I swim in the sea to be me, to be free of weights on my shoulder.
The sea is my friend.
My parents had mental health issues. Bi polar, Schizophrenia, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress, hey whatever?
Others gave them labels I just called them Mum or Mammy and Daddy. He never grew up in my head. He died aged 46, smoking related coping strategy with the hospital administered medication.
He never got the title of Dad as they also divorced when I was 14, Mum’s coping strategy not loss of love for him.
He lived in hospital till he died.
They taught me anger, loss, fear, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness without uttering a word about mental health themselves or knowing anything about World Mental Health Day.
They were too involved in their realities, in their thoughts.
They gave each other love, they gave each other confidence.
They took my confidence away at times but they never let go of their love and they taught me how to give it to others.
Neither did the maternal grandparents who fulfilled their role for the most part.
Sometimes it was hard, sometimes I was worried the ‘claimed’ genetic disorder would affect me but hey I’m 50 and no one has labelled me yet at least not to my face.
Have I felt down ever, yup, when I’m not exploring the world as they never could and am bound by the mundane or the physical ailments life dumps on us at times, some also labelled. Why do we need those?
However, inside the strength to overcome adversity is maintained. I kick my own ass to reflect and make changes, like now in ‘this’ moment. In the next moment that might have gone but that’s me being ‘mindful’ right?
Mental Health was never spoken about as a child, walls of hospitals were Victorian around the insane, values Victorian and families never discussed their business with anyone. Families never discussed their business with each other.
Now it’s on Social Media, we can all discuss mental health but has anything fundamentally changed in our society?
There are still those in need, those without, those with fear and those with a label, it’s just stuck on their foreheads now like a game of ‘Guess Who?’
The painting featured is old, witnessed in public, displayed at art school, displayed in exhibitions. I’d never sell it, it’s mine. It was a project on a ‘happy place’ .
This was for the most part Dad’s home, it’s where I felt safe too, it was where he lived. it’s where we laughed and where I played and was respectful to his friends. It makes me happy. To others it’s bleak.
I last saw the building when I was on a train, the wrong train, or the right train but the slow train between Edinburgh and Glasgow. A powerful, imposing, disused building, delapitated, empty aside form left over bits of hospital equipment.
I hadn’t been there since I was 14. I was 44. I found pics of the inside later on a website by urban decay photographers who ignore trespassing and security signs. I like that rebellion.
It gave me the fascination and joy with urban decay, the forgotten, the few.
Leonard Cohen was my friend in the darkness and in the day light, he taught me the joy of cracks.
Always seek the perfect imperfection was another thing when I lived in Japan.
I like both philosophical thoughts.
PS I like the idea of being tagged in #metalhealthweek as opposed to #mentalhealthweek. Thanks for being human and making an error on the online submission. I smiled