It hurts differently now. 

It hurts differently now. Five years ago my dad passed away so suddenly a blink seemed like a lifetime. It was a wretched pain. It tore me apart from the inside out. My mind became dark and I became my worst enemy. It was a sick,  cold and churning  pain. I was on a knife edge, so close I saw stars. 

But today it hurts differently. It’s like a permanent bruise. Days like this prod at it, causing a dull ache, but it’s soft and the pain dissipates. 

Strangely, I feel sad when I’m at my happiest.

I want my dad to meet my partner, the most amazing man with unbelievable patience and kindness. I want to see them both laugh together as they are the only two people who have ever understood my humour. 

I want my dad to hear my work stories. My ridiculous office and workplace shenanigans. My colleagues, my programmes, my friends, my mundane day to day life. I want him to be proud of how well I’m doing there and how hard I work. He never cared about the outcome as long as I learnt something, tried my best, and was happy. 

And I’m sad for the simple reason this can’t happen. But surrounded by all these people with love and care in their hearts, it would be heartless, wasteful and impossible to stay sad for too long. 

On days like this I reflect.

I miss him. He was unfairly taken far too young, too sudden, but I’m older now too and no longer get want to war with the world because of it. 

I miss him. But when it gets to the point I’m missing my life because of it, I stand up and get out. He’d not want my life to slow. He always wanted me to put my all into it. 

On days like this I’m sad. But it hurts differently now. 
LJ 22 1 62- 30 7 12

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.

Eulogy

Avuncular eyes wearing smart suit and ties
A smokey ash groomed moustache
Flat cap laugh in a sharp wit scarf
Poppy, Schubert, King Lear with punctuation you can hear
Red pens, walking maps against flowers and paragraphs
Hair silver, heart gold, the best way to grow old
Light tapping feet dancing in the street
Those same feet crossing the stage
That literature lover through the age
From Trinity to Sherwood Forest, a Robin Hood of knowledge
With bestowing hands, knowing lands
Rollwright stones and little bones
Privileged peers, beyond the years
Wiping tears, wiping fears
Thank you for making me unafraid
I just wish you could have stayed

By Kimberly Jamison

You were loved. You still are loved.

Recently, I have had two friend’s take their own lives. It is a shocking and bewildering thing to find out. The second of the two friends happened to be an extremely good friend of mine who I had known for a very long time. I was left absolutely heartbroken. As far as I was aware he was a lovely funny and happy young man. None of us were aware that he had been battling depression for seven years. That is the majority of the time I had known him.

This made me so sad. I had so many questions for him and all I want to do now is give him a hug and say it is okay. But I can’t. I am urging anyone who feels so sad they want to end things to talk to someone. The help is out there. You are indeed loved.

My friend was loved. So loved. The sheer amount of people at the funeral proved this. Everyone who shared their memories of him proved this. And it is just tragic that someone so loved felt like they couldn’t talk to us.

We will miss him every single day, but after a few hard days, I know now I do have to keep on keeping on. I am allowed to feel sad, and God knows I am feeling sad. I have accepted that I am going to feel bad for a while now,and for some reason that has given me comfort. I am not fighting the grief. I know I will slowly feel better and that voice that keeps asking all those horrible questions will slowly get quieter.

My friend loved us all so much, we all know he would want us to be happy. And we all will be happy again one day. Until then, I will comfort myself with the amazing memories I have of an amazing friend.

xxxxx

Things I learnt from my father

The other day I had to fix my laptop, a mundane task. However, throughout the process I heard my dad’s voice telling me what to do and how to fix it and even to back up everything just before I wiped it accidentally. A lucky escape! This got me thinking, my dad taught me how to fix a laptop but he also taught me many other things that have shaped my view on the world and how I conduct myself. I never really acknowledged some of these things until now but it seems appropriate to make a post just over two years after his death to show how he really did affect and teach me things that would last a lifetime. This is a list of things my father taught me and that I am still trying to use in my everyday life.

Things I learnt from my father:

  1. Never make excuses. You either have a good reason or you don’t.
  2. Don’t bullshit anyone and eventually they will stop bullshitting you. Only do this if you are willing to take people’s true opinions.
  3. Respect yourself completely.
  4. Even the longest and darkest nights end.
  5. Earn people’s respect. Then work to keep it.
  6. Never break a promise.
  7. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
  8. You will end up where you need to be, just trust yourself and enjoy the journey.
  9. Don’t tempt fate.
  10. Friends are common, good friends are rare and enemies are earned.
  11. Stand up for what you believe in even if you stand by yourself. The buck stops with you.
  12. You’ll go through hell…
  13. but sometimes life is very very good.
  14. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Work for it.
  15. If you love someone, show them.
  16. Offer no context. The people who matter don’t need it and no one else will listen anyway.
  17. Always apologise for your temper, especially when you lose it.
  18. Love what you do.
  19. Follow your dreams while you are young, while you can.
  20. Stop worrying.

Kimberly

The Bullying Effect: Recovery part 2

I was bullied during my school years. I was bullied consistently and at times quite viscously. It wasn’t just girls, it was boys as well. There was name calling, rumours, teasing, cyber bullying, lies, isolation and at one point it did escalate into a physical attack.

I personally wish I had had the courage to call the police. I wish I had had the courage to tell my parents, or at least let my friends know the true scale of it, if they were not fully aware.

The reason I did not, was because for years I had assumed if I told the teacher it would stop. I did tell. I didn’t mess around. I told various teachers of various superior positions in the school. Nothing. I put notes in the “bully box” in the school’s nurses office. Nothing. I was in tears in that very office on more than one occasion. Nothing. I hid in that office everyday for weeks, and they wondered my I needed so much paracetamol. Nothing. I went to deputy heads, and other teachers in tears, scared and upset, and yet still nothing was done.

Being bullied is an intensely lonely time in your life. Feeling like everyone hates you, you start to believe that you are worthless. I did not need teachers ignoring what was going on. Certain teachers even ignored one quite severe incident in the girls changing rooms. I will not go into detail, however, I would say ignoring that was borderline neglect.

Everyone deserves to feel safe at school. Everyone deserves to be happy and have the chance to make friends.

The bullying I experienced turned me into a cold and standoffish person. I just did not trust anyone. I always thought people had an ulterior motive for talking to me. This was a defence mechanism. I didn’t want to be hurt any more. The fact even teachers did not care made me think I was worthless.

Now, along with other things, like my father passing away suddenly, this helped trigger an eating disorder. My self esteem was so low. I thought I was worth nothing. Less than nothing.

Bullying should not be tolerated. 

Teachers should not neglect their student’s needs.

I have my own thoughts as to why my pleas for help fell on deaf ears. At a very academic school, I was not the clever one, or good at sport, or drama. I fell in the middle of everything, miss average. I fell through the net. The high flyers were allowed to do what they liked to who they liked because of who they were.

This is all theory, however, the facts are that I asked for help and it was ignored repeatedly.

Bullying can destroy people. It is serious.
Every one deserves the chance to be happy, think they are worth something and thrive.
Words can last a lifetime.
They can chip away at someone’s life so they have nothing left.

All I know now, is if I ever see bullying, I WILL ACT.

I am getting over the things said to me. I am a stronger person and I will not let anyone from my past interfere with my future happiness. I know it had made me a better person because I know I never ever want to make someone feel the way I did, and ultimately people in the real world, outside the school environment, will not put up with it.

They will be fired, dismissed, ignored themselves.
They will have to become a better person at some point, otherwise they will lose everything themselves.

I genuinely hope my school bullies have found peace with themselves and don’t wish to harm people any more. I hope they have grown up. I genuinely hope they are happy, because I stand by what I said. Everyone deserves happiness. I might not like them, but I have forgiven. And this blog post is me finally letting go.

Kimberly