Try To Understand


I was standing amidst the displays of a publicity campaign led by the NHS on mental health at Exeter swimming baths, where my wife and I had gone with our eldest daughter and new granddaughter for her first proper swimming lesson. Having just spoken to a woman on the NHS stand about it, I went upstairs where there were many more tables and stands representing various related organisations and found three blank sheets of A2 sized paper on one wall, each with a ‘Comment Tree’ drawn on – basically the outlines of a tree drawn and an invitation to write your comments.

So I wrote the first verse of this poem, and added it as a comment on one of these ‘trees’. Not sure about it as I sit here, but it is an attempt to write about my observations of someone very close to me, who had been poorly with a moderately severe clinical depression. It is my attempt to demonstrate an understanding of depression. I don’t think this attempt fully succeeds, but it acts as a reminder for me of that difficult time and, perhaps most important of all, a reminder to us all of how important it is to help spread the word and encourage its understanding.

You could start by paying a visit to the website of the charity Rethink.

(Read the Poem)

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