World Mental Health Day

Haiku for the Music

Icy slice of Christ

Into winter hinterland

Healed Achilles heel

World Mental Health Day came and went last week. And I didn’t notice, and here’s why… Followers of this blog, and they are too few and too far between, will know that earlier in the year I was dead, for just a nano-second I suspended in that no-man’s land between breathing and not breathing. I can talk about it now, and yes I can even laugh about it, which I do often. And the reason I laugh about it often is that I’m happy, my life has changed and I’m glad my life has changed. But no that’s wrongly-worded, it’s the other way round, I changed my life, and I’m glad I changed my life. And that’s the purpose of this blog, to show that any of us on the brink of suicide can make a different choice right then and there, and afterwards make other different choices for our lives.

I’ll talk about the different choices I made anon, but first let me record the things I’d be missing if I were dead.

Television, not the shit that stinks out our living-rooms night after night, other, more important produce.

Sky Sports’ wonderful coverage of England’s XI winning the World Cup, Stokes and his manly tattooed heroism, Bumble and his comedy unwittingly a class above most of the piss-poor stand-ups having the nerve to appear on Mock the Week and call themselves comics, colourful crowds having the time of their lives basking in the atmosphere befitting a game played with bigger and softer balls.

Comedy, not the shit aforementioned, the stuff that’s produced in the Houses of Parliament, as Warhol-barneted Boris and his friends and counterparts get their fifteen minutes making the most hilarious balls-up of Brexit and everything else imaginable. The useless fuckers of all hues have had me in stitches for months, and whereas once I’d never miss an episode of Have I Got News For You, which now wants either decommissioning or a kick up the arse, I tune into a programme simply called The News, a half-hour barrel of laughs with smirking Laura Kuenssberg as MC. (Mmmmm. Laura Kuenssberg, I haven’t quite been able to decide if I’d want to shag her or not. But I digress).

Strictly Come Dancing, and here I make a confession… that once upon a time I’d dump this in the toilet with the rest of the shit, but yes, now I’m a convert. It’s simply brilliant, and if I were dead I’d be missing out on the best series so far. The production values are amazing and the standard of entries is increasing year on year. How could I miss my old mate Kelvin Fletcher and his impressive treasure chest and rear of the year gyrating provocatively to the rumba? Seriously mate, you’re a natural, pack in driving tractors and turn professional. If you don’t get to the bouncing floor of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom I’m not renewing my licence. Strictly-speaking you’re all man and odds-on winner of the glitter ball.

But if Kelvin’s all man, Giovanni takes the biscuit. He’s absolutely gorgeous and I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if I had a crush on him. And I’m not the only one; I was watching with my girlfriend last night and talk got round to the proverbial “free pass”, which in her case was a threesome with me and Giovanni (to which I was all-too-quickly giving consent) and I reciprocated by plumping for Nadiya – not the one who bakes cakes (though a post-coital slice of Victoria Sponge is not to be sniffed at) – the Ukranian goddess who dances. None of this would ever happen of course, we were just having a giggle, but the thought of it’s enough to appreciate the life I still have.

To be serious for a minute, other things have happened since the day I hung from the joists, since the day when my Achilles heel, the orange fug of depression I’d lived with all my life finally got me beat.

Firstly, I sent my anthology to a publisher and, after several weeks, they offered a publishing contract and an advance! All my life I had the ambition to get my work on the shelves of Waterstones and finally I made it! At the time of writing Return to Cocoa Yard is going through an edit, but all being well it’ll come out sometime in the spring of 2020. I’m naturally delighted and excited about this, and none of it would’ve happened if the belt around my neck hadn’t snapped. And there, right there, was my epiphany, that I should concentrate on prose. So I’m working on the sequel now, called Here Am I Sitting in my Tin Can, excerpts from which can be seen on this site.

Secondly, I’ve been sharing my stories (fictitious and otherwise) to audiences far and wide. I recently ran a masterclass for ITV VIPs and it was great, I was great, they were great.

Thirdly I’ve started doing some supply teaching, giving something back to young people just starting out, their whole lives in front of them, doors and opportunities to be opened for them. Again it’s something I always wanted to do, and now I’m doing it. And it feels great.

And finally, I’ve turned my hand to other things, other hobbies, simple things that have always been important to me, far more important than I knew.

In other words and in peroration (one of my favourites!) I’ve changed my life. None of this has been easy, I’ve had to work hard at it, but all of this has been possible. And is possible, not just for me, for anyone. True I couldn’t have done all this without a lot of hard work and commitment and a lot of help from those I love, and they are not too few and far between. But most of this I’ve done for myself, and I’m glad I did it, I’m glad I made different choices, and I’m glad to say I have no plans whatsoever to allow my Achilles heel dig its way into my life this coming winter. Thank you for the music.

4 thoughts on “World Mental Health Day

  1. Fantastic post Mark. Really pleased for you! Look forward to see your book on the shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous to read this Bick and I’ll be bringing my copy around for signing as soon as I have been to Waterstones in the Spring. I have given it some thought and accepted that I didn’t make your dream threesome – your loss pal ! See you soon

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post Mark.


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