Team Cam: in memory

I still remember.

I still remember the phone call at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. “Cam’s dead.” There was a lot more said but those are the words that rang summoning me permanently from my sleep. Those are the only words I can remember from that awful night. For months I was scared to sleep because I had nightmares and worst of all memories. The memories were all those beautiful memories of my friend, making me laugh, making us all smile, talking about rocks, chanting for Scotland and eating packets of jaffa cakes from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds. When I would wake up, I’d remember that those memories would always be memories and there would be no more made. That kept bringing me crashing down back to my own hell. I cried myself to sleep. I tore at my wallpaper. I hated everyone who was around me for the sheer reason they were not Cam. I felt sick. I starved myself. I took laxitive overdoses. I drank to numb everything. I fell into depression too.

I got better. I was lucky. So lucky.

Depression. It was depression that killed him. Depression destroys the soul so you destroy yourself. You die from the inside out. It may be a “mental” illness but surely when it destroys a person, destroys their family, destroys their friends, it can no longer be just in the mind. It’s illness, that’s all.

When depression causes someone to drink, it is physical. When depression causes someone to cut, it is physical.
When depression causes someone so much pain they decide to take their own life. IT. IS. PHYSICAL.

I had a lucky escape. I was treated. I had a sympathetic doctors and even more sympathetic friends and family. I had luck on my side and I didn’t have the pressure of society telling me to “man up,” or keep quiet about my feelings. I was lucky.

The statistics for men and depression are catastrophic. Society has warped our minds into thinking it is shameful to be ill, shameful to express your feelings and shameful for men show anything other than a stereotypical version of masculinity. Of course not everyone believes this, but when you are already suffering hell everyday from depression, it is hard sometimes impossible to see through these things. If a young man, like Cam, who had everything going for him could fall to this illness, anyone can. No shame.

¾ of suicides are male
It is the biggest cause of death for men between 15 and 45. In 2012, there were 1754 road fatalities in the UK, about 5 a day.
There were 5980 suicides, that’s 16 a day. Why is this continuing?

It’s time to talk gentlemen.

That’s why a group of brilliant gentlemen are doing a trip to Ben Nevis. It’s something Cam definitely would have been up for. He’d be the first one charging forward and when it got tough, he’d be making everyone laugh.
They are raising money for the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust, to help people similar to Cam.

If you want to donate or find out more about the trip, click here.

As for you, Cam, I miss you.

I can write all the beautiful poetry in the world and it will not make it better. It will not bring you back. It will not fill the whole you left in our lives. I don’t have the heart to be angry. I just wish you could have said something. I wish I would have spotted something. The fact you’d been suffering for most of the time I knew you, makes me feel sick. Depression is a horrible, secretive, toxic thing. I’m sorry you had to go through it alone.

We miss you. We want you back. And we know that other people are also suffering the same thing with their loved ones. And it’ll continue. We know change is hard. But we are going to do our damned best to make those numbers go down.

We still remember.
I still remember.

Growing up.

Since starting university about a year and a half ago I have noticed I have grown up a lot. Students get a bad reputation about larking around and drinking and generally being nuisances. However I believe despite appearances we do grow up and find ourselves. We meet new people and find out who we want to be together.

Some people come into our lives to stay and be there and become part of us. Some people are not meant to. Some people no matter how much you try are not meant to be a part of your life.

Until recently I had a really good friend. That person was a relatively new friend but we got on well and understood each other on a deeper level. Or at least I thought so.

I have learnt that you need to be careful who you trust. If someone tells you you are a very good friend and they are glad they found you when they haven’t known you that long, don’t let yourself get sucked in. Don’t transfer what they say about you onto them. They might not be the friend you think they are.

I have learnt that sometimes people think you expect things of them even if you don’t. My ex friend thought I expected him to be there through everything when all I wanted was a chat every now and again. A phone call or text would have done. He stopped talking to me as soon as he got a girlfriend so I know time wasn’t an issue. He had time to do things with her and she had time to spend with me but he didn’t. This should have been my first clue. He dropped me and cut contact as soon as he could.

I still tried.

Again and again.

No contact.

After confrontation in person I was left in tears over the revelation everything he had said nice about me was a lie.

I then got a text saying he didn’t want to be friends.

This is where I need to grow up. I need to accept not everyone is destined to be in my life. Not everyone wants to be my friend no matter how many times I try and how many chances I give. Although he is in the wrong for leading me on for months, lying and upsetting me and generally being a bad friend, I am guilty of allowing this.

I need to grow up and accept things I cannot change. I don’t need to be upset over one failed friendship when I have many people who actively look out for me everyday and genuinely appreciate me and what I do for them. I shall concentrate on the people worth it.

I hope everyone else here manages to gain courage to accept things they cannot change.

Whether it is friends, jobs, health or love. Although it might still upset you and hurt, acceptance is the key to moving on. And it takes maturity to move on and not hold resentment. It takes maturity to let go.

So I thank him. Not for anything he put me through but allowing me to start growing up.


Reflecting on university, work, attitude and life.

Having started university again recently, I’m a second year, I have noticed my opinions have changed a lot since freshers.

Firstly, I have become a lot more focused. I’m very aware that I’m just over a third through my degree. This scares me. I’ll quite frankly admit this. University is like a little bubble where, mostly, everything is okay and we don’t need to think about the outside world. However,  if I want to get the career that I want, I have to work for it. No one is going to hand me a career. No one is going to knock on my door and say “hey, want to write something for me? I’ll give you money? ”
I have started thinking of my plans further on from my degree. I know what I want to do for the next five years. I know how I am going to mold my degree into something that I can use, something that is helpful and useful to me. I’ve sat down and been frank with myself and told myself my shortcomings and thought about how to fix them.

Secondly, I have noticed this attitude is not common. I only know a few people on my course who are adamant and focused and luckily I’m friends with those ones. I love them. They understand why I’ll stay up all night to get one sentence just a little bit clearer. They see the fun in success and learning. Some don’t. Quite frankly some people don’t care AT ALL. It irritates me because I want everyone to love their course and be as enthusiastic as me. Because let me tell you, when you pick the right course and you’re with the right people IT IS BRILLIANT. I want to shake some people and let them know that the world doesn’t owe them anything and they have to grab what they want and never let go.

Thirdly, it is really hard to organise personal life and your job and university. Since getting a job copy writing, I have earnt so much more respect for working people. I don’t know how you do it. I need at least five more hours in my day.

Fourthly, living with people is really hard. People are hard work. Things change and people change and I’ve learnt that there are times I have to let people go. Letting someone go is not giving up on them, not at all, it is prioritising your happiness and sometimes sanity.
There have been quite a few arguments between friends recently and although they didn’t involve me I felt the ripples from them. I so wanted to charge in and fix everything like I usually try to. However I have learnt not everything fixes itself. I have grown up and realised I can’t fix everything no matter how much. I have to be an adult and let everyone else be an adult and work it out for themselves. My job now? Just be there when they need it. Be that person who is always in their corner.

Lastly, I now know grief lasts. Its a dark place and if it takes hold then you’ll feel alone no matter who is there. I am still learning how to trust people properly and open up. Although this is hard, I’m lucky that I have friends there just waiting for when I’m ready to talk.

I have reflected so much I know some things now to be true. Here they are.

I am lucky. I have great friends. I am determined. I am cynical. I am forgiving. I am insecure. I am in mourning. I am sarcastic. I am giggley. I am hard working. I am silly. I am a worrier. I am a fighter. I am a friend. I am me. I now know who I am.

Dearest readers who have stayed with me during this year and you new ones who have just joined the ride…
I’m Kimberly.