Re: Mental health check
Commiserations Bill. It hurts to lose friends too early.
I used to do a bit of self harm when I was younger - thought about suicide every day for years but was always too chicken so I'd cut and hit myself instead. I was full of self loathing and just I wanted to not exist. I considered myself to be poison, nothing but trouble to everyone, and everyone would be better off if I was dead.
Then I realised the only thing that needed to die was my sick ego. So I'd kind of switch it off, telling (kidding?) myself that "I" was dead and only my animated body remained. I'd be all ears and eyes - dispassionate and uncaring about anything or anyone, just watching and listening - disassociating from the pain. Comfortably numb.
During those periods I'd try to avoid interaction but if I couldn't, I'd just listen and try to offer just enough to avoid the dreaded "are you okay?" question. I desperately didn't want to talk about myself, and felt intruded upon when people asked.
In hindsight all I was doing was taking a break from my cultural self and just letting myself be an organism for a while. It helped most times and, I believe, ultimately broke my habitual cycle of depression. For a long time it would only take a small setback or rebuke to set me off.
Once my problematic "I" was out of the way, healing would begin. Been years since I've been depressed, thank Universe.
I share this in case this technique will work for others as well. Immersion makes people happy, the ego screws us up. Worrying about what people think. Worrying that people are pissed off with us, or don't like us, or have bad plans for us or the kids and family etc. It's almost always people and relationships - a much more common cause of misery that illnesses like what Andy endured.
It's difficult when we jostle with our conflicts of interests while we often struggle to have control over our own behaviour. We blurt out stupid shit when we're hoping to be elegant, or the best laid plans can go belly up, or we lash out, go into panics or rages (synonymous), forget what's important.
Meaning is unnecessary. Life is important for its own sake and needs no justification. Everyone suffers, some more than others. Time is the great healer. When we're blue our sense of time goes west and we fool ourselves into thinking that nothing will change.
Yet change is always certain. Most people wouldn't have believed the way their life is today 20 years ago.
Sorry for blabbing on - maybe helpful for some. There's a lot of commonality to human experience.
Whatever, good luck and take it easy.