A standing ovation

9 Jun 2014

When in a depression, my mind either, for short intervals, flutters from one thing to another, (the mental version of channel hopping) or closes down completely and asks for sleep only.

When in the former state, I've noticed I gravitate back to moving videos on YouTube. Last week, I wended my through a whole load of touching first auditions like Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent or Australia's Got Talent, Emanuel, singing Imagine. And trust me, I don't even like TV talent shows! Yet, for some reason, it's these clips that release pent up tears that have been locked within a soul always accompanied by sadness.

Another of my favourite videos is of Derek Redmond at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. These clips all tend to have a few things in common. They are often edited to powerful, touching music. They are triumphs of human tenacity overcoming adversity or sadness of some description. And the audience watching at the time, whether in an Olympic stadium or a small arena, are visibly moved. They are on their feet, crying, shouting encouragingly and applauding.

I've re-learned these past few months that mental poorliness is surely one of the most lonely sicknesses to endure. Unlike my experience with cancer or the sudden loss of my dad, there are no deliveries of my favourite flowers, no cards daily plopping through my letter box with bad poetry and silly jokes about hospital food. My phone falls deadly quiet. There'll be no "Hello" text alerts one after the other today. No kindly nurses to mop up the mental vomit that can't be kept down. No calling of "Time please!" on the visitors around my bed. What visitors?

I probably sound bitter. I'm not, not really. I know to a very large degree the fault is mine. Feelings of worthlessness run through me like the crack in our chimney breast; it just keeps reappearing despite fresh plaster. Therefore, I struggle to reach out and ask for help. I removed my brother, my only Buddy, when my score started to plummet well below 10, everyday. I haven't even had the heart to get to the doctors. (Apt duly booked for tomorrow, 5pm.)

It feels with mental illness, to a large degree, I must be my own healer, detective, friend. There are so many questions surrounding this latest bout. I won't bore you with them. Whether physical or mental, the road, I'm sure you'll agree, is long.

We all love to see someone pull off something truly inspiring but for most of us, and the context here being depression, our bravest, most courageous moments won't be stood on a stage in front of a wildly applauding audience with judges on their feet, tears streaming down faces. Nor will it be in a packed out 65,000+ Olympic arena. It'll be when we pick up the phone and make an appointment with the doctor. It'll be when we accept there is more work to be done and fix some therapy seesions. It'll be when we phone that friend, who we know, just 'gets it' and utter those oh so difficult words: Can you help me?

This is the reason then that I'm drawn back to those excerpts. I may have no intention of entering the 400m race at the 2016 Olympics or a singing slot in next year's X Factor but watching those people "succeed", makes me see that by merely choosing to continue, I, you, we, all of us, deserve a standing ovation.

Did Derek Redmond fail? Far from it! http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ws8vIqkMh44


A Moodscope member.

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