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Do you think George was dealing with depression from 66 to the break-up?
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13 February 2014
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bewareofchairs
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I suppose chanting and meditation were like therapy for him as well, and Paramahansa Yogananda's book, "Autobiography of a Yogi". 

The Apple Scruff Carol Bedford, who George became friends with, had depression, and in her book George bared his heart out to her about how depressed he was from all the fame and the pressure of supporting everyone living in Friar Park. She got worried and recommended a clinic for him to go to if he ever felt like he had nowhere else to turn. He accepted, but I don't know if he ever went. This was after The Beatles had broken up, like around 1972 or so. Granted her account should be taken with a grain of salt, but it did ring true with what he's said in interviews, and what others have said about him.

21 May 2014
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bewareofchairs
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People were mentioning in the beginning of this thread that if he was depressed someone like Pattie or Eric would've said something. I recently came across this quote from Pattie's book, Wonderful Tonight:

"We learned how to meditate at the feet of a master - despite the allegations, George and I still regarded Maharishi as a master - we had been shown the spiritual way to enlightenment, we had returned from Rishikesh renewed and refreshed, and yet from the time we left India our lives and our relationship seemed to fall apart.

I was delighted to be home and eager to tell my friends all about our trip. George retreated into himself. He had become very intense in India: the experience seemed to have answered some of the nagging questions he had had about his life but it had taken some of the lightness out of his soul. He continued the meditation and the chanting, and his prayer wheel was never far from his hand. To begin with, so did I, but he became obsessive about it. Some days he would be all right, but on others he seemed withdrawn and depressed. This was new: he had never been depressed before, but there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t about me, but I found that my moods started to mirror his.

[...] George would start to say something about Paul, then stop. He appeared unable or unwilling to share his thoughts with me; he wouldn’t tell me he felt left out - although I am sure he did. He kept his hurt, frustration, anger or whatever it was, to himself. We had once been so close, so honest and open with each other. Now a distance had developed between us. At times I couldn’t reach him."

At the very least, I do get the impression George was awfully unhappy for a very long time. 

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21 May 2014
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vonbontee
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I guess one of the main things to remember is that there's a difference between actual clinical Depression (such as the OP suffered from) and just "plain" depression, resulting from, I dunno, life just not being all it could be, all the time. You know, "the blues". I personally don't think George was clinically depressed (I'm not a mental health professional, btw) any more than I think he suffered from PTSD. (When I first saw this thread, I assumed that other one had just been re-named.) There really aren't that many "suffering" George songs, are there?

Is there a "Was John bipolar?" thread? I think that's a more plausible scenario, in terms of the Beatles and their various mental ailments.

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

21 May 2014
8.55pm
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Ahhh Girl
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I thought about merging those two threads. They cover a different time frame, but the same theme. @vonbontee, would you take a look through the two threads and see if they are similar enough that the conversation would be enhanced by the two treads becoming one? I can make it happen with some fancy footwork once I get back to a computer (can't do it from this phone).

EDIT: These threads may cover some/all of the same time frame. I just gave them a quick glance.

21 May 2014
10.08pm
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vonbontee
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I'd do anything for you, Ahhh Girl! :) I took a look and think they're very different threads, content-wise. The similarity of the titles just led a couple of us to remember the earlier thread. The timelines only intersect at one or two points, i think. Would merging them make searching more difficult, or less?

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

22 May 2014
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Ahhh Girl
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Just to double check, the two threads cover separate time frames in George's life. Usually, I'd read through the threads to make determinations like this, but Michaelangelo's David is calling my name. Must prepare and go visit him. No, I'm not cheating on Paul. I'm just going to see a work of art. Hum, the thought just struck me that Paul is a work of art. a-hard-days-night-paul-7

The searching wouldn't be improved, I don't think. The only reason to have them joined would be to have the ideas all in one place ... to have one beefy conversation ... but if they are dealing with different topics or times in George's life, joining them doesn't make sense.

If it is just that the time frame of the posts themselves is different, I can make that work.

Thanks for your help with this project, von.

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22 May 2014
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trcanberra
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Ahhh Girl said
Just to double check, the two threads cover separate time frames in George's life. Usually, I'd read through the threads to make determinations like this, but Michaelangelo's David is calling my name. Must prepare and go visit him. No, I'm not cheating on Paul. I'm just going to see a work of art. Hum, the thought just struck me that Paul is a work of art. a-hard-days-night-paul-7

The searching wouldn't be improved, I don't think. The only reason to have them joined would be to have the ideas all in one place ... to have one beefy conversation ... but if they are dealing with different topics or times in George's life, joining them doesn't make sense.

If it is just that the time frame of the posts themselves is different, I can make that work.

Thanks for your help with this project, von.

I am trying so hard not to think of Florence in spring compared with Canberra in Autumn (though I must admit we had a nice Indian summer day yesterday).

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12 August 2014
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Liz
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He certainly was, you just have to check the lyrics of his beautiful " Beware Of Darkness" to realise that if he wasn't clinically depressed, he certainly was subject to bouts of depression, particularly at night times.

George was a deeply social/gregarious guy (remember how he enjoyed the Wilburys' experience?)  He had to feel "included" and be considered equal, to be happy. Who wouldn't? But that hadn't been happening in the Beatles' for quite a while. Even George Martin slighted him.

For his blossoming talent the band's breakup was a creative tragedy though. At first he might've felt relieved, but soon he realised that working on his own made him lose creativity and purpose:  

- But at times it gets so lonely/Could go insane/Could lose my aim [" Grey Clouded Lies", Extra Texture LP 1975]

His competitive and challenging mates had nurtured his talents and provided him with stimuli, even though  he felt underappreciated by them and neglected by George Martin. Worst still, be it as it may, at the end of the day he had lost the "friendship" of his two friends ["Run Of The Mill", ATMP], particularly after they found their soulmates.

Depression got worse after the disastrous USA "Dark Horse" Tour, where he took some misguided risks that he might have avoided if he had been able to discuss his plans with some friends or realiable collaborator. I guess by that time he felt so muddled up he was unable to think clearly.

All through this, however, I'm sure George's eyes never looked so depressed as they did in the '80s, up to when he sat for the promotional shooting of his "Cloud Nine" album. My personal interpretation is that after some years he might have felt a bit trapped by his quiet family life. He valued his family too much to jeopardise it, but an artist needs new stimuli, and being the womaniser that he was, domestic happiness must've felt a bit stifling, a times.   

"Stuck inside a cloud", perhaps the best act of  "Brainwashed" speaks of a period of pain, unrest, depression. People imply that it is his about terminal illness. Only it isn't, because it was written between the end of the '80s and the beginning of the '90. So,  I guess it concerns a terminated affair that caused him pain. That would explain why he wouldn't issue it, in spite being repeatedly urged to do so by some of the musicians who had played in it. Possibly not to upset Olivia, I reckon.

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15 August 2014
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Bongo
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No, I do not think he was dealing with depression, just dissatisfaction with the whole Beatlemania thing. ahdn_george_06

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19 December 2015
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Its-sitarday
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I don't think George was depressed, but I feel as though when the beginning of the Beatles breakup was happening he was so stressed that it seemed as though he was depressed. George was probably just stressed in this period of his life. 

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19 December 2015
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Ahhh Girl
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Welcome to the Beatles Bible Fab Forum, @Its-sitarday. Glad you joined us. We are here to help you get settled in to our FABOULOUS group. Let us know if you need any help navigating the site.

I've started wondering lately how things would have turned out if George and his three "brothers" had taken antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicine instead of other m.mind altering drugs.

19 December 2015
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Silly Girl
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Reading over this thread, and thinking about what George has indicated in various songs and interviews which I, as an avid Harrifan, have eagerly absorbed, I think it likely that he suffered from Yer Blues from time to time. Songs like Beware Of Darkness show that. I think the state of things--his life, the world, everything--really got to him at times; witness his billion-and-a-half spiritual crying for help songs. And about Blow Away, he's quoted as saying: 

I was in the garden and it was pouring down with rain, and I suddenly became aware that I was feeling depressed, being affected by the weather. And it's important to remember that while everything else around you changes, the soul within remains the same; you have to constantly remember that and fight for the right to be happy.

And I think he did try to, though as he admitted when speaking of how, even though it's easier to say no you can't than it is to say you can and will, 'I'm not saying it's easy--I'm not saying I can do it.' (not exact quote) 

There are frequent, albeit oblique, references in many of his songs, some of which seem to have nothing to do with depression, to his blues, such as: 'So hide the moments when I feel blue' in Never Get Over You; or Cloud 9: 'Share my highs, but the times that it hurts, pay no mind'.

As both quotes illustrate, just as when he was a child and told his mother not to talk about him with the other mummies, he didn't want anyone to see his pain. He was definitely the bottle-it-up-inside type, except in his music, when he managed to express himself quite well (as Paul once said, 'tis cheaper and less weird than going to a shrink, and no one will take you seriously because it's 'just a song'). 

So while I, in all my ignorance and inexperience, don't think he had clinical depression, he certainly got depressed sometimes. He and John both, but while John shouted his pain to the world, George kept it all inside and only let it slip out on occasion, and never without a vaguely jocular, lightened tone to safely mask the true depth of his emotions. 

 

Okay, I didn't even mean to post here at all, and now look what happened... god, George would be so pissed at us all for endlessly discussing and dissecting his most private matters of blueness. ahdn_george_06

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19 December 2015
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Silly Girl
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I've thought of more examples: Just For Today is a pretty depressed-sounding song, lyrically and musically; in Looking For My Life he says that he was down upon his knees, which sounds like one of those 'I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE' things; and on further review, as suggested by Liz above, Stuck Inside A Cloud could very well be about one of his low spells. I would agree with Billy Rhythm, that he worked it out through his songs. 

Edit: and I think Cheer Down sort of touches on this as well, on how George would get to fretting over things (no pun intended) and Olivia would tell him, 'Cheer down, big guy.' Okay, I'm sorry, but I simply cannot imagine anyone ever calling our Mr Harrison 'big guy', but anyway, I digress. 

He was a very sensitive man, and felt quite keenly the Tears Of The World. But we can't forget he saw the lighter side of it all as well: 'The world is a very serious and, at times, a very sad place--but at other times it is all such a joke.' 

I don't think we need to bring up his astrology again... a-hard-days-night-george-3 

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20 December 2015
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Silly Girl
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Oh dear, we seem to have wandered from 'Do you think George was dealing with depression from 66 to the break-up?' to 'Do you think George was dealing with depression?' 

I must admit that after it was suggested to my mind, I found it a fascinating topic, one that ended up occupying my thoughts for the next two hours as I was (supposed to be) falling asleep. a-hard-days-night-george-3

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20 December 2015
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O Boogie
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In her documentary, Freda Kelly says that she enjoyed the early years because even they enjoyed it, and then it got too much. I agree with that, it just got too much for George. I don't think he was depressed, but he was tired. They all were. Ringo was upset, too, coz he wasn't up to the mark as he says in anthology. But then George found religion, and it gave him peace I guess. It gave him something new in life, and he got obsessed with it, and I think he was able to discover a purpose in his life. So, he just wasn't that much into The Beatles anymore. It might have made him irritated and upset to have stayed with the band, but not depressed as he was discovering a lot of things in life at that point.

And I think some articles make him sound severely paranoid and things, but if you really read some of the fan encounters with George, they tell you that he most often had a nice time with fans, inviting them over and things. And even John, he used to invite his fans over for a tea and a chat and just casually say that "he found so and so lurking in his garden", and they're supposed to be the most reclusive Beatles! 

John's state of mind is more complicated though coz of his messed up childhood. I think when he was busy with touring and stuff he didn't have a lot of time to dwell on his inner demons or whatever. Once they stopped touring and he had more time on his hands, that's when it all came out.

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20 December 2015
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Starr Shine?
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The problem is we only see him in a certain context. Some contexts you look less happy than you normally are.

Like if a kid who is miserable in Spanish class and happy everywhere else would look depressed if you only see them in Spanish class.

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23 December 2015
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I think george was paralysed with anger about the beatles for a long time. He rightly felt aggrieved at lennon's lack of support towards him when he had gone out his way to help him. I think he also felt betrayed and bitter towards paul's condescension of him and his work which verged on humiliation.

At the end of the day they were all depressed when the band collapsed just in different ways. After a period of time where harrison  had been pretty successful in establishing an identity outside the group i think he realised he was always going to be trapped in that beatles bubble forever no matter how hard he fought it. So the realisation of that was a source of great pain for george. I don't think he wanted anything to do with john and paul ever again musically,and he barely hides that in the anthology film.

Imagine how fucked up you would feel if your life was defined by an experience that was truly painful for you. i think thats what george was fighting with.

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23 December 2015
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castironshore said
I think george was paralysed with anger about the beatles for a long time. He rightly felt aggrieved at lennon's lack of support towards him when he had gone out his way to help him. I think he also felt betrayed and bitter towards paul's condescension of him and his work which verged on humiliation.

It's far more complex than this. I don't think this was always the issue, but it came up from time to time. They all felt trapped and came up with reasons to blame each other. But Paul is Paul, and John lost interest in the whole thing, and George felt it all the more because he was younger and needed friends and fortunately discovered them.

At the end of the day they were all depressed when the band collapsed just in different ways. After a period of time where harrison  had been pretty successful in establishing an identity outside the group i think he realised he was always going to be trapped in that beatles bubble forever no matter how hard he fought it. So the realisation of that was a source of great pain for george. I don't think he wanted anything to do with john and paul ever again musically,and he barely hides that in the anthology film.

I think the problem for George was that he realized he couldn't have that musical relationship with John and Paul again, and that was the real pain. He searched for and got this with other people. If Ringo played on a George album, only a few people would scream BEATLES REUNION, but it wasn't, it was just George and Ringo playing. The same was true of the early Ono Band albums. But soon after that it could never be this way again with John and Paul because noone else would let it, the rumours would spread like wildfire and they'd be locked in the old way of doing things again. Now we know that George and Paul played music socially together and at that level it was fine. I'm certain it would have been the same way with John as he made his way back to being a musician; he might have depended on George to show him how to build those kinds of bridges. But Anthology just proved to George that singly they couldn't escape and together it was made worse by music having to be a "constructive project" which is pretty much Paul's mindset. George would much rather a project grow out of friendship, something the Beatles could never be allowed to have. And stuff that, says George.

Imagine how fucked up you would feel if your life was defined by an experience that was truly painful for you. i think thats what george was fighting with.

It's what trapped them all, and ultimately killed John. As sad as I am to not have George around, I'm glad he found himself. And Ringo has too, and he has suffered just as much.

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