know the secret of the Meaning of Life, where it came from and where it is going! Oh, boy. Fun, fun, fun. (But not for those around who strive to make sense I(there is none) of it all.)

My saving grace, inner strength, whatever you want to call it, stemmed from an incident when I was nearly five years old. (Please do NOT visualise). The head of our neighbour’s son was sliced apart by the flying blade of a broken circular saw. His mother came over to our place in great distress. My mother told me to look after the distressed woman, my 23 month old sister and my 8 week old brother. She told me to be a brave little girl while she pedalled off to the post office to call the doctor and police. I know that is what she told me as, when 55, I woke one morning sobbing my heart out with relief that I no longer had to be a brave little girl. (She forgot to stand me down!) So, for fifty years I went through Life with girded loins prepared to take on anything Life threw at me.

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