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16th October 2020

On Depression

I have been feeling seriously depressed of late. This whole thing has robbed me of pretty much all my work (which involves social interaction. And wine. Hence spitting (which is a virus-friendly thing if ever there was)).
French state aid for small business/self employed people like me is pretty rubbish.
I live alone.
My dog died in August.
I had a (routine) operation three weeks ago, which I had put off because I didn’t have enough spare time for the recuperation when it was diagnosed (benign cyst) last year. But in retrospect I regret it now, because it meant two/three weeks without exercise, which I realise now was the only thing holding me together. Then I get notice of a French tax inspection (which is every bit as grim as it sounds, although not out of the ordinary, and I have done nothing wrong (although they always find something) but it is threatening and stressful anyway).
Sitting at my desk, trying to write and allowing myself to get distracted by nonsense on the internet was not helping, so I decided to walk.
A lot. (In fact I am now able to go running again).
I drove to Venice because it’s cheap and empty at the moment, and I thought if there’s anywhere that can take my mind off things, it’s there. Didn’t really work. Felt guilty about spending money I shouldn’t. Felt even more alone. So I came back and spent the last few days in Nice with my best friend, who was great and helped, by listening and reassuring. I live just outside the city. Home now, and feeling a lot less bleak, although still depressed - there just does not seem to be any end in sight to all this, and even if there was, it seems as though absolutely everything else is going wrong for the planet as well anyway.
But I have decided to spend as much time outside as I possibly can, and I am lucky that the weather here allows for that usually.

The problem with either ‘counting your blessings’ or ‘just snapping out of it’ is that depression simply does not work like that. There’s a fine line between counting your blessings and taking comfort from others’ suffering, and I daren’t cross it. Grains become pebbles become stones become rocks become boulders and then they crush you, and you make catastrophes from the slightest things, and it’s your own brain doing it, but you cannot turn it off. And it is actual, real, pain. The kind of nauseating pain that you want to end, even if that means contemplating ending it the only way you can imagine. Which I did. But I am not now. For now.

If you are feeling like this, and I believe a lot of people are, then talk to someone close. That helps make the boulders shrink. A bit.


Yes and thank you. So many men suffer in silent. [Kerry, 17th October 2020]

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