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May. 10th, 2016

With Gareth Malone's Invictus Choir (the first episode not only made me cry, but also made me phone my parents to make sure they knew they are the only reason I am still here after 12 years of disability), the ads with HM The Queen, HRH Prince Harry of Wales and Mr and Mrs Barack Obama being all "Bring it!" etc etc is it ME?? Or should the Invictus Games not be dismissed as "some games or other"??


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2016 12:55 am (UTC)

The poem may be a bit of a one hit wonder, but what a hit. I lived by 'bloodied, but unbowed' before I knew the poem. I'm not a sports fan, but I have more time for the Paralympics than the Olympics, which seem to be more of a pharmaceutical contest these days.

The poem might have been written for Depression too. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't had it, what sheer hard work it is just to keep on existing. My best mate is the reason I'm still here. You can't just give up on someone who's shed tears for you.

What makes all 'disabled' games special is that it's a victory just to get to the start line. People never get that about disability. No one wants pity, or simpering platitudes about how brave you are, but a little respect for the effort would be nice. I don't have a telly at the moment, so I probably shan't be watching. But anything that makes people stop and think about the mile someone else is walking has to be a good thing.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
May. 17th, 2016 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Invictus
Okay, I'm glad it works for you (and Nelson Mandela) but I HATE the poem. as far as I'm concerned it's all muscularity and imperialist ideology.

Luckily, since I have an A-level in Latin, I can ignore any connection between the word "Invictus" and the poem.

I love the Invictus Games, being as they are for sick, injured or wounded armed-forces personnel, who have to cope with losing their careers and acquired disabilities and/or mental health problems; I think they deserve all the support we can give them - and hope that their provision of help is a damn-sight better than it has been for me with *my* acquired disability and subsequent mental health problems (though, given that some people have taken 30+ years to get a PTSD/Combat Stress diagnosis, I don't hold out much hope!).

But as one of the Invictus Choir said, in the second episode: it's far too easy to be TOO trite and positive about life with disability.

There is no point when you've beaten it. No point where you've "won". The battle is fought every day between the memory of who you were and what you used to be able to do and your current reality.

I AM afraid. Not of death - but of another thirty, forty, fifty years of BEING. Of being like this. Of needing a carer. Of being housebound MOST of the time. Of not being able to have a shower and go out on the same day because both activities leave me with a "spoon" deficit. Of being in pain that is incurable and where the effective treatments - opiates and steroids - have long-term health risks AND which I am adapting to, when there are limits on how high we can make the doses and how regularly doctors are willing to dose me. There WILL come a day when I have adapted to the drugs to the point where we cannot increase dosage, so even what pain relief I have will be inadequate.

I have winced. I have cried aloud. I have screamed and cried uncontrollably and ranted and raged. I have bowed my head.

There has not been a day - for YEARS, I can no longer count - when I have not thought about and wished for death because it is my only way out.

I am NOT the master of my fate and I am not the captain of my soul. I'm not riding this storm. I'm buffeted on every side, with waves over my head, holding on for all that I am to something stronger and bigger than I am. I'm in a tsunami. If I survive, it's nothing at all to do with me.
May. 17th, 2016 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Invictus

I've always thought your rage is your strength. You really will not 'go gentle into that good night' and I admire you for that.

It's not an imperialist poem (although it may have been used for that) - it's about a man who has survived amputation and the depression resulting from that and has faced the threat of double amputation.

It was disease, not a traumatic war injury, but it's why I think it's fitting and why it speaks to me. Because it's about suffering.

But it may not speak to you. I see the last lines/stanza as defiance not smugness. I don't think you can control depression - or any illness for that matter.

But I want to be the person who doesn't give in - even when I am - and I want to be unafraid - even when I am.

I sincerely hope that medicine, which doesn't understand pain and only vaguely understands everything else - most medicines, as you know, work by pouring it one end and hoping the right effect happens at the other - finds a way out for you.

I never underestimate your situation, even if I can't claim to understand it. I'm sorry if that lack of understanding sometimes leads me into being inept. It's not intentional.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Dee Natsuko

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