I am so glad that week is over... it’s really not been very good and although she’s safely tucked up in bed at the moment, I’m really looking forward to spending the next couple of days with my darling wife Elaine.
Nothing particularly out of the ordinary has happened – well not that I know of anyway – but for most of the week, I’ve felt extremely low... and I’ve really struggled coping with the dark moments and thoughts I occasionally experience at times like this.
Many months ago, through this blog, I admitted that I suffered... suffer... from a form of depression. It was a bloody hard thing to do because whilst you’re typing the words, you realise that people’s perception of you is possibly going to change... both significantly and permanently. I didn’t want sympathy then – and I don’t want it now... but I’m glad that I was strong enough to be honest about what is such a difficult subject.
Nobody’s life is easy, I realise that, and I admire those who are able to deal with their own personal issues privately and probably with great strength and dignity, but I don’t believe that I was weak in feeling I needed to open up the way I did. Don’t get me wrong, I cope well most of the time... especially with the love and support of those closest to me... but there are equally those periods when the black shroud descends and I really struggle. I hate the way this essentially unseen illness can completely change your patterns of thought and the negative emotions with which you feel bombarded and although I now understand that the feelings DO pass... it’s still so hard sometimes.
In a couple of weeks, I’m helping to run a workshop for some of my colleagues and I’ve been trawling the internet for an interesting “ice breaker” – hate the phrase... sorry. One that caught my eye was to think about a single moment in your life when, if things had been just slightly different, your whole future could have been altered in some way and this picture holds the clue to my “moment”.
The photo was taken in York, in the very early 70s... a time when children were apparently dressed the same even if they were different ages! The smaller of the two girls is Elaine... and the red brick building in the background is (well, was) York College, my prep school. Elaine and I were born just three weeks apart, but also fifty miles apart. There is a chance I was in the building, just a few yards from my future wife... someone I wasn’t destined to meet for another thirty-something years.
But what if..?
I feel blessed to have met Elaine at all... but I still wish I’d found her much earlier. That said, I would NEVER want to be without my wonderful children Leigh-Ann, Rebecca and Chris, but... well... I just wish other things had been different.
I still carry a lot of guilt for mistakes I’ve made... I also carry a lot of guilt for things that I knew nothing about... and could therefore do nothing about. I realise that sounds like nonsense... almost dragging yourself down for the sake of it... but believe me, the mind can exert such a hold that it can drain away even the half-emptiest of glasses.
The fact is the past can’t be changed... maybe the future is mapped out too but much as I wish Elaine and I had been together for the past thirty years, she is in my life now and I owe it to her... to my children and my closest family and friends to fight when I need to fight to be the husband, the father, the son, the brother, the cousin and the friend that others can be proud of...
All my own work... almost.