I heard the mission bell; it sounded like a cell phone ringing, or beeping, or buzzing. I was on the bus last week. I use it regularly in winter because two wheels, motorised and un, freeze me slowly. The walk to the bus-stop clears the lungs and head, at least it does until I step on the bus.
Twenty people on the bus, heads at 90°, texting, Whatsapping, emailing, surfing; whatever they’re doing. That’s OK, free country and who am I to care? So I whipped out my notebook and ever-present 2H pencil and started writing. The noise of lead scratching paper could have been one of H.G. Wells’ Martians yelling “Ulla!” the noise was so alien.
In front of me a head righted itself and probably swum from finding itself in a hitherto unknown position. To the side of me fingers stopped doing whatever they were doing and someone who could have exited the bendy-bus at the other door decided to walk past, catching a snide glance at my activity. Fairly bloody surreal for an 8.00am bus ride.
So, I decided I had a mission, not impossible and not even difficult but a mission nonetheless. Every morning or evening or both, I would write a poem. Chances are it may not be a very good one but a poem it would be. Today’s one went OK, at least I liked it and that matters more than anything else, and it goes a little like this:
The hours slip through time,
as time seeps through the hours;
mark the beginning
and the end of time
Celebration of life and death
Eyes open for the first time
or close for the last
and tears tear the heart
But now life grows
and time never slows
But seeps through the hours.
Living in a daily world of imaginary conflicts, in which the tide of others washed and pushed against him, He lived ever in anger’s twilight. The anger simmered, threatening to boil over but not quite managing to do so. In some ways it would have been better if it had.
In his make-believe world in which everything was a hurt against him, either directly or indirectly, he no longer lived; not in the true sense of the word. Whereas sensibility to his condition was heightened, other important aspects of his character were made obtuse. Happiness was an emotion felt by others. His anger would obtund any sense of enjoyment or achievement and his spiral continued downwards.
The world outside is bright
Spring fills the air
The fields and the trees are colour
Animals awaken from winter slumber
But within him the winter remained
And for him the clocks unchanged
He slivered on ice
where others walked on grass
He shivered with cold
while others warmed to the sun
He withered, his face white
when others danced with new life
He lingered in the shadows
whilst others cavorted in the long,
joyful hours of sunlight
He revered in his head
his sufferance in a world
where hurts imaginary
and conflicts obtusely
Beat him to the ground
into the dust, to be found
Where maybe hope one day
will bring him out;
out into the world again.
Depression can take manifest itself in various guises, this I know from personal experience. Whilst at the height of my chronic insomnia 4 years ago the hospital put it down to depression which, personally, I couldn’t understand as there was no real motive, so I believed. I just thought it was the other way around – that I was shot to pieces in the head, imagining scenarios which weren’t there simply because I didn’t sleep. Thankfully, with loving support and no lack of determination, I managed to untangle myself from the shadow-spectre of this awful and destructive condition.
During last 4 years I’ve started writing, which is a therapy in itself. I still don’t sleep anywhere near the recommended 8 hours but whoever recommends this probably has nothing to do all day. The above, in a very rough form, has been around quite a while, probably written during ‘recovery’ stage. Ordinarily I avoid personally-related posts, but this is different – I want that reminder there. I want to remind myself of where I was and where I am and be thankful for it.
p.s. – Shadowplay is a track by Joy Division from their “Unknown Pleasures” album. It just seemed apt in this case.