Brian is coming. The police are closing off the Prom at nine this morning, he told me, popping his head round the bathroom door as I was bathing. You will be careful, won’t you? Only go where we agreed. Yes, I said.

Brian is coming. Storm Brian. What a banal name for a storm. I can’t get agitated about something called Brian. And, as yet, little is happening out there. A bit of wind, a bit of rain. I walked the Prom after all. There were loads of students milling about when I got there. No cordons, no sign of the police. So I walked it and was glad to. The air was fresh, it blew through me. Nice. I am grateful for it. I need it. Always. There’s always the sea.

I was sad yesterday. Is it SAD? Is it the menopause? Or is it that I am just a depressed sort of person? But not all the time. Sometimes there is joy, exquisite joy. Transient yes, but one couldn’t contain it, hold on to it for ever. I wept heavy tears. My eyes hurt today. I cry for the loss of something. The loss of me. I don’t know. He is so good, so patient. Sleep helps. There’s an article here about SAD, he said at supper. What do they advise? I asked. He read out the list. Anti-depressants, CBT, psychotherapy, light boxes, Vitamin D, exercise and a good diet. Nothing new there. I want to just live it. Accept it. No antidepressants. I want what is, not what is not. Is it OK just to be sad?

I struggle with the listlessness though. I have to admit. I like to do. And I still do but it takes all of my effort. Just finished the cleaning. All done for this week. Such a relief. I just don’t have the energy, it takes it out of me. This greyness. This greyness feels like it is pressing down on me. What is that children’s rhyme about Chicken Licken? Something about the sky falling down on him (or was it her?). I never liked it. It scared me. It felt like chaos.

I wish you could see how much you mean to me, he says. See how much you are worth. It hurts him, no frustrates him when I feel like this about myself. It is my default position, I say. I know, he says. I know. I’m not whingeing. I don’t see myself as a victim. I see the gifts of my life. But I sense I need to live it, to acknowledge it to come through it. And perhaps I never will, not entirely. It is how I read the world. Just let it be. Take to┬ámy bed if I have to. Would the sky fall in if I did? It’s the work thing, I know. The writing about it unleashes it all. Good and bad. I remember this Hot Chocolate song from way back, it must’ve been sometime in the 70s. Emmeline I believe it was called. Emma, Emma, Emmeline, Errol Brown sang almost crying it out. I always got goosebumps. Goosepumps, he wrote. A song about a girl who wanted to be a star, an actress. She never made it so she took her life. Schmaltzy, I know. But it touched me then. And I’ve never forgotten it. To him she was a star. She’d made it. It was enough.

I have a head full of good advice and mostly it carries me forward. It’s just when I’m tired that the negative stuff takes hold. A tightrope walking exercise. I want to go out in the wind. It is so alive. Time to work. To make a beginning. Not yet eight. I’ve made the coffee. A bientot. x

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.