Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Golden dreams and mental health

Had the best night’s sleep last night that I’ve had for well over a week. Still feel tired though (dammit), but serious bliss, nonetheless. I was beginning to think I’d lost the ability to sleep properly at all. Mind you, the fact that the cold seems to have all but cleared up and I can therefore breathe again does help.

Had a wonderful, but bizarre, dream too: I was part of a husband and wife private detective team (with me being the man, as ever …) in a fantasy setting. We’d had to move from Paris (a city I’ve never enjoyed, but never mind – it was perfect in the dream) to London because of my job but, although the work was good, it wasn’t as enjoyable as before. I don’t think the cases we were getting were as exciting. Anyway, on our latest case we had to take a trip back to Paris to try and solve it and, once there, everything fell perfectly into place. The streets and buildings were beautiful and – for the first time – I could hear the song of the voices in the city in my head, in a way we never could in London. I remember saying, in the dream, to my wife that it was as if the voice of London was dead and only Paris was truly alive. And I could also see the golden statues move – both London and Paris had these magnificent golden statues, known as angels, but in London they were always still. In Paris, they were alive. The first one I saw was a statue of Hamlet striding across a square back into his usual place. I was so excited that the wife and I agreed there and then that we had to come home to where we belonged. All very strange – and what on earth can it mean? Hmm, maybe I feel another novel coming on, Lord preserve us …

I also thought the Alistair Campbell breakdown programme which I watched yesterday was fascinating and extremely worthwhile. Mental health issues do indeed need to come out of the closet and be what they are: a part of the lives of rather a lot of us. The section that I found myself responding to by punching the air and yelling “yes yes, that’s exactly how it is!” was when Campbell said that the worst thing about depression was that it was utterly impossible to explain it to anyone else or to even formulate sentences about it in one’s own mind. Indeed, depression is truly the enemy of communication. And the worst question you can ever be asked (and I know as I’ve been asked it and it always leaves me gibbering with inappropriate rage and frantic with frustration – though not to the person’s face, thus far …) is that old chestnut: “what’s wrong?” That’s the point of depression – we don’t know!! And it’s not at all that anything specific is actually wrong – the problem is the person. And that’s always been one of Lord H’s many plus points – when I’m going through a down time, he’s never once, even in the early days, asked me what was wrong. He just seems to accept that is how it is, for now, and we just have to trog on through it as best we can. Believe me, that’s a rare gift to have.

Anyway, it’s been busy in the office today – loads of meetings of all different types to arrange and yet more timetabling to sort out. It’s like a giant three-dimensional code and only I have the key to open its mysteries. I just don’t know where I’ve put that damn key at the moment, sigh. One can only hope it will turn up.

I stayed at my desk at lunchtime again, although I do think my stomach is getting better. Walking doesn’t hurt quite so much – though I suspect (after last night’s brief inspection of the area) that the tummy button scar is likely to take the longest to heal. Ah I fear that there’ll be no golf this Friday, Carruthers …

Tonight, I’ll pop into see Gladys on the way home. She’ll probably have forgotten who I am by now – though that’s probably a good thing of course. UPDATE - a nice quiet visit as she was pleasantly sleepy. A much appreciated change from the last time I saw her for sure. And I’m planning an evening of antisocial sloth, aha. So no change there then.

Today’s nice things:

1. Sleep
2. Strange but wonderful dreams
3. Campbell’s views on depression – so true!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Anonymous said...

Golf this week would be a really bad idea...

Glad to know your recovery is going well.


Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Sarah - and yes I know you're right!



Casdok said...

Oh i wish i had seen that programme sounds very interesting.
As does your dream!!

Anne Brooke said...

You might still catch it on i-player, Casdok!



Jilly said...

The dream sounds like novel plot to me! Yes, depression is something you can't explain - if you knew what was wrong then you stand a chance of putting it right. I think we need another word for how people feel when something bad happens as that is not 'depression' to me as you know it will pass with time however aweful you feel. Depression could go on for ever - or that's how it feels at the time. Those are my thoughts for what they're worth.
Glad you're feeling a bit better. Hugs

litlove said...

I saw the Campbell programme advertised but didn't get around to watching it. I should see whether it's being repeated. I am always thinking about the best approaches to various kinds of mental turmoil, and I wanted to ask you how the question 'Is there anything I can do for you?' would go down with a depressive. It's a hard condition to get a toehold on, and hard to know how to support (although a lot of what I'm going to be doing now is trying to support it at low levels). Any insight into the best approaches will be gratefully received!

LL xxxx

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Jilly - very true! And yes, LL - I definitely think that is a better question, though again it's one I would find difficult to answer when depressed. Maybe it's an individual thing so very hard to give guidelines? I do know that the times I've felt best understood, and accepted, is when the person I was with said nothing but just gave me a long hug. Though that was someone I knew, on both occasions! And of course it depends on the context. Sometimes something simple like making a cup of tea for the person concerned, going for a walk together or just simply listening if they do want to talk is good. Most helpful of all maybe is just not to offer instant solutions, but to be prepared for the slow burn upwards.

Sorry if that doesn't really help, but it's certainly got me thinking!

Love & hugs


Anonymous said...

I watched the Alistair Campbell programme and thought he described his breakdown very well, great insight and very brave to revisit it. I agree a hug is sometimes the best thing, if you're depressed often you can't fathom out why yourself, never mind explain it to someone else! x

Jackie Luben said...

Glad to hear that the op's over, Anne. I've been without a computer for several days, and am just catchingup.

Anne Brooke said...

Very true, Diane! And thanks, Jackie - though sorry to hear about the computer problems - again!!!