Hello. Here is a terrible scan of a mediocre drawing of a not-at-all-mediocre actor playing a not-at-all mediocre detective:
He’s supposed to be closing his eyes slightly, but it just looks as though he’s squinting. Also, I feel that I’ve made him look more like someone from The Godfather rather than a detective. I’m out of practice. Oh well. May Jeremy accept the apologies I now send to him out there in that big theatre in the sky .
Why did I show you this? Do you really care? If so, read on.
While I was away, the endlessly creative and wonderful Petra of Inkbiotic included me in a list of hopeful participants in this quote based blog thingy, which involves posting 3 quotes over the course of 3 posts. As the clairsentient readers will already know, my first offering is about to follow :
“My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation..”
Does anybody recognise it? If not, it’s from the imaginary mouth of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. I’ve been watching the Granada series starring the late great Jeremy Brett ( *swoon*) , so I’m feeling all Sherlocky and Jeremy Brettish lately. Hence the drawing.
This particular quote was chosen because it’s relatable. Not -obviously- because I’m some sort of genius detective of the Victorian era who turns to cocaine to escape the boredom of not having enough baffling crimes to solve. Not even because I’m terribly clever in any way. But because boredom and lack of intellectual stimulation are intolerable- not just for the eccentric geniuses, but for most of us. We might not all turn to cocaine to escape “the dull routine of existence”, but most of us have some mode of escape from the monotony and dissatisfaction. (Mine seems to be wine and Black Books marathons at the moment.)
The second reason this quote resonates with me personally is this: Being a person with bipolar disorder ( ie. Manic Depression*) definitely means having a mind that “rebels”. It rebels at itself, and stagnation.( In this case, “stagnation” can sometimes be defined as ” having to keep still for 30 seconds”). The naughty brain throws thoughts around; races with itself; won’t shut up; won’t let you sleep for weeks on end. Then it betrays itself by falling into the ultimate stagnation… severe depression ( no boring external circumstances necessary) . This extreme lethargy is such an acute departure from the boundless energy one becomes used to, that I absolutely understand how it could lead to excessive substance use ( if you can manage to get out of bed to acquire substances, that is), just to try to get back that “high”, which, only days ago was occurring naturally and effortlessly.
Anyway, that last paragraph serves as a segue to me mentioning now that Jeremy Brett was also afflicted with ye olde Manic Depression. I didn’t realise this when I first began watching the Sherlock Holmes series, but oddly enough, my immediate reaction to Brett’s magnificent portrayal of Holmes was “There’s something of the manic depressive in Brett’s Sherlock”. Maybe it’s simply that one bipolarbear can recognise another; or maybe all the animated gestures; the mercurial moods, just seemed so familiar to me personally that I projected my own interpretation onto them… but the more I watched, the more I suspected that the actor might have firsthand experience of it. As soon as I found out that it was indeed true, it made perfect sense.
(People who live in normal everyday life and know a lot about TV and movies would probably already know this stuff. But it was all news to me…)
Sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent, didn’t I? Next post will be less wordy and rambly, I promise. But I mention mental illness stuff because it’s relevant, and I feel we need to encourage frank and open dialogue on the subject. But as far as the original intention of the post goes, I really just wanted to express the fact that boredom is very boring, and that I really dig Jeremy Brett. * heart eyes* (I hope he gets the spirit-hug I sent him.)
*Although ‘Bipolar Disorder’ is the common name these days, it used to be known as ‘Manic Depression’. I personally prefer this description, as I feel it’s more informative; more accurate. ‘Bipolar Disorder’, to me, has a cold, clinical sound about it. My personal view is that when mental illnesses and personality disorders are given overly clinical sounding names, a slightly dehumanising effect is created. The disease can too easily be presented as a bunch of words that makes little sense to anybody not experiencing or studying it. A name that does not gloss over the behavioural aspect ( such as ‘Manic Depression’) gives a brief but immediate insight as to what the illness actually is, and how it might affect the person experiencing it. This paves the way for basic human empathy in a way the more vague names for illnesses do not.