The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis

The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis

Author:Maria Katsonis [Katsonis, Maria]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Ventura Press
Published: 2015-03-31T22:00:00+00:00


ON the day of my doctor’s appointment, the grey of Melbourne’s winter sky matched my mood. Sitting on the tram, I tried to figure out how to describe my illness, the symptoms not as straightforward as a physical ailment. As the tram rattled along Swan Street, I searched for a phrase, anything to portray the anguish of the previous months. By the time I reached the clinic in Richmond, I still hadn’t found the words. William Styron, in his classic treatise on depression, Darkness Visible, writes that depression verges on being beyond description and for those who never experience it, extreme depression is almost incomprehensible.

I took a seat in the nondescript waiting room, anxiously flicking through the pages of a well-thumbed Who magazine, unable to absorb any of the articles about Brangelina, celebrity makeovers or my ideal body shape. A stylishly dressed woman with a no-nonsense air entered and called my name. She informally introduced herself as Jill. I followed her to a small consulting room and we sat opposite each other, our knees almost touching. The intimacy was strangely comforting.

Jill had a crisp manner but also an uncanny knack of putting me at ease, genuine concern underscoring her questions. She started by taking my medical history and personal details (female, forty-six, single, public servant); previous illnesses (nothing significant); and family medical conditions (stroke, cancer and heart attack). More questions were asked about my weight and my exercise routine. I was embarrassed to admit I had gained over ten kilos in the last few months and my fastidious exercise routine of spinning and gym had come to an abrupt end.

After finishing with my history, Jill asked, ‘What brings you here today?’ My voice faltered and cracked. ‘I don’t know how to start, I don’t know how to tell you.’ Swallowing hard to push down the lump in my throat, I clasped my hands tightly to stop my unravelling. Jill gently said, ‘You have given me some hints,’ and leant forward, looking at me with encouragement, willing me to speak.

I drew breath, the words tumbling out as I painted a portrait of my depression, stroke by stroke. I described the sensation of drowning in a fathomless pool that had robbed me of the will to live. I felt ice on my face instead of the warmth of the sun, heard screams of despair instead of laughter, smelt the rot of decay instead of fragrant blossoms. It was as if my mind was mired in a swamp, unable to hold a lucid thought.

I started, ‘I think I am depressed...’ but my voice trailed off, unable to finish. I couldn’t admit that I wanted to suicide. I knew once I said it, there was no turning back and a fierce internal debate raged about whether to speak the words out loud. Jill waited, sensing my struggle, looking at me as though she knew what came next. I tasted salty tears as I confessed I constantly thought about killing myself and had a suicide plan.


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