Friday, 7 March 2014

Yellow Gorse, Green shoots, Black Dog

Today, I walked to a green mossy bridge and looked at the sky. All around the gorse has suddenly triumphantly burst into bloom, great swathes of golden flower line the hedgerows, spiky and exuberant. In our house it was known as 'the wins', on Easter Sunday we would carefully gather the canary petals and boil them with our Easter Monday eggs to transform their henny brown into a soft honeyed hue.

About this time last year I was coming back home on the train from Belfast, it was a beautiful day and I overheard two old country boys reminiscing about using 'wins' as a fire-lighter. Their accents sounded so familiar I think that word for gorse comes from County Tyrone perhaps travelling down with my Granda to County Antrim. That day was one full of vitality, I was particularly inspired by the colours that flashed by, the pale blue sky, the warm grey dry-stone walls and the yellow gorse and lots of creative ideas simmered gleefully.

This week is not so good, I think I am being followed by the black dog, although my experience is becoming more akin to being held under a black fog, my heart feels heavy and my lungs stifled. I feel fragile and weak although my temper is unfortunately neither of these. I have been asking myself questions that I would simply not ask another who was suffering from depression and anxiety. What do I have to be depressed about? Can't I see how lucky I am? I have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward too. Why now? I simply don't have time for all this self-absorption.

My Grand-mother with whom I spent a lot of time with, lived her life (in my perception) in a state of constant anxiety. She was - I think - addicted to tranquillisers in her later years, 'give us one of those wee diazepams there' she would say and for a long time I did not connect the wee diazepam with it's more notorious nomenclature, Valium. She always had a steady supply and would regularly and quite innocently share them out with some of her neighbours. She was full of fear of the outside world and all of the dangerous things that could potentially happen to the unsuspecting traveller, she found it hard to cope calmly with something out of the ordinary and yet managed to reach the ripe old age of 93 with her twin armoury of prescription drugs and religion, her diazepams and her rosary beads.

Sometimes, in the midst of all the fretful worrying and over exaggeration she would have flashes of great intuition. She would 'see' things that were about to happen or perceive something about say another persons character that no one else would pick up on until much much later. The rational brain lives in tandem to the irrational mind, thank-fully. In 'The Concept of Anxiety' (which I have barely understood, let alone finished but continue to stumble over) Kierkegaard comfortingly supposes that anxiety can be regenerative rather than degenerative especially if the individual realises the possibility of freedom and of faith.

'Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom...and freedom looks down into its own possibility.'

There may be an intermission.


  1. Oh dear, I hope this week is proving to be a better one. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to these feelings and it's hard to understand what's happening but I hope you're getting some 'me' time and that the world is a nicer place for it. Best wishes, Louise

    1. Thank you Louise for taking the time to write that, things are indeed much much better this week.

    2. I'm pleased to hear it. Life has been fraught here with a difficult decision and it really does pull you down. I hope your studying is going well and that spring will be here soon

    3. Hi Louise, I hope you are happy and content with your decision. I suppose when life is biting you at least you are feeling alive. Every best wish. x