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When they talk of mental health it can mean something totally different to we older folk. Mental health used to mean illness of the mind. Needing support, empathy and treatment. It still means that and still needs that, my word it does. But I have had a talking to from my younger friends pointing out as we all possess health, mental health is simply another heading.

We all have mental health and sometimes it needs attention. A bit like my arthritis needs attention. I am not being facetious I'm making the point.

Loneliness can create anxiety. Anxiety can create depression. Depression can create fear and, frankly, much more. All part of your health.

I'm talking about this because I am starting to feel those things. Christmas is coming and I dread it. The dread is upsetting. Remembering former years, the delight and excitement of the Yuletide season. Now it's something to be got over as quickly as possible. That is upsetting. And it's not right. And I'm not alone in my thinking.

If you have good friends (as I used to) who support you (or each other) over this part of the year, I am envious.

If you are wondering why I do not have this support - well - that is a book, frankly. You must pin your ears back and dispel all judgement because you'll need to. Believing the unbelievable. If you think you can do that, then I will tell you a story. Sometime soon…

This won't be the last time I discuss mental health. It's an important subject and it's a relevant subject. Not just for young people but for those of us ageing and particularly ageing and childless.

Please do not be afraid to speak of your anxieties, should you have any. Speak here, if it helps. I'm certainly not a therapist but talking really can help.

I will finish with this little snippet. At our AWOC group, one of the members who, up to that point, had extolled the virtues of being alone and childless, suddenly announced she was lonely.

It's so bad of me but I felt triumphant. Bad for her that she felt that way but chuffed that she'd felt able (and in a safe environment) to admit her true feelings.

Also, someone said the 'dead' word. What if you die in your home and lay there for days or weeks because no one knows? And your little dog is left terrified on its own? Sorry I'm getting carried away again (and some say - you should be). I don't mean to act as a patsypooper but these things happen. It must be open and spoken about.

Then another member told of coming out of hospital after a serious operation that left her unable to put weight on her foot for several weeks. She fell the first night at home. She is an awoc like me. No one to help. After dragging herself off to bed that first night back at home, she wept. Thinking she must place herself in a care home, permanently, because she had no one to care or bother about her. I have to admit that I have thought the same thing, occasionally. That is wrong. On many levels that would be wrong.

These are issues that can easily cause or trigger an older, alone person to descend into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. With, possibly no one to speak to. The ageing are not first in line with their voices. We don't shout loudly enough. We suffer in silence and I can tell you, it's not nice.

This is a photo of me, out on one of our favourite walks. It is stripped down because I'd felt that way. A bit low as Lil and I left the house but feeling full of light and energy after a taste of nature and exercise. It is my medicine. I realise it's not available to everyone and I wish it was. Of course I/ we, all wish it was. I'm sorry that it's not.

This is part of a stretch of the Sibsey Drain (or river as I call it) but it has many names. It is a beautiful part of our Lincolnshire county called Trader Bank, Boston, and a walk that I never tire of. Set in the flatlands of the Fen it has a mystique and charm of its own. If you're feeling tired or low walk here. It casts its own spell.



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