Since my first book was published (63 books and thirty years ago), anything that ever happened to me as an author has been because a six-year-old niece called Kathryn asked me to visit her primary school in Cleckheaton to read from my first published book of stories for children, ‘Everyone and Everything’. Little did I realise at the time, how big an impact on my life that acceding to her request and keeping my little niece happy would have on my life thereafter. From that first school assembly storytelling session, over 800 famous people of national and international status (including royalty) agreed to read from my subsequent children’s books in Yorkshire schools.
Without my niece, Kathryn who has since grown into a beautiful woman and is known by the name of ‘Kat’, all the famous people whom I have met or have received literary praise from including Presidents, Prime Ministers and Princesses would not have happened. Any medals or awards I’ve received would not have happened. Any places I have had access to which I otherwise would not have seen, such as Buckingham Palace to receive an M.B.E. from Queen Elizabeth or ‘Number 10’ to have tea with the Prime Minister and his wife would not have happened. Any country I have visited in connection with my charitable work and anti-racist and discrimination projects such as Ireland and Jamaica would not have happened, and many charitable causes would have been £200,000 the poorer as a result of not having received all my book sale profits since 1990. All this I owe to the birthday girl, Kat Forde, daughter of my brother Peter and his wife, Linda. Thank you, Kathryn. Uncle Billy xxxx
My song today is ‘Lonely Blue Boy’. This song was originally entitled, ‘Danny’ and was sung by Elvis Presley. It was written by Ben Weisman and Fred Wise and was performed by Conway Twitty. It reached Number 6 on the USA Pop Chart’ and Number 27 on the ‘USA R&B Chart’ in 1960. It was featured on his 1960 album ‘Lonely Boy Blue’. The song ranked Number 38 on ‘Billboard magazine’s ‘Top 100 Singles of 1960’.
In terms of my own life experiences, depression is one condition I have never known or displayed. I know from my many years of work with people who are prone to depression (both mild and severe in intensity) that it is a condition that adversely affects one-quarter of the population each year. Well over half the population in the United Kingdom will sometime experience a mental health problem and conditions such as anxiety and depression increase in number annually.
For over twenty-five years as a Probation Officer, (running between three and six groups annually of up to thirty group members in each group) most of the thousands of group members I worked with on my courses suffered from high levels of tension and anxiety and approximately one-third of them (mostly female members) suffered from depression regularly and were addicted to medical drugs. That is one of the prime reasons why learning to relax accounted for half of each ninety-minute group session that course members received weekly over the six-month period of the course.
By simply observing comments on the social media today, it does not surprise me in the least to read how many people have become depressed and highly disheartened by having to incur a lockdown experience for the past three months during this Coronavirus Pandemic, and that even when/if society gets back to anything resembling normal functioning, the health service will see depression in school children, and young adults more than ever previously known; and not forgetting all those adults who live alone. I know that even my wife Sheila is on the borderline of getting the blues because of the uncertainty of the government and many of the restrictions on people’s liberty which get imposed today and are then disbanded tomorrow.
It is one of the most natural things in the world for anyone to feel blue occasionally and to be thoroughly fed up with life at the present. And ironically, it does not make the person feel any less blue and better to be surrounded by someone (like me) who understands the reasons behind mild depression and the correct responses to it, yet has never once been depressed in their life.
However much anyone like me understands depression, however expert one is an effective practitioner in helping people to stop being depressed, it cannot change the simple fact that my own experience of depression shall always remain ‘secondary’ to the person who actually experiences it. I can never understand its impact as much or in the same way as anyone else who has ever felt it.
Love and peace Bill xxx