Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Humorist And Historian Frank Jordan Talks About Mental Health.

Fifi And General Frankie

My guest today is a Humorist,  Historian, my mentor and my friend,  Frank Jordan.

How many writers have the courage to talk openly about their mental health problems?
Fiona, there are dozens of books written by authors who have suffered one sort of mental illness or another.  Myself, I suffer from Prolonged and Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and there are times (like the last three months) that I cannot connect with the humor I am particularly fond of writing.  The last couple of years have been especially challenging for me.  I was diagnosed with multiple health problems and actually spent a great deal of time (one year) in a Hospice House.  I couldn’t write anything then.  But among my best friends are writers of great and glorious humor:  Martin Shuttlecock, Charpacabra, the inimitable Colonel Juan, and now I have you, my own find, FiFi.  When I could not write (or would not write) I still read everything you all wrote, and laughed despite the depths of my despair.  Laughter heals… well maybe not insane cackling

How many of us (writers) have felt the depths of despair, alone, unable to reach out?  I can say honestly I have.
If you have ever put words on a page for others to read, you have felt despair, loneliness, and being unable to reach out.  Take Emily Dickinson for example; she never published a thing during her lifetime.  She came from a truly loving, but puritanical family who thought much of what she wrote and filed away was unacceptable.  Given the time and Emily’s difficulties in reaching out in a socially acceptable way for an unmarried woman living at home with a difficult father, she was condemned to be alone, despairing of ever having contact with the persons (or persons) to whom she was writing.  She was absolutely unable to reach out.

Do you feel that being able to write and express yourself has brought you freedom and liberation…maybe acted as therapy to heal you?
To be honest with you Fiona, most of my mental anguish is of my own making with a liberal dash of abuse from family members who should never have done what they did.  Their actions against a helpless child in no way mitigate my own boorishness, or the feelings of superiority I felt coming back from war, the tough guy patriot.  The therapy I’ve received from very knowledgeable and caring therapists, many of who went through the same anguish I went through.  The rest is up to me, to be a good person and to not hurt anyone else.
My advice for anyone going through depression is to seek help to find out what the root of the depression is.  And to work on it every day until you can cope with it and life on your own terms.  And laugh your ass off whenever you have an opportunity.  Make someone else laugh or at least smile to lighten their load.  In the end, you are alone most often with yourself, so it is best to be as good a person as you can be.
If it wasn't for Frank Jordan believing in me at a time when I had stopped believing in myself,  my collection of short stories published in CafĂ© Spike, would have never progressed to the depths of which I have taken them. I'm massively grateful to both Frank and Martin Shuttlecock .....Top Blokes!
To read more from Frank Jordan follow the link bellow.