Never give in, never give in, never, never, never,
never-in-nothing, great or small, large or petty -
never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.
Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently
overwhelming might of the enemy.
Sir Winston Churchill
Although his reputation has suffered in recent years, Churchill is one of my heroes. He stands high in my estimation because, although he lived with times of dark depression, times he called his “black dog,” he never let it stop him. He also liked cats, which, for me, is another mark in his favour.
If we see depression as the enemy, a thief clothed in grey fog, which steals from us all joy and pleasure, all connection and motivation, then how can we stand against it? How can we continue, and not give in?
Giving in looks different for everyone. Here are some of the areas where I could give in:
· Daily routines: getting up, eating meals, going to bed at the same time each day.
· Personal cleanliness: showering, cleaning my teeth, wearing clean clothes.
· Household routines: cleaning, laundry, preparing meals.
· Alcohol – I could return to drinking.
· Diet: I normally eat healthily. In these times, I crave fats and carbohydrate.
· Work: I could ignore my clients.
· Friends and family: I could avoid and ignore them.
· These Moodscope blogs.
“Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
Yes, there are some areas where it makes sense to give in. In depression – or possibly when well – it makes sense to analyse those areas in which you can and should give in, and those areas where, should you give in, the enemy will become even more powerful. There is ground which, given up, will cost more in the long term, and ground which may more easily be recovered when the depression passes.
Each of us will have different choices; each of us will have ground we are prepared to sacrifice and strongholds we hold inviolate.
The important areas for me are daily routines, personal cleanliness, honouring existing work commitments where possible, and responsibly rescheduling them where not, and staying away from alcohol. It is physically impossible to exercise, and my family and friends understand I cannot be there for them in these times. Everything else is negotiable. I will cook if I can; do laundry if I can; clean if I can. Even these blogs can be sacrificed if necessary.
It's important is to make our own choices. Friends and family have a habit of thinking they know what is best for us and forcibly telling us “For our own good.” Resisting them is hard, but we must trust ourselves.
We can and should resist the enemy, depression, where possible, and give ground gracefully where it is not.
Those of you who have read my blogs for some time know the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins sustain me in the darkness. I’ll leave you with some of his words:
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Nor untwist – slack they may be – these last stands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
Yes, give ground where you must, but never give in.