I suppose it’s actually longer than that. Let’s see. He died on the 14th March. So that’s 163 days to yesterday. But the breakdown happened the weekend before the funeral, in a Birmingham hotel, when I found myself at 6 in the morning, sitting on the side of the bath, shaking and staring at the floor, tears shining on the black tiles at my feet.
28 hours later I was sitting in my GP’s surgery telling him that I had spent 44 years hiding this, fighting it, dealing with it and getting nowhere.
Finally, I put my hand up and said, out loud, “I can’t do this anymore.”
Citalopram and therapy followed, quickly.
So, four months have passed.
Yesterday, two sessions earlier than expected, I was signed off the therapy.
“You’ve come so far since that day in April when I first met you.”
The therapy started with a face to face session but, after that, it was a series of workbooks and phone calls.
“Your voice was quiet and timid. Your body language was withdrawn, inward looking, defensive. You couldn’t make eye contact.”
“Now, your voice is bright, engaging. I can hear your eyes sparkle and you talk so enthusiastically about your week, your work and your life.”
I was sitting on my bed, nodding to myself, grinning.
Arrangements were made for a follow up call in November and details of a drop-in centre in Reading were passed.
“Well done, Niall. You should be proud of yourself.”
That phrase is so alien to me. My GP has used it, the head of HR at work, who has been wonderful, has used it. Most importantly, my wife has used it. So, for the first time in my life, I am going to use those words about myself.
I am so proud of myself.
This album has been the soundtrack to my new life, and this track will forever be fixed in my memory as the song of my recovery, of endless sunny days, early mornings in the garden and feeling like I don’t remember ever feeling before.
It’s a good sign.