Friday, March 15, 2013

The Dungeon

​According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives.  Personally I am challenged by bouts of depression; I believe they are, on balance, fairly mild and mostly manageable, though I have sought counselling on occasion also.  Depression is a topic that I cannot cover in-depth in this space, but I can share my own experiences with it - stories like this can only serve as a memoir, not an educational treatment... every person’s depression is different.

​Every once in awhile, the King found himself in a dungeon.  This had been occurring well before the birth of the Lightning Kid.   It had occurred before the birth of Shark Boy, before his marriage to the Queen, before he’d ever met her.  He was often asked why he was in the dungeon - how can a King be in a dungeon? What put him there? Was it a giant monster? Some enemy?

Being asked this frustrated the King - he didn’t have a real answer, and he doubted having one would do anything to help him get out of the dungeon itself.  Fresh air and exercise seemed to help him stay out of the dungeon, but once he was in, those sorts of things became harder to do, and he found himself almost unwilling to leave if he could.

The most recent time he was in the dungeon, he started to try to drag himself out, he looked down to see if he could spy what manner of creature could be holding him back.  At first he saw nothing, but as he looked closer, he noticed there wasn't any monster... at least not just one.  There was a tiny gremlin - 'the things you haven't fixed'.  Then he saw another - 'what makes your job difficult' and another 'lack of sleep'.  'Self-doubt', 'Missed deadlines', 'what have you forgotten?', 'Fear of the Lightning Kid's Future', 'Fear of Shark Boy's Future', 'Health scares in the family'... so many of them clung to his robes.  Any one of them, or even in pairs or groups of threes could never have overpowered him... but they were co-operating and pulling in concert, and as such the King was unable to fight them off.  Escaping from a hold, however, is more a matter of wriggling than of brute strength.   And so, a few at a time, he escaped the gremilins... most temporarily, some by distraction, some by out-maneuvering, some by ruthless aggression.

Today he would escape the dungeon, but he knew he could end up back in it.  The man who had freed him was the same man who had imprisoned him - his own self.

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