Tag Archive | William Shakespeare

Happy Birthday Willy Wobbledagger!

Today, the 23rd April,  is traditionally recognised as William Shakespeare’s birthday. Not many people realise however that he also died on 23 April aged just 52.

Many of Shakespeare’s characters appear to suffer from mental ill health; Hamlet, Romeo and Antonio to name but three. Depression however was not a recognised illness in those days although a diagnosis of “melancholy” was prevalent.

Some of Shakespeare’s sonnets are thought to have been written whilst in a state of  depression; Sonnet 29 amongst them.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Sonnet 29 is the Sonnet which Richard Gere is reading  to Julia Roberts in the film “Pretty Woman” and here is Rufus Wainwright singing Sonnet 29.


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

It is Shakespeare’s birthday tomorrow, and as it is a beautiful, sunny and warm spring day, what could be more appropriate than Sonnet 18…..

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Depression & suicide-Busting the myths

People are getting better at talking about depression, stress and anxiety but we still have a long way to go. Suicide however remains very much a taboo subject and many myths have developed over the years.  These myths need busting if we are to understand this phenomenon and help those who feel that their only way out is to kill themselves. I have been thinking about this for a few days now, and the more I think, the more complex this issue becomes.

Links are included at the end of this post for further information and help if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal.

The following myths are taken from an article in the ONEinFOUR magazine-winter2008.

  • Myth: People are most likely to commit suicide at Christmas .
  • Myth: People who talk about committing suicide are just seeking attention.
  • Myth: People who talk about committing suicide will not attempt it.
  • Myth: You cannot stop someone from committing suicide.
  • Myth: People who are suicidal don’t want help, they just want to die.
  • Myth: People who are suicidal are weak.
  • Myth: People commit suicide so as not no be a burden to others
  • Myth: Some people are more likely to commit suicide than others

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”-Phil Donahue NBC TV 1984

Research shows that although calls to helplines increase during December, a difficult month for a number of reasons, there are fewer suicides.Talking about committing suicide may be a call for help but it can also be a real threat. Anyone considering suicide should seek help immediately. Talking about suicide is a sign that someone is in deep distress and should be taken seriously not dismissed.  People can recover from being suicidal if help and support are given and maintained. Most people don’t want to die, they just want a release from the pain, exhaustion and despair that won’t go away. Some people don’t realise that depression may be the cause of their extreme intentions and it helps if this is diagnosed sooner rather than later. People who are suicidal are not weak, neither are they “crazy”. They are in great emotional pain and often seriously depressed.

“Depression is not a weakness. It’s a sign that you’ve been trying too hard for too long”

A suicide can be devastating for the friends and family of the victim and certainly does not bring relief in most cases. This can be hard for someone who is seriously depressed and suicidal to believe and may feel that there is no alternative. But there usually is a different way forward once the right help and support is obtained.

Don’t delay, seek help today.

Samaritans UK: 08457 90 90 90

Samaritans

Suicide information-International

HAMLET:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.