In our spot on the site where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, a few thoughts about the ghosts in our life, and ghosting.

Hello, welcome, grab a coffee, biscuit and a comfy seat. It’s the site’s weekly natter about how we are doing right now. And apologies in advance, I’ve been a bit distracted.

Recently I read a novel by Dolly Alderton, Ghosts, that caught me well and truly in its grip. It concerns ghosts, the imprints we leave behind, the flicker of a comment online. The dropping out of contact with someone we’ve been connecting with across social media. People vanishing from our lives or mid conversation. Ghosting one another with intent. Or fading, into old age and memory loss.

There was a lot of self-recognition in there. There are the days I feel like a ghost in my own life. There are the ghosts I carry with me, as the unintentional keeper of the family keepsakes. And for the first time in my life, there’s the deliberate blocking across all media of a former contact.

They pull at the fabric of our mind, these ghosts, whatever form they’re in. I suspect we all have them. The whispering voices that drive us, criticise us, or perhaps encourage us. Have I responded appropriately? Have I done the right thing? What happens next?

We hang ourselves up on the hooks in our mind, wondering, watching, grieving. Our ghosts flit on a carousel of memory, some sparkling with joy, others grim and watchful. Only we can choose whether we want to dance with them, or let them spin off into the ether.

I’d never really considered the impact of ghosting before. I never imagined I would have to do it. But sometimes communication media allows too much access to a person’s mental health space. Barbed emails, accusations and hysteria left on the answerphone. The flashing button, the unread message signal tugging away at the corner of your mind. You know that to unleash the message will be to do harm. You do it anyway.

As I sit with a relative and we look through old photographs for a memory project, I see the ghosts of the past reflected within, in the shape of a chin, the curve of dark eyes. A line of ghosts, pulling at the fabric of the past. Fabric that has spun us into who we are today.

There can be joy in embracing these ghosts, this collective spirit that has built me. I’m the echo of the past, trying to live as best I can today.

Ghosts, the novel, is funny and sweet and occasionally broken hearted. It reflects where I am in my own life, with my own ghosts clustering about my knees clamouring for attention. Not all of these spirits are benign, and I have had to ghost in return.

As Myles Kennedy sings, in the halls of my mind I’m haunted by design. It’s a difficult line to balance. I hope your own ghosts hold you kindly, but if they begin to burn that you can silence them in return.

Take care all, and thanks for reading.

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