2021 – The Climb

I’m in bed waiting for the kids to wake up this Christmas morning.

This year has been bad, as it has for most, and I am certain that my problems don’t add up to much compared to what others have been through this year. That said, the breakdown I suffered just over 1 year ago made for the hardest struggle of my life. It has been a year of slowly climbing up a mountain from a dark and muddy pit. I am back at the peak, the view is good although the ground feels less secure than it once did.

To continue to overused but useful metaphor, my wonderful family threw down the ropes and pulled hard for the entire year, the 2 therapists I worked with climbed with me and gave me tips on how to traverse the rocks and overhangs, the tablets helped clear the dirt from my eyes, friends and colleagues all helped me in different ways. Most recently my brothers in the gloom – F3 – helped give me the literal physical strength, support and encouragement to keep on climbing and enjoy the experience of getting stronger, they helped me understand that these falls are a common peril, this fact made me feel less alone, less stupid for falling. I am thankful to everyone who helped me get back up here, that valley seems a long way down.

From this vista my vision is more clear and it seems easier to spot those who fell or are slipping, I vow to help anyone I see struggling up the same steep path. This part is important – because the metaphor of any gargantuan climb is just a metaphor – the supreme effort and focus is almost invisible. I was the sad clown; the small talk, sideways smiles, inane jokes and excuses for not socialising – all covering the torment and struggle I was feeling, in-turn adding to a sense of isolation. Keep an eye out for these sad clowns, they are hard to spot under the painted on smiles.

Keep on climbing.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.