Saturday, 24 November 2007

The obligatory SAD piece

Well, there has to be one. Every year, in any journal-type writing I’m doing. Somewhere, there will be a paean to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

A ‘paean’! What am I saying? A paean is, of course, a song of praise in tribute to something. And this black cloud (literally and figuratively) is in no way deserving of that.

But it sort-of gets one.

Almost annually.

And why?

Because, for some reason, depression – and let’s face it, that’s what it is – hydrates the creative juices, feeds that voracious, masochstic animal they call ‘art’.

And drives, if you allow it and don’t give up first, the motor of mental mobility.

Whatever metaphor you give it, SAD will be with you (if you’re a sufferer) right through from September to March, and, at some point – for me usually November (the name makes me shudder and I used to ban it!) – more painfully and, consequently productively, than the rest..

Therefore the ‘paean’. The enemy at least shall be recognised. And, who knows, perhaps with respect, even befriended.

Ah, the writer in me! So far, so good. Trying to make good out of bad. A blessing out of a curse (and, oh boy, does the Devil seem behind this!).

But I’m older now, and wiser than I was when I used to let it beat me (I couldn’t help it – see MS – My Scene (October)), and even than I was when I began hoping it would inspire important prose.

And I’m a cripple now. Sufferer of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Because physically, without a doubt – having failed to finish me mentally/spiritually – SAD has wiped me out. Knocked all the stuffing out of me. Pulled the rug out from under my feet. Etc. Etc. All the analogies that go with not being able-bodied any more – if ever: there was always wanting to hide/hibernate during the winter, even as a child. Physically I’ve had it.

So why bother at all, you ask. I’ll tell you.

It’s so that others may learn from it and take preventative measures. Or at least know best how to deal with it. And I’ve come some way with that:

- faith;
- lavender oil;
- give up dairy products;
- probiotics;
- lots of garlic/cayenne;
- extra-virgin olive oil;
- oily fish;
- sunshine – or, failing that, a light-box,
- de-humidifier.

But I’ve said all that before, in more detail (as link above ), and I want to move on.

We all know that one of the strong contenders for “cause” of MS is lack of sunshine. I would add to that damp (due to lack of sunshine), and, of course – also acknowledged - stress. The culminative affect of all these being Candida Albicans (as above).

It goes therefore as read, that right now a lot of MSers are feeling at their worst. And others, I pray for them, are developing it as we speak.

So what we don’t need is more to depress us. And that, I suppose, is the reason for this post now and in Travels rather than MS - MS. I’m not here to concentrate on MS. That’s not what I want to do.

MSers are not the only ones with SAD. And all SAD sufferers do no not develop MS. I want to write – as I always did – for everyone. People in general.

When I’ve been asked to place my blogs in a category, out of desperation, I’ve had to say ‘Society and Culture’. Not ‘Health’. What would be the point of that (I ask myself!)? We’ve all got to die one day. I’m just trying to find the best, and most honest, way to leave this world and get to Heaven, helping as many people along the way as possible. As I’ve mentioned before, the Internet, and blogs in particular, are a great aid to a housebound, would-be evangelist!

So, that’s what all this (blogging) is about.

Last week though, both genres were tied together in two very saddening stories.

The first (perhaps you saw it in the ‘papers) involved a young woman with PPMS who wants to end her life. Because of the PPMS. She wants to go to the awful, shouldn’t exist, “Dignitas” in Switzerland and swallow the lethal cocktail. Because she has PPMS.

Like I have PPMS. Always progressing, getting worse, worsening paralysis... yeah, yeah, etc. We all know the prognosis. It’s not good. and it sort-of IS the end of the world – yours anyway, as it shrinks down and down and leaves less and less life. Shrivelling too, for loved ones. As long as you have any left. The woman in the news does.

She has a husband, willing it seems, to love her unconditionally and take care of her. He doesn’t want her to end it all – yet.

Ay, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare would say (Hamlet iii. i. 65): apparently he’d rather wait a few years, until she’s really decrepit and useless (presumably) and then he’ll personally escort her (push her?) to her death.

The trouble is, by then, she might not be able to lift the glass. And the fact that he took her there would make him liable to prosecution and possible imprisonment [Suicide Act (1961)]. And quite right too.

Well, this is why the poor MSer is in the news. She is pleading with the government to get the law changed to enable him to take her without blame.

Otherwise, she will go alone and make sure, absolutely certain, that everyone knows it is suicide.

Because she has PPMS and isn’t willing to see it out.

Isn’t aware of her innate human dignity, the love of God the Father for each of His unique children, the eternal life of the soul. and the simple fact that only our Creator who gave us life has the right to take it away.

She has not learnt as a Christian that when Jesus taught us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23), He was instructing us in the heroic goodness of redemptive suffering. Offering up our pains in prayer for others.

It breaks my heart and I feel very sad for this woman. I pray for her conversion.

And for all the others who have gone before her and will come after.

Which is how we get to the ‘Society and Culture’ aspect.

This “choice”, this ability to take our own lives, those of the unborn and the elderly. This secular enthusiasm for euthanasia is WRONG. Has to change. This is the tenet of the law that must be undone. Before the evil of our actions comes back to, literally, haunt us – in the next world.

My second sadness of the week – compounded with the rotten SAD – came from hearing that another PPMS friend (we MUST all be friends) has taken to her bed until the spring.

Now my first thought, of course, was to congratulate her. It’s what we’d all like to do, especially when the fatigue is such that it crushes you and prevents any action to begin with.

Apparently this friend (from an MS forum) has pressure-sores that maybe (I don’t know) have become infected and forced her to take up a whole new horizontal position for the duration. Pressure-sores (nightmarishly painful) are the reason given anyway.

But the trouble is I know – and so do many others – she’s been badly depressed and lonely for months. We’ve all done what we can, virtually, to comfort her and spur her on.

But she’s angry: her family (adult children) have all left and she’s alone. With inadequate carers (Social Services), paid to give her any attention at all. She feels totally unloved, but for the empathy she receives on the boards (and, yes, you’re right, I am “projecting”. But I’m also telling it how it is, which maybe she cannot do). And it’s all down to ‘S. and C.’.

Whatever happened to families looking after families?

Well, briefly, I surmise that this is what happens when God is removed from society. Replaced by the State (government as the ultimate authority). When people believe they’re their own gods and are free to make decisions for themselves. Blindly following the rules of the State as automatons still believing there is no ruler. As they work every hour God sends to make money for Mammon (god of this world – materialism) and, like lemmings, plod one after another leader, toward the cliff-edge and the black abyss.

When their only goal is an earthly Utopia of eternal youth and physical perfection. And they lose the capacity for selfless love.

This is what happened to families taking care of their own. They became ashamed of the frailties and inadequacies of their weaker members. Better to be gone.

And, if not physically (i.e. death, which as we’ve seen is now actually a feasible option) then, at least, under someone else’s care: enter the Welfare State.

In fact perhaps that’s when it started at the end of the Second World War. 1945. A welfare state (i.e. someone else to look after us), and we could all become parasites.

Women who used to tend the family at home, including often their elderly and infirm relations, were suddenly not so needed. Not so necessary. Their roles were unsure. Blurred by a lopsided “freedom”.

And then, of course, the birth-control pill. Easy contraception. The Anglican Church allowed “family planning”, first in “special circumstances” in the 1930’s and then, universally, without protest (Protest-antism is only anti the Catholic Church). And that was when God became whatever you wanted Him to be. And to many still is.

So women got “liberated”. Lost their feminine gifts.

And the rest is history.

And, boy, can I ramble. But I hope you see my point – any who’ve come this far.

It’s not just the time for SAD, it’s a very sad world.

And that’s why I was sad last week.


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