Saturday, 30 July 2016

My Battle Cry

I wrote this in January.  Note: contains swears, anger and stuff like that.

Depression is a hot topic these days. Everyone seems to have it. It’s almost weird if you
don’t have it. And I’m sure you are all sick to death of reading about it by now. I know I am.
But a recent meltdown and subsequent recovery prompted me to confront my depression
head on. I did this by writing to it. Yep. I wrote to my depression.

Why? Because writing is what I do. I write children’s books - many of them bright and funny
and silly. Perhaps they are my therapy. Who knows. Because inside me lurks a darkness
that constantly threatens to rise up and choke me. A cloying black tar that erupts from my
intestines, that seeps out through my pores without pattern, without reason or warning. This
is what depression is like for me.

I have been dealing with what is called depression for over thirteen years now. I’ve been
lucky. I’ve had professional support and my family have been amazing. But it’s been hard.
So very hard. For all of us.

Pretty much every day begins with lurching anxiety. “How do I feel today? Will I be able to
function? Will I be able to work? Can I keep myself out of bed? Can I stop myself behaving
in a way that is harmful to myself or my family?” I lie in bed and check myself mentally, all
over. Like checking for wounds only the cuts and grazes are not physical. Discovering I am
feeling okay is a delight. But it seems totally random whether I’ll get a good day or not.

Mornings for me are particularly difficult. I usually try not to think too much. If I can just
propel myself out of the house with the dog, I’m usually ok for the day. Usually. But deciding
where to walk often overwhelms me and I become paralysed with indecision. Then I’ll stand
or sit with my head in my hands, sometimes for half an hour. Or an hour. At this point I will
often give up and go back to bed.

It sounds ridiculous, I know. It IS ridiculous. But apparently depression can affect the
decision-making parts of your brain. I read that too. So there you go. It’s a thing.

Anyway, the point is, I had a massive meltdown the other day. I won’t bore you with the
details, but once I’d recovered I found myself feeling very very angry. Furious in fact. So I
took myself off to a cafe I don’t usually go to. I needed to hide. And I wrote something very
dark and very black and very raw. And afterwards I felt exhausted. But I also felt more
empowered that I have in a long time.

And it prompted me to issue this battle cry. A battle cry against the condition that is trying to
destroy me.

Before you read it, you should know, it is full of vitriol, swears and capital letters.
So yeah. Here it is.

Depression! Is that you?

Are you listening?


Because I. AM. RAGING!


I am ready to fight

And YOU are going to FUCK RIGHT OFF!

You are a pain in my arse

A thorn in my side

You are a malicious cancer growing in my throat, trying to strangle me

You are a black beetle crawling around inside my head, interfering with my thoughts, eating

away at my self respect, my confidence, my vitality.

You are an oppressor

You are a manipulative spiteful liar

You try to make me do things that will hurt me

You try to make me do things that will hurt the people I love

You delight in telling me how useless I am, what a failure I am.

You are not my friend

I did not choose you

I do not want you

I do not need you.

If I could cut you out I would

I would would slice and slash and wrench you out of me

I would reach down inside of myself, and pull with all my strength

And if that brought out all my intestines too, it would be worth it

I would throw you on the ground and stamp and stamp and stamp on you

I would vomit you into the sewers.

If I could I would.

But I can’t do that

You are not a tumor

You have no physical presence

You are intangible

Often I don’t even believe you are real.

But I know you are.

But guess what?

You are not as strong as you think you are

You need me

You are nothing without me

You prey on vulnerable sensitive people and that makes you weak

You need my attention to grow

The more I nurture you, the bigger and uglier you get.

So I have decided not to give you the attention you crave

When you call to me, I will close my ears

When you pester me I will look the other way

When you cry for me, I will laugh in your face.

Because you are nothing

You have no substance

You exist, but you have no power without me to feed you.

Hear this, depression.

You will not win

I will not let you control me

I will take out my club and batter you until you fall to your knees and beg for mercy

I will fight you every minute of every day if I have to

If you beat me down, I will get up again

And again.

And again.

You will not have my life

You will not have my freedom

You will not hurt me any more.

So listen to me you manipulative, spiteful, joy-sucking, pathetic, whining, piece of nothing.


This is my battle cry.

Every time I feel that I’m tipping, I’m going to read it out. I’m going to shout it out loud and it’s

going to make me stronger.

At least, that’s the plan.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. Caryl, thank you so much for sharing this. We have your books and the children treasure them so much they are falling apart from being read over and over.

    I know a good bit about depression personally, in my family, and in my work. I appreciate the raw power in your words to that ugly beast. I felt my own catharsis by reading this, and I can imagine the strength it has given you to personify and confront in such a way. Thank you for being vulnerable. May I share this post with friends?