This post was meant to be published yesterday but, due to issues with my internet connection, it is here today:
When I was seventeen I sat with a group of my friends in the crematorium watching as one of my friends lay in front of me in a coffin. As the coffin passed into the flames his girlfriend shouted out,
"I still love you, R."
At the time I thought to myself, "You selfish bastard, R."
But, the truth is this wasn't the act of a selfish man. Instead it was the act of a lost soul. The final act of someone that had lost hope and didn't know where to turn. How else could you blow your mind out in a car, in the middle of car park, in the middle of Coventry?
A few years later my ex-wife would complete her studies and became a Doctor of Neuroscience. Or as I would affectionately refer to her "a fruit and nut Doctor".
But, the truth is she wasn't a fruit and nut Doctor as I so eloquently put it. She was instead a doctor specialising in the chemical imbalances that can naturally occur in the brain. I was the misguided fool as she would so often point out.
Move on a few years and I would witness the nervous breakdown of my friend and work colleague. They were sad days. One of my, less likeable, colleagues would tell me that, "they had tested him and he was found wanting."
But, the truth is he wasn't found wanting. The truth is he cared so much that he let himself be dragged down by a project that was failing. It was the systems of my employer that were found wanting.
A few months later and I would suffer myself. I had a few setbacks that all seemed to come at me at once, some would say I had my annus horribilis. It felt as if I had lost my footing on the ladder and at the same time someone was stamping on my hands as I clung on to the rungs. It was a rough time. I found myself feeling lethargic and yet at the same time I had to be active. My chest was pounding and it felt like my adams apple had moved an inch higher and was trying to choke me. Words floated around my brain like killer bees stinging my being and leaving emptiness where once there was joy. I didn't feel in control of my life or my destiny. On a number of occasions, and by different people, it was suggested that I sought help for depression.
I was worried - enough to consult a doctor. Enough even to consult my ex-wife! As it happens I wasn't suffering depression. I was suffering a blue patch that everyone goes through. I'm still not entirely through it (my adams apple still seems to move during the night!) but I am getting there.
But, it was enough to give me an insight, a glimmer, into the pit that is depression. I can only imagine how awful it must be to live with this illness and I can only be grateful that I don't.
For a proper insight into how Mental Health issues affect people go and read Dicky's post (unfortunately, my Internet connection still isn't working so I can't link the post but you can find Dicky on my blogroll).