Mornings at The Big Issue office, we talk with vendors who come in for magazines to sell. It's a lottery who will appear and what mood they're in, how up or down. Today Chris crossed the door; he's been wrapped in a depressive cloud and below he describes the dark shapeshifting of depression with a clear-eye.
These morning sessions are informal - we've left them loose, without a defined workshop structure - so that the nature of the encounters with people is less boundaried than the afternoons at The Booth Centre. Lois sits in the office, embroidering the quilt textwork and chatting to folk as they appear. I join these conversations, or else accompany Nathan on his outreach walks, gleaning little interviews and artistic contributions. It is in the quiet moments, in the gaps between the needs and noise of a large group, that people can speak most freely.
With depression you know what you need to do, but your body just won't do it. I've had spells of it, but never like this. It's been two months, really getting me. I can't put it down to any any specific things. All the pressure building, all the concerns not being solved. I need to let off steam and I know that's gotta come and I've gotta deal with it. Get rid of some tension. I used to play football, work in a charity shop, sell the magazine. Now I can't find the strength. In a couple of hours I could be back in bed. Never had medication before; now I have pills and I'm seeing a psych.
I've pushed it all back, now it's finally coming to get me. It's like being in a cell that's pitch black and you don't have the key. You have to rely on someone to find the key. Maybe it's myself? Big, black empty: all you can see. Have to keep on going, get through it. Pitch-black cell, no walls, no door - can't see them cos of the dark. Not a nice place to be.
Sometimes I break down, can't do the things I love doing, or hate doing. If I could go out and do anything that'd be a bonus. I have a good memory, but it's waning, forgetting names and things, that's not normally my day-to-day. Medication has improved it, I take it at night. But in the day it'll dwindle, I wake and fell totally drained.
Had a lot of positivity from Christians and from my best mate. He was getting cross cos I wasn't in touch, wouldn't answer my mobile. Last week I met up with him and had a drinking session.
You can't really describe depression; you try to explain it but can't get a grip. I had a heartattack last year and that was less frightening. This goes on, day after day waking to it. Got to a point where I've considered suicide. You know we've had a couple of homeless suicides recently? God helps, I pray a lot. Take each day, but I just don't wanna open my eyes to see my life.
Emptiness, loneliness and being lost - the whole of civilisation is gone and I'm just one solo little person.