becoming a self in history, becoming a self in my street

Rosemary Merriman

For many years I lived in a state of despair, so that by the time I reached my late forties I had lost all hope that there was anything that could help me. I coped by trying to live my life as if I were normal, despite my overwhelming sense of gloom. Occasionally I would have dreams where I would experience a gleam of hope, only to wake and find that faint gleam had faded away. One day, as I hung around at home in this state of inner chaos, a leaflet came through the door. I picked it up. The leaflet had an image on it showing elderly people engaged in learning. There was a headline which said, ‘Research reveals that old brains can grow new brain cells by learning new skills.’ As I read the text I had the thought, ‘If old people can grow new brain cells then perhaps I can.’ I had always felt that the person who I truly was did not have the resources to transform my inner state. These words suggested I did. This was the moment that the hope that so eluded me when I woke from sleep began to take root in my waking life, and I slowly began to know recovery was possible for me.