After I was taken off what nobody officially calls suicide watch, I asked to be allowed out of the hospital for a day to deliver a talk at a company’s AGM.
My psychiatrist was sceptical, but I explained that I had been paid for the talk and would feel worse if I had to give back my fee.
This post is part of a series, introducing my book Psalms for the City.
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She said OK, and off I went. I was still so fragile, I found even things like collecting my rail tickets overwhelmingly stressful. But – odd though it may seem – I was not afraid to speak in front of an audience.
And – despite quite a horrible surprise when I walked on stage – it went well.
For a year or so after leaving hospital, I didn’t do much work at all. But I did stand up and speak about my experience in various support groups. And in one of them I was approached by a woman who asked if I would come and talk about my breakdown at her law firm.
I did several talks like that. People seemed quite moved.
“Your story was so wonderful – and delivered with such charm and warmth. I don’t know if you could see from the stage, but the whole of the front row were in floods of tears by the end. It was an incredibly moving thing to witness. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us all.”
- Kristian Brodie, One Track Minds
Here’s a video I recorded after one of those talks, giving a sense of some of the things people asked me in the private chat on Zoom: