I have suffered from bouts of depression for several years. That sentence in itself is one of the best ways to deal with it. To acknowledge it. To recognise it. To confront it.
Now don't get me wrong I'm not the morbid, self pitying, wallowing type. In my time I've been the life and soul of the party, a social gadfly, a witty raconteur, private chef, a dj and promoter of large ravey parties and at present a lead singer in a Reggae/Dub band. But. I suffer from Depression. Sing it out. Shout it from rooftops so all can hear. I'm in good company. Hello Winston, Hello Ruby, Hello Mr Fry can I join your gang? There is no Shame, there is no Blame, there just is. Depression.
Before I recognised it I tried everything to fix myself from hypnotherapy to acupuncture and all points in between...to no avail. I was asking the wrong question. Why not what. Being a creative type I channelled positive thoughts and feelings into song writing, lyric writing and singing in recent years but infrequently have had to deal with the debilitating effects of the Black Dog (Depression).
We all know that Mental Health problems are criminally misunderstood, most people just can't get the fact that a Ruby Wax or a Stephen Fry can get depressed. What have they got to be depressed about? Well Depression is indiscriminate but most available information can be dry and scientific.
With a poem, Black Dawg, written in a stream of conciousness over two late nights, I wanted to go into the depths, the feelings and powerlessness that envelope all those who suffer from this burdensome predicament. That includes by the way the partners, friends and family of the afflicted,who, though well meaning, do not have a lucid insight into their loved ones state of mind during the largely uncommunicative state whilst in the throes of the Black Dog / Dawg. So I want this to be an aid and a perspective to them and also the sufferer who will recognise all the signs and symptoms and hopefully try out the solutions and realise that most definitely THEY ARE NOT ALONE.
What I hope to do in the near future is work with a friend and fellow sufferer, but also a brilliant illustrator, who will provide a dynamic, colourful, visual counterpoint to the poems lyrical content. To this end I would like to find a possible publisher/ benefactor to bring this to reality so as to make a vibrant, informative book for Mental Health societies or individuals. It will be the opposite to dry and scientific, it will be punky, pithy with a bit of fun thrown in to lighten the load of the potent prose.
To give you some idea of the flavour of the poem, it's quite long, I intend to post some excerpts rather than the whole kit and caboodle (lovely phrase). So, here's the start
Drowning in that Deep, Dark Sea again
Serve my penance till I'm Free again
Disengage from Life's mad pace
Put on Fake brave smiley face
Dislocate from Love's Embrace
When You need it Most
With funky, bold colour filled illustrations I hope to present Depression in easily identifiable shapes and images not as a grey/black murky maelstrom. I want ordinary non sufferers to get it and for sufferers to maybe trigger recognition that they are in good company, the last gang in town.
Lets face it, I'm not the first and surely not the last to comment on Depression. But one thing is sure, until the stigma attached to it is addressed by sufferers, observers and commentators we all need to hear, see and understand the intricacies of its Modus Operandi. I've started with a stark poem as my weapon of choice to attack.