When I first started blogging four or five years ago it was because I needed both relief from the silent burden of my mental health and because I wanted to let people know that it’s possible to live with mental health. It felt really important to me to show that recovery from severe bouts of mental ill health and that recovery isn’t necessarily about being the same as before but can show progress in attitude, management strategies, coping devices and acceptance.
For quite a while now I’ve been aware that I’ve been blogging less because I’m managing my illness better though not necessarily coping with it and because I’d decided that my blog was to be about mental health that it would be difficult to move it forwards and expand on topics to write about.
Yesterday my next door neighbour died. I’d been talking to him the day before for ages. We had this thing about standing on our mutual door step, leaning on the balcony while looking out over the beautiful park we live in whilst chewing the fat over.
We talked about the small things a lot but we also talked about his families. He was very proud of his son who has worked his way up from being the junior new boy to a manager in his job. He was incredibly proud of his grandson who is a talented footballer and has played in every premier league ground in the country.
We talked about the steps we took to try to remain healthy and particularly about the exercise we took and how I was eating less meat and more fish because he recommended it me. We also mentioned briefly how glad we were to be friends again after a period of estrangement.
After about an hour he went back into his flat and I went back into mine. I saw him yesterday morning as I was taking my dog out for an early morning walk and waved to him across the park. When I came back from the afternoon dog walk his son was on the step and told me he was about to break the safety chain on the door because he couldn’t get a response from his dad by knocking on the door or phoning him He went inside and then within minute I could hear the sirens of the ambulance getting closer.
At first I was hopeful because the big ambulance went away leaving the single paramedic there. I won’t disclose how I knew he was dead before I shouted out to his son to see if he was okay but I knew he was before he told me he was talking to the police as is standard with a sudden death.
I realised that I needed to write about the experience because it hasn’t affected my mental health but I feeling down because a friend has died. I need to write about the everyday things because my life is much more about my illness. In the same way you focus on not drinking when you become sober eventually you have to let people know how you got sober by talking about your life. Thus I will talk about crises and my illness to shine a light on the subject but I’ll also be talking about me and my life however mundane it may seem.