Falling Down & Getting What We Need
The right projects and people come into your life at the right time.
Earlier this year my youngest nephew turned seven. I met him and my brother at the park for an ice-cream and a demonstration of how one rides a new purple bike without any stabilisers, dontcha know? He looked super cool in his skinny jeans and skater dude helmet but when it came down to putting his foot on the peddle, he was tentative. At first he was wobbly without my brother’s help and that’s sort of how I feel as I write to you. Let me explain.
It’s been a while since I sent a thoughtful note and even longer since I recorded a podcast interview. I’ve been sick in my head and sick in my stomach, so for the first half of this year I retreated from the world in order to get better. I left the house for strolls in the immediate vicinity, for groceries, for therapy and medical appointments. I spent much time not sleeping at night and feeling useless during the day. I wrote a lot, I binged on Netflix (but didn’t binge on many of my favourite foods thanks to my gastric issues). I started giving away my possessions. I cancelled walkshops. I cancelled on friends. I took medication for the first time and hated to admit it helped. It is still helping.
My brother and close friends helped me during the moments when it seemed I’d fallen so hard I couldn’t get back up. I’m coming through it all and reflecting on how the right projects and people come into your life when you most need them. Soon I’ll be nipping along the path happily, just like my darling nephew now he’s a BMX expert.
The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.
– Ernest Hemingway, novelist and journalist
The projects included writing about animal therapy for Department Store for the Mind’s forthcoming books. I discovered how cats can make us more mindful thanks to Susannah and Cat; I interviewed many caregivers about how hen-keeping transforms the lives of older people and those suffering with dementia; and I learned how loving canines can unite communities. Can’t wait to share more of these stories with you when the books are out in the autumn.
There was also a photoshoot at Stepney City Farm where, for the blink of an eye, my beautiful editor Katie and I posed next to each other holding new feathery friends. My handling technique didn’t please ‘Duchess’ (who was really blooming heavy…).