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Boshing the Bully Within (Depression)

08/01/2015 09:45 GMT | Updated 09/03/2015 09:59 GMT

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Definition of Bully:

Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

synonyms: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, browbeat, harass, torment, intimidate, strong-arm, dominate;

I don't like bullies. We all hate bullies. They will pick on someone, smaller than them, weaker than them, someone with a perceived defect that they might emphasise for effect by repetitive jeering. They might also suggest that if you tell anyone about the bullying that your life will be made worse than it is. So can you see where we are heading with this analogy. The bully for many of you, who you either acknowledge or not, is within. He is the dominant, overriding voice who demands your attention but not your affection, your compliance not your defiance, your obedience, your subservience. He is the omnipotent Black Dog, logged in to your psyche, he knows the passwords to get in and won't log out. He will colour your world sepia, turn rainbows black, fears become fact, smiles to tears and grind all your gears. To a Halt. No Mercy.

When the incessant monkey chatter starts somewhere within your skull, small dark thoughts that you would normally swat away like a pesky fly become lodged and imbued with an importance far above their station.

These negative thoughts can hold within them a small kernel of truth that will be amplified and racked up to 11 (Spinal Tap style). Your newly wired or cross wired brain responds with heightened anxiety

"You're right , you're so right, you've found me out and I have no strength to disagree."

But it's wrong, it's so wrong, it's just that you are too powerless physically and mentally to think things through logically. Today is no different radically than yesterday but your world has crumbled, though logic says "Don't Believe the Hype" your personal Public Enemy holds the mike. You just can't hear yourself, no wonder with the amplifier turned up to 11. "Turn that bloody racket down." the old you within cries.

Depression takes the path of least resistance and explores this negative trajectory as you implore, "Oh, Depression, don't beat me up, I'll do what you say, if I confront you at my lowest ebb you will punish me."

"There will be repercussions."

"I'm scared of you, your strength, your power."

"Why did you pick on me, why me, why me?"

"Why not you"? Depression snarls.

"I promise I won't tell a soul, you've shamed me, how could I?"

"I'll keep smiling and tell everyone I'm fine."

"How are you?"

"Fine."

"How are you?"

"Fine."

"How are you?"

"Just fine, thanks."

Listening to these lines, Depression smirks, he's got you where he wants you. He wants you weak and afraid to speak out, to scream, to shout. What are you afraid of, what your friends might think of you? Will you be a lesser person in their eyes, someone to despise? Time to separate the truth from lies.

If only you had the courage, the sense, and the trust to throw caution to the winds and explain to people you trust or love as best as you can the depths of your dilemma. Then when they say "How are you?" and you reply, "not so good today," they will know its shorthand for feeling absolutely shit and vulnerable. They will then act accordingly ( a big hug would be a good start). To save a lot of words (you're not feeling that talkative now, are you?) try out a number system from 1-10, 1 being worse than absolute shit. With my girlfriend's kids, they really didn't need to know the ins and outs of Depression, but a number sufficed, so conversations went along these lines:

"How are you today, Louis?"

"Ummm, about a 6". Slight pause.

"Is that ok for a game of chess?" Slight pause.

"I guess so." Job done. For now.

Black Dawg (excerpt)

So when Dawg calls

And you climb the walls

Like trying to swim Niagara Falls

You Slump, Curl Up

You can't Stand Tall

Heres what to do, a Battle Call

Sad Spiral down into Depression

Now Spiral up and learn this Lesson

How to Fight back

How to Cope

How to Manage

How to Hope

How to Smile without a Reason

Do you need one?

Answer, No.

Going back to the wonderful 70's, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce, both comedians, took it upon themselves in their live acts to mixed race audiences to try and defuse the power of the N word. It was a insult too far in those days before being reclaimed by gangsta rap as a folksy endearment. To do this they they repeated it ad nauseam, N*****, N*****, N***** etc till it lost some, not all, of its power to shock. The same principle we have to apply to Depression, name and shame, acknowledge it exists in your head and out there in the big world. We need to discuss it and confront it as you would a bully. IT WILL BACK DOWN.

If you have been five fathoms deep, like I and many others have, and resurfaced with mind and body in tact and somewhat in control then I feel a moral duty as a wordsmith of sorts, to encapsulate what I've been through from the perspective of a 'Time Out'. Your personal Time Out from Depression could be a day, a week, a month or years. You might never really know if you have defeated it or just kept it at bay. I know its still there in the dark recess of some part of my brain. It could resurface, but I have built up an armoury of weaponry. I now have resources, mind tricks (two can play that game) distractions and exercises to thwart, defuse and confuse Depression when he comes a-knocking. I can easily tap into my memory bank about what I thought, felt and went through and I know from feedback that it strikes a chord for many who cannot articulate their situation so clearly. Maybe many do not want to revisit their private hell when they come back to the real World, as it could trigger another relapse. You may feel (shudder) thank God I'm back to me again, and then carry on regardless (pun intended).

I feel strong enough, in fact I gain strength, from revisiting that Hell. It's part of the ongoing process, folks. In case I get called back.