Falling down a hole

The market research survey was on expenditure in health care. A question asked how much I had spent on prescription items the previous month. It then asked what medications would still be bought if the amount had to be cut by 25%. The answer was unequivocal. Survival without hypertension and statins was possible, but not having the antidepressants would mean falling down a hole.

Of course, it is discomforting to talk about such things, yet no-one would shy away from pointing out the necessity for them to have medication for other conditions, a chemical imbalance in the brain continues to be a taboo subject.

Sometimes, there is a hint of an insight into the meaning of Behind Blue Eyes by The Who. It is a tale of psychological disorder that has the capacity to disturb, to leave one reading and re-reading the lyrics, searching for clues as to what it all means. The lines include the following stanzas:

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

None of us know what it is like to be behind the eyes of another, whatever the colour of those eyes.

Perhaps we pretend it is possible, perhaps we think we know what another person thinks. Perhaps, by the law of averages, we can be right some of the time, but what about those who bite back on their anger? What of those for whom none of the pain and woe show through?

“Everything you say is confidential, but with one reservation, if at any time I feel you are in danger of self-harm, I reserve the right to contact your doctor,” an NHS psychologist once said to me.

Being a transparent person, it was not a hard condition to which to agree, but what of those capable of a greater degree of opacity? What of those who feel sad and bad? What of those who feel hated, fated to telling only lies? Would they even articulate their feelings that no-one knew what it was like to be them? Would they be able to describe falling down a hole into the darkness?

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