THE BLOG

On Depression

08/12/2014 17:52 GMT | Updated 07/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Ever since my departure from America where I was launching/pimping my book, I've slowly descended into what some call 'the black dog'. I call it depression. Unlike past bouts, I could feel this one growing; creeping up on me like a thief stealing my personality.

There were many contributing factors while I was on my 'press tour' in the US. Someone arranging my tour, who shall remain nameless - probably with serious anger issues (I never met her) - kept sending me to the wrong airlines so I missed various planes and found I wasn't booked in hotels I should have been booked in. The last few days in the States were spent giving myself pep talks, too afraid of going out but forcing myself to go out but not always knowing where I was going. All sense of direction and memory are sucked from your brain as those who share this disease with me know. Other horrors happened out there (sometimes you hit a toxic vein where everything gets poisoned): my computer got wiped. I ran from one Apple genius bar to the next in three different cities and not one of the geniuses could get it to work. Finally, I sent it to a data expert who informed me casually that everything was wiped; always a bowel-moving moment to hear that. Also, my phone broke so I have to make all new friends and my suitcases are still trying to figure out which country they're supposed to be in.

Anyway, I finally got out via Copenhagen where I was booked to do a show for people who, it turns out, didn't really speak English (always a good audience). When I got home I had to take to my bed for a few days due to shock. I knew I had to get up on day four because I'd been contracted months earlier to do a talk in Norway and the policy, I think, is if you don't show up you'll be sued. It gets a bit hazy at this point but I flew to Oslo and took then another smaller plane to some town whose name had a lot of crossed o's dots over the u's (Nordic talk). Whatever the name of the place, it was above the Arctic Circle. I was picked up in complete darkness during a hurricane and put in a hotel designed in that Scandinavian minimal style; white wood floor with nothing on it. My suite, a long white wooden floor with a plant, was cold. They had never heard of room service so I went into the restaurant and stole food like a squirrel. The sun never rose, not at 10 in the morning or 1 in the afternoon; never. The wind howled all night and the rain pelted on my windows. It was like standing under Niagara Falls with a piece of aluminum foil over your head. At that point, even with the depression looming, I started to laugh. It felt like a tiny space or chink in my brain opened up and let in some light as a joke formed. I could see what was funny about all this. There I was in this depressing atmosphere, talking to about 600 people about depression, who were probably depressed. When I was going out to give my speech just across the street, they told me not to bother with an umbrella because the wind wouldn't just turn it inside out, it would turn me inside out. As soon as I stepped out my new luggage blew out of my hands. My eyes froze. When I got back to London they lost my new bags, telling me they had been sent to Copenhagen for no apparent reason.

So I'm sitting here now in my bedroom feeling the darkness descend blocking out all thought. At least practicing mindfulness I'm able to separate myself a little from the abusive thoughts, which are trying to bomb me to total destruction. An example of how pathetic and poisonous the thoughts are is that some of my friends went to someone's funeral. I was devastated that I wasn't invited, feeling abandoned. (P.S. I didn't even know the dead person.) I'm not proud of this but these are these kind of thoughts are the sickness. They are the tumor that comes with cancer. But with the mindfulness practice (it isn't a cure but a way of relating differently to the illness) I can say, "There is depression" rather than "I'm depressed." It's the little things that count. I'm trying to ride the wave rather than go under.

Wish me luck.