Losing friends or family always makes you contemplate about life. Maybe it's also about being older and having different priorities, understanding that it's not the material things that really make a difference or bring happiness. When I was told the news that my friend had passed away I remember my immediate reaction was 'I thought there was more time.'
I stand here silently for about 5 minutes paying attention to the sensations of my breathing and heartbeat, as well as the sound of birdsong all around me. I find this silence and solitude deeply enjoyable, but this has not always been the case -- in fact, I used to hate it.
I have a bugbear, and that is the way resilience is described as simply bouncing back. Here is the thing. We all bounce back from the rubbish life throws at us one way or another. That in itself is not resilience. Resilience is the way we adapt and respond to the rubbish life throws at us. This will either strengthen or weaken your resilience over the years.
Perhaps the conservatives will soon realise that the increase in depression in children, teenagers and adults is something that needs addressing and the support through NHS counselling should be in place, rather than forcing the support, it should be offered without long, unnecessary waiting lists.
Not everyone has a propensity to deal with such difficulties - even if those difficulties are likely to be temporary because the mentally ill party is receiving treatment. And I don't think that's being prejudiced or discriminatory. That's just the reality.
A disgruntled workforce is an unproductive one, I hear you cry. A job should not cost you your mental health. I'd agree. But I want to issue a warning: One of the worst things you can do in your career and in your life more generally, is to keep complaining about your working situation.
In the middle of the night, and subject to the double sense of isolation which depression and wakefulness at that time brings, I would repeat snatched lines of poetry to myself. I wasn't alone after all.
For 20 years I spoke through my skin because I couldn't find the right words. Instead of a best friend to play with, I had a pair of scissors. And instead of a voice, I got stuck on a merry-go-round of bottling things in and bleeding them out. The question I often get asked is 'why'; what could make me feel so low that I would want to drag a blade across my own flesh. Having had nearly two decades to gnaw over an answer, I'm still not really sure, other than - being brutally honest - I think I liked it. It wasn't about the injury I inflicted though, cutting never deviated towards sadomasochism, it was about searching for contentment.
Depression reduces your length of life as much as smoking does... pay for more psychological therapy and it will cost you nothing because of the savings on physical healthcare. The finances of healthcare actually improve through spending more on therapy.
The cost of doing nothing or simply settling for gradual change runs to billions of pounds, but the real cost is measured in human misery, misery for want of determination to act on the evidence.
There must be thousands of other people out there who also live with the secret shame that is shyness, the most prevalent of all socially transmitted diseases. I hold out hope that one day there will be a cure as opposed to the band-aid solution that is a wide-mouthed funnel and a litre of gin.
We can all learn from athletes, we can all benefit from managing stress and actually begin listening to our bodies and not live constantly in our heads, overruling the body's needs and demands.
I believe that all of us have an inner voice that tries to guide us through life. I believe that this voice wants the best for us and tries to steer us toward happiness, contentment and love. I think many people have a sense of this 'voice' but often refer to it simply as their 'gut instinct'.
There has been a lot of talk about "Thinspiration" since the Professor Green comment about his wife Millie Mackintosh and although the couple have gone on record to say it was a joke taken out of context, it made me question is the concept of "Thinspiration" inspiring or detrimental to our psyche?
One of the most challenging things about parenthood is learning to accept change. Accepting the fact once the baby cyclone dust settles, nothing looks like it did before. Not your body, not your relationship, not your friendships. Or your work.
While most people with physical illness are in treatment, this is true for fewer than one in three people with mental illness... What could account for this shocking failure? Stigma is one reason. People are ashamed of being mentally ill.