Saturday, March 04, 2006

A comment that struck deep

Yesterday I received a comment which moved me immensely. I couldn't understand why it affected me so deeply, why it was so different from any other. I think it's because it's about another painful story in my life which is not connected to 7th July or the bombs. It's about a place to which I have only ever travelled alone. I have shared it, but never with others who have been there. I can compose the words and tell the tale, but it is a veneer, a performance, it has never been truly understood.

The empathetic bond I have felt on meeting my fellow passengers from that day has taught me the power of talking to others who have been on the same journey and found themselves in the same dark alleyways. That is why I was so relieved to find this blog , and read it in another's words.

I know about madness, about madness that is frowned upon, whispered about, and I have always made a point of talking about him to everyone. I don't care how awkward it makes you feel, you knew him, you liked him, you respected him, he was just like us, but better. But he went mad and he stabbed people. How could you have imagined that you would be friends with one of these 'nutters', how could I have known that I would share my life with one for many years, that he would be the most amazing person I have ever known. A friend said only tonight 'He is the nicest bloke I have ever met, really ever' and she meant it. It's like the bombs this madness, it could happen to anyone, it could happen to you.

I have always known that, but he hasn't. He is beginning to see it now, because his 'rock' has gone mad.

His insanity is worse though, it is isolated and lonely.1 in 4 of us suffer from some form of mental illness at some stage in our lives, most through triggers that are isolated, silent incidents. How lucky was I? I have lost my mind through being involved in the biggest international incident that this country has ever known. I was there in the middle of the worst terrorist attack ever to strike this land. Only yesterday it was reported on the news that 1 in 4 (that statistic again) of people involved in those incidents, were now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am lucky, people are talking about it, they don't understand, but at least they know they are supposed to.

Many others have been through so much worse than I have, and they too have gone mad. They are alone. Imagine your family being stalked as a young boy. Coming home from school and finding a monster threatening your mother. Your queen, she has brought all of you up alone, and this guy who you are at school with is there in the kitchen threatening her. It goes on for months, the police don't listen. Don't care, until your brother gets stabbed in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon. Still they don't listen, your mother and siblings scream and shout for help. There is none. You know you are going mad and no one will listen, you see the suffering of your family, you have lost touch with your rational mind, and you want it to stop but no one will listen, so you stab someone.....and then they hear you.

You are all alone, the world doesn't care.

Well they care about me, at least they're beginning to, and my fellow passengers. They seem to have forgotten the families of the dead, brushed them under the carpet, but they care even less than that about people whose lives have been destroyed by incidents that no one has heard about.

This truly was not my fault, neither was what happened to him his, but it's much easier for me to accept. I have a reason, no one blames me. He doesn't have that security. He has been a pioneer in his madness, and I love my friends for the fact that they still accept him.

My story is nothing compared to that of so many dark forgotten souls. I will keep talking about them, and in my own little way do my best to break this terrible stigma.