Angst

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‘Angst’

” If you ask me what the most grotesque thing about alcoholism was I’d have said, indeed I did so over and over to anyone who asked – and plenty who didn’t – it wasn’t the physical stuff, it wasn’t the humiliating death stuff… it was the sadness. I called it my angst. A suitable august, Germanic word for a basement depression that was fathomless and occasionally erupted in gasping panic. And even when locked away it would seep out and sour every other emotion, like bitters in milk. Alcoholic despair is a thing apart, created by the drink that is a depressant, but also the architect of all the  pratfall calamities that fuel it. Alcohol is the only medication the drunk knows and trusts, a perfectly hopeless circle of angst, and it is powered by a self-loathing that is obsessively stoked and fed. And it’s that – the personally awarded, vainly accepted disgust – that  makes it so hard to sympathise with drunks. Nothing you can say or do comes close to the wreaths of guilt we lay at our own cenotaph.”

–  A.A .Gill, from “Pour Me: A Life.” (highlights mine, as were the lowlights…)

Your Nemesis

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Do you have a nemesis?

The word nemesis has a couple of dictionary meanings: “the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall” or ” a longstanding rival;an arch enemy”.

I think we probably all have that inescapable person or thing that dogs us in life.

The thing that dogged Sir Winston Churchill he actually called his “black dog” – depression.

Churchill’s daughter Mary said of him: “He himself talks of his black dog, and he did have times of depression…..Of course, if you have a black dog it lurks somewhere in your nature and  you never quite banish it, but I never saw  him  disarmed by depression”.

Which sort of sums up a nemesis – always there or thereabouts, never gotten rid of and returning from time to time to haunt us  – but  I like the optimism in the final words of the quote, “never disarmed.”

Just because your nemesis remains ,it does not mean you have to lead a defeated life because of it.