I’m struggling to write for the blog these days. Hell, I’m struggling to write at all. Each week after therapy I diligently try to write a journal. Some weeks it is better than others but the reality is that it leaves me drained for the blog.


In many ways I would like to write more but I’m finding writing about my feelings rather hard. I’ve spent years bottling up my emotions (or indeed sinking them to the bottom of the bottle). I have turned anger and frustration in on myself, corroding me and cauterising my (often self inflicted) wounds.

Earlier this year I wrote a piece about my estrangement from my brother.
It was written on the occasion of my parents 50th wedding anniversary and whilst I was pleased with what I wrote, I wasn’t ready to post it. Finally, now, 8 months later I’m ready. However the moment has passed and there seems little point in winding the clock back but I’ll share just one small part.

“You see we’re not great at feelings in my family. Emotions get tidied up and hidden away. I can’t imagine they will ever tell me the whole story of certain decisions in their lives. Which is fair enough I guess. After all, I never tell them the reason that my brother and I don’t speak.”

Which kind of says it all really.

This has been a tough weekend.  My father is currently battling cancer of the jaw and he has not been responding to his pain medication. He sounds worse than I’ve ever known him (bear in mind that this is a man who has battled back from chronic addiction, diabetes and heart surgery and you get some idea). More than anything he just sounds worn out. He’s had so many second chances in his life that he is resigned to whatever fate befalls him. Ironic then that at the time when he might talk more openly and freely than ever before, he can barely speak because of the pain.

Which mirrors where I’m at.

I’m off medication and this week should see the last remnants leaving my system. My doctors and I took the decision to reduce the drugs to allow therapy to succeed, to allow me to confront the pain with a clear mind, not dulled by pharmaceuticals . Except I’ve been choking this pain back down for so many years that I’m really struggling to bring it out and talk about it. Don’t get me wrong, there has been progress. I even managed to cry quite calmly last week (such a blessed relief) but part of me knows that this is now or never and that’s a pretty scary prospect.

At this point there should be a rousing conclusion, an uplifting quote or tearjerking youtube clip but frankly I haven’t got it in me. My pain and fear is personal, I don’t expect anyone else to understand it – understanding it myself would be enough. So why the public blog rather than my journal? Well, doing it this way holds me to account. When I go in to therapy tomorrow I’ll have made a start on opening the bottle – perhaps I’ll be able to pour it all out soon.

About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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4 Responses to Bottled

  1. Meg Peppin says:

    As one of your blog readers who finds your honesty and great questions inspiring – I am sure I am not the only person walking alongside you ready if you need them.

  2. Bina Briggs says:

    Dear Jon,
    Thank you for sharing, it couldn’t have been easy to pen all this. Wish you all the very best and as you said, once you’ve made a public statement, it’s throwing your gauntlet! It will hold you accountable. Always here to help, just ask. xx

  3. Jacqui Bailie says:

    Good luck Jon. I hope that it helps in some small way to know that so many people are thinking about you, and rooting for you.

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