Alan's Mental Health: The Poison Dwarf - Part 1

"Ah, so that's the reason why..."

If you're a new visitor to the blog, or to the Alan's Mental Health feature, take some time to read this introductory post. It explains a bit of the background behind the posts.

I'm not completely sure whether this happened shortly before, or shortly after, my parents separated. Logically, it would make sense if it was before, as it would be an appropriate catalyst. However, I seem to remember it coming after, as my mum had her own car at this point and I don't remember him living at home anymore.

One day, for what then was seemingly no apparent reason, my mum bundled both myself and my sister into the car. When I asked where we were going, I was told "Just for a little drive." Eventually, we pulled up opposite a somewhat tired, mostly nondescript, terraced house in the city. We all sat in the car for a few minutes, until my mum said "So that's where he's been going." We then left.

I don't know how long it was, but after that day I learned what my mum was talking about. I was introduced to 'The Poison Dwarf'. My mum never actually used that name in front of me, but my grandmother mentioned it a few months ago, while I was telling her about the Alan's Mental Health feature. 'The Poison Dwarf' (named partially because of her stature - although she was not actually a dwarf, just a little shorter than average for a woman) was the woman he had been having an affair with. I realised this as soon as I met her, as she'd been the manager in one of their shops. Don't shit where you eat, right?

Naturally, I instantly disliked her. In fact, I think she may be the first ever person I really hated. As far as I was concerned (and I was young and naive) she was the sole reason they'd separated. Obviously, as I got older I'd really that she wasn't the only reason, but a big part of it.

Eventually, the time came when I would be required to spend the weekends at her house, where he was now living. I was never offered a choice in this, nor was I asked how I felt about it. The horrible house was in a horrible part of a horrible city, and contained the two people I hated most at that time of my life. And I was being forced to live there...

I was away from my friends, my school and my family. More jarringly, I was away from the woodland at the bottom of the street where I'd go to feel safe and at peace. Here, in this dull, noisy, unfriendly urban environment, there was no nature. No birdsong, no bees, not even a weed. I was surrounded by walls, both literally and figuratively. [Dear readers: I'm now welling up.] There was an air of decay, from the general feel of this place to the jagged, pointy, pebble dash on the wall dividing the yard from the neighbours. Everything was grey and crumbling.

Until next time...

* The photo is a more recent one than the events described in this post. I haven't got any photos of me from this time period. It's not relevant to the post.

If you feel you need immediate help with your mental health, then contact one of the organisations below (click the logo for their website):
Samaritans (UK)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)

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