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Friday, 8 February 2013

Tell me why. Heroines.

                                      Soft Shoe Shuffle                                                                                                                                     On Sunday we do a sidestepping  soft shoe shuffle out of our house of looning adolescents for  a winter's walk. Don't think they noticed.   The bright warming sun shines at last,  January having been and gone under a grey and claustrophobic  hood. A spacious day of grace it is.  After christmas,  extravagance strained,  the festive cup emptied to the dregs,  January felt like swimming underwater, eyes closed, legs kicking stubbornly, in anticipation of being spat up at its end for spring and an actual new year.  "Yea its  over, January, no question"  I assure the spouse.   A row of  tall denuded trees stand dignified, intricate skeletal  branches  spread like carefully worked lace across the pink streaked bluegold  sky, as  I tell the dear man.  "Like filigree" he nods. On  the village green the bushes, seared, bare ribbed, are elegantly grey,  drifting to tawny red at the tips in winter's light.   "And oh, you know, tonight we have Borgen".  A glass full of blessings, then.

And we do . Though, sadly, the final two episodes. All of it,  the character of Birgitte Nyborg, the broad consoling cadences of the Danish tongue,  the humanity of  the story lines and and  the politicking is  irrisistable. The show got me through January.  Birgitte, neither  flinty ice queen or conniving siren, is  a real woman and a heroine in her way

                                                     Something different in the State of Denmark.
It's a rich tapestry, and her teenage daughter's mental breakdown and treatment became a major thread. . She sends her to a private facility dedicated to adolescent illness, there being a year's wait for the  public facility. The story of the girl's treatment with drugs and cognitive therapies, her subsequent recovery,  is  believable,  fully fleshed out. I am bemused,  struck . I think about  Ireland  where there is no dedicated facility whatsoever  to treat young people, and the only treatment easily accessible is prescribed medication. Or self prescribed booze. So it was when I was an adolescent and so it is today.

On Tuesday the boy is quite derailed by the suicide of a school mate.  He carefully recites what he knows  to us, his knowledge acquired from the Facebook network, full of bombastic, tragic and dramatic posts by his friends. "but.... I don't know why" he adds, a remark he finishes with each time he tries to line it up for us over the day. He asks us if we think it will be on the news. He tells us how many "likes" the postings get. "It make's no difference to that boy, and HE will never know" I tell him and I shut the broadband  down, wanting only to stem the unrelenting flow, short circuit the current of the cyber chant for him.

                                                             Grim Twins.
The thing I remember most starkly from my  own adolescent  experience of the grim twins, the double act  of anxiety/depression was the terror, the sickening sense that it would never go away, never let me go.  And no help then, my friends, you were very much on your own. Oh, now I know the labels, yes, I know what to call it,  but then I saw only a spiraling craziness. Teenagers are not us. They take life with a sort of heightened awareness, all feeling amplified as the hormones hack a highway through body and soul. When things go out of kilter the psychic pain, the fear, can be catastrophic.

It took me years, decades even to get back on track, and I have lived to hear more people than I would ever have imagined tell a similar tale.  I have listend to the halting confidences of the middle aged. And still, with all we know or ought to know, we give our children stones to get them through.  Facebook, alcohol, drugs and trash TV. Plus ca Change. Maybe in  Denmark.

                                                        I am Birgitte. Hear me Roar.
And in the final episode of Borgen, one  last satisfying  thing.  Birgette's assumed burden of guilt about her daughters breakdown  is neatly flipped,  as she understands that her nice kindly husband's  abrupt departure from the marriage at the vital point when she is appointed Prime Minister is  squarely in  the  frame.  Oh how she roars this truth at him, in a fabulouly guttural Danish  rage, as she throws off her womanly burden of blame.<a href="" title="women bloggers"><img