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So sorry Spike. Saturday November 22, 2014

In the 70's and 80's,I used to be involved in organising protest marches and demos, campaigning against blood sports and vivisection, the fur trade etc.

Like many of my generation I grew up listening to the Goon Show, and it was common knowledge that Spike Milligan had suffered a major mental breakdown, and spent a long period in hospital. It was said that the pressure of being the only script writer on the team, having to produce perfection every week, pushed him over the edge. He was later diagnosed as manic depressive (or bi-polar as it is now called). I remember hearing him say that the only peace and comfort he could find in hospital was when the resident cat would come and lie on his bed.

Although I have always been a very "highly strung" person, at that time I still had some resilience left, and could summon up the energy to take on projects as long as they were planned well in advance. In my mind, people like Spike had been ill, then cured or at least put back on an even keel.

He was a patron of several animal rights organisations, and so I and others would approach him asking for his attendance at various events. This of course would be announced in press releases and the like. Television crews would turn out, press would attend, members of the public, who would never normally attend a demo, would come from all over the country. In fact the only person missing would be Spike. Sometimes his agents or family would cancel at the last minute, saying he was indisposed, sometimes we would have no warning at all. It became embarassing, the press thought we were making it up to get publicity.

There were a couple of similar no-shows from a well-known continental film star. I later heard that she was battling depression and becoming a recluse.

Now, all these years later, I am still doing my best for the cause dear to my heart. But now it is rare to see something highlighted in my diary that does not cause my heart to sink. I must have been having a good day when I agreed to it, but now I am praying that it will have to be cancelled, not my fault, no need for guilt.

Of course, I hardly ever back out, I know how it feels to be let down. I go along, and usually end up doing a grand job, but oh, the relief when it is over. It will take a few days for the adrenaline I have had to produce to calm down, for my sleep to return. Until the next time.

Spike, for thinking you were rude and unreliable - I am truly sorry.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 9:00am

Hugely interesting to read this. I understand your comment about adrenalin and how it takes days to calm from what you needed to get through...this is exactly me. Cancelling last minute I am guilty of too. I can't always commit because I don't know if I'll have the strength to pull on the mask and so fluff around making excuses until the moment arrives and I work with what I have. The bigger the event, the more adrenalin that's needed and the bigger the fall a few days later when it finally levels.

I've only recently recognised it and now I'm trying to prepare as much as possible in advance and manage it afterwards. December and January are extreme danger zones for me as, aside from Christmas and all related hosting, there are lots of school events and many family birthdays. In February, when I should feel relief, my low hits hardest like slamming into a wall on a motorbike. Now I'm aware, I'm interested to see how it might change this time...

I adore Spike Milligan, a nugget of pure genius. I reckon he was wise enough to know he would be understood eventually.

Loved reading this today Valerie.
Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 9:01am

Valerie unless someone has been in a depressed and anxious state for several months at a time then it is difficult to comprehend the sheer terror Spike must have felt to have agreed to attend such an event. It is all very well to make promises and commitments when life is a bed of roses. All is sunny and bright and everything is possible. However the flip side of this feeling being the depths of depression and anxiety then you are incapable of leaving the house. The thought of having to meet and address hundreds of members of the public, TV crews and press must have been absolutely terrifying after initially doing so whilst feeling well. I personally have missed several important family parties and celebrations over the past 30 odd years. Just over a year ago ( in my worst depression ever ) I read in the paper of the death of one of my most respected and best friends. I was unable to attend his funeral and later learned several hundred had I still feel guilty and sad at missing his final send off. To be a high profile celebratory constantly under scrutiny and in the public eye must have made Spike feel even more desperate while already in a vulnerable and lonely place. Thanks Spike for sharing the good times and laughs with us, but during the bad spells unfortunately sacrifices have to be made usually at great cost to ourselves. PS My first proper comment as I have only been ( OK ) for about 8 weeks after 14 months of total and utter desperation (didn't leave the house for 8 months ) anyway will hopefully construct a post in the next couple of weeks. Take care of yourselves Moodscopers RHCP

Anonymous Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 9:15am

^wonderful progress RHCP
Do write and tell us how you initiated the improvement after 14months. There is no hurry, we all know time is the most important part. Love ratg.

valerie Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 11:22am

Thank you,I know it's wishing ones life away,but it would be great to fast-forward to Spring.It does help to know others are also hunkered down!

Valerie x

valerie Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 11:31am

You will know that your friend would understand what you were going through,and not wish you to beat yourself up.I can't begin to know how hard it must be for you to be trying to rebuild your life after being rock-bottom for so long-anyone reading your post will be rooting for you.
Valerie x

Anonymous Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 1:56pm

Only someone who has been truly depressed can understand how it feels. Some days I am able to count this as a blessing for being able to empathise with other peoples' distress - other days I cannot see beyond my own wretchedness. So far I have not defaulted on anything other than social commitments - but my depression continues so I can only hope.

Anonymous Sat, Nov 22nd 2014 @ 3:23pm

Agree that having gone through severe depression, you never forget the utter terror and hopelessness that you felt. It stays with you, and that is good, because you can try to show empathy to someone very seriously depressed and although nothing but time helps recovery, patience, reassurance and loving care was and still is appreciated, after 40 years!

Anonymous Sun, Nov 23rd 2014 @ 12:57am

Firstly I am not bi polar. But do relate to the problem. I also cannot commit to functions, due to ill health. Always want to do more and sometimes get my strengths wrong. on the night I let people down. I am depressed about my situation. Don't think bi polar means unique. Very, very hard, but there are lot of us with life constraining conditions that experience your situation . from a lonely person who is sad and equally bereft of momentum

Anonymous Mon, Nov 24th 2014 @ 10:09am

It's been an eye-opener reading these posts. I thought it was just me being pathetic, so many times I have given myself a hard time for letting people down, agreeing to do something then not following through because I just couldn't face it on the day. I had a whole year of not going to any family celebrations - missed my parents' golden wedding, did not celebrate my own 50th birthday, my son's 21st, my niece's 18th...
I think this is another thing I need to be more explicit about with people ... nowadays I try to say that I will do something if I can but I'm not promising.

However at work I still have to screw myself into a frenzy to be able to do some things ... standing in front of a group of 15 giving a training course (takes me three days to wind myself up for a 90 minute session); visiting someone in their office to sort out a problem with their workstation; giving a presentation to my colleagues. A 1-to-1 with my line manager can take on the nature of ordeal by mental anguish, even if I have met all my targets, let alone if I haven't.

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