07:30 the end of two minute’s silence in commemoration of the battle of the Somme, one hundred years ago today. Watching on silent TV in the waiting room of the fracture clinic at the hospital. Every ailment here quite evident: boot, brace, splint. But what of mental ailments? All of us on the spectrum from mental ill-health to sound mental health, people with various conditions at any one time. Some acute some chronic. Remembering that first ‘Acute Psychotic Episode’ that eventually led to the diagnosis of an underlying condition of bipolar affective disorder.
Hospitals remind me, as if there is some shift in the clarity of the light, of those moments of recovery – too scared then even to boil an egg. The headline in the local paper: ‘Woman’s miracle train fall escape – 41 year old survivor is detained under Mental Health Act’. The story is all about the events surrounding the incident, nothing about the woman herself, except the fact that she survived barely hurt, with only minor head injuries. We can but guess at the pain which drove her to jump.
And bodies at the Somme. And minds disintegrated, during one hundred and forty-one days of battle. Blood, bone, bullet, bomb. Survivors: those whose names were never cut in stone, but lived to witness death.
A new headline, the Austrian election is being recounted, the far-right have narrowly missed victory. History has a habit, it is said, of repeating itself. And war is no respecter of life, of love, of home.
The Mental Health Foundation have issued advice on coping with post Brexit anxiety – ‘big decisions with multiple consequences are triggers of stress and anxiety for many,’ A nation on edge, uncertain, uneasy, crying for the loss of unity, a grief of sorts at losing our friends in the European Union, the end of a long-term relationship, and even fear of who might now become an enemy.
Before the vote, I’d heard the supposedly inspirational speaker, Colonel Tim Collins who, when responding to a question from the audience, on what was best for Britain was firmly in the Brexit camp. His rationale, naturally, was a military one. How can we respond to aggression from Putin, if we have to debate with 27 other countries, before making a decision? We have our own nuclear deterrent for a reason, we need to be free to use it, or words to that effect – we can more easily align with Canada, Australia, America.
Trident, the sleeping giant, the destroyer – weapon of Poseidon – armoured alloys of steel, hundreds of tons of streamlined missile, nuclear explosive, cradled under the sea, yet constantly on patrol, like the uneasy god it is.
If you’re shaken by Brexit visit: The Mental Health Foundation