The actor, Christopher Eccleston, has written a book, titled ‘I Love the Bones of You’ which is essentially a love letter to his late father, who passed away after a long illness with dementia.
The Salford-born actor also talks about his struggles with a life-long eating disorder and depression.
Arguably one of the leading British actors of his generation, he has starred in numerous films and tv series, including Dr Who and The A-Word.
He’s been very honest about the suicidal thoughts he had during his battle with anorexia.
The often difficult relationship between Fathers and Sons, involving people of a similar generation to myself, resonates.
I didn’t tell my Dad that I loved him until he was dying of cancer. Encumbered by the ‘Rules of Masculinity’ at that time, in 1994 and frankly, my class. It wasn’t really something that boys and teenagers of that time told their fathers. Probably because their fathers hadn’t been encouraged to tell their own Dads and so the same messages continued.
Yet another example of men finding it difficult to talk about their feelings. Passed down from Generation to Generation, like an unwelcome and frankly, unhelpful, family emotional heirloom....
I observe things changing and find it refreshing how demonstrative younger men are when they greet their mates, as opposed to the stifled responses often displayed by men of my generation and older, where a handshake suffices!
The taboo of mental health is discussed by Christopher in the book; the shame that is often experienced. Mental Health should be viewed the same as Physical Health and things are gradually improving in respect of how they are viewed.
He also talks about how actors from working class backgrounds are less able to find routes into drama now, where having excellent academic grades is often the priority. Also where schools are often now focusing on core subjects to ensure that they have excellent results in the league tables and can attract more students.
Our Young People are often missing out nationwide on access to drama. Having that access to drama in schools would also provide them with an excellent way for them to process their emotions. The private, ‘Public School’ sector, are generally more appreciative of the benefits of their pupils having the ability to engage in drama.
When I was at High School in the mid 1980s my Mum was very ill and affected by poor mental health and it was being able to participate in the school play, The Real Inspector Hound, by Tom Stoppard, that I was able to find an outlet for my feelings.
People like Christopher Eccleston, with his honesty and passion about also improving the lives of others, are helping to transform how people perceive mental health and reducing the stigma that surrounds it.
Also by talking about relationships, he is helping others to reflect on their own relationships with their fathers and thus improving understanding.
So, if you get chance, tell the people you love, that you do love them. They may not know. It may be presumed that you do and that they are aware, but often that isn’t the case.
Thanks for reading.