Tuesday, March 30

Elspeth and Virginia

By now I’m sure you have all read of the untimely death of writer Elspeth Thompson.
The manner of her death – suicide was a complete shock – it actually made me feel sick and shaky as I did a few weeks ago when I read some of the newly available letters of some of the Bloomsbury group –where Virginia Woolf returned home the day before she committed suicide soaking wet – probably a failed attempt of drowning herself. The pain, anguish and desolation they must have felt upset me so much.
Mental health issues still have huge stigmas attached….and sometimes patchy treatment available.
I enjoyed reading Elspeth’s weekly column in the Telegraph and lately her blog; she seemed a charming gentle soul.
I guess this is a sober reminder that depression can be as serious as a physical illness such as cancer.


  1. It always seems like something that happens to somebody else doesn't it - until it comes close. It's made me wonder how much of a 'support' blogs really are - ultimately we are alone with ourselves. Oh dear, think I'd better go before I get all maudlin.

  2. I was shocked too, I had no idea she was suffering from depression, her blog and columns always so full of life.

  3. It is such a sad and tragic thing. I can't stop thinking about her little girl.

  4. I am so glad that you did this post. Depression is often swept under the carpet. My own dear mother has walked the road of depression all her life. My grandmother was also a depressive....sadly it runs on the female side of our family.

    Tku for such a caring and kind attitude to this illness.....

  5. I really think that anyone who has not experienced depression cannot know how utterly disabling it is to be attempting to live in that state. I feel so much for Elspeth Thompson's family and friends - and of course the family and friends of others who reach such depths that they take their own lives. :(


  6. I learned of Elspeth's death through Vanessa's blog (Do you mind if I knit?) and immediately thought of Virginia Woolf as well - two beautiful, gifted and intelligent women. So sad for her daughter Mary to have lost both grandmother and mother.

  7. Anonymous8:00 PM

    It's so terribly sad. My nan has suffered all her life with severe depression and is going through it at the moment.

  8. It's so awfully sad, I can hardly comprehend it - my heart goes out to Frank and Mary, I cannot begin to imagine how one starts to pick up the pieces.

    Julia x x x

  9. Hello Lynn,
    I dropped by your blog last night just before we went out to an art exhibition opening that was very much about gardens. Was shocked to read your post. The news was something I'd missed being on this side of the world. I also enjoyed her blog writings and her photos inspired a little raised bed that we've built around out deck. Having just read her husbands post I feel very quiet and still. So sad Lynn.

    Mental Health is something that is talked about quite openingly here in this region. I work as a tutor at an arts centre that's funded by mental health and so for us, it's part of our vocab.

    Are you able to point me in the direction of the new Bloomsbury letters?
    A x

  10. It's a tragedy for her dear ones and a jolt for those who have followed her progress as Urban Gardener in a shade-blighted city garden.

  11. hello Lynn, it's horrible to discover via a blog about someones death, I read one ladies, who infact I got to meet very briefly, only to discover that she had died and I felt exactly how you described, totally shocked and upset.Her last post was so poignant and so full of hope, I think I cried all day.
    Elspeth was a talented lady and a very inspiring one. Depression is a cruel disease that eats away at a person until that person is no longer themselves.I never consider suicide as as a selfish act, no matter how tragic the circumstances and Elspeth leaving her young daughter and husband is just that, incredibly sad and tragic.
    I had a friend who committed suicide, he visited me a month before hand and although he swore he was ok and said 'oh you know me,I'll be fine' he obviously wasn't as those were the last words he said to me.
    I have also fought against depression for a very long time myself and luckily for the past few years I've been winning. My doctor tells me people who suffer with it are generally born without the ability to produce the correct amount of serotonin and he says to conquer it,you have to think of the anti-depressant tablets like a Diabetic needs insulin, without it they could die. I managed to wean myself off them but I know how easy it is for that darkness to re-appear.
    You're so right about the patchy treatment, the counseling I had stopped due to the NHS's lack of funds. It was my lifesaver and it was stopped dead with no alternative.
    Sorry to waffle on, mental health issues do have a stigma attached I was going to write this anonymously and then I thought, no bugger it. Elspeth's unexpected death shows just how real it can be.

    Sairer x (recovering fruitcake)


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