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Hanging by A Thread. Sunday November 27, 2016

Today we are publishing the fifth and last of a series of blogs written by Mary. Our thanks to Mary for these astonishingly descriptive blogs. Thank goodness your words don't desert you at this time Mary. The Moodscope Team

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day."

As so often, another poet got there first. This time, Gerard Manley Hopkins. When it comes to depression, it seems to me, he said most of what there is to say.

Like him, I wake in the small hours, hunted and haunted by nameless dread.

It is in these hours the human spirit has least resistance, when the ill and injured are most likely to die, when one's spirit rattles, loose and untethered, in one's mortal shell.

I am clinging to the side of a black basalt cliff, with a fathomless abyss beneath.

(O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Yes, Hopkins again.)

I could not tell you what substance this fear has, only that it is all encompassing, that it makes me tremble and shake so I fear my husband will awake from his peaceful sleep beside me.

Beside me, but far away.

I do not know him and cannot love him; this man who shows me nothing but kindness through these times.

The love of my family and friends is a fantasy.

My God is a joke only the gullible believe.

It is in these hours that experience and common sense are worthless. I cannot believe that this will pass. I cannot believe that the darkness will lift and that day will come.

I fear my tenuous grip will give way and that I will fall deep and deeper into the black. I fear the demons of the depths will reach up with their clawed hands and drag me down. I fear being eaten up entirely. There will be nothing left.

What is worse is that sometimes I want to let go. I want to fall. I want to become nothing. That dark emptiness calls me with a siren's voice. Surely to give in and fall would be easier than hanging on. It would be easy, the voice assures. Just a little effort, just a little pain, then peace. Nothing but black. Nothing at all...

So I weave a web of words around me, anchored with pitons of faith without belief. The words are my cradle and rope harness. If only I can find enough words to describe this, then somehow those words will create a safety net. The words will protect me from the monsters.

Words are my comfort blanket. And if I curl up inside them, sucking my thumb, then there is no one to see but I.

I do not even need to pass these words on. Just to weave them is enough. The words sustain and support me.

Enough to keep holding on to dawn.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Helen Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 7:30am

I can't write eloquently or even in a joined up thinking fashion, but feel moved to comment this morning following your post. Thank you for it - it expresses that place many of us, me included, have been and remember vividly. Its a dark, dark place. You can come back.

Where is God? On the cross, with you, for you.
Its not the end of the story - there is hope.
There is always hope.

Mary, you are a woman of faith (even if it doesn't feel like it just now).
There is a surrender - to Him who is able to save.
When I don't know which bit of the Bible to read, Bible in one Year (no strings attached) pings into my inbox and I receive words to set me back on track: Todays (Nov 27th 2016) started with re-orientating me to Him in worship.
This morning it led me to listen to 'Bless the Lord my soul' (- Matt Redman worship song) and I began again with my walk, as I do every day.
I've also found the Psalms are a good place to turn to in the middle of the night, and reading them leads me to pray.

If you or those you love recognise you're off track, and can't get back on track:
For someone 'with flesh on' The Samaritans are contactable if you can take that initial step - to reach out. Words if possible, but not necessary.
Your writing is a powerful insight into your state of mind, which, if you feel able to share with a helping volunteer or professional for them to understand 'where you're at', it might be a step towards getting the practical help you might need.

You are loved Mary, by a sister called Helen and her God and yours. You're in my prayers x

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:27am

Bless you Helen. Your words are gold. I thank God for modern drugs which lift me out of the darkness enough to see light again. This morning, although I don't feel well enough to attend church, I am at peace. Helen, you are a gift Sending love back.

Tutti Frutti Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:57am

Helen Your recommendation about the Psalms is very helpful thank you. (And the Samaritans although I have never been in a position to need them as I was already in hospital before hitting my very lowest point.) Love TF x

Sally Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:00am

Oh Mary, this is awful and yet wonderful. The wonderful is the way you can explain in words that everyone can understand the frightening despair of the state, and how it robs you of any power except that of holding on. And even then... I now understand why it is that so many don't make it through. Your writing has great power. Images that strike the mind forcibly and stick. Mary, We all value you so much. And thank God you have a wonderful family. Thank you for your blogs. Lots of love.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:34am

Hi Sally I have to say I'm glad the series has ended. They were very dark, weren't they! I promise next Wednesday's will be brighter! Anyway, I hope that these blogs have given words to those who have none in the dark times so that they can share mine. Hopefully others can then understand what it's like when the black dog bites.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:13am

Hello Mary, I've now caught up...Mary I hope these were written a little way ago and that now you're lifting again? I too am glad you have a family to hold you, very precious. Thank you, love ratg x.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:35am

Love to you. Yes - things brighter now.

Hopeful One Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 8:57am

Hi Mary - an excellent post eloquently written- you have done an immense service to those of us who have no concept of how it feels to be in the depth of a bipolar low. Your strength shines through and for mr particularly the power of hope. Your mention of Henry reminded me of another Henley - William Henley who wrote Invectus. Through all that darkness it's worth reminding ourselves that we are the 'masters of our fate and captains of our soul'


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The Squdron was doing a recce of the world of humour and came across this

The doctor answered the phone and heard the familiar voice of a colleague on the other end of the line. "We need a fourth for poker," said the friend. "I'll be right over," whispered the doctor. As he was putting on his coat, his wife asked, "Is it serious?" "Oh yes, quite serious," said the doctor gravely. "Why there are three doctors there already!" ( with thanks to DailyComix )

Tutti Frutti Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 9:11am

Thanks HO I think we were writing at the same time today and it's nice to have your joke to perk me up a bit now I have finished posting. Love TF x

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 10:37am

Loved the joke and loved the poem. I hope that I am as strong as that poem in the bad times.Thank you, HO

Tutti Frutti Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 9:05am

I am glad you are at peace today and hope you will be well enough to go to church again soon. This one is indeed very dark. Thankfully I don't recognise as much in this blog from my own experience as I did a couple of days ago. Glad that the writing helped you through however and thank you for sharing as I am sure we all relate to different bits of your experience and the blogs can help us to feel less alone and help us to explain to others as needed. Still thinking of you and praying for you and looking forward to your next blog to see more where you are at now. Love and hugs (which can hopefully now start to get through again) TF xoxo

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 10:38am

Thank you TF. Love and hugs back

The Gardener Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 11:18am

I'm glad so many of you find comfort in Mary's words - waking to a Mr G in a dreadful mood, which he also used on the nurse - I opened Mary's blog and wished I hadn't. I suppose my needs are totally different - but I just felt added misery and hopelessness. Went to church with an even more miserable Mr G - wheel-chair stuck in gutter - but - 1st Sunday in Advent and I was inspired - SO many people - lots of youngsters included - came up specially to say 'Hello'. The sermon was GOOD, the confirmation class selling candles for our windows to pay for a pilgrimage to Rome - I'm doing my Christmas tree, planning food - looking at my talisman, beautiful mosque (why can't the Moslems take joy from the beauties of their religion) - it says 'I will live'. With my problems of belief, I thank somebody that I remain able to look after Mr G, give pleasure to a lot of people - get strength from some source - not, at the moment from Moodscope, but still find it a most useful 'tool' and recognise people who have become 'pals'. Anyway, 'In his pleasure is life: heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. For those of you seemingly in deep despair, look for something joyous in the day - or use the other senses - feel, the fur of a cat, stroke the dog, warmth of a favourite blanket, laughter of your children, glorious music - even the taste of good brandy - there IS light at the end of the tunnel, there has to be.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 1:10pm

TG there is indeed. So sorry this added gloom to your day and so pleased the first Sunday in advent has been a joy! To everyone, there blogs were written as a service and not as a cry for help! I am already in a much better place and look forward to Wednesday's blog bringing light, not darkness!

The Gardener Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 11:45am

It sounds as though I'm saying 'snap out of it' I know it's impossible, but somewhere, in this grim world, have to be words of cheer. HO, thank you 'I am the captain of my soul'.

Sandie Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 12:16pm

Take it from someone who was in the relentless black hole for more than three years and a (failed) suicide attempt. Things will get better. Find something to focus on, for yourself. Make a difference to others, I do, and it works. (Not easy I know, but there is not enough room to write the story of my life!)

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 4:41pm

Thank you Sandie. Moodscope is it for me. I know it helps others and it helps me too!

Dale Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 1:33pm

I am here now, where you were when you wrote this, Mary. I am grateful that I read it; having my present condition expressed by someone else so accurately is some kind of solace.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 4:40pm

Sending gentle hugs Dale. It does pass. Keep hanging on and know our thoughts are with you.

The Gardener Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 1:44pm

Bit preachy, but an incredible sequence of events. Mr G never been so bad. News of Castro's death has provoked wild rejoicing in Miami by Cuban exiles, and 9 days grieving in Cuba - you can't even get married. Sex abuse has a new target - football coaches. Taken our minds off Trump. BUT, at the beginning of Castro's 'reign' the 'Bay of Pigs' crisis took us very near nuclear war. I am re-reading Neville Shute's 'On the Beach' the end of the world after a total nuclear war, and how those who still have a few months to live are dealing with it. One young Mum is planning taking out a tree to plant a vegetable garden, and planting new, beautiful trees which will flower in five years time. I am planning next year's garden - because you can't 'wait and see'. A young family have booked in an overnight stay at end of next July - knowing fully my precarious state - but the two little girls are desperate to re-visit a lady who not only has a shop but 5 loos! This figures in their lives - there's always a queue for their's. So, as Sandie says, focus on something, anything

Susannah Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 6:54pm

Thank you so much for this series of blogs. I have found them incredibly useful. They help me to understand the depths that some people suffer - and be thankful that mine have never been this deep. Your eloquence, braveness, openess and honesty are amazing. The power of moodscope is immeasurable.
Thank you again.

Tychi's Mum Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 8:19am

I couldn't agree more Susannah. Your blogs HAVE been incredible Mary and I, for one, have found them very moving. Not only that, they will be invaluable in helping my family and friends to understand the unfathomable depth of despair that I plummet to. Happily, I am able to see the joy in life at the moment but the fear of the next crash is ever present.... Tychi's Mum.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 9:41am

Bless you both. So glad my words have helped

Nicco Sun, Nov 27th 2016 @ 11:53pm

Thank you for your blogs, Mary. This one really spoke to me, especially... "My God is a joke only the gullible believe", also, "I cannot believe that this will pass, that the darkness will lift and day will come", and, "Sometimes I want to let go, to fall... surely it's easier than holding on". All these are thoughts I have had but which I have hidden deep inside, never daring to speak them out. By bringing them into the light, for me, these thoughts are less frightening and I realise that I am not alone in thinking them. So thank you. Best Wishes to you, Nicco.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 9:43am

And back to you Nicco. Blessings on you and a gentle hug.

Lexi Mon, Nov 28th 2016 @ 12:20pm

This was such an invaluable series Mary. Thank you so much for putting in writing so perfectly whatmany of us have felt. This time of year is such a curse for me. Each day I see my score dip just a little more. But yet I have faith. That is something different from 3 years ago. My friend lost his battle a week ago but I will perservere. I don't know where this slight glimmer of hope comes from but I'm glad it's there.

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