It's a while since I've walked down by the canal - or anywhere, come to that. Life has taken over. Probably nothing all that different from what is happening to everyone else but the effect on my mental health has been noticeable.
Until recently there were really only a couple of people I talked to about how I was feeling, because what's the point when everyone else is feeling much the same. I realised, though, that I wasn't talking to quite a number of my closest friends. Why not? Eventually I realised it was because so much had happened since I last spoke that the first question might be "why didn't you say anything?" and I didn't really have an answer.
The other reason was that for a few weeks now my life has been filled with anxiety for half of the day while I do things, make telephone calls, arrangements for and speak to my parents, and they are both having a tough time at the moment. When I did tell anyone about what was happening, the anxiety returned. Better to say nothing, then.
I got round it eventually, in one case by demanding 5 minutes of a friends' time because I was relaxed after a glass of wine and wanted to tell her when it didn't make me anxious. She graciously gave me 15 minutes while her husband sat poised with a paused box set at a crucial stage in the denouement.
Gradually, I've talked to or messaged most people. It's better. Several of them have sympathised. Several have said they don't mind me letting off steam, even people I hardly know.
So on World Mental Health Day I have a message. It's my usual message, actually.
Talk to people!
Whether you feel anxious, depressed, sad, isolated or happy, relaxed and ready to go, talk to people either about how you feel or about how they feel. There are too many people in society still not doing it.
For those who've been following any of my ramblings, my garden is the thing which brings most contentment in this most hideous of years. Everything seems more difficult with a pandemic, except gardening. I know this isn't true for everyone, but I feel really sorry for anyone who would like a garden but doesn't have one.