Whilst I was on holiday, I read two books... that might not sound much of an achievement, but it probably equalled my total for the previous decade! The first was Michelle Morgan’s wonderful Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed; the second was Coming Back to Me, the autobiography of former England cricketer Marcus Trescothick.
I really wanted to read Marcus’ story, not only from a cricketing perspective, but also to understand something about his battle with depression. I’ve said before that I have great respect for him as a cricketer, but this is outweighed by my admiration for the man him-self. The book details how the illness first appeared and the speed with which it can take hold... and just how difficult it is for the sufferer and those around that person to come to terms with something that is so debilitating, but essentially invisible.
There was one passage in particular which described the feeling of descending darkness that struck a real chord and I was actually lying on a ship in the middle of the Adriatic Sea with tears trickling down my cheeks... (ruining my tan in the process!).
From a personal point of view, I’ve had a good few months, but for whatever reason I had a bad “wobble” on Thursday (that was nothing to do with my portly waistline I hasten to add...). No trigger, no warning, just a sudden heaviness that prompted me to start crying... so much so that I actually had to pull off the road and stop the car for a few minutes.
Perhaps the biggest difference between now and some past episodes is that I know that the feelings will pass... they will pass... they will pass. And much as I realise it upsets Elaine to see me in a state, she now understands that there doesn’t have to be a specific reason for how I am feeling... sometimes the illness just taps you on the shoulder and reminds you that it’s still there...
I was due back at work... and it would have been easy to have chucked in the towel for the day. But I didn’t... I went to work and got through the day and I’m actually quite proud (if pride is allowed) that I not only coped, but that no one but Elaine had a clue about the state I’d been in just a few hours earlier...
In many ways it’s probably easier for someone like me to open up about the person I am (the one so few really know)... than it was for someone in the public eye, someone at the top of their sporting profession to give away his innermost feelings. This illness doesn’t go away... but although our cricketing prowess may not have borne comparison, we both know that given enough strength, support, love, care and friendship that you can fight back...
I have all of those things in my life and for that I feel truly blessed...
All my own work... almost.