ONE – This is a strange post for me. A pretty intimidating one actually. This is something my family and friends no nothing about and until a couple of months ago, nobody did. Just me. So here goes. A few weeks back, I ended up in quite a challenging and dark place. I think a culmination of things had built up over time: losing my dad and this new land of grief of which there was no map, being a dad to two very young kids and a bit of a few other things. If I’m honest, I’d battled with this long before any of the above had happened. Probably as long as I can remember but I’d always had a vague handle on it. But, this was something else. It had a handle on me and it was doing things I couldn’t rationalise or control. There’s a point in the depths of ocean where the sunlight stops and can’t penetrate any further. I felt like I was on that line. It reached a point where I realised I had to do something about it. Given that the only discussion about any of this had been an internal one, saying these thoughts and feelings out loud and to another person was a frightening concept. But I did it. And it all came out. I tried to put the breaks on it but it was no good. As I walked out of that room, I thumbed the tissue I’d been given by the doctor into a horseshoe shape in the pocket of my coat. I silently vowed that I’d keep it in my pocket as a reminder of that moment. I looked down at the prescription in my other hand. It had the D word written on it. In bold. And caps. I felt so embarrassed about it and folded it in half and in half again and turned it over as I carried it through the busy surgery, desperate to avoid anyone seeing it. I handed this terrible piece of origami to the bemused pharmacist. I reminded myself of a kid who’d done their homework on the bus on a scrap of paper and handed it to their teacher direct from their pocket. I walked and walked and walked that evening, looking for the right time and place to take my prescription. I settled for the middle of the Common. It was the darkest point, the furthest away from houses and streetlights. I felt a sense of shame about taking it and showing my vulnerability to someone. But that faded.
It hasn’t been a magic bullet, but I knew that, and I have days where I feel I’m back in the sea and the light isn’t getting through but I feel like I’ve got a better handle on it and can slip from the anchor.
Why am I sharing all this? It’s not for any sympathy or a virtual pat on the back. I’m sharing it because I have a plan and without sharing this context then I’d feel I was being hypocritical. This is all a bit frightening and new and intimidating but I’m committed to my plan and it starts with this.