It’s the little things that count.

I have come to the conclusion that despite the oft mentioned phrase, “Don’t sweat the little things”, meaning don’t let smaller, and unimportant things divert us from the bigger issues. 

When it comes to people and relationships, especially where a mood disorder is involved, it truly is the little things of life that count more than anything else. 

Just like the old joke about how do you eat an elephant? In small bites!  Life really is like that.

Let me share with you some of the small things that have happened in my life that have made a crucial difference at just the right time.

First and foremost there was the decision by my wife when she had just about enough of my manic, drink be-sozzled lifestyle, to hang in there just that little bit longer before she left with the children.  Little in time; but life-saving in the long term.

Then there was the old friend that I had not seen for years who dropped by unannounced to see how I was going and caught me coming out of a bleary-eyed hangover.  He could have looked at me with pity or disgust in his eyes – but no, he just acted as if nothing was wrong and allowed me to feel some self-respect.

Of course, as a Dad, the times when the kids are growing up and smile at you and tell you they love you sends shivers up and down your spine don’t they?  But how much more does it count when your children, married and with children of their own, send you emails and tell you in person, that they are really glad that you didn’t kill yourself when you felt like it.  And that they were proud to be your children despite the failures you feel are there in yourself.

There are many others but I want to share probably two or three of the most important ‘little things’ that have happened over the last few years and I think you will get an idea of what I mean.

In 2003 I found Bipolar World and in a fit of strange manic frenzy I asked Colleen if there was anything I could do to help.  That one little ‘Yes’ has led to contact with many wonderful people from around the globe who have found something we shared in my articles.

Just by writing down the ramblings that came into my often foggy head, people had been kind enough to take time to email me with thanks about something that they had connected with when really; the thanks should have been mine for the lifting of my spirits that it brought.

The second thing was a comment that my Dad made as we talked before he passed away about his mum, my grandmother.  Dad used to go to see her one day a week and have lunch with her and had done this for many years but on the day before she died, Dad cancelled their lunch and just didn’t get to talk to her again before she died.  My Dad tortured himself until the day he died that he missed out on this lunch and didn’t tell his mum that he loved her.  Dad told me time and time again, “Never put off telling some one you love them. It may be too late!

The last and most moving thing was seeing something that my little nine year old granddaughter, Nerys, write about her. ‘Grandy’ as she calls me.  Frightening isn’t it when primary school kids are using laptops and desktops as part of their school curriculum?

This is what she wrote including the wordart heading:

Bipolar.

By Nerys Brown.

 

 

 

Bipolar is a disease that controls your moods. My granddad has it. I always know that if he starts yelling at me all of a sudden for no reason at all I know it is the disease.

 

 

 

Now I am hoping that the yelling part is not as bad as it sounds – but it just touched my heart to see that a nine year old girl, in that one short paragraph, can sum up the essence of our disorder, and yet still come up each night and give me a hug and kiss, treating me as the normal person that I really am.

So what is my ending thought for us to consider together?  Never put off that phone call, email, knock on the door or arm around the shoulder that tells someone near to you or around the world that someone, some where cares if they still exist and live.

So to all those from this global community of ours who have touched my life – thank you for making the difference.

Graham Brown

25 June 2006

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