Wednesday, 26 May 2010


I'm sure that many of us have lifelines; things that help us to remember names, things that help us to remember important places or occasions, and for those suffering with mental illness things that are our coping strategies when things get really bad.

I have a number of lifelines that help me when I am feeling very depressed and I write about them often on this blog, another of my lifelines. Writing was an important part of my daily life when I was working, and when I was studying for my degree. As both work and studying stopped at about the same time (although I have continued to do the odd bit of studying in the intervening period) the loss of writing as everyday occupation impacted on me quite severely.

I don't know why I feel the need to write, nor am I always pleased with what I have written, but writing does help me to remain sane. When I started this blog, I had no clear idea where it would take me, nor what I hoped to achieve with it. I wasn't even sure that it was something that I would keep up. The loss of the ability to maintain an interest in things can be one of the first signs of depression and this might well mean that I would, like many other bloggers, fall by the wayside.

But I haven't fallen by the wayside. Yes, there have been periods when I found it very difficult to find the energy, or enthusiasm to write. Two periods being hospitalized meant that blogging stopped for a while. However, I have always returned and perhaps I am stronger for it.

This blog has always been a cornucopia of subjects. Originally envisaged as a forum for writing about how I dealt with depression, it has become much more than that. The need to write has meant that I would often write about the things that I have seen or heard, that I would describe some of my coping strategies so that others may also embrace them. I have written about the good times (not that there have been many) and the bad, about knitting, about psychotherapy, about strange things that I have seen, about places that I have visited and the blogging friends that I have met.

My blog was about a month old before I told anyone about it. It was about two months old when I mentioned it to Mr Smiley, who became a regular reader and commenter from that moment on and a great source of encouragement when I was finding it difficult to write for the blog. You won't find Mr Smiley's name on any of his comments; they were always made anonymously but because I knew his writing style I knew exactly which were his comments.

It is now more than six months since Mr Smiley's last comment on this blog. He was too ill to read it once he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he didn't know how well received the posts under the title Tackling the Mental Health Minefield had been, which is a shame because it was he who encouraged me to write about my experiences so that others might learn or derive support from them.

I guess that it would be true to say that Mr Smiley was another of my lifelines. I did wonder whether I would be able to continue without his support and encouragement. The fact that I am still blogging shows that I could, but it does grieve me that he is not here to read about my meetings with blogging friends, about the knitting group that I have joined (about which he would have been really pleased) and my new adventures in designing knitting patterns.

Lifelines are important to us and we should never underestimate the impact that they have on our lives or on what they allow us to achieve. I will continue to use my lifelines to help me keep my head above water and to make the most of every day that I have.


steph said...

Nicely put! You have a wonderful way with words.

I'm sure Mr Smiley would be very proud of you for the way that you've carried on without his support.

Wendy Love said...

Thank you for reminding me about 'lifelines' as you call them. It is so easy to forget the people that God puts in our lives at different times and for different reasons, but they are just the right people for the right time. You have helped me to remember some of those people, those 'lifelines' today. Thanks. By the way, what kind of writing did you do when you were a working gal?