About the Author:
Paul Chappell was a brilliant writer who brought pleasure to his readers wherever his works were available. His unique insight, humour and satire made many look at ordinary situations with fresh eyes.
Much of Paul’s working life was spent in the field of electronics and the only writing he did was producing technical instructions. Coming up with such thrilling prose as, ‘Solder the red wire to the ‘A’ terminal’, bored Paul to tears, so for many years he regarded writing as a necessary evil. Nothing more than a chore. It wasn’t until much later in life that he tried writing fiction, and much to his surprise he found that he was rather good at it. To begin with Paul lacked confidence. He thought he would have to tie a prospective reader to a chair and read his first tentative attempts out loud at them, but was soon delighted to discover that his victims rather liked the punishment and begged for more. Even better, he actually enjoyed writing his quirky stories just as much as people enjoyed reading them. A new writer was born.
Unfortunately Paul was also deeply troubled. He suffered from depression which eventually led to him taking his own life. Most of Paul’s works are light hearted stories full of his unique satirical humour, but his last few offerings give an insight into his thoughts and feelings as he gradually becomes more and more determined to end it all. Against all odds he still manages to inject humour, despite his increasingly morbid intentions.
We can only relate to anything that happens to others based on our own experience. If someone tells us that they are over the moon because they have just won the lottery we understand how they must be feeling because we subconsciously imagine how we would feel if it happened to us. For this reason it is impossible for anyone who has not experienced depression to fully understand it. Winston Churchill called it ‘The Black Dog’. It is not just feeling down in the dumps today or a bit fed up because we are stuck indoors on a rainy weekend. It is an all pervading blanket of doom and gloom which lays heavily on the mind. It drains the sufferer of any and all ability to show an interest in or gain any pleasure from anything. If news arrived that you have won the lottery whilst in the depths of depression your response would probably be nothing more than a grunt and you wouldn’t bother to cash the cheque. There wouldn’t be any point. The money couldn’t buy anything that could possible give you any enjoyment. Nothing can. You are simply unable to care about the possibility of a better lifestyle.
To mentally climb out from under the blanket of gloom is a huge effort. As is doing the most mundane of activities, such as answering the phone. It is the mental equivalent of digging the Channel Tunnel with a teaspoon. The task appears impossibly daunting, so you don’t begin. The thought alone leaves you mentally exhausted and the blanket just lies heavier and clings tighter. Nothing could possibly interest you or give you pleasure and it never will. All hope is gone. When there is no hope there is nothing. Death actually seems an attractive proposition.
Anti-depressants don’t help. They just make you not care that you don’t care. To rise out of the gloom is a constant mental battle, and after 30 years of suffering Paul just decided to stop fighting. Nobody can blame him. I just hope his situation raises awareness of mental health in general and depression in particular.
If you suffer from depression, or know someone who does, please read ‘The Sighs of a Mouse’. I hope it helps.