Oh, Merely the Black Dog! 

(If you're frightened of people who are, by no fault, fraught with mental gremlins, off with ye to the BigPond!! Where once reigned the newts in the pools encircling Market Harborough) Or to Timeline; to entrance

Comments for 2002; for 2003/04; for 2005. Further down lies earlier information (2001)

Starting with informative links: Oh, troubles with Seroxat in the Serotonin field. Reported at MCA + Celexa + BBC link indicating that the British and Irish have the highest rates of depression in Europe + Mental help: that includes outlines of treatments for the disease + British Journal of Psychiatry + Dysthymia + Defining dysthymia and its relationship to professional problems + Depression about com + The water torture description + Depression in Canada

Date last altered: Friday, October 16, 2009

"Get up in the morning, slaving for bread sir, so that every mouth can be fed, Oh, poor me, the Israelites, Ah"  Desmond Dekker, 1968, on Island Records

Not a philosophic image, or religious icon? You're wrong, this is Meg Tilly, who acted the part of the hysteric, Sister Agnes, in the movie of the play, by Norman Jewison, 1985, with Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and the odd, inferior man, especially the drunk old priest and the cop. The men weren't really a significant part of the film other than the "rapist". The three women were the basis of this inconclusive but highly fascinating story.

And, virtually at the very bottom of this page, The Church at Auvers, 1890, by Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890. Tragically, as is well known, a clinical depressive. Suicide by gunshot.

(Note, on a completely different track, the problems that related to my parents: My father is pressured by his physical condition, mainly high blood pressure, problems with circulation in his legs and stress, and was also affected, prior to her death, by my mother's decline into psychosis, senility and dementia. My mother's later history, notably the daily grind, is available from this family page).  

Oddly, I offer a pleasant face to the World, antithetical to my hollow interior, as Earth's population of homo sapiens squabbles interminably.  It's a Wonderful Life! If you weren't depressed reading that, you will be soon! Who was it sang "Oh Happy Day"? The 2001 information, given below, contains much that is not directly concerned with myself, not that it matters unduly.

Millstone 2001

My lifelong history of behavioural problems has been exposed, or, rather, diagnosed (at a visit, August 2000, to P.M. Lowry, MD, 613-523-7440). From as long ago as 1955, or quite probably earlier, I have suffered from what is nowadays generally described as double depression. Enter the black dog of yesteryear.

But, I would wonder if this was in fact the truth: I admittedly have behavioural problems, and I do drop off into depressive miasmas, but is this symptomatic of true depression. Everybody is prone to odd chemical mental transformations. I am prone to easily hating or disliking people: and often my opinions will never change. Is that purely my Irishness?

There is no room for pitiful thinking, and there are other matters: procrastination, lack of confidence. But, is that mere aging or a root cause?

For Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, Nobel Laureate: Literature, it must have been hell. There was little or no medication, especially in his time, and electric shock therapy was developed, later, in the UK, but not so in Canada and the USA.

Portrait, 1954, by Graham Sutherland: destroyed by order of Winnie because, at 80, it, in his opinion anyway, made him look senile. John Grigg, in his book 1943, The Victory That Never Was, page 151 [ISBN 0-14-028423-0}, thinks it more likely that he was displeased because it possibly showed Churchill's callous side: A present commissioned from Parliament. Pre-frontal lobotomy was not used at that time in depression cases, thank goodness!

For me, it meant a daily dose of Celexa. The prognosis is relatively beneficial, and the medicine dosage will be decreased, although I believe it may never end in being necessary. A recent, September 2001, study in the UK: BBC link indicates that the British and Irish have the highest rates of depression in Europe. The lowest rate is found in Spain. Presumably, they would rate higher in research on other mental illnesses. Here is a link that includes outlines of treatments for the disease: And here is the British Journal of Psychiatry.

What I have: explanation of dysthymia here, and read: defining dysthymia and its relationship to professional problems; and also at depression about com; finally, the water torture description. Plus, to compound the situation, add my chronic cyclical clinical depression.

In other words, I have a constant, underlying, low grade depression with a real downer when something sets me off, and that occurs every three months or so. It can be just a comment, or it can even be something I see or read, but it is mainly unforeseen, and boom! How nice. And how horrible when it affects those within the contact zone. Here is an article whipped away from the Globe and Mail, where nothing is saved for long: depression in Canada.

After years of wondering about myself, and knowing, and being told, that there were problems, especially by Diana and Michelle, but with "doctors" not finding anything specific, I was finally diagnosed late in 2000. I mean, in Bristol, early '70s, at the Teaching Hospital, the Doctor asked me if I was like this other person, gleefully raving in the middle of the Clinic. No, I said. So, he said, what's wrong with you? Ask my wife, I thought.

I am happy to make visits, becoming less frequent and rarely troublesome, to a psychiatrist, an excellent man: Rock R. X. Mylvaganam, MD, BS, MRCPsych, LMCC, FRCP (C); 613-233-1565. His practise is at 278 O'Connor Street, Ottawa. We generally talk politics, literature, converse about Mommie Dearest (Peggy Dickins) and rarely about me. He obviously picks up how I am from our conversations. Not that I have been there for a while. Decided to think for myself.

Tribulations? The loss of two wives, both lovely; the often painful results of the use of alcohol as a self-medication (although I stopped that nonsense well over a decade ago); the inability to maintain contact with my family or friends on a consistent basis (inherent feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, a tendency to procrastinate, etc.; all can be directly related to depression). Read the various texts I have linked on this page, for other particulars.

My current situation arose when Michelle decided to leave and move back to her family home in Montréal, October, 2000. No real need to blame her for anything, but........ Our fateful situation developed after our daughter's birth, and was, therefore, of approximately five years duration (until she left me in 2000), with no relations of any kind, worth or type during that time. Everything deteriorated. I could go to work and be fine there, but coming home led to hours alone, in solitude in my computer environment in the basement. Dealing with my daughter was troublesome, too. 

I could not stay "up" all day long. Hence, the dysthymia took control in the evenings, and, because this was constant, any free days were no better. Michelle could not expect otherwise and gradually withdrew. Talks? There were none. Maybe marriage counselling might have worked. That was not the real problem, or was it? Michelle did offer that we should try counselling, but I was, as to be expected from my background, negative in response. Should I have been? We'll never know if it would be successful, will we? She left in August 2000. I detect height changes in my daughter each time I see her. That's an indication of the frequency. If no job, then no car.

This following quotation is taken from an email sent me by an old friend, late 2001: marital circumstances produce different results. No judgement made here, don't you know:

I identify completely with your 'Depression page' - I know all of those symptoms and the complete, encompassing fear and anger that can engulf us. I was fortunate, XXXXXXXXXXX stayed with me, but I know not how she managed to do it. I really do know what you are taking about - and it was all there, within me yet unrecognised, when we knew each other.  Have you been through the SSRI range?  As I said, Prozac does the job for me - and I am at last able to say that I am well. 

Again, all good wishes - stick in there.

It's a fallacy to believe that no one else suffers like you, yourself, do. It is sad to see that a friend had the same problems, in an age when nothing much was known. Also, that in the sixties there were no adequate drugs and that neither knew the other was similarly afflicted. The last fifteen years or so have produced chemical wonders for people similarly afflicted. One does have to research the possible side effects. Working in the mental health field in Vancouver showed me the horrors that really sick people suffer from the effects of medication. And what happens when they stopped.

Thank God that we are, these days, lucky enough to gain relief. I pity those who are mentally ill in other ways, and suffer from their medication. The only side effect that I suffered was a problem with my bowels. I could not stray far from a toilet! I used Celexa, as I have said, which is a member of the SSRI range, as mentioned above. This range of serotonin enhancers seems better than Prozac and its equivalents, and I hope they become the norm.

Whatever, reading this article from the Economist, in December, 2000, cheered me up no end. As I subsequently remarked to friends, only partly in jest: Lose a wife, grow a brain! Well, maybe a cell or two. Remember the alcohol I consumed. It's nothing to brag about, but, one day, after losing out in a relationship, I simply quit. I was fortunate in that I never became alcoholic. Quite frankly, I can't quite believe it, but I do know that I had no withdrawal symptoms or anything else. Luckily, Michelle doesn't imbibe, so there was no danger of fœtal alcohol syndrome appearing in her progeny, Katharine.

There have, of late, been quantifiable changes for the better: a more relaxed outlook, an ability to recognise the love my parents have for me, and I for them; and a growth in the realisation that although I am well into middle age, I can at least look forward to a happier stroll towards my demise. Of course, the previous sentence was written just before the increasingly precipitous descent into dementia of my mother, who, as shown elsewhere on this site, has died. 

What I really need now is a (good) job, with enough income to pay off my debts, and to buy up-to-date IT equipment. And, especially, a new place to live.

That's not quite all. For a time, prior to my forced exit from Shillington Avenue, this scenario held true: My books were finally out of boxes (where they had been for years, following Michelle arriving in my life and taking over my shelving), my computers were networked on the ground floor, circling the thermostat, my dormant cooking skills would depend on buying pots, but they awoke. My dartboard appeared on a wall. Posters and paintings and photographs and maps were been pinned up everywhere. It may not be House and Garden, UK edition, of course, but it did become my home, albeit temporarily. Only had to find the rent!! And, of course I could not, which ended in my current, calamitous hell at Gloucester Street.

Here is a painting by Graham Vivian Sutherland OM 1903-80: Crucifixion, 1946. On display at Tate Gallery Modern, London.
Obviously, a contemporary of Churchill, if younger. Brilliant paintings of the Second World War, in all its grandeur and unspeakable horror.

Of course, nothing turns out as expected and my recent history is mixed. The stress of seeing my daughter Katharine and her demands to be with me, do not decrease tension. The fact that I have no money left, even if I am pleased to have ceased my connection with Convergys, sweat shop par excellence, does not bode well for the immediate future. At least I am maintaining my fitness regime, which is making a difference not only to my physical well-being but also to my mental status. This was written in May, 2001, and I left this rented house in the middle of the month. No idea yet as to when I will regain Internet access, or even if my domains can be paid for. Wie schade, nicht wahr? 

In actual fact, with the constant reduction in mental condition of my mother, many other matters are proving difficult to handle. 

I must find work. I don't want just any job, but it might come to that. Start at the bottom, yet again. In the middle of July 2001 I started to do some work for VidNet and this might have grown. I had a much better mindset, as one can expect. When I am eventually paid by them: pay off debts, and rent new lodgings, and pay for computer parts and software. But, see what transpired there on the Time Line 2001 page on this site. Rats, rats, rats. Further, to all of this; at this time in 2003, late January, it would seem that I might at last have a job. It's not computing, and it's not well paid, but it is a start. If it develops, it will enable me to start paying off all of my debts. It takes a while to acknowledge that one's depression affects all parts of one's psyche. My mother having died early last December has changed parameters with regard to many things. Made only a few hundred dollars in 2002, and one reason was having to live with my parents, in consequence had no real freedom of action, or, indeed, thought. All changes now.

Just for a while, prior to my packing and leaving Shillington Avenue (thank goodness for a friend who helped me move my stuff to storage, once more) I could watch my favourite shows, such as CounterPoint, Mystery! Charlie Rose, West Wing, and movies, movies, movies! Never say die, although I do feel depressed about my situation. This is a problem, since there are times when one can't help but be depressed, and no extra doses of medication will help: or, indeed, should be countenanced. 

Oh, and I forgot, Soccer watching: The UEFA Champions League Finals were played in May 2001, but will we receive the FA Cup on any TV channel this year? Don't hold your breath for that. (Note, I was right in my estimation, no transmission in Canada, and one has to find a place to watch the World Cup preliminary rounds. Those are, it being mid-September, 2001, almost completed, with some really good results and some real shocks to the xenophobes amongst us!). Especially appropriate with the fiasco raging about Wembley financing that has once more filled the headlines. Woe to the FA, and to Brent Council. Perhaps the National Stadium should be moved to the National Exhibition site near Birmingham and Solihull. Easy then for everyone to reach, not just north Londoners. 

The 2001 FA Cup was on public house TV, and I did not see it: shame. There are moves to forget the idea of a national arena, which does seem attractive, when one considers how few travel to London at times. And there was an unsavoury atmosphere there, a significant section of the crowd having ulterior motives for attending.

A Prayer in Darkness 
G. K. Chesterton, 1874 – 1936

This much, O heaven—if I should brood or rave,
   Pity me not; but let the world be fed,
   Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead,
Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.

If I dare snarl between this sun and sod,
   Whimper and clamour, give me grace to own,
   In sun and rain and fruit in season shown,
The shining silence of the scorn of God.

Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
   If I must travail in a night of wrath,
   Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.

Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had
   Thought it beat brightly, even on—Calvary:
   And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree
Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.

Comments for 2002: for 2003/04