I so much want to support the anniversary of my friend Roda’s blog at Growing Self and in order to do so I am going to participate in the challenge she has set here.
So I am supposed to write about me? Well, like most bloggers, I often do that anyway as it is a subject I know quite a bit about – though my wife insists she knows more.
So who am I? Well here is a starter:
Full time lab rat. Part time artist, plantsman, gardener, naturalist, sci-fi geek, gym bunny, musician, comedian, blogger, photographer, caffeine addict, recovering depressive and wannabe gigolo.
I was born in 1966, back when the world was still in black and white, and am still thinking about growing up.
I live in NW England. It rains a lot and there are sheep.
What do you mean, ‘no, seriously’?
The above pretty much sums me up really. I suspect Roda wants something a little more in depth..
What brings me joy? I have always loved nature. The perfection of a flower or and insect’s wing and how as you focus further in and see more detail they just become even more wondrous. I bought myself a microscope when I was 11 and am still exploring nature 40 years later, with even more enthusiasm. The way nature adapts and grows to fill every life possibility is a lesson to us all I think.
How have I grown over the past year? Well this is quite a story! A year ago I was in the depths of one of my worst depressive episodes in decades. I had a breakdown in mid summer and was prescribed Citalopram. This improved my mood enough to start taking steps, including reviving my long neglected blog. I started reaching out and connecting with other like-minded bloggers. Some of these people have become true real-life friends who bring me joy every single day with thoughtful messages, comments and gifts. My day always starts with checking my e-mail and wordpress for news from my friends.
The loneliness I had felt for years has gone. I have found a sense of family.
My new friends have encouraged me in my efforts to grow and fulfil my dreams. Feeling loved and supported has made me so much more brave and willing to push my limits. Most recently I started to learn to swim at 51. This week I swam my first length and it made me SO happy. My dream of scuba diving on a coral reef is now a step closer!
I am working toward selling my art and collaborating with friends on blogging projects too. I am busy but happy for the first time in so long.
How have I learned to love myself? By listening instead of dismissing compliments, often from the same friends above. I started to accept that maybe my self-perception had been skewed for a long time and maybe I am an OK guy after all.
What challenges have I overcome in my life? The biggest was the scars left by my childhood. I drafted a blog post about this once but it was so painful that I could not bear to publish it and have only shared the full story with one person. It culminated in a suicide attempt at 17 and a lifetime of self-esteem issues and depression which in turn led to loneliness. I have fought back on occasions before but in the last six months there has been what feels like a permanent shift back into the light, as I have already described.
Growing Self was one of the first blogs I followed when I returned to blogging and has inspired me in many ways; from Roda’s sublime photography, her lovely family and her critters. Her love of flowers and nature but most of all because of Roda’s loving and sunny heart. I know where to go if I need a smile or to feel some warmth. Thank you Roda for bringing sunshine to the lives of your loving friends over the last year and long may you continue.