Last week I upset a lot of people by appearing to be flippant about mental health and the subject of depression, as well as stealing other people’s dogs. I don’t like to see people being upset, which is why I can’t read all the comments, but I also don’t really mind people being upset, as not upsetting people is not my job as a writer; my job is to move a reader, to make you think, make you laugh, make you question, make you cry, make you reconsider, make you angry, make you something else for a moment. I’ve attempted to get out of the moving business as I think people are moved too much right now, and so have tried to be a Good German, and stay in my lane, and talk only about fabric and thread. I want this to be a place you can come where you don’t feel anything. How I think you feel is how I felt near the top of the Sea of Dreams, when I soloed it a few years ago. Heavy, out of shape, straight onto it out the blocks, I found the upper part of the wall far more intense than the Reticent Wall. My brain ended up so strung out and stung with fear, that I ended up feeling physical pain when I was startled. I think a lot of people are the same now, their nerves are frayed (because that’s what social media does, it grinds your brain for advertising pennies).
But I was not being flippant about mental health and depression, I’ve been thinking about the subject since age six when I moved into a flat in which the previous tenant had hung himself (“why would you do that?” my young mind wondered). If you think about something like that long enough, see it both from outside and in, you’re going to come up with your own map of the landscape of the mind, or a map patched together from fragments. My map is not like yours, it has no chemical imbalances or clinical terms, but it does have dark woods and deserts filled with quicksands. My map is upsetting (it upsets me), but my map worked for me, it got me out of a hole. And so this weeks podcast is a form of reconciliation to all the people I upset, to show I wasn’t being flippant, not when I read of children killing themselves due to lockdown. no, I’m not being flippant, I’m just moved.