Beating the dragons.

26 Jul 2013

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline.

So what does your dragon look like? Mark has referred to his as the black dog. I think mine is more a leviathan as I seem to get swallowed up in it like Jonah. And is it even helpful to see depression as a dragon?

For me it is. In the old days, before I knew what was going on, I would be riding on the crest of a wave, effortlessly on top of everything and then, without warning, the lights would suddenly dim, the world would retreat behind a plate of thick plate glass (fogged and obscured glass at that), sound would become distorted and dim and all I could feel was lethargy.

I would drag myself to the doctors and get yet another diagnosis of over-work or post-viral exhaustion or – occasionally – depression attached to whatever events were going on in my life at that time.

So now, seeing it as being inside a metaphorical whale is quite helpful. There's not much to do, there's not much oxygen, so I couldn't do it anyway. Yes, it's very dark and smelly and generally unpleasant. But, eventually, if I just sit tight and wait, after a few months, the whale will vomit me out again. He's done it every time before; he'll do it again. I have to have faith.

The secret is to make it harder and harder for him to swallow me. Now I know what's happening I make sure I don't ride that wave too high and hard (he's waiting the other side of it). I make sure I'm rested and strong and I've done my mental balancing exercises.

The last time I fell into his mouth I think I got stuck in his throat: there was still some daylight and fresh air around and it wasn't quite so smelly. He spat me out too after six weeks instead of six months. Now, that was a result.

I don't ever want to make a pet of this Leviathan; he's the enemy and getting too comfortable with him would be a mistake. But I do want to study him, learn about him, treat every interaction with him as a chance to weaken him and strengthen myself. One day I will defeat him. Dragons can be beaten.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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