I actually wrote this some years ago but, on reading it again, thought that it might be of help to people who struggle.
He knew that he had achieved even though he had left proving it to himself until rather late in life. Three books that have been well received by those who read them has been immensely rewarding. As was the response from his wife and others in his family that he had a real writing style and a story to tell. The writing itself even more satisfying; the flow of the words from somewhere deep inside to the keyboard, both a revelation and a joy. The physical feel of the published book when it arrives a confirmation of his life and beliefs. The need to believe as strong as the beliefs themselves.
These latter reflected in the projects that he had helped to create; what he called those “little bits of Wonderland”. Those same beliefs reinforced in the form of national recognition from his beloved “Guardian”. Yet, despite all this, he can still be knocked off course and knows that he can be better than he allows himself to be. And in that latter phrase dwells a whole hidden set of beliefs; those created by the experiences of the small child who still lives within what is now an old man.
Recently, a set of circumstances have arisen that have aroused those fears again and these have left him with a disturbed night and waking to those well remembered feelings. The apprehension, the shaking (more a feeling than a reality) and the butterflies in the stomach. The mind that won’t let go of what’s happened and the fear of what it might lead to; the latter of which is the real problem. It’s like a tape running and rerunning in his head. Above all it’s the realisation that he has little control over his reactions. Emotion overrides reason every time.
Yet dig a little deeper and he knows that the emotions of that small child often controlled the adult’s behaviour. It’s just that he thought that he had left all that behind; only to find that he hasn’t. The lovely flat that has been his home for 20 years now feels less like a home. In fact, it feels somewhat unsafe. Bloodymindedness keeps him going although he knows that the subtle pathways that maintain the mind’s equilibrium are not as amenable to this as he would like them to be.
You see, it’s not like a physical illness with its more recognised symptoms and stages. Broken bones, for example, heal, allowing the relevant limb to be brought back into use. The mind has a more amorphous pattern of behaviour. Indeed, not even a pattern; just at present, the predominant and heavy weight of apprehension. Feelings more determining than physical symptoms. It’s as if, no matter what he reaches out to hold onto, he is trying to grasp the fog. He also knows, from past experience, that it will pass although that doesn’t help much. Maybe this time it won’t. Here, though, the bloodymindedness does help!
Crucially, he has to earn a living and that takes little account of such circumstances. So, above all else, he still has to function in the real world and that provides the momentum to keep going. Just as his eldest children did all those years ago when he really hit the wall. This is nothing like that, although it is uncomfortable and inhibiting.
Fortunately, he has a very supportive family and someone from whom he can get professional help. Lastly, he knows that there are people in this world whose problems put his in the shade. However, he also remembers a friend who once told him that that may be so but that, “There’s no sore bottom like your own sore bottom”. Maybe there isn’t but he yearns to get his sense of perception back and soon. Interestingly, putting his feelings on paper helps much as it has always done which is just the reason that he’s done exactly that.