“Do you know how this container got in my study?” Isiah asked his little brother.
“Yeah, me and Rob and the rest of the gang went cray-fishing last night and caught a bucket full of these critters. I figured that I’d take one of them home with me,” Caleb answered.
Friday evening had finally arrived and it was crayfish season. Caleb walked to the family’s refrigerator and broke off a small slice of bacon and tied it on to a thread of string that was seven feet long. This was really all the equipment that he needed for a fun night of cray-fishing on the banks of the Red River.
Caleb heard a knock on his front door and as soon as he opened it he could see that Terrence, Aaron and Greg had their owns strings of bacon in their hands and were ready to roll.
“Let’s go Caleb. Ronny and Peter are going to meet us at the opening to the Monkey Speedway. The Monkey Speedway was a man- made or should I say a kid -made trail of trampled down mud, grass and brush that covered an area of the river bank.
Nobody remembers who originally named this terrain as The Monkey Speedway, but the derivation of its name likely belongs to a variety of boys who had tried to ride their bikes at top speed down this challenging path of brush. The ride itself could probably be compared to a smaller version of The Wild Mouse, a popular and scary roller coasting ride at the Red River Exhibition that arrived in Winnipeg every June.
Many of the boys who originally went for a test ride on the Monkey Speedway ended up being suddenly and violently ejected from their bicycles. When they shook off the temporary sense of disorientation resulting from their fall, they could cast their eyes upward only to see their partially mangled bicycles dangling from the branches of the nearby trees.
Some mischievous boys were not above setting potentially disabling and possibility fatally designed traps along the Monkey Speedway. Some adventurous children did indeed suffer injury resulting from these traps, but it was seldom worse than a bloodied and bruised elbow, a scraped knee requiring a few sutures at the local emergency ward or a fractured wrist.
Just let it be said, that the boys of the Norwood Flats were tough. I should more correctly say the boys and a certain girl, as there was a young lass named Tammy who was known to ask the boys if she could join them for a game of tackle football, one of their potentially life altering bike rides or a wild evening of Friday night cray-fishing.
I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.
A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.
Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.
The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.
I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.
It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?
When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.
For the past two weeks I have been feeling relatively well. For most people there should be nothing special about this. For a person suffers from major depression disorder one good day is a day to be celebrated.
When I experience one or more happy days strung together, I started to get uncomfortable. I struggle the feeling of happiness in my life. It seems to be such a rare phenomenom for me. I’m so used to feeling depressed, without hope and having very little faith that my life will ever get any better. I was on my default setting when I was feeling exhausted and plagued by physical and emotional pain. I’ve have often thought that this was just my lot in life. I believe that this is why I am probably happier than the average person when I ocassionally experience a good day.
I went through a very rough winter season that seems to have started in November of 2016. I suffer from what my doctor termed a mild case of COPD. This illness appears in a mild form when I don’t have an upper respiratory infection. When I catch a bad cold or flu, everything changes for me. I’ve become so ill that I barely have the strength to get out of bed.
During my episodes of severe COPD in the past, I’ve been able to continue with my fiction writing, but not my substitute teaching. This time, however, even my writing was a ‘no go’. Not only did my body feel shut down, so did my mind. I couldn’t seem to string together two cohesive thoughts. I have been writing fiction novels and plays, oft and on, for several years now.
Although I am technically retired, I work part-time as a substitute teacher. I enjoy subbing very much and take as many assignments as much as my health and energy and energy levels allow. Presently, I’m on holidays and have been enjoying the last two weeks immensely.
I’ve experienced long periods in my life where I cannot feel joy in anything that I do. This affects every area of my life as why would I want to pursue activities that no longer give me any pleasure? This is what is known in the psychiatric literature as a condition termed adhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure in the ordinary experiences and activities of daily living. This is a very painful place to be.
Feeling somewhat better in December 2016, I returned to my work as a substitute teacher. The Christmas holiday season actually went relatively well for me and that is highly unusual. This was probably due to the fact that I had quality time to spend with my wife and my goddaughter. I will never forget the night all three of us watched Christmas videos. Most of them were very funny and I ended up doing something I haven’t done years. I laughed out loud.
Keith started to think about going for a bike ride. He looked at his beautiful, black, Giant mountain bike parked a few feet behind his large flat screen tv.
Keith decided to make himself go for a bike ride. He now had too many days when he had to ‘push himself’ to do anything. Was he getting old or was it just that he’s out of shape and not eating nutritious meals? Probably Keith’s chronic fatigue was due to a variety of factors.
There was beautiful weather outside and Keith enjoyed his morning bike rides. He more or less rated his physical stamina by his ability to still go for bike rides year after year.
When Keith returned from his ride, he climbed onto his old, broken down orange and yellow couch. Whether it was just psychological or not, Keith found that taking short power naps during the day allowed him to get more accomplished.
It was June 30 today and Keith was officially finished his substitute teaching assignments for the year. He was now officially on summer holidays.
One of Keith’s favorite avocations was writing fiction novels. He had self published three of his original works so far, but none of them had made him any money. Nevertheless, Keith enjoyed the writing process and he found it to be very therapeutic. He found it amazing how the act of writing dredged up memories from the past and old traumas that you thought you had forgotten.
Keith was presently working on a novel that he had temporarily given the title, Chaos. Keith had just started his first rough draft of chapter five after re-reading and self editing chapter four.
I must point out right off the bat that The Cover Up is a work of fiction. My goal as with my other works of fiction, Roswell 1947 and the newly released Summer Dreams is to entertain and to educate. Like you dear reader, I enjoy either reading or listening via audio book, to a good tale. I like the world of imagination and enjoy writing my own works of fiction. Most of us hard working people simply need a break from our hurried and often stressed out lives. Let’s face it. Living is hard and something like a good story can give us some much needed relief.
I am still in the process of writing The Cover Up. Like Summer Dreams I will be releasing the first draft in serialized editions. I actually started writing Summer Dreams concurrently with The Cover Up as I needed to take breaks from writing the latter novel. The Cover Up is a hard story for me to write. Although the story is completely fictitious it is not an easy tale to tell. I have had first- hand experience working with people with serious and chronic mental illnesses. For this reason it is often painful for me to write as it brings back too many disturbing memories of the lives of people with a debilitating mental illness. Still, I think this is a fictitious work that mirrors enough of reality that it needs to be told.
With that being said, I will emphatically state that The Cover Up is a work of fiction and that any resemblance to actual persons living or deceased, institutions or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Whisper by Ken David Stewart Introduction It was back, Big Time. Harold Peyton found himself in the clutches of the most devastating episode of clinical depression that he had ever experienced in his sixty-five years. He was used to this. Harold suffered from the type … Continue reading Introduction to Whisper
John Richards awoke with a thunderous scream. He sat straight up in bed and started to shiver, partly from fright and partly because his new Homer Simpson pajamas were soaked from a cold sweat. John shakily got out of bed and opened the blinds of his bedroom window as if he was on auto pilot. As bright sunlight shone through the glass, John could see a beautiful red cardinal perched on the window ledge. This was certainly a welcome sight in contrast to what he had just seen in his nightmare.
The night terrors were back. John had not had any for almost two weeks and he thought was done with them. What was this? Post traumatic stress disorder or night terrors? What would his psychiatrist, Dr. Janey, come up with as a diagnosis? John had already been diagnosed as having recurrent unipolar depression. The depressive symptoms had already lessened since John had broken out of his writer’s block and started writing his new novel about his adventures searching for Ogopogo this summer.
John had been experiencing nightmares where he was getting attacked by lake monsters for over two months.
It was the Saturday morning after the big hockey team party. Misty awoke in her bedroom in time to see the sun shining through the blinds. Misty gave herself a push and managed to make it to the kitchen. Right now her most immediate need was for strong coffee and a couple of aspirin. Misty proceeded to set up the coffee percolator. She filled a large glass with water. Her next step was the bathroom medicine cabinet to find a bottle of aspirin.
Misty definitely had a hangover. Although she felt uncomfortable with the hockey wives she had at least made peace with Linda Saunders. The problem was that this was not Misty’s type of party. This was not her crowd. She loved Rick, but this was not her scene. It was obvious that she hated being a hockey wife and was praying that Rick would retire from hockey after this season. The truth was that Misty missed California and the whole hippy scene. As much as she loved Rick, she dreamed about moving back to California in a year or two. Maybe she could talk her father into moving with her, or maybe Rick could be persuaded to come to California with her. After taking two aspirins, Misty’s coffee maker finished percolating. Misty made herself a Tim Horton’s coffee and added two packets of Sugar Twin and a shot of Southern Pecan coffee whitener to the mix. Although her head was still throbbing, Misty lit up a Sweet Caporal cigarette and propped herself upon Lloyd’s tattered, light blue coach. Misty was just starting to slump over onto the cushions at the end of the couch, when she heard loud pounding on her back door.
Getting off the couch slowly and painfully, Misty made it to the back door. When she opened the door she was shocked to see Gypsy smiling back at her. It was snowing and snowflakes were covering Gypsy’s long, burgundy coat. He was wearing a black Oakland Raiders toque and black leather gloves.
“Hey, beautiful. Long time no see,” were the first words out of Gypsy’s mouth.
“Gypsy? What are you doing here? I thought I’d never see you again,” Misty said.
“Why don’t you get dressed, put out your cigarette and come with me for breakfast at Perkins restaurant?” Gypsy asked.
“I’d love to, but my dad is still sleeping. When he wakes up, he won’t know where I am,” Misty answered.
“Just write Lloyd a note and leave it by the coffee percolator. Only don’t write that you’ve gone out for breakfast with me.”
“What should I say on the note?” Misty asked.
“Tell them that your boyfriend is taking you out for breakfast. You have a boyfriend, don’t you?”
“Yeah. His name is Rick Miller. You met him already. He was the guy with Sasha at the rock festival last summer,” Misty answered.
Gypsy started to laugh, “You stole your boyfriend from your sister?”
“Not so loud, Gypsy. You’ll wake up my dad,” Misty said as she reached into the clothes closet for her white down filled parka.