I was going to write about 2010 and celebrating my birthday but what I really need to write about is depression. This month it stole a very good friend of ours. A lovely man called Alan, who was friendly, fun, incredibly generous and always ready for banter and slagging (and those inadequate words can’t begin to describe the light and energy of Alan’s soul). People who met him walked away smiling. He had that effect, and yet for over thirty years Alan battled privately with depression, all the while joking, laughing and helping out anyone who crossed his path.

I hate depression more than cancer. No one can comfort you, and anyway you feel so ashamed for feeling bad that you don’t tell anyone. It is utterly lonely – a cold dark endless place where an evil voice tells you nobody loves you, you’re worthless and a waste of space.

That you’re better off dead.

At Alan’s funeral some of us admitted that we know how this feels. But, except for at that funeral, very few of us ever tell each other because we’re ashamed. We’re supposed to be happy. But do you know what? There’s nothing wrong with being sad. We need to reach out and tell each other if we’re down and struggling. Not wait for someone to ring us up by chance to see how we are, and then say ‘fine’.
Right now, I’m sad. So sad that this lovely man is gone. My prayer and hope is that no one else finds him or herself in that same place, ever.

Rest in Peace, Alan.