Blog John, Mental Health

Never Alone. (John)

Hello, hello we’re back. There’s been a wee absence from Elle and me recently. I’ve been busy with exams/work and Elle will explain her reasons when she returns. I return with an idea for a blog I had a couple of weeks ago. For the first time on this blog I’m going to issue a trigger warning as it deals with the subject of suicide. Elle and myself have discussed the notion of trigger warnings together. In truth we’re not so sure about them. This blog is intended to inform. This particular post is intended to offer reassurance. But if you feel you can’t face the subject matter then the warning is there.

So what made my thoughts turn to this particular subject? Well, I’m listening to him now. When I was younger I was a huge fan of the Scots rock band Big Country. Their lead singer Stuart Adamson was considered to be among the finest songwriters of his generation. I saw them live three times. Every gig is seared into my memory as the most joyous of occasions. Live Stuart always struck you as the most gentle, humble and sincere of men. He was often genuinely overwhelmed by the reception his fans gave him. I was at a famous Edinburgh Playhouse gig where the audience refused to leave. The band had already played three encores, left the stage and the house lights went up. But the audience just stayed put singing their songs. So down went the lights again and at the venues request the band came back on, played some more and left, and then had to come back on again, and left, and had to…They played a total of seven encores. Big Country’s fortunes would take a wee decline from such days. However they maintained a large and loyal cult following. If they were around today I am in no doubt they would have went through a renaissance and be back at the top of live shows. Every time I think of that I’m filled with genuine sadness. Sadly Stuart Adamson took his own life after a long battle with alcohol and depression. There’s no need for details you can read about it online. That hits me with a thump even now.

In my stand up show about my journey with mental health I talk about my own suicide attempt. I compare it to the cry for help that Sinead O’Connor put on social media last year. I think that’s what it may have been. People rallied around Sinead when it happened. Family rallied around me after my particular cry out. People who’ve never been in that particular place may see suicide as some kind of escape. It never felt like that to me that night. That night I was struck by the brutal thought that this was the shitty way I was going to end and it’s the shittest way to end. It felt like the loneliest place in the world.

I write this post to say you are never alone. My flatmate found me the next day. Out of sheer stress he told his dad what was going on. His dad who didn’t know my family at all phoned my mum and dad to tell them their son was very ill. That man was a stranger to me. I know many can’t turn to family, perhaps you may perceive there are no friends. Stop and think about the people that are around, stop and think about the support services that are around. We all play different roles in your life. Pretty much all of us care because that’s what the human condition is about. I don’t believe in this age of self. There’s no way we got this far as a species without being a community. Community is everything and you are a loved and respected member of that even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. I’m so glad I’m here to write this many years later. And I’m really looking forward to that night when I do a show so good I get seven encores too. 😉

In memory of Stuart Adamson.

 

“Chance”

All the rain came down
On a cold new town
As he carried you away
From your father’s hand
That always seemed like a fist
Reaching out to make you pay

He came like a hero from the factory floor
With the sun and moon as gifts
But the only son you ever saw
Were the two he left you with

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

Now the skirts hang so heavy around your head
That you never knew you were young
Because you played chance with a lifetime’s romance
And the price was far too long

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

Oh Lord where did the feeling go
Oh Lord I never felt so low

9 thoughts on “Never Alone. (John)”

  1. Really moving John. and full of something all of us need – HOPE. So agree with you. It’s not language or using tools that distinguishes us as a species. It;s community. In a big country dreams stay with you, Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside – Stay alive.

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  2. Your Black Dog seems blacker than most and certainly mine, although 20 years ago they were identical. I must have eventually put mine to sleep, as he miss a golden opportunity and didn’t at all show up while I was recovering from the heart attacks.

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  3. Hi John
    An amazing post as always; it’s only becoming possible for me to get a handle on life and mental health with you and Elle.
    I travelled back up from London on a flight next to Stuart Adamson and a few months later he was dead…
    (We have far too many connections- that you keep bringing up. Are we living a parallel life?)

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  4. Thanks for that mate. Synchronicities in life is something that’s always fascinated me. I don’t mean that they mean anything, but it’s surprising how often they happen. We’re both glad you’re enjoying the blog.

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  5. Good to have you back John. And looking forward to hearing from Elle again. You are doing something so great and I bow to your courage, loyalty
    and friendship with one another. You are the bravest people I know.

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