On RTE’s Primetime, Conor Cusack bravely described his battle with depression and urged those listening that there was a future, that keeping going would bring better times. For a moment, it seemed hard to imagine that someone who had enjoyed the happiness and the camaraderie of a successful hurling team would have found themselves in such a dark place, but, then, I have heard people say that they could not imagine how someone who experienced the closeness and companionship of church life could find themselves feeling depressed.
Conor Cusack’s words will, at least for a few days, allow an open discussion of depression, but the conspiracy of silence will probably soon return. The experience will be one not to be discussed, or one dismissed in a few words, “What have you to be depressed about?” or, “Sure, they can give you tablets for that, now”.
Perhaps medication is a reasonable way forward, but I have heard it described as making life uniformly grey; the deep troughs being eliminated along with the high peaks. Life becomes like one of those experiments with light waves, where a crest meets a trough and the result is a flat line. A flatline life does not seem attractive, the days of darkness might disappear, but along with them would go the day of lightness when life seemed good and the world a happy place.
Some days are days when the only option is to keep going. Sometimes there are days when you say, “Today is a bad day, but tomorrow will be better, and if tomorrow is no better, then, maybe the next day or the day after. If I keep going, I’ll reach a better day”. Some days it is easier to disconnect, to switch off, to stop trying to run on empty. There are some days when the battle with the darkness seems not worth the energy and there is nothing to do other than to wait. Some days it is easier to think, “I can’t face people today, but I’ll see them soon”.
Bruce Springsteen’s “Further on up the road”, seems to express such a hope. Today is dark, but better times will come:
Now I been out in the desert, just doin’ my time
Searchin’ through the dust, lookin’ for a sign
If there’s a light up ahead well brother I don’t know
But I got this fever burnin’ in my soul
So let’s take the good times as they go
And I’ll meet you further on up the road
The “desert” times knock any certainty of there being light ahead, but there will be good times and we will be with our friends, further on up the road.