As is often the case, my source is Radio National ‘Life Matters’ 27th October 2008. A great story about Barry Dickins, writer and artist. Barry found himself with clinical depression. He more than survived it and more than returned to the land of the brave and joyful.
He says of himself, prior to his depression that:
‘I was full of unstoppable life’
And then unexpectedly:
‘I suddenly couldn’t speak…I had no idea who I was or where I was…
I could only lie in bed…There was no point to being animate…’
‘I wasn’t me….I lost all sense of identity.’
He was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. And he had electro-convulsive therapy, of which he is not a fan. He says also that his treatment was scheduled for 6.30 am. He asked if the treatments could be moved a little later and also the same for his interviews and Barry says he was told: ‘That’s about all the time we have for you today Mr. Dick1ns.’
I have no idea what happened nor what, in the end, was useful for Barry. But he says a significant moment came when he won a literary prize. And of that moment he says:
‘When I got that letter, it was time to check out’
And in a most delightful way Barry says:
‘And now I’m 59 and I’m reading to my 13 year old son in a double-decker bus.
I mean that’s incredible when you think about it…here I am I with a long white beard and baggy eyes, I mean I look like a stood-on apricot…and there’s my little boy listening until he goes to sleep…’
‘The peace that I obtain from that is untellable or unshareable. It’s just heaven.’
When asked about the future, Barry says:
‘What I want to do now is what I’ve always wanted to do, which is to live every second.’
This is a pretty good story Barry. Congratulations.