Down. But Not Out…

29695020_222825435129538_3206200624131604480_oAnd essentially I find I am alone. It’s a difficult thing, depression, and something that has been with me for a good part of my life. I don’t talk about it much, or write about it, because it’s just there. Sometimes it’s not.

My mother understands the concept of depression, but doesn’t quite “get” it. She knows I had awful night terrors as a child but cannot relate to the vague, underlying sadness I have that simply will not go away, despite being told:

For God’s sake cheer up Samantha!”

My partner knows I have depression, but doesn’t quite understand its shifting nature, how I can be fine one day and then “down” the next and I really just want to be left alone until the spasm passes.

My older son, to be honest, is a source of sadness and pain, but his is not a story to be told here. Suffice it to say, I feel he’s lost his way and is taking help from all the wrong quarters.

Alex is doing very well – his school years were not kind to him and although he coped well at college and achieved his goals, university has really become his element. I am so pleased for him – how could I not be – he’s made it.

I don’t feel like it’s “empty nest” syndrome, not at all, not with four cats and everything else. Just that this is where I begin again. With me. Just me.

And set my paper boat afloat again on the River of Life.

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Help

This little story was originally accepted by Copper Staple and was initially inspired by an item from the internet that my son showed me where a black pen dot on the palm of a hand is a cry for help from someone who is the recipient of abuse, whether emotional or physical, when shown to someone in authority. I don’t know how much truth there was in this article – please don’t ignore any cry for help.

Help

She wanted it, she needed it, she didn’t know how to ask for it.

When she took her children to school in the mornings and stood chatting with the other mothers, in tight jeans and ponytails, every word of conversation was imbued with a silent plea for help. The mothers sensed the sticky desperation and slowly slid away, blinkered to the cry in her eyes.

The cold nervousness of a trip to the supermarket, greetings exchanged with the staff who’d known her for years. The begging in her touch as she handed over her money, searching in their eyes for some recognition, some sign that they saw her call.

Her husband, kind enough, older than her, unthinking, had no idea of the snakes her head contained. He saw her in the morning, before he went to work and again in the evening when he came home; leaving desperate hours in between to try and silence the screaming snakes in her head.

Even the cat sensed her clammy, tenuous grip, and slipped uneasy from her hands as she tried to suck comfort from his warm fur.

Her mother, her father, happily married for thirty years, saw no further than the blank mask of happiness she assumed on their weekly visits. They did not want to see what lay beneath the carefully made up face and designer clothes holding inside shattered fragments. She’d get over it and settle down, perhaps a nice little job when the children were older. They comforted each other.

One day her husband came home early. She should have been expecting him, the suitcases packed and standing in the hall, ready for their holiday.

He found her upstairs. He thought she’d bought new sheets. The crimson glowed dully in the light of early afternoon. She lay, peaceful and pale. What will he tell the children?

She had found the help she wanted at last.

Words Copyright © 2016 Samantha Murdoch

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe