So it’s Mental Health Awareness week. I’ve always been ambivalent about this sort of thing because though it’s good to raise awareness it should be raised for ever, not just for one week. Yes I am in two minds, because like Covid 19, my depression might never go away, it is for life and not just for Christmas.
But I always viewed Covid as an opportunity, not least to volunteer in helping the NHS in helping us through the crisis. And it was the act of volunteering that I quickly realised was good for my mental health. So I decided to do even more, and became a Nantwich Buddie (a local voluntary group). I’ve written about the effect of volunteering on my mental health a lot on here, but here’s a little anecdote that makes me chuckle. I hope it makes you chuckle too…
I have always been a fan of malapropisms, and was once lucky enough to write for the legendary Jean Alexander (who as Hilda Ogden was one of the greatest malapropists of all time). Or I thought she was until I met “Frank”, one of my clients.
Frank is seventy-nine, living alone. He has no family, so my weekly visit to do his shopping was something of an event for him, an opportunity for conversation on the doorstep. We got to know each other quite well, and were happy to have a shared passion for wildlife and wildlife programmes on TV. On one occasion as he gave me a scrap of paper with his shopping list thereon he happened to mention a programme the previous night all about the deep sea world. I told him I had seen the programme too.
“Brilliant,” he said, “and did you see the giant octopus?”
“I did,” I said.
“Massive,” he said, “thirty-foot testicles.”
I hadn’t the heart to correct him. I just took his list and his twenty pound note and went to do his shop, chuckling to myself down every aisle of Aldi and thinking to myself how great it feels to be alive among such lovely folk.