Monday, January 16, 2012

where I have been

Oh, there you are…!

and here I am…

and you look so far away and yet so close
because so many days have been like holding a telescope the wrong way 'round.

Making the days of splashing and beaching and camping and swimming and reading and family time and relaxing
seem so close
and so far away
all at once.

So close I can almost touch it.

So close that some days, the wall of glass lifts and I feel the good that is this, my beautiful life.

Other days…most days…
the world has moved away like it's on trolley wheels and set up stage
on the other side of the wall.

And no matter how hard I've tried, or how much I've willed it, I can't seem to make it through the glass. To feel the good and the beauty and the fine I see, right before my eyes.


is depression.

This is crippling anxiety

and dim, shapeless fear.

This is fog and muddle,

hopelessness and panic and sad.


is the part

when the world slides away, or you think it does.

When you find you've somehow stumbled and ended up deep in the hard dark;

when you realise you are, in fact
spectacularly unwell.


is when you call for help.

You do. You do. You must.

You call for the counsellor. 
She in turn calls the Black Dog Institute to see how quickly the Depression Clinic can see you. She calls you during the week to check how you are. She calls on the weekend. She says, "Call any time."

You call for the naturopath. 
She gives you herbs and checks on you within two days. She wakes up, she says, thinking about how you're doing. 

You call for the doctor.
You visit him and he in turn immediately calls an acute care mental health team. They come a few days later, visiting you at home. (Imagine a S.W.A.T team, rappelling—with the kindest eyes—through your window). They in turn call psychiatrists. They find one who can see you as soon as possible. They call you back the next day. They check up. They check in.

You call for the psychiatrist.
He is calm and calming. He suggests medication. He says, "Know this—this is treatable. There is every chance you will get better." He says you need to come see him, every week for a while.

You call for your sister.
She takes you out for the day and has you do silly things, like let her teach you salsa dancing in the movie theatre, right there in front of the screen and with all the people arriving, while you wait for the previews to start. She makes you laugh, and she listens, and together you buy matching t-shirts that you wear for the rest of the day. She drives you home when you miss your train, all the way from Sydney, a three hour round trip, just to see you home safe.

You call for your mother.
She checks in almost daily. She visits and pays attention to every word you and your children say. She says how much she loves you, loves you, loves you.

You call for your children.
You talk of worry holes and how they can grow. You tell them that you are sick, and getting treatment, just like someone with diabetes, or a broken leg. Then you tell them you have to cancel a promised, planned, so-exciting overseas trip to see family, because you are so unwell. And they understand. They understand. They love you, love you, love you. Love pours from their sweet hearts.

You call your husband's family overseas.
Well, your husband does. He tells them the trip is postponed. He says, "But we love you so much." And they say, with immeasurable kindness, "We love you so much too. We understand. Just work on getting better." You feel their love palpably; it flies all the way over the desert, over the ocean, right there to you.

Most importantly,
you call for your husband.

And, with trumpets blaring, he comes riding in. There, do you see him? On his white steed, galloping. Armour resplendent. Spear raised. Flag flying.
He comes for you.
He is there, every single moment you need him. He is your white light. Your saving grace. Your true love.

And there are more calls you can make.

To friends—you remind yourself you have them. They will come—you know they will—when you call.

You have the sea too, and the mountains, and the rain.

The dog, who lies on your feet by the couch. The kitten, who lets you lie next to her and hold her paw. The frogs, who have made a home in your pond. The cat, who lets you kiss the top of his head.

Online friends. There they all are: she and she and he and she. Here is love and care and kindness, waiting.

And yourself, of course. You have you.

Calling out,
and keeping on calling.

You tell yourself: Remember, please.

The sky at dusk. How your body feels after a swim or a bike ride. How the sun feels. How the clouds look as they tumble over and over themselves, riding the mountain. The sound of rain on the roof. Your husband's eyes when he kisses you. The feel of your children as they come to wrap their arms around you.

Remember, please, that the fog lifts.

Believe, that it will lift again, and again, and rise until one day…
you will be so busy smiling, the skin beside your eyes crinkling,
so busy laughing with your children and cooking and learning and loving…
it will take you ages to notice the fog has completely gone.

Love to you all. 


  1. Helena, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Hold on tightly to that support system you have so wisely created. They will help you through the darkness. Your friends who may not have met you but certainly care about you will hold you hand from miles away. (((hugs)))


  2. Sweet Helena! I know I don't put in words here I feel, and how well I want to make you again, but I think about you all the time. Even though I know the spot you are in is dark, and ever closing in on the joy all around you, but I still manage to smile. I smile because I know you will be back. You will be back and be happy, bubbling over with love, and full of the happy all around you. You have a beautiful family, beautiful relatives, and beautiful friends. You have so many people around the globe pulling for you. And I, as one of them, am sending so many beams of light and love your way. Right now!
    I know you'll feel it soon.
    Hang in there, it's coming!

  3. Helena, I was so glad to see a post from you. I have been wondering how you are, and worrying how you are. I read your words with tears on my face. Hold on, like Jess said, to that support system. Continue to know that it will lift. {{{BIG HUGS}}} coming your way!

  4. Oh Helena do I ever wish I had a magic wand to wave and make you feel better right this instant!! You are so smart and brave to reach out for help and to share this part of your journey - letting people care for you is just what you need. I will say prayers for healing, peace, hope, and swiftness as lots of different people try to figure out how to help you best right now. HUGS from the other side of the planet. :) Like the above commenters said, you have many, many people cheering for you!

    [Your spirit must be incredibly strong because it shines so brightly even during this dark time. Here you are struggling, yet you post a gift of gorgeous writing for us to read. WOW. There is no shortage of brilliance in your or your family.]

  5. Dearest Helena
    I wonder how, in the mind of one fair lady
    where so many delicious words dance -
    Captain Black Fog has a stronghold.
    Your joyous, contagious, infectious, delirious
    love of existence will challenge the darkness
    like a sunrise extinguishes the night.


  6. Helena, I am sorry you are feeling this way. I've been there myself. It's not an easy path, but it sounds as though you have taken the steps to heal. I will send love and light and positive thoughts and energy your way, my friend.

    I sometimes find visualizing positive energy and negative energy and myself pulling through the mire over to the positive energy and riding that energy like a wave to be helpful. But I know it's hard to even get to a place where you can do that. Praying for you.

  7. Helena, Sending you love, light, and warmth. I hope you can feel it, and the fog thins a wee bit more to show you the beautiful life you have created and the people that love and support you more and more clearly. I am so glad that there are people around you to love you up and support you through, and that you still come here to share in this space with all of your honesty and glorious way with words, even when those words can't be easy to write.
    (( big hug ))

  8. I've been thinking and wondering about you Helena. I found all my old depression stuff in a cupboard yesterday and thought about you. You are so brave, putting it all out there - it would be so easy to hide away. Anything I can do, let me know. Sending you good, warm, happy, light, hugs.

  9. I am sitting here, smiling through tears. Tears because I have been so worried about you. Every single day you are in my thoughts. Every single day I come and look for your words. Tears because I feel your sadness and pain in each typed letter....but also smiles..because YOU CAN get better. You WILL get better. Smiles because look up..look at all these wonderful women who love you and care about you and are cheering you on and praying for you. You have everything to get well for...a lovely knight husband and beautiful children and an amazing place that you live and friends and pets and beauty. You are so gifted at seeing the beauty. Hold on tight my sweet friend and search for that...the beauty and the joy. Love you much!!!

  10. Thinking of you....get well soon!

  11. I'm so pleased you're getting help from so many dfferent sources. It sounds as if you truly have a support NETWORK.
    I wish you love as you journey through the fog, to the other side.
    Depression is just so tough.

  12. Oh Helena. I am so sorry that the fog has become so thick. You are a wonderful beautiful amazing person and I am so pleased you are reaching out for the support that is coming pouring into your life from every direction. Sending you love from Newtown all the way down the coast to you, right now, in your home with your beautiful children and husband. That you manage to share your journey here in words is truly something, it's an honour to read. Thankyou.

  13. We're still here Helena, thinking of you, watching for you, praying for you, wishing you wellness and happiness. This too shall pass, I know it will, and I am believing that you know it too. Believe in the healing magic of love, it is all around you my friend, and though you may not see it, you are glowing with it.
    hugs, long and strong.

  14. You are not alone.
    Anyone who has not been through the dark may think those words fall short but from one to other- You are not alone.
    With Love ~hiking without happy meals~

  15. Helena-
    How are you?
    Check in.
    I miss your words. I think about you a lot. How I wish you weren't on another continent and all that. hugs to you.. check in, and let us know how you are. We have so much love waiting here for you. Come and get it!

  16. Still thinking about you... Sending you flowers and sunshine.

  17. Helena, How are you?

    Where-ever you are at this moment, I hope you are surrounded by love!

    And sending you a little extra, too!

  18. I'm thinking of you, too, Helena!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.