Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sleepy hollow. s.a.d Sleepy hollow. s.a.d Sleepy hollow. s.a.d Sleepy hollow -S.A.D.

Sleepy hollow.
Seasonal affective disorder.

‘There is no coming to consciousness without pain’.
Author: Carl Jung

Thank God there is more chocolate in the shops now!

I work with the season’s good bad and down right ugly. The months from now till March used to be a nightmare but I have learnt to control it. Depression still a taboo of an illness but an illness it is! As serious as cancer and hart disease and as debilitating as a concrete pair of boots. To explain depression is easy it’s the worst of all pains but describing it is imposable without sounding mellow dramatic and selfish. The reason I bring this up is due to an incident close to where I was working last week, ‘a suicide’. For anyone now this time of year turns into bloody chaos, love and giving mixed with bombing and killing it’s confusing. With two much thinking time on my hands its hard to keep the gardeners chin up but somehow the garden does. Depression is when you intimately connect to some of life’s and cultures great works, songs poems art and nature have great depths and become as important as they where intended, friends and family become sorted out into important and non categories and you will here the words ‘bright side’ and ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ a lot. The world around you is distant and you are sealed in a very open clear enclosure.

Seasonal affective disorder if you think you have it! is taken very seriously ‘thankfully’ in medical circles and a GP WILL listen and not think you are ready for a lobotomy, The exact causes are not know but it is thought to be lack of sunlight (vitamin d), a chemical imbalance in an area of the brain called the HYPOTHALAMUS and the fact that you are a living breathing caring human being, but In the depths of depression you are scum and relate to people accordingly, research has shown that exercise is good, which is darn right, however when you are really low you can’t find the energy to turn off the morning alarm let alone go for a run! Catch 22 is here and in everything else you attempt to do. I had a bash from the ‘big D ‘ a couple of years ago and found gardening was my way out, I started to realise how pathetic my insecurities where in the grand scheme of things, Looking at simple importance instead of the crappy clutter was a revelation, My job should be available on the national health. Being outside is very beneficial and watching things grow, nurturing and seeing a side of life a lot of people miss is an important part of the cure. At this time I read many books on the subject by artists, writers, actors, musicians, and always came back to one, ‘Depression and How to Survive It’ by
Spike Milligan and Anthony Clare a frank and sometimes-funny profile of depression which interviews spike on good and bad days, its inspirational, medically correct and there is no mention of spiritual help (it’s practical). ‘Yes it’s true hugging a tree is useless!’

From that day on there have been many lethargic days and like anyone who has to live in the twenty first century depression is always a fragile arms length away. Fish oils are good! omega 3 I have taken for a year and NO alcohol is a must. Living and breathing in the garden takes you away from issues although at this time of year a garden echoes pain, depression and alienation but it is also beautiful and haunting this is something I have trained myself to see.
And come late winter the garden starts to wake and nature sprinkles its magic that represents hope,

• "When I look back, the fondest memory I have is not really of the Goons. It is of a girl called Julia with enormous breasts."


"[The depression] is debilitating and sort of destructive but I don't consider that I'm in any way unusual," "I consider that I'm very lucky because I have a way of dealing with it, which is working. [Using the] highs and the lows too. The lows are when you are like litmus paper: you absorb more when everything is twice as loud and everything is twice as bright."

Thom Yorke - Radiohead

Photographs and text copyright 2004 andrew stenning


Blogger vanillasky said...

Did you hear the interview this morning with Monty Don on Radio 2. He talked about his battles with depression. I believe he also discusses it in his new book.

I love your photos. They are fabulous. I really like the effects you achieve.

November 28, 2004 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger andrewstenning said...

thanks for your comments!. No did not here the radio this morning and will have to take a look at his book,I do know of his illness as he gave an interview on the NHS website. Good for me to relate to being a gardener and that. I think this is a very important subject to talk about as it is still such a taboo.

November 28, 2004 at 2:13 PM  
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December 13, 2005 at 10:08 PM  

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