Monday, 9 June 2014

I’m Off-line

As many of my readers will be aware I suffer from chronic pain (amongst other things).  This in turn leads to chronic exhaustion.  It also leads to frustration that I can’t plan to do anything because I don’t know how I’ll be from one minute to the next, which in turn leads to….  And so it goes on.  As a result of all this lot I sometimes suffer from clinical depression.

Clinical depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.  We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.  Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong. It is a mental illness, a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together".

In many cases (including mine) the depression comes and goes and it can have one simple trigger or it can be brought on by a combination of problems.  Last year, for example, fighting with the Department of Work and Pensions over whether I was fit for work brought me to my knees for weeks on end.  At the moment it is a combination of things that is doing it; none of which was helped by someone running into the back of Jo's car and damaging it, and, more importantly, giving her whiplash.

One contributor to my depression is undoubtedly stress.  Stress about problems family members are going through, stress about the repairs the house needs, stress about money, stress about ‘keeping up with things’.  To quote Ruby Wax -

"We are not equipped for this century, it’s too hard, too fast, and too full of fear; we just don’t have the bandwidth. Our brains can’t take so much information in a world where we’re bombarded by bad news and force-fed information. I can just about take in the weather then I’m exhausted. You open a newspaper, everyone’s dead. We’re only supposed to know what our neighbour is up to; if the woman next door to you is having sex with the man next door to her we need to know; but four doors down and it’s none of our business."

My brother, GB, watches the news on television every day. He has the mental stamina to absorb what is going on in war-torn countries and the world of politics.  Like Ruby Wax, I can just about cope with the weather…

But all these things are as nothing to the feelings I went through when Partner-who-loves-tea and I lost our first-born son.  And now, the daughter of friends of ours and her partner are going through the same ‘process’.  Their six month old son Archie died last week of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – i.e. a cot death.  

 Archie Tom David Jobe
22 November 2013 - 2 June 2014

In a way I can imagine what they are going through – ‘been there, done that.’   But in another way I can’t.  Every bereavement is different just as the child is different.  And also, after twenty seven years the brain inures one so you can only vaguely recall how painful that time was.  But even such vague recollections are crippling.  My heart goes out to Katie and Adam and their families.

Because I’m feeling down I’m going off-line for a while.  I may be here on the computer at times but I probably won’t be popping in to say ‘Hello’ on your blogs or making an effort to ‘keep up’ with every post from everybody.

So until I ‘pull myself together’ again I’ll say ‘Cheerio’.


  1. Dear John!
    Had been thinking of you and when I come over today I see this post so know I got the timing right.
    Having lived with severe debilitating depression in my twenties you have my sympathy. I also know the devastating effect of family problems and childhood trauma and abuse. All I can say is that you are in my prayers. I agree with Ruby. Far too much information come sour way these days. Even Facebook which I choose to be involved in has its negatives as well as positives. I suffer from daily pain too but obviously not as severe as yours. Thanks for your honesty, that in itself lifts some of the stress. The word that comes to me is HOPE. Barbara

  2. Please accept my condolences for your loss. It doesn't matter how long ago it was, it still hurts. My second daughter, our third child, was stillborn after i went through a surgery to try to save her life. My heart goes out to you and your precious Partner-Who-Loves-Tea, and to Adam and Katie.

    Depression is a monster, i've battled it, too.

    Know that you and your P-W-L-T will be in my prayers for your comfort, and for healing for your depression and her whiplash. Also i will pray for Adam and Katie.

    All the burdens are too much, that's why i cast my cares on the One who can carry them. And i turn off the news.

  3. Time can be healing, hope the time away helps.

  4. I'm so sorry to read about your friends' loss - and the hard time that you're now experiencing. I hope that time away and surrounding yourself with people, sounds and things that soothe - things you love - will help.
    Thinking of you..........

  5. As you know, I have some experience of the pain-exhaustion-frustration circle too. Throw some extra burdens into the usual mix and no wonder if it all gets too much to cope with. Take care of yourself (and Jo, and what/whoever else is most important). No doubt you'll know within yourself when it's time to get back to Blogworld communication again! ♥ Lots of love to you & yours.

  6. I do exactly know how you feel, perhaps to a different intensity. I too have clinical depression and know pretty well all there is to know about it -- including hospitalization. I have had it for 30 years, and have to go for medicine check every two months. (Don't know if I've told you all this before). I've been struggling the last couple of months, hence the decrease in blogging. It took about five years to find the right combination of medications, but it was worth it. But now they tell me, as the body ages the medicines can either cease working or give the wrong effects. How's that for someone who also has anxiety and panic attacks! Ruby Wax is right on target. The brain is an organ and just as diabetes is a malfunction, so the brain can have chemical imbalances.

    I don't think you will mind, John if I pray for you, as I do for myself. I know we don't share that in common, but please know that I want only the best for you. Anyway, just put everything else aside and try dealing with the stress. As Ruby says, I'm sure we were not made for this kind of world!
    Kind thoughts go your way.

  7. I don't know when you'll be reading this, but please now that you are very much in our thoughts, always. I am so sorry that the stress is bombarding you from all sides right now, and so sorry to hear about your friends' loss of a child. I cannot imagine anything more devastating. I'll be putting a letter in the snail mail shortly. In the meantime, sending love and hugs to both you and Jo. xoxox

  8. So sorry to hear about sincerest sympathy to his grieving parents....they will all be in my prayers.
    CJ please take as much time to be "off-line" as is needed but don't forget to bounce back into our lives with your wit and charm and lots of informative posts when you are better again.. Rest well my friend and feel better soon.
    I'm glad that Jo was not too seriously hurt...hope she too will soon be back to her usual self.

  9. My heart aches for that young couple over the loss of their precious baby and for your friends, for the loss of their grandchild. Of course, you know that I am thinking of you, John! I can't think of the right thing to say to you in a comment, just know that I hope that you know how many of your blogging friends think of you, I should say they think the world of you. I know I do.
    Take care.
    Love, Kay

  10. I understand your struggle, fully and completely. I wish you rest, i wish you well! Love & Light to you and yours!

  11. Thinking of you every day and sending you hugs across the pond.

  12. Dearest John..I do hope your friends can find a way through the grief and sadness at this time. I have no words or experience to say anything but how sorry I am and prayers and hugs to you all. My Sister lost her youngest son when he was 18 and life changed forever for her and all of us. Please rest and take all the time you need. I'll be here when you come back. Give my best to your wife.

  13. Hello John, I read your blog whilst I was away on holiday and when you eventually read this comment, I just want you to know that both David and I are thinking of you and we hope that it will not be too long before you feel much better. We look forward to seeing you up here on the island before too long. Much love to both you and Jo. xxxx

  14. Warm thoughts go out to you and yours. I love your blog for its beauty, kindness and deep thoughts. My husband also struggles with chronic pain - I can only watch from the sidelines and wish it were not so - that's my wish for you, too. Come back when you can - we'll be waiting.

  15. John, I am so sorry, and I hope that you get through this dark patch soon. It does indeed sound "too much" and I hope you can enjoy the summer in peace without any more blows. I do believe it is a blow when a friend loses a beautiful child in this way (and what an adorable little boy you show there). Not only does it bring back bad memories for you but it strikes at the heart of everything that matters in life. So I wish there was something I could say that did not sound like a cliche. I can only say that I am feeling for you, I feel I have got to know you a little bit and do wish you well and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. .

  16. You've been on my mind since I first read your post, but I wasn't sure what to say, if anything. You will remain in my thoughts (and on my prayer list). And I just wanted to say that I have always appreciated your comments on my blog. You've been one of my more loyal commenters, and your comments always gave me a bit of a lift. It would be so nice if there were something I could do to reciprocate, but I will just say thanks.

  17. I'm sorry to learn of your troubles, Scriptor. I hope you feel better soon.


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