...slowly but surely, Agoraphobics Anonymous is taking shape.
The past couple of chapters haven't been pleasant ones to write - a suicide, an alcoholic with bipolar disorder crashing and burning....but that's the stark reality of life with mental ill-health. Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to recover and get to a point where they're happy with their life.
I look outside on this glorious, sunny summer afternoon and thank God I was never successful at my umpity-dozen suicide attempts. I look at photos of Big Toots and Little Tootsie, plus Lovely Boyfriend, and smile. No, I'm not working despite the DWP's best efforts, and I'm having to scrape by on £71 a week, but I've worked out how my head works and I manage my condition the best way I can.
But there are millions of people out there who are depressed, suicidal or just plain miserable about their lives. Not all my fictional characters will have a happy ending, but I hope that healthy people reading about their journies will take the time to think about a friend or loved one who isn't well. Mental ill-health isn't about poor will-power, or a lack of faith....it's an illness and deserves as much support as any other illness. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer to "just buck up" so don't do it to someone with chronic depression.
I promise to keep writing about mental ill-health until I run out of conditions to cover. And I hope people will keep reading the stories and develop a better understanding of everything involved.