To brighten your day

Sunday March 22, 2020

Writing my blog about the kindness crème sparked another memory. Some of the circumstances are very similar, despite there being a 40 year gap between the two incidents.

I had just been admitted to hospital with my first episode of severe depression.

At the time I was a young first year university student. I hadn't been away from home before and I didn't know I had had symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder for several years. Being ignorant, stoical and clever had got me through everything, until that first term. I went down until I broke.

Then things happened to me, not of my volition. After a week came admission. I remember clinging to the corner of the house where I had been staying, being detached and 'helped' into a car and conveyed to the hospital, which was a renal unit with a psychiatric ward in it.

This was a world totally beyond my experience, imagination or comprehension. I knew nobody. I had a little cell-like room on a corridor. And on a small shelf above the door was a bright pink potted cyclamen. The attached label said 'To brighten your day. James Day'.

I could not understand why I should share the room with this flower and I have no idea who James Day was. Originally I thought it was there by mistake but eventually, when I grew up, I attributed its presence to a random act of kindness: a small gift, freely given, with no expectation of anything in return. Whether I 'earned' it was of no relevance. I deserved it because I was me. In the midst of fear and despair a tiny light of hope flickered.

I couldn't appreciate it at the time, but I have never forgotten it.

Who has been kind to you for no reason? Can you find fulfilment or forgiveness by being kind to others?

A Moodscope member.

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