Our lovely Lex issued me with a challenge the other day. "Whatever happens to you," he said, "use it to make good art." He was channelling Neil Gaiman at the time, and very appropriately too.
So you are all going to hear rather a lot about this broken ankle. Sorry!
I won't go into gory detail, but it was a bad break and I spent ninety minutes on an operating table while it was pinned back together with titanium rods and screws.
The bad news is, once it's healed, I still won't be able to leap high buildings in one mighty bound.
But the ankle will be stronger.
And I too will be stronger.
I'm determined to make this time as profitable as possible for everyone.
For a start I can write more. I can finish the first three novels of my series and start the fourth one. I can attend to real life and Facebook friendships, deepening them. I can learn a foreign language (Spanish, in case I have another accident in Tenerife!). I can start training my daughters to cook and clean and iron instead of doing it all for them (they'll be grateful later on). And I can spend more time with my husband. We both rather like that.
I always say that when life hands you lemons then reach for the gin and tonic!
But does going through depression also make us stronger?
I have never been able to use the down time with depression profitably as I can with the ankle. Although I can continue (just about) to write these blogs, my creative writing stutters to a shambling halt. There is no teaching anyone to do anything when you are just a shaking lump on the sofa. Even if I am physically in the same room as my husband I am not really keeping him company.
But yes, I believe it does make me stronger. Or at least more resilient. It deepens my wisdom and compassion – if I let it.
But just as with my ankle, I cannot afford self-pity.
Having a broken ankle is horrid. So too is having depression. And while it's much easier to be positive with the ankle, I choose also to be positive with the depression (even if that's almost impossible while in the grip of darkness).
Unlike the visible results of this time off my feet (a completed novel, a new language, new skills for my children), I cannot immediately see the positive results of my depression. I can only hope that they are there and then gradually perceive them over the next years and decades.
I think this is where Lex's Hope (see blog January 25th) comes in. It's the sure and certain expectation that something positive will come of these times.
Yes, I will be stronger. One day I will (metaphorically at least) leap tall buildings in one mighty bound.
A Moodscope member.