It's a collection of old stones and lime mortar, perched wet and lonely in a Welsh Valley between Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig. The storage heaters have little effect on the chill that is not so much cold, more Victorian piety. This converted Chapel is my home for the next week. I've been here twenty four hours, and already I want to go home.
I needed a break. From the noise of life, of my life and those people who I think need me. I need to think they need me, otherwise I have no purpose. But their need is exhausting. And I'm selfish because one of those in need is my father, imminently moving in to a home after a pre-Christmas fall accelerated his dementia in ways we couldn't imagine. He will never be home again. And then there's my mother, dealing brilliantly with the uncertainty that 2017 has brought. Her mother suffered from Alzheimer's and knows the mixed blessing that residential nursing care can be. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Now the house they shared will be an empty, quiet place in which she will live out her days.
They are good people, worked hard, did their best by us kids; and still, life gives them disappointment. There's two ways to look at this of course. That life is nasty, brutal and short, so live every minute. Or, that life is nasty, brutish and short, so why bother? I'm doing all the right things, seeing my local mental health services each week, taking the meds. But they haven't passed my prescription to my doctor, or my doctor hasn't done anything with it, and as such I have come away to Wales without my Sertraline.
But it's only a week. What can happen in a week? I am stronger than this anyway, and that little pill might just be the placebo that I need to cope. That said, I know there's something chemically wrong in my head, so for the next few days I am sailing solo. It's a test. I win if I fail, fail if I win. And that's it. I want to be away. I want to be alone. But I don't want to be alone. And I don't want to be with me. Because I am selfish and small minded, and self-indulgent, and I need a drug to manage the things that other people seem to manage effortlessly.
The Old Man and the Sea
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