A personal post: memories and Mind

Dear friends,

Today as we head into the bank holiday weekend I won’t be posting anything wedding related. Some of you may know that I’ve used this blog in the past to talk about my own struggle with mental illness. It’s important to break that stigma and I think it’s important to know that anyone can suffer. But today I’m here to talk about something quite close to my heart and would like to bring an important cause to your attention in honour of my wonderful friend, Alex, who sadly lost his battle with depression and took his own life.

Not many of you know about my upbringing. From a young age I went to a very small school, usually around 30 children per class and the same group of children from a young age until we were in our late teens. As such, for better or for worse, our class at school was like a little family. I have to be very honest here and say I didn’t have the best time at school. While I did have my friends I always felt I was somewhat of an outcast – something that I processed, in part, by choosing to get married in the beautiful grounds of my old school.

At the beginning of May I received the terrible news that one of our little family had passed away. I had somewhat lost touch with Alex in recent years, but the memory of growing up in such tiny quarters is an impression that will never leave me. At school, Alex was a lifeline to me. Alex had a way of seeing the unhappiness and insecurities in others and knowing what to say. He was witty, dry, sarcastic, silly, caring and exceptionally intelligent. I wish I had the vocabulary or the sensitivity to do Alex justice. By all accounts he was just the same after I knew him, artistic, caring and funny. This last month I have spent a lot of time working on forgiving myself for not staying in better touch and trying to find a way to thank him for looking after me at a difficult time of my life when I would have otherwise felt very alone.

At his funeral last week, I had the pleasure (although under terrible circumstances) of meeting Alex’s inspirational friend from university, Amanda. Amanda was a wonderful friend to Alex and when she told me she would be riding 20km on her bike in July to raise funds for Mind, the Mental Health Charity, who supported Alex towards the end of his life, I felt that publicising this was the least I could do to remember our friend and to help Amanda to raise funds for this wonderful charity. Alex died from an illness – depression is as dangerous as any life threatening physical illness and Mind do so much to combat the stigma and to help people to recover.

So far Amanda has done an incredible job of raising funds but I hope to do my bit to help her get that little bit further. So if you feel moved to help, it all goes to a wonderful cause. Her Just Giving page is here: http://www.justgiving.com/Amanda-Brunton where you can read more about Amanda’s efforts.

If it helps just one person to cope then we’ve done Alex proud.

Thank you for reading and if you feel moved to help, any donations are more than welcome.

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