It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post.
I have a million and one excuses and then again none at all. I seem to get consumed by what ever is in front of me and the garden of life can becomes a little over run.
This morning I am sitting in a café called Gail’s (my mothers name) on a rainy, cold morning in Clapham South, London. This is the last day of my Icelandic (I Had a Black Dog) UK (Resilience) book tour.
The tour has been a success but I am so looking forward to being in my own bed and more importantly seeing my long lost family.
I arrived in Reykjavik well over 2 weeks ago to launch I Had a Black Dog.
I can’t believe how this skinny little book keeps trotting itself out around the world. In August it will be it’s 10 year anniversary.
The Icelandic people were incredibly welcoming, warm, very self-effacing and don’t like being told what to do, so I felt quite at home.
Iceland has the unfortunate title of being the most prescribed country (per capita) in the OECD (Western World) for antidepressant medication. Australia is surprisingly is number 2.
For Iceland; I discovered several reasons for this.
I rented a car for a few days and went and got lost in it all. I can honestly say it is one of the most incredibly beautiful countries I have ever seen. Some of it reminded me of New Zealand, some of Wyoming and some of Mars.
The thought that continually ran through my ‘IN-AWE’ mind was ‘This is absolutely stunning – but how could anyone live here?’
Firstly there’s the remoteness of it all. There’s only just over 320,000 people who live in Iceland, some in unfathomable isolation.
Then there’s the weather, which is extremely extreme to say the least; a long hard winter with slivers of light that constitute for a day. Followed by a summer of endless light.
And then there’s the cost of living. Iceland was the 1st country to collapse after the GFC and everyone is still paying for it. Everything is exorbitantly expensive. If it’s expensive for tourists it must be tough for the locals.
Finally there is the inherent Viking toughness, don’t need help, don’t want help – but not always coping – this is often dealt with alcohol.
I gave 2 different talks on different days in Reykjavik and to my surprise they were packed out.
The one thing I learned from speaking to the locals was Icelandic people are quite closed to one another; this is because everyone vaguely knows or has a connection to someone.
I speak from the heart and I’m not afraid of wearing my heart on my sleeve. So it must have been a little unique for them seeing someone speak so openly about their personal journey and life experiences.
In Iceland there is a huge desire for change, for the understanding of wellbeing and good mental health. There is a movement to curb the antidepressant script writing and to deal with people’s issues more head on and holistically, rather than a knee jerk ‘here take this and get back to me.’ It would be good if Australia followed a similar trend.
I felt so incredibly privileged to be invited there; it truly was a true ‘life experience.’
I also met 3 women who were named Bjork, all of whom knew Bjork. It truly is a small world.
PS More about the UK tour in the next post.