Tag Archives: depression

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, may she Rest In Peace, battled her mental illness for years, sometimes quite publicly. But I was surprised to learn that she credited electro-shock therapy with helping her to cope with the depression. My Grandma Layton didn’t have the positive experience of that therapy. But, at one of her darkest hours, it offered hope, and her thirteen treatments were completed before she found the healing art of Blind Contour Drawing. An excerpt, titled “Transverse Shadows”, from her biography/memoir, Signs Along The Way:

I was cold, hard marble. Despair and fear are at least feelings, and very intense ones. And affection is better than none. Having once been sensitive, I recalled the sensations, and as with pain, I could and did hold and ex­amine them. Now I was unable to experience them.

In this vacuum I wanted to make dejection and fear my friends, the way a person in unbearable suffering makes friends with his pain, groping the way to death.

I wanted to feel my way back to life, even if I had to endure death to do it.

Different experiences with different results. But Carrie and Grandma shared a common denominator: living with, and battling to overcome their disease by expressing themselves –  some way, somehow. Carrie wrote, acted, and advocated. Grandma Layton wrote, drew, and advocated. I am glad they both have found peace. – Judy Kay

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

In July, the great flood of 1951 spread over the valleys of the Neosho, the Marias des Cygnes, the Kaw and the Missouri rivers. Nothing was sacred to the boiling waters, leaving only silt and wreckage in its wake. It filled the people with despair and discontent. In Clyde, it left not only these emotions, but also a desperate need for help. He found it in a whiskey bottle…

Excerpt from Signs Along The Way

We had only four days without rain in the entire month of May, and people are getting a little testy. Critters too – the dogs actually want  to go out in the pen, and the chickens are literally cooped-up! I can pop a D vitamin to make me feel a little sunnier, but that doesn’t change the depressing atmosphere. But we hear that relief is right around the corner, so we will keep on keeping on…

Grandma Layton suffered from bouts of depression for much of her life – deep despair that could not be brightened by a sunny day or a vitamin dose. Thirteen electroshock treatments didn’t work, neither did drug therapy or a divorce from her alcoholic husband.

Signs Along the Way, a biography/memoir about Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton, tells of her journey from discontent to joy. Maybe it will encourage others as well. Carla

P.S. The sun just came out!

Signs Along the Way