Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Last night a bookshop and a choir saved my life

Actually, they’ve been saving my life for the majority of this year, but last night saw my favourite choir singing carols in my favourite bookshop and having them both together gave me tingles and a warm love-filled glow.

I won’t dwell on it too much, but what with Stalker from Hell (AKA The Person) a work investigation into my mental health, the worst and most elongated episode of depression I’ve ever had and the heart-breaking, mind-fucking  consequences of it all, 2011 has been one heck of a bastard year.

Tottenham Community Choir has been a mainstay in my life for over two years but this year I have needed it more than ever.  Knowing that no matter how dreadful I am feeling, there are 70-plus friends who don’t judge or poke their noses in, who just care and want to enjoy singing with you has been a huge motivator in helping me come to terms with being afflicted with depression and has also been a massive reason to get out of bed.  I can’t even begin to express how much I owe the choir, even though the circumstances that led to The Person blighting my life are so intimately connected with them.  I feel I truly belong.

As for The Big Green Bookshop, I don’t think Tim and Simon have any idea just what they’ve done for me.  My weekly trip to have a natter, a cuppa and a mooch around the bookshelves were not just the random visits of a supposedly poorly girl who couldn’t be arsed going to work (as The Person suggested to my work), they were goals.  I set myself tasks to try and re-integrate myself with the real world. “Come on Bearface, put some clean clothes on and see if you can get as far as the bookshop” has been my mantra for months now.  I’ve also made some fantastic friends through the shop.  It’s such a community hub that you just can’t fail to meet people you connect with and I’ve been lucky enough to become part of that community, which is full of understanding, funny and supportive people.

People need people.  It’s easy to feel alone, isolated and unworthy of other people’s attention when you’re depressed.  Knowing that you are surrounded by those who just accept you as you are, listen when you need them to and make you laugh when nothing else can is a wonderful thing and I feel privileged to count choir and bookshop folk as my friends. I hope I can be there for them if they need me.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions as the pessimist in me thinks it’s just setting yourself up to fail, but I will make this one as it will be a piece of cake to keep; in 2012 I will sing songs with Tottenham Community Choir, read books from The Big Green Bookshop and nurture and cherish the friendships I have made in both.


  1. You make me cry. In all the best ways but you do.

    I'm so proud to be your friend.

  2. Umm...the bookshop is next to where my counsellor used to live. They were my first attempt at talking to 'people I didn't know' in a long long time. If it hadn't gone well I might not have bothered with people after that. They are lovely. Not sure they have any idea what they mean to any of us

  3. As Princess says, proud of you, and in the tornado of horribleness that 2011 has been, meeting you and her have been two enormous positives. Last night was a lovely night, and I am glad to be part of Big Green Books' lovely community.

  4. What a moving post. Thank you for writing this and all the very best for 2012 from a fellow TCC member.

  5. Hello.

    Something just happened to me this lunchtime which proves how absolutely brilliant choirs are.

    I went shopping, a stupid thing to do this close to Christmas, but I wanted a sandwich, and the LOTR boxset to watch over the holidays.

    The car park was rammed, so I did what I always do when I am looking for where I've parked, which is childishly and absent mindedly sing a lyrical variant of Cwm Rhondda to myself.

    "Where the fuck;
    Where the fu-u-uck;
    Where the fuck'd I park my car?"...

    ...and three smartly dressed blokes coming the other way launched into a beautiful harmony of

    "Where the fuck did he park his car?"

    They were part of a local choir doing the carol singing in the shops.

    Choirs are fantastic - they bring joy to so many unexpected places.

    Happy Christmas.

  6. Thank you for all the comments! And that is a brilliant story, Graeme. Xx