Printer Friendly

Don't talk to me about depressives .. I wed Spike; SHELAGH MILLIGAN ON LIFE WITH A GOON.

Some of the rubbish that is written about manic depression really makes me so very angry.

Recently, Freddie Starr was portrayed as a warped control freak and Lady Kanga Tryon as a savagely bitter and scheming woman.

I am not going to pretend that manic depressives are easy to deal with, but with love, commitment and understanding it is possible to maintain a loving relationship.

I am married to Spike Milligan and, I think, qualified to talk about the condition.

I have known Spike for almost 25 years. When I first met him he would have dreadful `lows'.

That was when he'd go to bed, pull the blankets over his head and take sleeping tablets, not wanting anyone near him, such was his pain.

Sometimes, he would post a note on his bedroom door saying: "Go away, I am ill".

At those times I would feel totally impotent. How could I feed him yet leave him alone at the same time?

When he would start to come out of the depression, he would say, in such a hurt way, that no- one had come near him and he could have starved to death.

Manic depressives have a chemical imbalance in their brains causing mood swings which they are unable to control.

Spike always coped with these `highs' by trying to channel the enormous energy these produced into his work.

Others I know find the `highs' devastating. They can't sleep at night and they pace the floor, possessed by a terrible energy.

Manic `highs' can be utterly exhausting. The person will talk wildly, their ideas tumbling out. It's as if a typhoon has swept through the room.

There are the times when things return to normal - and life with Spike is wonderful.

There is so much happiness, laughter and love. You marvel at this wonderful, generous man - at his courage during pain.

But, sometimes, you can be lulled into a false sense of security. Then, when the `Black Dog' strikes again - you're left devastated. Usually there are warning signs but that doesn't really help. You're desperate not to do anything to upset him - it's like walking on eggshells with hobnail boots on.

Then comes the guilt. Was it something I said?

But, if I had said it a couple of days earlier, it wouldn't have caused a problem.

I had to learn to rationalise - to conclude that his bouts of depression would happen anyway. They just needed a trigger.

Sometimes, Spike would go off in the morning in a great mood.

On his return, however, I could tell by the way he held his head, or the expression on his face, that something had happened during the day which had tipped the balance.

Eventually, I decided it was better to brazen it out and go up to see him - no matter how much wanted to be left alone.

I wanted to reassure him that I loved him and was there for him, no matter what.You see, when a manic depressive is difficult, they're not being that way to hurt you - they're trying to make sense of the chaos in their minds.

I know several manic depressives and I can say, without reservation, that they are wonderful - sometimes very gifted - people.

But people who feel more intensely.

Spike once explained it by saying: "When I see injustice or cruelty it really hurts me, but when I see a sunset I see a more beautiful sunset than most other people."

I am glad to say that, during the last few years, Spike's "Black Dog" has gone walkies and only returns very rarely.

Despite Spike's depression, he has been a wonderful father over the last 50 years.

He has used his fertile imagination to give his children joy. When they were young he would write them fairy letters - posting them under stones in the garden.

He would take them out in the dark to look for fireflies - or just make them giggle at his silly antics.

I have enormous respect for my husband's courage in dealing with this cruel illness.

Despite it, he has managed to enrich my life beyond my wildest dreams.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Author:Milligan, Shelagh
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 7, 1997
Next Article:OAPs caught in bug scare.

Related Articles
Secret love of a Goon.
Goon, but Spike will never be forgotten.
'I don't mind dying to be there when it - I just don't want happens' D SPIKE MILLIGAN; Peter Elson looks back at the life and times of a true comic...
Spike Milligan, the last Goon, has gone.
This is the very last Goon show; TELLY.
Stars pay tribute to Milligan.
I'LL MAKE SURE SPIKE HAS THE LAST LAUGH; Comedian's son vows to end rift over headstone.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters