The ocean and its vastness represents freedom the openness gives you a sense of space personally that’s how it feels for me.

It’s a weird and wonderful world full of curiosity because their is always something to discover.

The last few years we have all struggled in many ways each persons problems are unique to them because we all deal with things individually to ourselves we are all not the same, how one person handles something is different to how another person deals with something it’s not that another person is stronger than the other we are all individuals and unique in our own way.

My passion for the ocean, scuba diving, the natural world, photography have been the major factors in getting me through what have been the darkest days of my life and I still have them now, through my problems been able to spend time outside in the elements either on the beach, diving or doing my photography I’ve been able to escape to a place were your mind can relax the monkeys thoughts as I call them calm down and you feel human.

A walk down the beach on any day regardless of the weather looking out listening to the sound of the waves helps the mind relax for a little while you feel a bit normal, out near the ocean you don’t for that moment feel like life is suffocating you, your able to breathe again, gather everything up after you feel like you’ve spent some time in the vastness of the biggest living system on earth.

I’m writing this because I’ve and am struggling mentally, their seems to be this persona that it’s embarrassing to say you have a problem and it’s NOT, I’ve needed lots of help in particular the last year because of my challenges and difficulties, mentally I’ve been a mess and needed a councillor along with family and friends that have helped me get through the dark days, many days and sleepless nights dealing and still dealing with many emotions and demons and the dark ones have knocked on my door a lot, the feeling of not wanting to be here anymore, your not enough, people hate me, family don’t like me, some days and very recently I’ve wanted to shut myself away from everything and everyone, not wanted to go out of the house not even to walk my dogs, looking ok to everyone on the outside but been in utter turmoil inside that’s when the feelings are most overwhelming, you can’t think and act irrationally, how do you keep going many times to my mum I’ve said I can’t do this anymore, to my closest friends I’ve said the days are too hard and to my son who is there for me constantly in his busy life I can’t do this but I am doing it, I’m getting up every day facing everything and looking back through all the help I’ve got stronger everyday.

Every morning at 3am and the monkeys the thoughts as I call them are swinging through the trees so here I am at 3.10 am writing everything on my iPhone notes app and it helps its my savior.

It’s the 3ams I wish I could open my door and see the ocean and listen to her calming noise, the sound of the waves hitting the sand I know one day I am going to live near the sea that’s my goal a beach house of some sort were I can sit and listen to her she helps me in so many ways she is natures most silent noise if you can understand that.

Jack Cousteau who was one of the worlds biggest conservationists and campaigners for ocean protection said…….

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. –Jacques Yves Cousteau

And this is true once the spell has been placed your hooked.

Why am I sharing this you may ask because it helps me and if it helps maybe just one person then it’s done some good but also because I don’t want people to feel embarrassed about asking for help if you need it do it make that call it’s only through my mum and my son just over a year ago said please get some help don’t be mad with us because we want you too, they could see I was in a bad way and needed help a different help to what they were giving me help to give me a different outlook and what road I needed to be on I made the call and that I’ve not regretted one bit.

You see I’ve been dealing with major losses without going into it have hit me hard, I’ve lost who I was, were I lived, lost my identity and stability for quite some time, February 2021 was the beginning unknown to me the darkest days of my life, a person I loved incredibly passed away, my life changed dramatically major changes I haven’t been able to cope with. I am now approaching the anniversary of that time of losing her and one of the biggest changes in my life nerves are jangling but I know I’m stronger than I was then to be able to cope with it.

Dealt with lots of anger and guilt because of various situations some I’m still dealing with now and to deal with them I go to the beach sit and listen to the sea look out at the vastness, feel the freedom soak up the smell of the seaweed and let my feet feel the sand beneath them, walk down to the waves cup the water and splash my face it really is Medicine. I feel better for a while after I’ve been and if other people like me are struggling in their own ways and what I do helps anyone else only has to be good and positive.

I’m not there yet I’m still finding some days harder than others but the ocean will always be there she is one of my biggest assets, and not forgetting my family and friends, in my gift to her helping me I continue to raise awareness for her protection, she is the earths largest living habitat, she is the inner space of earth and there is so much we don’t know about her, you may wonder why I say her but she is natures greatest power because she gives us all life, she gives us the air we breathe, regulates the planets weather and climate, she used to be the only place on earth years ago were people got food before land animals now she feeds just over 3 billion people on the planet.

She is currently under so much pressure because of human actions and attitudes towards her, she is treated like a huge dustbin, the amount of rubbish that gets dumped in her, the wild and marine life are struggling been killed by our actions and rubbish that’s in their, eco-systems are dying, we are losing eco-systems which were once teaming with life, we have created dead zones across the ocean planet these are areas were the ocean is so damaged there is no oxygen for life to thrive, not forgetting that the fish in the oceans have and are been so severely overfished that if fishing policies don’t change they will be gone, 90% of the big fish like sharks, Grouper and tuna are gone. Sharks get hit because of their fins for soup, dolphins and turtles along with other fish get caught as bycatch and die what the world doesn’t understand is in all this treating them of no importance means we don’t value our own we are all connected to the water.

The worlds largest reef the GBR Great Barrier Reef is seeing coral bleaching at an alarming rate and it’s not just this reef it’s happening to reefs all across the world, I was witness to this in the Red Sea whilst I was diving in October 2021 and to see these reefs dying off knowing they used to be more vibrant when knowing it’s importance is extremely worrying and upsetting, upsetting because for future generations they won’t know it’s beauty because we have killed it, upsetting because I have grandchildren and I want them to know about the most magical, wonderful weird world that lives beneath the oceans surface, I want them to know some of the most majestic animals are still swimming and thriving in the oceans when there older to understand and not have to learn in a history lesson about them because they don’t exist anymore, I’m going to give them my experiences of swimming with sharks, rays, fish, turtles how truly breathtaking it is to be alongside these creatures that live beneath the inner space of our planet and see these animals are beautiful, that they matter and the ocean matters.

Living with a mind that is constantly thinking and challenging your everyday thinking is difficult you doubt yourself and the decisions you make. People, family, friends this last year have told me you only get one go at this you have to be happy life is there to be lived and you have to enjoy it but when your head is challenging your decisions and you can’t see past your own nose it’s hard to try and make any kind of decision and I got to a point very late December 2021 I literally felt I could not carry on, I just wanted a way out of everything living and breathing was too much every second of every day was too long , constantly putting a brave face on, smiling to the outside world only a few people knew how I was feeling on the inside mentally, emotionally, physically I was empty my tank was dry I was done.

I went and dived in a cold lake with a friend, the next day I went to the beach and I got my camera out I nearly adopted the not leaving the house staying on the sofa, doors are locked not moving but I pushed myself did the very things I loved doing but had stopped doing because my as the saying goes”my head wasn’t in it” and friends pushed me too, my son always helps me see things on different perspectives and helps me massively, my daughter whom I love incredibly and my grandchildren are a breath of fresh air and they are the reasons that through all the darkness, all the monkeys that sit there waiting for me to wake up and play in my head I won’t be beaten I have a reason to live and love, the ocean whispers to me in my head your my savior and I’m your guardian together we are strong,

I’m not fully ok but I’m getting through the days better than I did a year and bit ago, mental health and asking for help is still a stigma although it is better people still do find it embarrassing laying you worst fears and what you’ve been through to a stranger, there only a stranger at the beginning and if you let them be, they become a person you can trust a stability to lean on through the darkness when you feel lost so if your in deep waters, feeling like your in overwhelming pain ask for help, go out into nature a walk in a forest, nature reserve or read a book on the beach, put the salt water on your face listen to the waves and see how you feel it’s worth trying you might want more.

I want to thank my family, my friends, my grandchildren I love you all so very much thank you for your continued support.