Thursday, November 16, 2006

What a wonderful world

I've been pretty depressed recently - I would say clinically depressed. For about the last week or so, somewhat longer than usual. I've written about this state before and described this as my "chemical" phase, as opposed to my usual low-level or moderate phases. The condition comes on suddenly for no reason and there's nothing really I can do to mitigate it. The good news is it goes as suddenly and mysteriously as it arrives. And today it's gone. Happily, I'm back to being my usual miserable old self.

Blogging isn't eay when you're in this condition. It's very difficult when you're severely depressed to be witty and amusing or to see the world for what it is - a place of contrasts, of good and bad people, of wonderful opportunities and dreadful events. There's no room for hope in my depressed, monochromatic world.

And that's wrong. Because there's always hope. And cause for hope too. To paraphrase John Lennon - there are lots of problems but lots of solutions too. It just takes a while to find them. The danger is that you stop looking.

When I'm in the condition I've been in recently I take comfort in a story I read many years ago. I found it in the unlikely setting of the autobiography of Phil Silvers, the man who played Sergeant Bilko. In middle-age he was struck down by severe and debilitating clinical depression. He tried everything to ameliorate his condition - drugs, therapy, clinical intervention etc - but nothing worked. Many days he couldn't get out of bed. His general health suffered terribly. He couldn't work. His world fell apart. This condition lasted for years. Suicide seemed to be the only way out.

And then one morning he woke up and he was better. Completely back to normal. It was a miracle, truly a miracle.

So when I'm suffering I think of Sergeant Bilko. And he gives me hope. And when I'm better again, he also makes me laugh. And I'm laughing right now just thinking about him and that dopey expression on his face.

And I'm looking forward to the challenge of writing a nice, upbeat, life-affirming blog post for a change.


  1. Anonymous3:48 pm

    Did you know, some years ago the Radio Times conducted a poll amongst its readers to find out which television comedies were considered to be best? And would you believe, The Phil Silvers show came out on top? What a marvellous show it is, standing the test of time. I must have seen every episode several times over but I can still guffaw at his antics.

    I don't know what it's like to be clinically depressed, but I do get incredibly low for short periods; and like you I manage to pull back to an acceptable miserable level. I'm loathe to go beyond that into the unknown realms of joy and contentment, for fear it wont live up to expectations. How do you figure that one out?

  2. Yes, I remember watching Phil Silvers in the re-runs. He was a comic actor who didn't mince words, with his scripted lines.
    Just wanted to say, that yours is an interesting blog, Pundy.
    I mean, you write with observation and thoughtful understanding, no matter the mood of the day, to say nothing of your humour. I do reflect on things in a newer way after reading you.

  3. It is a wonderful world, isn't it? Skies of blue, trees of green, and just around the next corner, love and all that, and you can't get away.

  4. Maxine1:59 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I've been addicted to your blog lately, Pundy. Is that morbid, when you're talking about depression and the like? It's probably because there is enormous truth in these posts, and humans are always attracted to that. I send you good vibes and sunshine.

  7. Don, the fear of happiness is something that concerns me too. I'll take a deeper look at it in the next few days.

    Susan, I'm touched by your kind words - more than I deserve, I'm sure.

    Hey, jta, it's a bugger, isn't it. I feel one of your poems coming on.

    Hi Shameless, it's a standoff, isn't it? You're addicted to reading my blog and I'm addicted to writing it. Let's see who blinks first.