Archive for the 'depression' Category

The sadness

OK so i’m on a roll with my BMJ RSS feed.

I find this aspect of medicine one of the most interesting and complicated boundaries of medicine and the emotional and the spiritual and the just plain old “life”.

I am completely unclear as to what to make of psychiatric illness in the context of the human experience. I have a few psychiatrist friends who i’m sure could make much more sense of all this.

I do sick people – and pretend that that just means abnormal physiology. I avoid psychiatry, leaving it as someone else’s problem, just as i do with many of the difficult ethical medical debates.


One guy puts it this way:

In truth, “depression” is a very difficult thing to define and any doctor who says that they can reliably differentiate it from sadness is deluding themselves.

Another takes issue and puts it this way:

Depression is not the same as ordinary unhappiness. It is a state unlike any other I have experienced. Ideas about being vulnerable neither made me ill nor ameliorated my distress: in truth like many twenty-year olds, before it hit me I had thought myself invulnerable. Defining suffering away does not diminish it. It insults it. Be wary what you mean when you say to patients, as Ginn does: you do not need anti-depressants, you’re a lot tougher than you think. It could be the cruellest form of paternalism yet.

Any thoughts?

Postcards from far away part 7

Right. Last one you’ll be glad to hear.

Woke in Glenbrittle for the last glorious time and tried to pack up the tent in the howling gale. It didn’t go well. Will have to re-pack the whole thing when I get home.

You can get off (or indeed on) Skye via the bridge or the ferry. Coming from the north of Scotland we’d come across on the bridge. For the sake of completion we figures the ferry off would be good.

At 30 mins it’s hardly an odyssey but worth it for the photos I think. I think if it wasn’t for the tourists it would be hard to see it as viable.


We bypassed Mallaig for the scenic route to Fort William. Which was all camp-sites and little beaches.

The weather held off long enough for a decent view of Nevis as we drove in to fort William. Just enough time for us to decided that “yes of course… just not enough time left to climb it old chap, otherwise we’d be up it like a rat up a spout old boy. Yes spiffing, pass the brandy…”

Physical activity avoided we dandered round fort William and found that they’ve finally closed down the really dodgy cinema that we used to go to. To be honest that was all we were in Fort William for.

Farther down the road we stopped at the Bridge of Orchy for the night. Despite the rather odd name it’s set in spectacular countryside and on the path of the west highland way – the track that runs through the highlands and seems popular with the ageing slightly overweight walker. Which is rich coming from the young skinny kid who drove there and didn’t even walk…


Two nights of “sleeping” in the tent had caught up with me and I was asleep shortly after Chelsea finally put Liverpool to rest for the evening.

Despite having effectively all day to get from the bridge of orchy we still got into Stranraer just 30 mins before the boat sailed.

I’m almost looking forward to going to work tomorrow. And it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to say that. Maybe I needed the distance, the time away from the place, the sunshine and the altitude and the craic. Maybe I just needed the holiday.

Not that I’m quite that naive. Me feeling generally miserable about life is not so easily blamed on work (as much as I would like to), nor even on dad dying (which was most inconsiderate of him).

There are no sound byte answers. There is no “know it all”, slightly self righteous and arrogant so and so (like me for instance) just round the corner who will say “you know what your problem is…”

The only single common denominator that I can find in it all is me. What a surprise that all this narcissistic naval gazing would come up with such an answer.

Back to the real world I think.

When it feels like you are losing

Distinct lack of blogging over past week. Mainly cause I’ve been too depressed to even get out of bed. It has not been a good week. So it goes.

Nearly 6 months have gone by since Da went. And i haven’t the slightest clue what to make of it all. Too many memories. So it goes.

Life is not easy. This is probably elementary to most of you. It is likely as plain as the life before you.  I’m only beginning to get used to the idea.

Anyhow. Wrote a song. If you’re gonna feel miserable you may as well get something out of it.


July 2022