I’ve been sleeping a lot these last couple of days. It’s a way of escaping from the world and from the very many depressive thoughts which I’ve been experiencing. In this blog post, I’d like to share what’s been on my mind, which will be good therapy for me, and readers may also find my reflections interesting and encouraging. So do read on if the title of this article and this introduction are of interest to you.
There’s an online forum that I go to regularly to share my feelings and support others who are experiencing difficult states of mind. I’ve been feeling so low and lonely recently, but I can always count on this forum for sympathy and support. It really is a wonderful place.
I posted on the forum about how depressed I’ve been feeling over the last couple of days, and a fellow member very kindly offered to chat with me in the private messages so I could share what’s on my mind. I’m very selective about who I trust with my feelings, but thought I had nothing to lose in chatting with this person.
As soon as I started to explain what’s been on my mind, the tears flowed. I realised how deep this depression has been and how much I’ve been struggling with it. As soon as I felt the effect of someone willing to listen and understand, it was a great relief. I generally only share my feelings with people who I sense have experience and emotional expertise, because otherwise, in my experience, people can make you feel worse rather than better.
When I thought about why I have been feeling so low, various reasons came to mind. They are mostly linked to Brexit and my dual English / Dutch heritage. I find it very difficult to be patriotic in a country where European heritage is considered by many to be an association they no longer embrace.
I do feel, though, that in many ways I am probably “more British” than very many citizens who live in the United Kingdom. I was born in Cambridge, grew up in Oxfordshire, and studied in London. My father is English and I have lived in the UK for my entire life. You might think that would make me feel British enough. And maybe that is enough. But being a part of the European Union, with all its benefits, is a situation that has been rejected by the majority of UK voters, and this leaves me feeling rather insecure about the Dutch aspect of my heritage.
Another big subject that has been influencing my depression is my lack of having a church community. Since I stepped away from the Christian faith, I have lost nearly all of my Christian friends. One of the wonderful things about Christian practice is the sense of community and inclusiveness. Nationality is not put before relationship with God. This is the way things should be, in my opinion.
I have shared several times on this blog about my difficult relationship with my father. I’m not sure about this, but I feel that perhaps the reason why my father has been so emotionally distant from me for my entire life is because on one level he feels regret, possibly due to bullying and peer pressure, for having a child of partly European heritage. I don’t know if this is true, because he and I have never had this conversation, but it’s something I suspect.
I honestly feel I have a lot to offer this country, and also the world. God has given me some wonderful philosophical insights, which I have written about in my books and on this blog, and these insights give my life meaning and make my life worthwhile. It’s so saddening that this must be eclipsed, at times, by arbitrary land divisions which mean I feel unable to be secure and confident in my identity.
I want the United Kingdom to be a country where prayer, compassion, and God are at the centre of our politics and civic life. That would give me great reason to feel patriotic and confident about who I am, and about all that I have to contribute to British society, and to the world.