When you picture someone living with depression, the image that is conjured up is someone sleeping or staring mindlessly at the television all day. They don’t work, they don’t go school, they just do nothing all day.
While that is the experience of someone else living with depression, that is not my experience. From the outside, I don’t look or sound like I have depression. I look like and live like any functioning adult. I have a steady job and a steady income; my social calendar on the weekends is often full. But the fact is that the black dog, as Winston Churchill spoke of so tellingly, is an unwanted fixture in my life.
I was diagnosed with dysthymia when I was in my late 20’s. I saw my first therapist when I was about 12. Since then, I’ve had about a half a dozen therapists (my present therapist included) and I’m taking an anti-depressant to help to manage my depression.
The black dog is forever with me. When I’ve had a good day, it reminds me of my shortcomings, both perceived and real. When I’ve had a bad day, it is like a perpetual rain cloud that continually hangs over my head. It exhausts me to no end, if my depression had its way, I would be sleeping most of the day. It says that I am not good enough, that my life is not worth living. Some days it feels like I am wearing a mask to hide my true feelings.
What they don’t see is the constant barrage of negative thoughts that are always with me. They don’t see the energy it takes to get up in the morning to get to work on time. They don’t see the bags under my eyes and feel the overwhelming exhaustion that I feel daily. They don’t hear the voices in my head telling me to kill myself. They don’t see the unshed tears that I sometimes have to fight tooth and nail to keep from spilling down my cheeks.
I’ve been through a lot in my nearly 37 years, I have much to be proud of. But at the same time, the depression tells me that it is not enough and will never be enough.
The black dog, as Winston Churchill put it, has struck again.
On Wednesday, the dog claimed the life of designer Kate Spade. This morning, the life the dog took was that of chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain. He was 61.
He was found in his hotel room in France where he was filming a future episode for his CNN series, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
Depression and mental illness is not a joke. At best, the person suffering lives as best they can. At worst, they take their own life, causing their loved ones to ask questions that can never be answered.
My heart breaks for those who knew him on a personal level, especially his young daughter and his girlfriend, Asia Argento. Ms. Argento is one of the woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
I know what it is like to live with the black dog. It sits on my lap all day, every day. If your reading this post and you also have the black dog sitting on your lap, please get help. If not for your sake, but for the ones you love.
2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
- The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
- Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
- Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
- Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
- Lady Bird: A gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
- Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
- The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
- Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.
- The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
- The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest politicians and orators of the 20th century. He will go down in history as one of the men who saved Europe, democracy and Western civilization from the Nazis.
The new movie, Darkest Hour, starts off as World War II is beginning to engulf Europe. Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) is being forced to resign as Prime Minister due to his inability to lead the country during wartime become obvious. His chosen successor is Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman), whose reputation up to this point is not flawless. Churchill’s wife, Clemmie (Kristin Scott Thomas) convinces her husband to take the position. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) is hired as Churchill’s personal secretary. He is not the easiest man to work for.
Churchill has a choice to make. There is the possibility of making a deal with Germany and stopping the war in its tracks. Or, they could fight, knowing full well that lives will be lost in the process.
This movie is pure Oscar bait. Oldman’s performance is truly exceptional. He is so good that I thought that at times, I was watching a documentary about Winston Churchill rather than watching a film with a fictional narrative and actor Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill. I also appreciated that instead of putting Churchill on a pedestal, he is shown as a flawed human being who is suddenly thrust into a job that requires a decision that will forever change not just the fate of Europe, but the whole world.
I absolutely recommend it.
Darkest Hour is in theaters.
We all age, that is a fact. Youth is fleeting, only time and the quick passage of time is constant.
In the TV movie Churchill’s Secret (based on the book of the same name), Winston Churchill (Michael Gambon) is not a young man anymore. It is the summer of 1953 and he has just had a stroke. Concerned for her husband’s health, Clemmie Churchill (Lindsay Duncan) insists on taking her husband back to the family home to recover.
Nurse Millie Appleyard (Romola Garai) has been brought in to take care of Winston and help him to return to health. While he is recovering, his children bicker and the world is kept in the dark about his condition.
Will this lion of Britain recover or will history be forever changed?
Churchill’s Secret aired on PBS last night. I wish it would have been longer. Michael Gambon and Romola Garai have incredible chemistry (as they did in Emma back in 2009).But my favorite performance was Lindsay Duncan’s. Somewhere in between fierce loyalty and love for her husband and her frustration at still being second to work was Lindsay Duncan’s portrayal of Lady Churchill.
My favorite aspect of this movie was the strength of the women. In an era when women were being pushed to settle down and have a family, Millie defines her life by her own choices and her career, not decisions, especially about marriage that others are making for her. Equally fierce is Clemmie, who despite the lack of opportunities that existed in her generation, is just as strong minded and opinionated as her husband.
I recommend it.
Marriage, for many generations, was not about love, commitment and compatibility. It was about class, money and social standing.
In 1776, America broke away from England and became a free nation in her own right. About 100 years later, young American heiresses would reverse that trend by going back across the pond and saying I do to male members of the English aristocracy that had the title and the land, but not necessary the fortune to keep both going.
In 1989, writers Gail MacColl and Carol McD Wallace wrote To Marry an English Lord, a book about these young women who chose spouses from among England’s elite. Starting with the Gilded Age and ending with 1914, the book traces the stories of these girls. Compiling images, facts and press clippings from the era, the writers take the reader back to a time when marriage was more about duty and fortune than love and commitment.
My initial desire to read this book started with the fact that I am huge Downton Abbey fan and that Julian Fellows was inspired by the stories of these girls. What kept me reading was that despite the fact that these girls had no rights and were being used as cash cows by their husbands, was that they were able to forge new lives and thrive in a country that was not their own, at least by birth.
The most fascinating aspect of this book was how many members of the upper class have American blood in them. Winston Churchill’s mother was American as was the paternal great-grandmother of the late Princess Diana.
I recommend it.
In his speech earlier this week, President Obama spoke of fighting the terrorists that are responsible for the deaths of innocents around the world recently. The key phrase that he did not utter, and should have was “extremist Muslim terrorist”.
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
While most people who adhere to the Islamic faith simply want to live their lives as normally and peacefully as possible, some of their religious compatriots have twisted their religion into an excuse to kill and destroy.
I completely disagree with with his choice of words. I understand what President Obama is trying to do, he is trying to smooth the waters as much as possible. However, when facing an enemy whose singular goal is to destroy the world, kill as many people as they can and then remake the world into their own image, our leaders must publicly and loudly take a stand against this kind of violence.
The Allies understood that during World War II. Led by Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, the Allies met at the Tehran Conference in 1943 t0 make a public stand against the Nazis and pull their resources together to win the war. The goal of the Nazi party was not that different from from Isis, Hezbollah, or any of the extremist Muslim groups that frequently make headlines. The difference was that the leaders of the then free world understood what was needed to ensure the freedom and security of future generations.
President Obama seems to have his head in the sand in regards to this issue. I wonder what the history book will say about him in the future. Will be he remembered as the Bill Clinton of his era or the Jimmy Carter of his era? I suspect that many people of this generation will look at him the way that Americans of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s looked at Jimmy Carter.