Ahh, Mrs Sun. So that’s what you look like! We’d forgotten. I think she’s only with us for a short while, but it’s good to know that she still knows where we live. Whether or not Uncle Snow will make it as far as Chatel for when we get there on 6 January remains to be seen. I do feel for those people who chose the Christmas week for skiing in the western Alps. There is no snow?
It’s been monumental week for us. Mostly based on our Jen finishing eighteen months of therapy and coming out the other side a very different person from the one who went in. And I’d like to dwell on that, mostly for all of you, who like me, think mental illness is all in the mind.
Jen has been v open about her illness. It stems from a couple of dark incidents in her childhood which only came to the fore recently. Add to that boarding school, us moving around a lot, me being the worst Dad in the world and the outcome is a very anxious, but hugely capable young woman. At first, this is a bit of being the worst Dad in the world, I was all for a stiff upper lip, a 10km run in the woods and a cold bath. It always worked for me. But not for Jen. Although, to her great credit she did manage to get a couple of v decent A-levels and a very good degree. But full time work, all that being depended upon by your boss, working to a timetable and getting on the conveyor belt of life was too much. Add to that the big real world, where there is so much pressure on young people to be something special; it was all too much.
The manifestation of the illness was a number of horrible incidences, and some v benign but ridiculous stuff like not being able to shop on her own – literally. That makes life v difficult for anyone. At that point I’d gone beyond giving Jen a good shaking and, thankfully, the professionals, South Gloucestershire Mental Health Services stepped up and took over. And some.
So an intense, twice a week process with a group session and an hour with an expert individually kicked in. Eighteen months later Jen is as fixed as she’s ever going to be. Engaged to James, she has her own business walking and boarding dogs (which she does extremely well) and can now shop on her own without falling over. She is now the rock for many of her friends who come to her with their problems and we have all learnt a great deal. By her own admission, she will always have anxious moments – as we all do – but now she can talk them through and pop out the other side.
It’s all been pretty amazing.
Why do I tell you this? Because we are immensely proud of her. And if you know someone who’s struggling with life, don’t dismiss it and expect them to necessarily soldier on. It doesn’t always work that way.
To finish, a bit of a diary. We have been doing admin based at Jens for the last couple of days. But this included a lovely trip to see our friends Seymour and Debbie (Hi Seymour!) and overnight with Alasdair and Annie, who have just returned from Riyadh having spent four years in Saudi working at the v top of the political structure, and doing great things. Like us, they’re not sure ‘what next’, so good luck to them.
And finally, the news. Go to this link if you have time:My brother is a world champion It shows my brother winning the homemade sloe gin world championship, run from a pub in Kent. Brilliant, just brilliant. Well done Kevin!