The role-play was the closest to dangerous, the closest to touching a nerve. One of us was Child X and the other was a youth worker, putting into practice our newly learnt ABCs on how to converse about suicidal thoughts.
The training was Youth Mental Health; Invaluable, useful, insightful. More than that, vital and needed. And while it wasn’t the module on suicidal thoughts that nudged too close to familiar, the markers and signs of depression didn’t exactly land too far from home.
‘Three or more of these markers for more than two weeks and a GP will diagnose depression’. Well Holy-Batsmokes and Gadzooks, Ma! I pretty much hit a home run! Not that I dwelled on it too much. Having ungracefully slid in and out of the blues for as long as been I’ve been old enough to know them, I settled myself by recognising my experience and falling back on their uses and upsides. I am so very sure that personal experience and intimate understanding only adds to the arsenal of empathy, ability, training and gained knowledge, that is needed to work closely with others.
But let’s head back to that Child X scenario, I fear I might have digressed. A recent family bereavement, a new insecurity, a lack of faith in one’s self, not sleeping at night, a wanting to end all the sadness… Ok, my dad might not have died, but a huge part, his VITAL part has. And yes, some of the rest might sound similar.
So a choice opened up in the role play, one road leading to reflection and possible or probable chin wobbled wet-eye, the other leading to necessary detachment. Big or small we all do it, all the time. Almost every moment, every day. Sometimes we somehow decide to switch focus because that’s what is needed and best. Just because you tripped over the cat or the dog you don’t own, spilt your porridge on your first born, lost your keys in the same place you always lose your keys, splashed hand washing water in an embarrassing place and blasted your crotch with a hairdryer, all in the precious five minutes before scramming out the door, it doesn’t mean you don’t get to work ready (or the school run or uni or funeral….). By that I mean we put things in boxes.
No, it isn’t always healthy, not at all. Boxes can burst and flow over. Some things demand urgent attention. But right then at role-play o’clock, it seemed to (because it had to) work out. Lucky for me my partner in play evoked the sacred spirit of that wondrous film Drop Dead Fred; her fictional gran for the Child X scenario met her end in a steam roller accident, and the thought of re-inflating her by huff, puff and straws gave her night terrors and cold waking sweats. A mutual love of Rik Mayall saved us both. And lo-behold the chin wobbles never came.
So if nothing else was gained about choices or boxes or survival techniques (or the wisdom or healing power of either), there is always the power of Rik Mayall. In his two-fingered anarchy we trust.
Now go watch Rik and Ade at their very 90s Bottom best.
(And just how we got to this post, right here is where it all started….)