From John

Dear You

I hope that you are able to believe what I'm going to say, " Sooner or later, you will feel better".  I have had several episodes and even now don’t know exactly what caused them but I do know that I am learning how to manage them.  I know what it is like to say to yourself, ‘If I can last another five minutes, if I can last another five minutes, if I can ……..’, not knowing what was going to happen after those five minutes.  Sounds silly doesn’t it?  It isn’t silly, it’s awful. Why do we have to be the carriers of this curse?  

Look at the many geniuses who have had our problems, it must have some useful evolutionary use or it would have died out.  I’m certainly not a genius but neither am I stupid.  My three year old grandson says I’m bonkers, but I see that as praise.  Raymond Briggs, who wrote The Snowman, said that one of the nicest things ever said to him was from his niece, who said, ‘You’re not normal are you?’  Another word for ‘normal’ is ‘average’ and who wants to be average?

Just now you would like nothing better than to be ‘normal’, but when this feeling of unbelievable sadness passes, and it will pass, examine your successes, no matter how small, and think of all the people who never achieved what you have done. 

You are part of a group, and once you talk with friends, colleagues, family etc you will find that there’s a lot more us in this group than you could have imagined.  Some people you talk to will just not be able to understand.  I was listening on the radio to some of the athletes who were in the Paralympics and they referred to the ‘able bodied’ as ‘those who are not yet disabled’.  I have noticed that some of the ‘hard guys’ are the ones who fall suddenly. 

I’m not one of the hard guys.  I once hit a cast-iron brake drum with a hammer and the drum broke.  If I hit a piece of rubber with a hammer it bends and then comes back into shape. 

 Many don’t like to admit to our difficulties but I have found that many of those I have told are relieved to know that they are not alone and their feelings are not a sign of weakness.

 Before retiring I was the Headteacher of a school for children with learning difficulties and pinched our school motto from Amnesty International, ‘Curse the darkness or light a candle’. It’s amazing how much light one candle can produce when you are in a very dark place.  Yes, I have used this thought to get me through some difficult periods.  Just doing little routine activities can feel like climbing a mountain which isn’t worth climbing.  Some little activities, like cleaning the brass fire surround whilst singing along to Rod Stewart, have brought me back from the edge. 

Our school song was from Chumbawamba’s, Tub Thumping, ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again.’  Many of the pupils had been ‘knocked down’, but got up time after time. 

Yes, I do take a small amount of medication every day, but what the hell!  It doesn’t make me go round giggling all day but at least I can giggle with friends until I have tears in my eyes and can’t get my breath. Now that’s a great feeling which can come back to you.

I now know that I may get ‘knocked down’ again, but I also know that I will get up again.