‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society’

By Thursday, August 14, 2014 0 Permalink

Over the last few days there has been increased discussion about suicide sparked by the sad loss of the American actor/comedian Robin Williams. I resisted discussing anything about what I view as a fact of life, and sat back only to find the discussion and outpouring was lacking in real knowledge thereby superficial, and in dire need of considered reasoning based on experience rather than hypocrisy or pity.  Naturally any insults made about the matter are not worthy of attention. However, knee jerk reactions are generally lacking in any reason and based on people's misconceptions which do need to be addressed for any informed debate. Suicide is for many the epitome of autonomy and ownership over one's life. Therefore it deserves a decent discussion. His suicide while sad is no more or less significant than any other but it is the knee jerk social media outpourings about it which means that the topic gets the ...

‘Friendship is not a big thing, it’s a million little things’

By Sunday, August 3, 2014 0 Permalink

To write of another death in my life seems almost absurd, yet here we are again. My dear friend Andrew Dodge died last week after battling a long illness. He was, thankfully at his home in the USA with his beloved wife by his side. I was told of his worsening condition only a few months ago and I'm pleased I decided to visit him immediately in person while he was in London. Humans need to remember that saying get well soon on Facebook is not the same as a hug or seeing people face to face. Ever. It is also naïve to ignore the issue of mortality. I could be sorry I don't have more photos of us, I didn't see him enough or even be resentful that all the awful people we knew are still here and the good ones go too early.  But the only thing I could really regret is not appreciating ...

‘The Meaning of Monty Python’

(warning-  this post features gratuitous Python references) Last night I was lucky enough to be at the O2 Arena to watch the Monty Python Reunion show and once the pain in my face had subsided from smiling and giggling, it has left me with a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness. Also, a huge sense of relief, as although I'd been eagerly anticipating the show, I was concerned that maybe trying to recapture something of the past would end awkwardly and they may somehow tarnish their reputation. It most definitely did not and if anything it reinforces the idea that nostalgia is not misty eyed longing for the past because it was better, it is bringing the best of what you loved into the present moment and relishing in that simple joy. Especially if that was childlike mischief. I'm not one prone to nostalgia, hyperbole or fangirl behaviour so my praise is entirely ...

‘From Sadness to Serenity’

Some people experience few if any bereavements in their lives, I really have had plenty of practice at it now and while still by no means an expert have learnt enough to be able to offer some helpful thoughts. Last month my friend Aubrey died. He was 91 and for the last 3 years the Puppy and I have been visiting him at the nursing home he lived in. I feel nothing but deep calm about the whole situation and I will explain why. Nothing I write will do him, or our friendship justice but I'll have a go. This post is mainly about who he was, because he deserves the attention, but also about how I have learnt the truth of the maxim If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change About six months after Mama died to take my mind off things I became a therapy ...