Thanks, and Sorry

I know from the emails and other messages that I’ve received over the past few weeks that friends and readers of this blog have been a bit concerned about me. I owe you all an explanation and an apology. I have actually written a very long post detailing everything that has happened, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to post it at this time. Or perhaps ever. Maybe I’ll keep it for when I write my memoirs. Or not.

The short version, which will have to do for now, is that not long ago something happened that caused something I’ve lived with for a very long time to flare up worse than I’ve ever experienced before. Certain other factors, which I won’t go into either, exacerbated the situation still further. Anyway, all this hit me so hard I had to seek medical help and have been declared “unfit for work” for the last three weeks. Most of this time has been spent trying – and, until recently, failing – to find appropriate treatment to allow me to get back to “normal”.

I know that in this period I have let down a number of colleagues and students who had every right to expect better of me. I know also that I’ve ignored many offers of help from friends who have expressed concern about my well-being. I haven’t done this out of rudeness, but because I knew I that I had to solve these problems on my own. I was greatly moved by the kindness shown by so many people, but at the end of the day a problem shared is a problem doubled.

I know that at times, during especially low periods, usually in the early hours, I’ve abused the social media by posting horribly self-indulgent and self-pitying items, usually poems. I can only apologise, but it’s been an indescribably lonely journey and I’ve only had social media for company. Insomnia is a bastard.

Fortunately, I think I’ve now turned the corner. I will be off work until the end of the month, but at least I’m no longer dreading going back. My GP and the University Counselling Service have done a brilliant job in working so hard to sort out a programme to help me recover. I now think I know what to do to get myself out of the hole I’ve been in. It won’t be easy actually doing it, but at now have something to aim at I am much more confident.

I am so very sorry to those people who I’ve upset or alarmed with the way I’ve behaved over the last few weeks. I wish I could explain more, but it’s such a long and convoluted story that (a) you’ll all find it extremely boring and (b) I don’t think you’ll understand anyway. All I can do is apologise if I’ve upset anyone. That wasn’t the plan at all. It’s my problem, not yours. I just haven’t been strong enough to keep it entirely to myself, as I should have done.

Now all I have to do is to think of a way of persuading the University and, more importantly to me, my students that they should give me the chance to prove I can be what I am supposed to be.

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18 Responses to “Thanks, and Sorry”

  1. Kia ora and kia kaha keep well, stay strong.
    in Aotearoa it is Te Reo Arohatia – love the language – MAori – and keeping yourself strong, or restoring yourself is a process only you can ultimately undertake as wiht language, it requires, understanding, patience, persisitence.
    Aroha mai – is love yourself and also Te Reo AMori for excuse me or I apologise.
    Get well, look at what you have achieved and look forward to the future.
    Arohanui
    – much fellow-feeling
    Juliana

  2. Daniel Mortlock Says:

    Hi Peter,

    I’ll take you at your word that I/we wouldn’t understand what you’ve been going through. I just hope you can dig yourself out of this hole – certainly I’m sure I’m not the only person thinking of you right now.

    Best wishes,
    Daniel

  3. Garret Cotter Says:

    All the best Peter – take care,

    Garret

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    I hadn’t known; I’m sorry and hope you will recover. It does take others, even if only your employer’s counselling service, for which I am glad. It will be good to see you next month.
    Anton

  5. James Howitt Says:

    Hope you feel better soon Peter! Best tutor that Cardiff Uni has to offer, as well as being the most genuine person I have met in a long time.
    I know many others agree!
    James

  6. Best wishes.

    “(a) you’ll all find it extremely boring and (b) I don’t think you’ll understand anyway”:

    quite wrong there.

    You can’t work it out on your own because you’re not thinking right. Many people will have been through similar and will understand.

    Best wishes again.

  7. Best of luck with sorting out your problems.

  8. Brian Schmidt Says:

    Peter
    Take Care of yourself and I look forward to seeing back in full Peterness in the near future.

  9. Natasha Mendes Says:

    Peter, for someone so brilliantly minded you can still say some pretty daft things… And in response I could quite easily leave a huge “blog – sized” comment!
    (Instead I will attempt to somewhat summarise my initial reaction only) :
    Don’t feel guilty for anything you may have said or done which has been out of character for you. You’ve apologised and, although it may not seem it, IT IS enough. Don’t beat yourself up when all we (and I’m sure I speak on behalf of most, if not all, students/staff/colleges/friends/family and Colombo the cat when I say this) care about if whether of not you are recovering and getting more than adequate treatment. You’ll be surprised how many people will want to know what’s been happening in your life and will want to try and understand whatever it is you’ve been going through. It’s always entirely up to you whether you choose to divulge that information or not: for some it’s therapeutic and for others it’s more stressful than good to try and air their problems. Sometimes it’s best to leave it and move on and let the dust settle. However, I will say this: by no means do not beat yourself up for not being “strong enough” to have failed to have kept all your problems to yourself. If you honestly think you need to prove yourself to anyone or you are mulling over how perhaps you feel you should have dealt with things then you will only make yourself ill! Focus on yourself and yourself only for the time being, everyone who cares and had previously tried to offer you help already accept you as you are, warts and all. In fact, those who know you well would have probably pre-empted your stubbornly independent ways and offered help none the less. It’s their way of showing that they care.

    And while I’m at it, don’t do a “Natasha”, it’s a recipe for disaster:
    Step 1. Experience some difficult times
    Step 2. Bottle up those difficult times and try and tackle them head on by myself
    Step 3. Become overwhelmed by the ever expanding list of problems
    Step 4. Find myself hospitalised and under the care of the crisis recovery unit
    Step 5. “turned the corner” and make great leaps in improvement in both physical and mental health
    Step 6. Continue to shy away from friends and family and attempt to “be strong enough” to deal with my own problems
    Step 7. Manage my problems with medication and counselling
    Step 8. End up spending an enormous amount of time in hospital because I failed to accept that hiding away was not the best answer
    …But my actions weren’t a means to end all. Everyone still step in and helped out at my most critical moment, even those I perhaps ill-treated thinking that my problems and my life were my own. A couple of people in particular I expected to hate me yet still want to know if I am alright. I guess people don’t always judge you for one bad period of your life, most step back and look at the bigger picture and everything you have ever done or achieved. Slowly and stubbornly I’m learning to accept or ask for help once in a while… at least before my list of problems are as long as my arm!

    I guess what I am saying is Peter, you’re still a top notch bloke. Get well soon, OK?

  10. Hope you feeling hale and hearty & full of vim and vigour soon (and other pertinent alliterations). I enjoyed the poems and the little trip down memory lane with photos of Italy and such.
    Self-indulgent facebook posts are infinitely more interesting than the mundane, which probably constitute about 90% of facebook.
    Anyway best wishes & hope you’re better soon.

  11. Matt Hutchinson Says:

    I hope that you manage to sort everything out in due course. You are fantastic, and don’t forget it!

  12. Nick Cross Says:

    Hope you get well soon.

  13. I hope you feel better soon! I wish you all the best.

  14. Lots of love and light to you, Peter. Hope you feel better
    real soon.

    Hugs
    Priya

  15. Do feel better soon. There is a light at the end of places like this, having been there and back again a few times all I can say is trust your instincts, trust your friends, and never forget the support and love that can randomly pop up in places.

    – Recover well – Harri

  16. All the best Peter. Take care, and I hope you feel that you can start asking friends for support soon.

    Will

  17. Lung-Yih Chiang Says:

    Dear Peter,

    Get well soon!

    Lung-Yih

  18. [...] know that I had some problems with my mental health last summer;  I posted a partial explanation here.  I completed a course of treatment last autumn and have since been feeling much better.  Words [...]

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