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.