Wednesday January 24, 2018

[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/2F8iKGm]

Almost exactly eleven months; that's how long it lasted.

For eleven glorious months, I was emotionally stable. No wild swings into mania. No plunges into the darkness of despair. My brother said he had never known me so level-headed. My friends all commented.

The drugs, the glorious drugs! Thank you, pharmacists! Thank you, NHS (National Health Service for those of you not in the UK), for allowing me these expensive drugs for a fraction of their market price. Thank you.

I almost thought I was cured.

Then – a few weeks ago, something happened.

It was the kind of thing – well, it was the kind of thing you can't talk about to just anyone, you know? In fact, it was the kind of thing I felt I could talk to just one person about – and he was incommunicado.

I have other friends, but I couldn't go to them with this. I felt isolated, with no escape and the ultimate darkness hit.

What do you do when you get to that place? When you're standing on the edge with that charnel reek in your nose and throat?

Before you all leap in with suggestions, may I just say that first – you must recognise the edge of the crevasse as being an illusion. You must accept that, in that moment, you are not sane and you need help. Fortunately, I did recognise that.

There's the Samaritans, of course. There is nothing the Samaritans have not heard before; they do not judge.

But I did not want the Samaritans, I wanted my friend who was not there for me. I wanted my human comfort blanket, my personal blanket fort. I wanted the words only he could give.

And – my friend was not there.

So – I went online.

I went online to those illusory friends; the ones which live in your computer or your phone; the ones who may be anyone – as my family are always so ready to tell me.

I belong to a couple of Facebook groups. I went to one of them and – without talking about the issue – told them about standing on the edge.

The messages of support were wonderful and a dozen people sent me personal messages and asked to "friend me" that they might provide more private support.

Out of that, I've become close to a couple more people I can talk to. They don't know me personally; they don't know my family or my situation. I can be honest with them.

Another Facebook friend reminded me he's a priest these days. His "flock", he says, includes lost woolly ones beyond the bounds of his geographical parish. I know I can talk to him too.

So, I've expanded my support network. I've had to.

Who is your current support, and to whom can you look beyond?

A Moodscope member.

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