Monday, 28 November 2011

Sudden Suicide

Assuming it was suicide..... assuming it was depression ....

When a (now) high profile person commits suicide it will make society look up and consider depression and suicide and I'm hoping that out of the death of Gary Speed (football manager for Wales) that there is greater discussion and acknowledgement of mental health issues.

I think when you have someone who can be seen talking live on TV less than 24 hours before he was found dead, it brings it home:

If depression was at the heart of it I can relate to the way he can look so relatively normal and participate and yet have such huge turmoil going on inside. I can not say anything about this particular case as I do not know the man or his circumstances but I do hope that something really helpful and positive for the world can come from his sudden death.

Mental health should be as central to our lives and as easy to talk about as our physical health and whether we have a cold or sniffle. In reality, to talk about feeling down or out of sorts, or to feel like one is failing or feeling like one is a fraud or undeserving can lead to jeopardising your position. Or to back slapping encouragement that really you are OK and to pull yourself together when in fact you feel like a fragile glass ornament perched precariously on the edge of a steep precipice with wild winds whipping up all round and no shelter or comfort. Terrified, desperate and alone.

Ultimately, a person who commits suicide takes that action and it is their responsibility, but society as a whole needs to take a collective responsibility and to look at what it is that we do, say or expect that binds all of us.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Thinking about myself and my own family, this year is a poignant Remembrance Day. I feel our lives are bound up in the atrocities of World War I and the psychological aftermath on my grandfather which I wrote about in 2006. And then the effects on my mother which she in turn inflicted upon us and which I in turn have tried very hard not to inflict upon my children. Of my siblings, one is incredibly scarred and screwed-up and the other does a brilliant job of keeping all the hatches tightly bolted down. There is half-sibling with whom we sadly have no contact.

From 1917 when my grandfather was first gassed to 2011 when my mother died is ninety-four years. My grandfather had nine children of which the eldest committed suicide, the next died youngish in a road accident and the next is a recluse knowing he had to stay away from people though is quite charming when I visit him, and then the next is my mother, the eldest daughter. After my mother the rest of the siblings, although damaged, did not obviously inflict the level of pain and suffering on their children that my mother did. But then, by the time he had fathered the rest and they were still young, he was finally and forcibly evicted from the family home so the rest did not experience or really know the violence experienced by the elder siblings and were left with a loving mother.

This is not to say that everything is blamed on the aftermath of the war, but if someone has something like Aspergers, especially from way back then when it was not acknowledged, then the brutality my mother experienced and witnessed from her father was easier to replicate on us. What if she had been brought into a loving environment that cushioned and supported her, life could have been so very different. I would be someone completely different. I have said it before, I do not subscribe to the idea of giving thanks for my childhood making me into who I am. Such brutality and psychological traumas are barely able to be survived. Cue my elder sibling who amazingly is still alive despite a lifetime drowned in drugs to escape reality.

Yesterday I was asked by a friend how I am since my mother died a few months ago and I said how strange it feels. This person who was so omnipresent and such a character is suddenly not there. Nothing. Nada. Wiped out. Gone. It is puzzling as to why a person could ever have had such a hold. She hated Remembrance Day and condemned the going on about the past and these old fogeys dragged out each year. Yet there were years, as kids, we'd all be stood to attention at 7am in the cold greyness to get the "best" spot at the Cenotaph in London. I do not have fond memories to remember and I do not cry for her. Yet, it is Remembrance Day and I do feel an interconnection and strangely sad and tearful. More for what could have been than anything that actually was.

All those lives and families affected. In contrast, there is a lovely article on the BBC News website about the Thankful Villages.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Licking wounds?

Nah, not me, not this time. Yesterday was two weeks almost to the minute since I was ingloriously sacked that the postie arrived with a box of gorgeous printed postcards promoting my re-launched business. Within half an hour I was out on the streets popping them through letter boxes. A few hours later and with the help of the darling Mr Doris and my sis about 400 have been delivered. Another 600 to go out tomorrow. Oh the joy of action.

An incident slightly blurred the proceedings with a sticky letterbox. A dog on the other side snapped at my leather gloved fingers ripping the glove clean off my hand and leaving fingers stinging red for half an hour. There was no sign warning about dogs. Further down the road I chatted to a passing postie about it and she pointed out a house opposite where the mail refuse to deliver post any more because the dog there had ripped a postie's hand right off. I went off and delivered elsewhere. Those wounds I did lick for a while.

With the clocks jumping back it is a dark grey watery light outside. Goodness knows what it will be like when we have double summer time in place. What is time anyway ..... some arbitrary label that says it is 7 am or 10am. Hmm.