I have been ‘out’ for years about the fact that I live with depression. In common with many professional creatives the enduring, varying tension between my perception and reality fuels my quest for answers. And increasingly, the work I do is all about finding the answers that have eluded other people. Folk in a fix are often too close to their personal and organisational challenges to see the wider context. I live in that wider context.
Depression however place demands upon those it inhabits. It’s vital to manage pace, space and focus on just one race. What do I mean?
Pace is everything because exhaustion brings on self doubt, followed by the damp dark foggy cloak that takes you out of circulation. Mood swing bring highs that make me feel invincible. They are always followed by a fall into darkness.
Space is equally important. I live in the countryside surrounded by fields. My home phone number is a closely guarded secret, known only to immediate family. I can shut the door on my work phone, close the garden gate and isolate myself from the world. This means I’m not always accessible; tough!
And sticking to one race is also essential. It’s so easy to get distracted and flounder as a multitude of equally regarded goals seem to wriggle from my grasp. Focus is difficult, but not to focus means to fail.
Right now, with professional help, I’m five weeks without an encounter with the ‘black dog’ of depression. It’s never far away I know, but if I throw it the odd negative thought or lingering self doubt it seems content to leave me alone.
It’s strange to say, but when under control, it’s fine occasionally to say hello to the darkness. It is after all my old friend!