Some text for the background of Life 9

Here’s the text that I shall be putting behind some make-believe sketchbook pages on Life 9.  I’ve copied this many times, blown up parts to make really big text and shrunk to make really small, and I shall piece them altogether, before gesso-ing/painting, and adding stitch. It is readable, but is there to give a background note, so don’t feel obliged to read it all!!

Well, it’s a plan.

And because you can’t have a blog without a piccy, here’s some of my purchases this week. I’ve had to buy new rolls of fabric and wadding, wads of edging, threads etc.  An expensive week!

 The bottles on the left are spray ones from Muji, and the little scissors are absolutely brilliant (from the Upstairs Downstairs range – don’t laugh – at Blenheim Palace) 

The Text: (some thoughts by Stephen Fry, others by MIND and various sources – not autobiographical)

The funny thing about depression is that when I’m not depressed I find it really hard to describe what it’s like. Some say it’s like a fog, others like their body is full of lead. For me, it feels like being dead: You’re conscious of breathing, smelling and you see people walking about, but to all intents and purposes you’re completely dead inside. You wouldn’t ask why someone got cancer or diabetes or asthma like it was their fault. You wouldn’t say: ‘What have you got to get cancerous about?’“There comes a time when the blankness of future is so extreme. It is such a black wall of nothingness. Not even of bad things.- it’s not like it’s a cave full of monsters that you’re afraid of entering, it is just nothingness. ‘Néant’  as the French would say: the void, the emptiness. And it is just horrible.”“Cumulatively, therapy had a massive effect. I mean like not washing my hands thirty times a day, I’ve actually gained years of my life that I would have spent cleaning and washing. It was so energy-consuming and so depressing and so I not only had time, I had hope and energy.”Suicidal feelings can be terrifying.If you can no longer see why you should go on living, your distress will seem unbearable. You may hate yourself and believe that you are useless and unneeded. You may feel rage, shame and guilt.Repeated painful experiences, particularly losses, can lead you to blame yourself and feel that you haven’t lived up to your own standards. Faced with an unbearable situation, unsolvable difficulties, overpowering feelings of guilt, failures or conflicts, you may start to think that death is your only option.Sometimes everything gets on top of me. I get tired of fighting and wish I wasn’t here anymore.You may feel suicidal for no apparent reason. You may think that you have no reason to want to kill yourself. This can trigger feelings of deep guilt and shame and you may find it difficult to tell others what you are going through.People kept telling me that I should be grateful because I had a lovely husband, a nice house, and two perfect children. This just made me feel more terrible and guilty for thinking about killing myself.Whether you are aware of a cause or not, it can be difficult to relate to others at this time, so you are likely to feel withdrawn or irritable. Even if you have family and friends around, you may find it impossible to tell them how bad you feel. If you have been badly hurt by someone close to you, you may be thinking of suicide as a way of getting back at them. It is understandable to be angry with people who have hurt us, but suicide turns that anger in on ourselves.What you may experience: sleeping badly and waking early change in appetite weight loss or gain feeling cut off from your body or physically numb a loss of energy you may have stopped taking care of yourself e.g. neglecting your physical appearance. Mixed feelings You may be very clear that you want to die; you may simply not care if you live or die; you may be thinking of death as a release. If you feel powerless to influence circumstances that are distressing you, the idea of suicide may give you a sense of being in control again. Depending on your beliefs, you could be looking forward to ‘nothingness’ or to being reunited with loved ones or to reincarnation.If you feel low and suicidal for no apparent reason, this can also make you feel powerless: if you can’t find a cause for your difficult feelings, you may find it hard to believe that there might be a solution.You may be harming yourself by cutting, biting or burning your body. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking extreme risks. You may also be overdosing on drugs, binging on alcohol or have developed anorexia or bulimia. However, even when you are not sure why you are self-harming, it is usually a means of trying to stay alive – trying to kill the pain you are feeling inside rather than a wish to actually kill yourself. For most people, suicidal thoughts are confusing. As much as you want to die, you may also want a solution to your difficulties in life and you may want others to understand how you  “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, liketheweather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” “Choking with dry tears and raging, raging, raging at the absolute indifference of nature and the world to the death of love, the death of hope and the death of beauty, I remember sitting on the end of my bed, collecting these pills and capsules together and wondering why, why when I felt I had so much to offer, so much love, such outpourings of love and energy to spend on the world, I was incapable of being offered love,giving it or summoning the energy with which I knew I could transform myself and everything around me.”Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘ It destroys everything around it, except itself Self pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky.      etc!


  1. My son suffers from depression that has run through 5 or more generations. Your words echoed much of what he has related to me. Unless you live with it yourself or someone close to you suffers from it. depression is unreal to most people. They look down upon someone who cannot control their emotions or pain. Thank you for sharing this. My hope is that the more information that is available, perhaps compassion and understanding will follow.

    • Gosh, 5 generations. You and your son have my sympathies for what must be a very hard illness for you both to deal with – and I think you’re right, people probably tend to dismiss depression as something you can just shake yourself out of or get the better of with exertion. But, it’s only because they don’t understand, that they haven’t thought about it, or perhaps experienced it first hand. Best Wishes to you and your son Jean.

  2. Powerful words Annabel and I did read them all. Depression has many forms and I am sure that almost everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. I have been lucky enough to have been helped when it affected me but am always aware that it could recur if circumstances allow.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment Julie. It’s hard to deal with whether it’s you or your family that are affected. Stephen Fry says it all so very well I think. x

  3. Im glad Ive not been the only one thats had those nothingness times i call them. Ive had depression up and down all my life and often its been so hard to write about. Thankyou for writing this article its helped me to feel that Im not on my own there. Different times of the day im perhaps more depressed than other times when I feel in a lighter mood.

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