Thursday, 24 March 2011

Michael Yardy, the Black Dog, and me

News that England cricket all-rounder Michael Yardy is returning home from the World Cup suffering with depression gave me pause for thought this morning.
At the age of 66 I’ve been through my fair share of illnesses. Although I’m pretty fit day-to-day, some disorders like diabetes and glaucoma may not have run their course.
Thankfully only once have I ever been visited by what Winston Churchill called the Black Dog of depression. The feeling may have lasted just seconds but the experience was so consuming and debilitating that its memory is still vivid several years later.
It changed my whole perception of what depression may be. In an instant I became convinced that depression is an illness with its cause some complicated bio-chemical malfunction in the brain. Those affected need medical treatment; it is not something where they have only to “pull themselves together” or “get a grip”.
Geoffrey Boycott’s insensitive assessment of the ‘Yardy situation’ on radio this morning reflects the difficulty some have in empathising with those whose lives are blighted by depression.
Each case is different. As I recall at the time while I wasn’t “over the moon” neither was I “down in the dumps” – sorry, clich├ęs surface when I try to get a handle on mental states.
Suddenly I was overcome with the most devastating feeling of anxiety, despair, and loneliness like a punch in the stomach – so swift was its onset. Then it was gone leaving behind a nauseous sensation that slowly evaporated until I was back to my old self. It is something I pray never returns.
My sympathy goes out to Yardy and anyone battling depression - and I send my best wishes for their recovery.


  1. Hear ! Hear !

  2. Bi-polar depression is considered an incurable psychiatric condition although it can be eased with medicinal drugs. [Dr. K.].


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