16 November 2005

Moon Madness

Yesterday I may have been fwarc-farcking at the walls, but it wasn't at the full moon, honest, and it doesn't count as howling. So there.

The clocks being back an hour now, it'll be another month before I am ignoring my husband again as he walks down the hill, in order to swim in the magic of starlight in the pre-dawn sky. Instead, today, I inched out of the porch in dressing gown and bare feet again, to find myself in an alternate universe, straight off the covers of a myriad science fiction paperbacks.

The sky was an icy blue, obviously daytime, yet the moon; the moon hung over the opposite roofs, in precisely the way that moons aren't supposed to (sorry Mr Adams;) completely round and perfect and taking up most of the picture. It looked like the rest was coloured in as an afterthought to fill the gaps.

A pure, fat, full moon, low and marvelously close and, well, silvery. It was a silvery moon; that's the only way to describe it. A silvery moon and a silvery morning and a silvery world. The uploaded picture doesn't begin to touch it. All that was missing was the wasteland, to make the publishers for Heinlein or Bear start copyright proceedings.

So that's what's been going on then.

My mother used to say (with disgust dripping from her voice) that there is 'no such thing' as depression, that it was an American made-up word for a made up condition, and that if normal folk judged their normal state by the so-called list of symptoms, then we'd all be bloody depressed all the time. She said that people get angry, or sad; worried or tired, and then they get over it.

Don't be too hard on her - as a ten year old girl, she stayed in London when war broke out, joined the leagues of scruffy, dirty, poorly dressed kids collecting paper and lead for the war effort by climbing through the rubble of neighbours houses to pick over their demolished property for recyclable items, whether or not old Mrs F or Johnny from school had been in there when it went down. She would be there with her bucket when the all clear sounded, waiting for the ARPs to declare the site safe. She grew up to join the Women's Auxilliaries and to drive the Green Goddesses and operate the radios for the emergency Fire Service.

She holds tight to the opinions of a survivalist. I think if she believed in fussy things like mantras, hers would be 'absorb it, accept it, make the most of it, move on.'

I adore her to bits, she has a heart of gold supporting that barren outlook, but never having had that sort of conditioning, I find keeping up with her to be hard work. You will find her still desperately rallying the troops for a sing-song, metaphorically speaking, still chivvying people up to laugh at disaster and move on, when mere mortals have gone into brain freeze. Her tolerance limits are so broad they are beyond my understanding, and I imagine that my need to draw lines a little nearer to home is a source of disappointment to her, in return.

Anyway, whether you call it mild depression or a fug, or a rut, grey moods can creep up on people. Barring real emotional torment, stress (another American psychobabble self-pity word, says mum) can do funny things. I appear to have been quite stressed recently, as evidenced by my coping strategies, which, pardon me for saying, are fluffing brilliant.

In complete retrospect (because annoyingly I never actually notice at the time,) I have:
  • Laughed more (ok maybe its been slightly hollow and a tad intense or scary, but ride with me here)
  • Gone into total denial and counted my blessings by finding people worse off than me and nagging them to death in an effort to 'help' instead of looking at my own mess
  • Worn 100% effective housework blinkers (well its the bottom of my priorities anyway)
  • Lived by the fire bell - ie done only those things that seemed demanding and crucial.
The crucial stuff falls neatly into three piles -
  1. the stuff I really don't want to do; filling forms, paying bills, keeping to other people's schedules etc.
  2. The morally essential stuff - being nice to my kids, feeding them, occasionally noticing they exist, getting them out in clean clothes.
  3. Defending and rebuilding my optimism, ie communicating longer and more profusely with funny or intelligent people without the hassle of having to smarten up the bag lady look first, ie blogging.
Thank you. Thanks to Husband who has cheerfully climbed over stuff on a regular basis to get in to his own house / out of his own bedroom. Thanks to you lot for not reacting to me like I'm a sandwich short of a picnic; I have been living off your comments. Thanks to my kids for being happy to kill each other/ throttle guinea pigs / trash their rooms / wait for dinner whilst I was blogging or commenting away online, and mumbling 'yes, in a minute dear' without ever actually getting up to do anything about it.

I am not proud. Silver moons and silver linings - I guess at least I have learned a masculine 'skill' in grunting at the appropriate moment and not really listening at all, but hey.

Its a full moon. The best day of the month for new beginnings, for turning over new leaves.

Or in my case, turning over old rubbish, and playing hunt the carpet before the lower lifeforms find it. Thank God we don't do Thanksgiving over here, because I (and my house) would be beyond redemption.

Gosh, that's thanks to just about everybody then, isn't that nice.


zilla said...

Your mum probably has a valid point about depression, even suggesting it's an American invention, although I personally would narrow the blame to Big Pharm, more hell bent on making money than interested in helping people. It's not a long shot to identify then profit from the angst of the self-absorbed Me Generation. This is not to suggest that anti-depressents are never appropriate, but most of us would be better off just finding our bootstraps.

She sounds like a tough, practical woman. Admirable.

Cheryl said...

There were a lot of books out such as 'Psychology as the Cult of Self Worship', but good and bad, most of the advances in the field were made by the Americans.

Morning Zilla - you have your battle armour on today? Not targeted at me, I know, but I feeeeeel the power.

You rock.

doris said...

We have that wonderful moon here this dusk. Massive and silvery it just hung in a pale blue sky as big as a sci-fi movie poster.

Cheryl said...

Doris - so glad you've seen it too! Its a fat one, huh, must be exerting a lot of pull, but wonderful to see.

bart said...

despite the valuable input from various sides, depression is NOT a fashion or proscribed thing, seriously...

it's about an inability to cope in a social environment that pays less and less attention to the needs of the people who are expected to increase the pace of their lives in all sorts of constructed, distorted social fantasies they just aren't able to cope with...

depression has always existed in all possible social forms, but in the 21st century, gung-ho capitalist environment it seems to be becoming endemic... somebody please correct me if neccessary, but this is the way i see it...

Cheryl said...

Like I said Bart - go easy on her!

Heck, if she had that childhood in this day and age, she'd have a social worker, a counsellor and the doctor would be monitoring her for PTSD for the rest of her life.

People have to make the world they have make sense, to survive. That was her way and the way of an entire generation.