Archive for September, 2012


Black Cloud

A roiling, rolling, black cloud of anger
Is coming for me.

From just over
The three hundred and sixty degrees
Of my horizon.

I can smell it,
Feel the malevolence.

I know not
From which direction it will come.

I know not
When it will catch me.

But I know it is there.

And I will be powerless
To stop it.

It terrifies me,
Paralyses me.

I wait, for the inevitable.

World Suicide Prevention Day

I  had a conversation today. I have many conversations each day, but this one has stuck with me this evening.

I spend my work day, as many do, answering the phone and writing a myriad of emails. However I struggle to stay at my desk, so, I organise my work so that I can get up, walk around, and talk to people to resolve stuff, rather than call people who are within the building or write yet more emails.

This means that I walk down to our warehouse four or five times a day.

This afternoon I was wandering through the warehouse when two of the women who work there, who were in the middle of a conversation as they worked, called out,  “Jule will know! What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?”

These two women are darlings. One is about eighty years old, has worked for the company for more than thirty years and still lugs boxes around and will do anything that’s asked of her. The other is in her twenties, from Mauritius, just bought her first home.  They work so well together and I love chatting to them and working with them each day.

I explained the difference, that a psychiatrist is a specialist doctor, just  like a cardiologist or an ophthalmologist, who can write prescriptions, etc, and that a psychologist is one who has a Non-medical degree and concentrates more on the behavioural management of mental illness.

We began to talk about mental illness. The older woman commented on how it seems that there is more of it around today and how many forms it can take. After chatting about all the different ways the brain can dysfunction the younger woman commented that she had never known anyone with depression. My response: “I have clinical depression.” They both looked surprised, the younger one more than the older.

“But you’re always so cheerful!”, the younger one said. It’s true, I am always cheerful at work. I explained that when I began at this job three and a half years ago I only worked part time. That was because I did not have the resources to work full time, I couldn’t cope. I explained that things were so bad that the only thing I could do effectively was to look after The Boy. Everything else was put on the back burner. I spent days in bed, only getting up to visit him. I didn’t shower, didn’t cook, didn’t clean. I gave my children the bare minimum that I knew would keep them going.

I was lucky. I had friends who just kept calling me, and when I didn’t answer they came around and knocked on the door. They brought food. They threw me in the shower. They slept with me.

And slowly I became better. My natural optimism returned. A blessing with which I was born.

I still have depression. It is something that I now understand about myself, but I’ve learnt a few tricks. The main one is to reach out to friends. You’re not weak if you ask for help. My other trick is to walk outside and look at the beauty. I’m lucky, I live in a beautiful place, one which gives me great solace.

The person who works next to you may be suffering. It’s a fine line you walk, whether to offer a hand or not. I can tell you that a smile is all that’s needed. Don’t expect an answer or an acknowledgement, sometimes it’s not possible. Just know that it’s appreciated.

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, reach out a hand or just smile. You never know how much it means to those who need it.

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