She walked with a purpose. Always a quick walker, out of step with the ambling tourists and strolling love birds. Posters loomed large under the railway tunnels, encouraging more openness and sharing in the public. Let’s talk about what’s up? Her wellbeing app that day had asked her how she was feeling and prompted her to start at least one conversation about mental health. Most of her friends had already shared their mental health statuses already that day.
The coalition government, made up of a record five parties, couldn’t agree on most things. Spending hours arguing over finances, taxes, education even the colour of the new carpet in Portcullis house. But they did all stand united on one thing. It was good to talk about mental health. It was a vote winner no matter who you were.
So she had talked until she was blue in the face, shared her feelings, emotions and darkness in person, online, to friends to strangers. In fact, she didn’t remember a conversation in the last few weeks that hadn’t touched upon mental illness. From the daily newspaper stories of yet another celebrity speaking out to the compulsory daily mindful minutes, it was all designed for starting that once difficult conversation.
Alongside the talking she had been seeking actual help, tangible, medical help. This had been much harder to access and the darkness had grown, despite all the talking. Since people had started opening up, the stats had gone from one to three in four. The squeezed services were almost impossible to access unless you could pay your way. It had overwhelmed her and didn’t leave no matter how many times she told her story.
It wasn’t just the three month wait for an assessment with a private healthcare provider, it was the relationship breakdown she had endured after her partner had lost his job post Brexit. The struggle she had faced when she had been told she must go back to a working life that had become impossible a couple of years ago. In a good week she had been a valued, productive member of staff. In a really good month, full of mania, she would appear to be the perfect worker. In the office all hours, the life and soul, taking on the world. But in fact she was a mess, starting and abandoning projects with great gusto. As her treatment had been cut back she found herself the very worst type of employee, one who couldn’t actually make into the office at all. Still the assessment hadn’t covered this, she had been able to walk up and down the steps with no problem. She was therefore fit for work.
Amongst all the conversations this was something she hadn’t shared though, she had planned it for many weeks now and kept it hidden, locked away inside her. She was sick of talking.
Calmly she reached the bridge and experiencing silence at last through all the chatter, she jumped.