Saturday 9 February 2013


My self and I are beginning to win the struggle with the Black Dog. As it happens, a friend introduced me to an idea. It was not really a new idea, but new as a formal philosophy in the context in which she put it. The idea is to make a friend of misfortune. In variouis shapes and forms, I have thought of and heard of this before. For many years I have been talking to parts of me that were in pain and getting them on side, so to speak. I have talked to dilemmas and analysed them in to reason. I can't ascribe the author of this particular exposition because I've forgotten it, but I was attracted to the notion of "hallowing misfortune" which is how it was put on this occasion. It doesn't feel so very different from making friends;  moves it in to a realm of sanctity, perhaps. Anyway, that's what I hope I've achieved with the Black Dog.
One outcome is that I have had to examine the phenomenon pretty minutely. Familiarity makes friendship more possible.With this exercise I found, to my puzzlement, that my inner world is like a jigsaw. One aspect of the Black Dog is that pieces of my inner jigsaw have become dislodged and realigned themselves in the wrong place. Patience for instance: patience has moved to where panic used to be. To expand: any annoying thing  I have been used to putting up with became impossible to manage. Down to six packets of cat food, and not yet able to carry much, I panicked. I had to give myself a good talking to, unravelling the strands until I was able to see that I could take a mini-cab, ask the driver to wait and bring me back for not much more than the delivery- to- door charge I normally pay for an order of too-heavy-to-carry groceries. (Cat litter, washing powder and the like if you must know). Forbearance is not unlike patience.  As it happens it has changed places with impatience. If someone speaks to me discourteously or sharply  a negative riposte springs too quickly to mind. Peace of mind and the belief in the general alrightness of things have swapped with anxiety. As a child I loved doing jigsaws. The trick was to put all the straight edged pieces together first so that one had a frame on to which to fit all the rest. I am at the stage, currently, where I have just about finished such a frame and am beginning to place random pieces where they should be. An added difficulty is that I don't have a picture on a box to guide me. There are at least two options. One is of an elderly lady, rather more than three score and ten, shorter than was,  peering uncertainly at a threatening landscape. The other is of a woman in early middle age, eager to get up and go,remembering her height gave her a great advantage putting a ball in a net, directing her world with confidence and aplomb. It feels scary to  see the mass of pieces in front of me, muddled and overlapping. Some days it's hard to see how they will ever make a cogent whole again. Perhaps, I have to forget any picture I have known before and locate them where they seem to want to go. How about an elderly lady, eager to get up and go who directs her world with confidence and aplomb. I like that picture. I shall make the jigsaw fit it. Nos da.


Anonymous said...

You see into these things more clearly than most people I know, and you describe them more lucidly and movingly than almost anybody else. Thank you.
Do your other readers agree?

Anonymous said...

Most definitely agree. The simile is most apt. Dear Liz, I wish you well with putting the pieces in places which are right for now.