I had taken the day off work. The nurturing, peaceful, green lap of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery at Hemel Hampsted was where I wanted to be. It was a day of rest, solitude, silent contemplation and meditation. Autumn was at its prettiest best and despite everything, it was time to receive beauty. Receive time.
It was the fourth anniversary of Saagar’s passing. The most difficult day of the year, despite my belief that time means absolutely nothing. But this day always stares at me like the enemy. A wretched, horrid, cruel, ugly thing. A brown sludge that I have no choice but to drag myself through.
Slowly, slowly … most of the day drew itself behind me. I returned home, gazing at the sky from the train window, still looking for answers. Still nothing. Just the unbearable pain of longing.
Switched myself back into practical mode, as the next day I was meant to be working. Opened my inbox and found an e-mail from someone called Dan.
“I hope you don’t mind me contacting you out of the blue like this, my name is Dan, I’m a third year medic at Aberdeen University and also the Vice President of the Anaesthetics Society.
I actually attended your talk at the AAGBI conference this summer. I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I found it incredibly moving. The very day before I attended I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and was worried about how this would indeed impact on my studies and working career as a Doctor.
After your talk, I met with one of the Consultants who was offering a ‘mentoring’ session where I discussed the recent diagnosis. She spoke to me about what I need to do to stay well, one of the things was accepting treatment, which initially I admit I was not that open to doing.
Anyways, I find myself rambling on, I suppose I just wanted to email and introduce myself. If you have any advice for someone with Bipolar who is wishing to pursue a career in Anaesthesia then I would love to hear it!
I just saw an email which was saying that you are giving a talk in Aberdeen next week about this particular topic, which I certainly hope to attend! If you would be about afterwards and free for a coffee I would certainly love to meet you!
Best Wishes and sorry again for emailing like this out the blue!
Another green moment – tears mixed with joyful smiles. What a way to end the day. What perfect timing.
We met in Aberdeen a few days later. He was all smiles. Friendly, generous and sensitive. We got on instantly. Had a nice long chat. He dropped me in his little red car to the airport. I told him I was hoping to write a book at some stage. He offered to help me with the research that might be needed.
Last week, I was back there in Aberdeen at Dan’s request, to run a 2 hour-long Mental Health Workshop for a bunch of medical students, junior doctors and researchers. It was a good day. I had to smile when Dan talked about Saagar as if he was an old friend.