for World Mental Health Day, a being out …

It’s often useful for me when others are out about their mental health struggles, so here’s a little about mine.

We just had an astonishing Fun Palaces weekend, 362 Fun Palaces across the UK and beyond, full numbers are still to come in, but – based on last year’s figures – that means they were made by approx 6000 local people, with approx 154,000 people taking part. Our little part-time team were back in the office yesterday morning because we have funding struggles to sort, because we need to hear from each other how our trips to FPs across the UK went, because there is always more to do.

I am working on the edit for Money in the Morgue, it’s getting there, and – as always – I would welcome more time for the edit. I would welcome time to sit and think, as well as to edit and work.

My book London Lies Beneath is on a shortlist for the first Diva Literary Awards. This is lovely. It’s also the novel for Eltham Read – one book for one place. Again, lovely.

And, right now, though I have a tough/time-eating/nerves-inducing list of places to go, speeches to make, workshops to lead, in the next three weeks – six locations in 20 days, alongside Fun Palaces and the book to edit, I’m more or less ok.

I’m more or less ok because I have great co-workers, a generous and loving wife, dear friends. And because I have therapy. Because I do yoga almost every day. Because I run three or four times a week. Because – when I remember, when I have time, nowhere near as much as I’d like – I try to do a little mindfulness meditation. Because I’m working on trying NOT to overload myself. (Working on it – not achieved yet, obv!) Because I’m trying to be more honest, more often, about how I genuinely am, not how I think I ought to present.

I don’t know when I’ll again be depressed, lost, scared. My life shows me that the ups and downs of my mental health are not predictable. Most days I deal with some anxiety, some days a great deal more. Sometimes that anxiety is to do with cancer-fear/post-disease pain/death/life, some days it’s just anxiety because I’m human and I’m trying to work out who I am and how to be with that, sometimes it’s to do with the repercussions of a childhood where violence and the problems of poverty were common. Some days it’s anxiety for no reason at all. And some days are glorious. Really glorious.

Most days I am grateful if I can be more or less ok, much of the time.

We live in a culture that insists on ‘happy’ as the place, the person to be. For me, ‘more or less ok’ is a far less fraught possibility. I’m working on being ‘more or less ok’. It’s a life’s work.

I wish you a World Mental Health Day that is more or less ok.

I have some other posts like this, many of them about post-disease, in case they’re useful.