THIS weekend my blog No Time to Think (www.seagullnic.wordpress.com) celebrates its first birthday.
During this first year I have written 173 posts, and the blog has enjoyed 16,000 hits, more than 200 Likes and 100 followers. Plus I have been nominated for two awards.
The blog was conceived as a therapy to help recovery from my nervous breakdown last year and emerge from the depression which had haunted me since I was 14 years-old.
My doctors advised me to talk or write about my problems and that catharsis would help me address the demons which led to the collapse. So I blogged on the sex abuse I suffered as a young teenager, my 30 year-old conviction, my battle with cancer, the loss of two of my children, my failed relationships, my alcoholism, my bankruptcy, bereavements and the assault which almost ended my own life prematurely.
The writing was on occasions deeply painful but it was also liberating. I looked back and addressed each issue and found amazing support along the way from my close family and many great friends. Plus a brilliant GP who has been there every inch of the way – thanks Dr Beverley.
I was also able to work out why I had been so depressed and so angry for so long.
My own depression, which was diagnosed after my breakdown, was classified as ‘reactive depression’. In other words, it was not a clinical illness but a reaction to what life had thrown at me.
The depression manifested itself in the more obvious feelings of deep lows or worthlessness – especially in a relationship or at work – but also in many other less obvious ways such as anger and irritability, frustration, OCD behavior, selective hearing, tiredness, insomnia, over-eating, forgetfulness, clumsiness and inability to concentrate on one thing for long periods. In my case, it was all of these, plus for many years, an over-dependence on alcohol.
You see, I learned from an early age to put on a mask of happiness, and even stupidity, to hide the pain inside to allow myself to function normally.
But, there is a limit to how long you can lock things inside while smiling on the outside. As I wrote in an earlier blog posting When You Gonna Wake Up And Strengthen The Things That Remain? my jaunty exterior collapsed in a complete nervous breakdown on 12 June last year… a day when I simply could not hold it all in any more.
The process of healing has been long and last November made the hard decision to leave my career in newspaper journalism behind after 28 years and dedicate the final years of my working life to writing, publishing and teaching.
I have resurrected my old name Time is an Ocean (thank you Bob!) as a vehicle for my writing and lecturing. And later, with the help of an amazing business advisor (and now close friend), launched my own company writeahead.
But all the while my blog was ticking away in the background allowing me to write and develop ideas.
The blog contains the aforementioned stories about my life, anecdotes from my years in newspaper journalism, chapters from my first children’s novel and opinion pieces on current events.
But is also contains a poetry section, which over the year has grown to Topsy like proportions. It has become the most commented and favourably reviewed section of my entire blog, with friends and relations urging me to publish the poetry.
So today on the eve of the anniversary of No Time To Think, I have finished my first book of poetry. It awaits pre-press subbing and I plan to publish the first edition by the end of November. It is called: The Hill – poems and songs of darkness and light.
I am unsure exactly where the future will take me – who does? But it is going to be an adventure and I’m not too old to begin new adventures
I genuinely feel happy, positive and excited about the future for the first time in my adult life.
‘Time is an ocean it ends at the shore’… my own boat has just set sail.