Just to the north of where I live is fen country.
Here the land stretches, further than the eye can see, without mountains, without hills, without even the slightest incline. Here is utter flatness under a vast East Anglian sky.
Today I am travelling north to give a talk to a ladies' charity luncheon. I take the road called Sixteen Mile Bank. Bank, because it travels along the side of one of the large fenland waterways which cut, ruler straight, through the fenland fields; Sixteen Mile – well, I'll let you guess.
This land may be flat, but to me it is beautiful. Today a late November sun is shining from a limpid sky, gilding the bare green rods of willow and flicking lights on the water so it flashes blue and silver and deepest mossy green.
A kestrel hangs unmoving in mid-air, suspended like an illusionist's trick. On the far side of the water a heron, statue-still, is a poem in platinum and steel against the greyed frost of the grass and water reeds. The light picks out a pair of swans, incandescent in their bright white and in the field beside me two horses are being lunged. Their chestnut coats gleam in the sun and their hooves make circular patterns on the ground like an intricate Spirograph.
My soul lifts and I feel joy. I want to share this beauty with someone.
So I'll share it with you.
Last week, there would have been no beauty and no joy. If I had driven this road and observed the sun, the sky, the birds, the water; it would have been an "Oh yes, a kestrel. A heron. Swans. Horses." There would have been no colour and no dancing light.
It is not because I am better that the light and colour have returned, but because of Citalopram (an antidepressant drug). Because of Citalopram I only have to spend a couple of weeks in the utter darkness before I am restored to the point where basic functionality at least is regained, where I actually wish to carry on living.
Before I gave in and accepted that medication might help, I had to cope with the black for months on end. Even then I had to try more than one type of antidepressant before I found one that worked.
And yes – I still have to be careful. After the talk I have to go home and sleep for a couple of hours. The journey home is done on autopilot and I remember nothing about Sixteen Mile Bank except the sensation of my hands gripping tight to the steering wheel, because driving that close to the mesmerising water is dangerous. Every year we lose people to the cold and dark fenland drains.
But at least, this week, I don't want to be among the number of those lost.
I am so very thankful for the drugs.
A Moodscope member.
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