Yesterday I gave a talk at a Mental Health Awareness event about my own mental wellness journey. I started by telling my audience, many of whom were business colleagues, that I would be talking about the thing I don’t talk about. My darkness. I hope I didn’t come across as having delusions of grandeur when I compared it to Winston Churchill’s black dog. But like the great man, my darkness is always with me. Sometimes it lays dormant. Sometimes it threatens to overpower. Sometimes it paralyses me.

But this blog is not about my experience. I want to explore some difficult emotions I am having with a friend of mine. She is struggling. I see all the signs. We were at a recent business event and she looked absolutely stunning. She appeared on stage to talk about her latest project. She was amazing. And then she got totally inebriated and ended the night continually sneaking off with a man whom we all knew was married with his wife in bed in the hotel upstairs. This particular man could not believe his luck with my friend being as gorgeous as she is and him being, well, not. But she was continually warned by other females to leave him alone. And she didn’t.

I messaged her the next day to say I was always there to talk if she needed me. I got a very breezy reply. Like everyone had been blowing things out of proportion. But I know what I saw because I saw me. Struggling. Desperate for happiness. And thinking it can be found at the bottom of a bottle or in the arms of a man.

If we don’t talk about it, we can’t face it. Awareness is the first step to change. I became aware I would have to live with my darkness only two years ago. Coming to the end of my last lot of counselling I realised that nothing (or no one) was going to fix me and the darkness and me would have to learn to get along somehow. I have spent the past two years figuring out how and I think I will spend the rest of my life tweaking and adapting the formula.

Me. No one else. Me. I am my own superhero. I am my knight in shining armour. I am my partner for life. The only person I have a lifelong emotional relationship with is myself. I was there at the beginning. I will be there at the end. And no one else can say that.

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