A psychiatrist took an emergency appointment one cold summer’s day. She didn’t usually take these kind of things, but the month was slow and the pay was good, so she opened her office door to a short, athletic man with an easy and honest smile, and sad and soulful eyes, and he sat on the sofa where the clients sit, and spoke.
“I don’t know what to tell you doc. I’ve been travelling for so long and through so many, many places that I feel that I’m losing my sense of self, have lost it, even. I used to be an individual, with my hopes and dreams sketched out across my future; but instead of the bright watercolours I saw them in when I started, they are shadows of Indian ink, shining as they dry, soaking though and blotting the paper. I once had hope, and life, and with joy I brought that to others; but now I feel that every day it seeps from my pores, my life-force going to keep others going, to keep them fighting, to face – not the future, but now.
Every day that passes seems bleaker, and the world clouds over as everything gets worse and worse. Bleak policies thrust upon us with insincere regret to combat an insidious darkness that we feel creeping into our bones, only to discover that these policies only force the cracks wider, bring the darkness quicker, that it floods the souls of the unfortunate and the lonely before lapping gently at the shorelines far below the lives of the rich and the well connected.
We rise up to show light to the new shadow that blots out the sun like a tsunami heading towards us, a wall of dark mist and despair that washes over and somehow though us, and remains. We survive, colder and in the grip of the depths from that wall as we see rising before us a new, even darker future that is – as bleak as it seems – a shimmering light in comparison to that will follow it.
I see those around me fighting as hard as they can, winning battle after battle in front of them, but fatiguing and falling as their reinforcements have to fight their own way to the front.
I see those who fought before, canonised and worshiped, falling themselves into shadow as they mistake the battles they were winning for the wars not yet won.
But mostly I see all the points of light in the darkness flickering towards suffocation, depressed and disenfranchised; and I wonder how much longer I can keep my own lantern burning, and who will be left to see it fade.”
“I don’t have any easy answers”, said the doctor, “You seem depressed, but I don’t have your records or the ability to proscribe you anything to help. The best I can recommend is to go out and find someone experiencing joy, be with people who are having fun. It might sooth your soul, it won’t make things better, but it might make it brighter for a while. There’s a circus in town, apparently the greatest clown in the world is playing tonight. I was planning to go, but I will give you my ticket.”
“Thank you for the offer, doctor, but I’m busy tonight. You should go.”
“If you’re sure”
“I am. Thank you, for listening. It does help, I think”.