Geeks Vs Loneliness: The trick is to keep breathing

In which Jane invites you for a cup of tea and a chat...

Hello and welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, the corner of Den of Geek where we can sit down with a cup of tea and have a natter about life the universe and the number 42. Biscuits are optional but I do like hobnobs.

This week I’m dispensing with themes. I want to give the floor to you guys. The readers. The commentators, the lurkers, the shy ones, the geeks and the gamers. Anyone who passes this way.

There’s a reason for this. I’m a person of a certain age. I’ve been rocked by the death of two cultural figures from my younger days – Keith Flint and Luke Perry. Two very different people, two very different deaths. Each leaving behind a gulf of sadness and questions and an outpouring of memories that highlight that these were two decent men who helped define the lives and experiences of so many people.

You may look at the title of this article and think it’s a little flippant. It isn’t. It is a song title – by Garbage – from an album that soundtracked my 90s. A difficult time when I often forgot to keep breathing. Full-time work, part-time study, competing personal priorities, a sense of everything being out of control coupled with burgeoning weight gain and associated health problems. There was a point when all the plates came crashing down and I sat in the shards and wondered how I’d ever be able to glue them together and go forward again.

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It passed. Instrumental in this was counselling. Talking therapies very much helped me makes sense of who I was and frame where I wanted to go. They gave me a space to lift my head and inhale. To remind myself to breathe.

To this day it is a lesson I have to frequently remind myself of. This week two men have lost their breath – one through a catastrophic malfunction of the human body, the other perhaps just not able to continue. Who thought their best option was to stop.

We all have to figure out what is right for us as an individual. I’m not a qualified medical health professional, I’m not a healer. I’m just a human. Someone who will admit these two deaths knocked them sideways. Someone who struggles.

The floor is yours. You can comment on anything – life, music, films, books, games (though I will admit to being the only person on this site who has no clue what Fortnite is). Mental health. Physical health. How you feel.

You also don’t need to comment. You might be breathing just fine right now. I really hope you are. But what we can do as a community is give each other a shout out and say, hey, what’s floating your geek boat today? What’s not so hot in your world? Can we give you a metaphorical shoulder to – if not cry on – place a firm sympathy pat on and an outlet for anything bottled up inside?

I’m adding contact details for several brilliant charities that may be able to support you through difficult times at the bottom of this article. The comments section may not be the forum you need right now to express yourself but if you find yourself at crisis point then do consider talking to one of them.

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Thanks as always for reading – and for commenting if you join the conversation.

I hope today holds you gently.

Support Organisations:

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) – Tel: 0800 58 58 58

The Crisis Text Line – @CrisisTextLine or text TWT to 741741 to be connected with a volunteer Crisis Counsellor. Free, 24/7, and confidential

Cruse Bereavement Care – For anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one – Tel: 0808 808 1677

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MIND (Mental health support) –

Rethink Mental Illness – or call 0300 5000 927 for advice and support

The Samaritans – Tel: 116 123 (UK) 116 123 (ROI)