I am sure I have read in a number of places that the writing of one’s own obituary can be both challenging and sometimes massively enlightening.
Recently, I’ve been going through the process of ‘putting my affairs in order’. As circumstances inevitably change on our journey through life, I’ve wanted to make sure that this was being reflected. I was shocked to hear that it is suspected that up to 70% of people in the UK have no will and testament.
Anyway, while going through various documents I came across a Eulogy that I had written for myself and letters to each of my children. I also came across plans written very clearly for my funeral arrangements, so that no-one needs to deal with that. When our Mum and Dad passed away, my siblings and I naturally made the arrangements. In fact the process of making these arrangements together, I believe, was the catalyst for us all becoming much closer and for that I will forever be so grateful.
This process got me thinking. Togetherness, be that a long term relationship, a best friend, or a sibling, can be most comforting. It’s not always about doing things together, it could be that one person is out digging the garden and someone else is watching TV, but that feeling that someone else is around can be really important at certain times of our life.
Self-reflection can be a really useful and fruitful process for us all to go through, but I also know that for me and I suspect for many folk, dealing with depression it can send us on ‘downward spirals’.
How then can we explore the darker depths of our soul whilst having a safety line tied to our waist?
If I didn’t care I wouldn’t write
I find the safety harness of producing written material means that I can go deeper into reflection, as the writing and my discoveries of myself ultimately have a destination – my written material. I would claim that my efforts in the past to strive for honesty and truth have been at best sporadic, yet each day I breathe I find myself getting closer to that truth. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can write with hope and clarity, whilst other days offer a darker window into my thoughts and struggles. I’m not an expert on depression, but I can offer insight into living with it. If people want more specific help, there are many organisations that are set up for this purpose.
I have no secrets. I was married to a woman for ten years (or thereabouts). I believe she was and probably still is essentially a good person. But I suspect her and her family have had their part to play in denying two children a natural Father. Whilst these actions have been horrid, in truth, they are probably no worse than some of the actions I have taken. Depression in some ways is like being drunk in that it can warp a person’s perspective on events or situations, and can cause that person to act or respond in a way that can be extreme and sometimes very ugly.
At times, writing is the last thing I want to do. For me, as I wrote in my last Blog, climbing mountains completely on my own, and when there is no one else even on the mountain, has become another way for me to explore my mind. There’s something metaphorical about climbing that aligns with my depression.
I go up mountains completely on my own and into the quagmire of brutal darkness, and thus far I am still breathing. So when folks ask me why I do this, I often will answer “it’s about the peace and solitude and the challenge etc etc” but this is an untruth. The real reason I do this is that I care not for the consequences for myself, let me be very clear here. I do care very greatly for many people, but in the depths of my soul I feel that my absence would make lots of very special people’s lives a lot less complicated.
And this is the naked truth of how depression can really warp ones perception.
If you are in a dark place, although I am not the best at doing this myself, I hope that you can find the courage to ask for a hand to hold in your dark times. Equally, again if like me you seek solitude in the mountains, my hope is that you will take appropriate safety gear and let someone know where you are going.
With love peace and hope