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Oestre sparagmos!
Member
Picture of fionchadd
posted
So as some of you know, diving is a big part of my life. My best friends come from my dive club, and dive trips with them are truly amazing.

When I started on the anti-depressants I'm on, the recommendation from the diving medical committee is that you don't dive for 3 months, to make sure all the side effects have settled and you're ok on the dose. Explaining this to my GP and my therapist was an utter nightmare, as neither of them dive, or knew that it would cause problems, and one of them insinuated that I didn't know what I was talking about.

My dive club is having it's annual summer trip in September. Two weeks away, some of my closest friends, amazing diving. It would be very good for me, in my opinion. It's after the 3 months, which is something I checked when I started the medication, and I checked with the organiser that not having done much diving this summer wouldn't be a problem.

The organiser of the trip (who knows about everything, including my suicide attempt) recently rang me to chat about the trip. He came across as stilted and I thought there was a hidden agenda, but he's genuinely just concerned. After a conversation with him and with the Diving Officer of the club, I agreed that before I went diving again I would have a medical by a diving referee to get certified as fit to dive.

I have emailed the diving referees in London giving my situation, and asking if I could book a medical.

One has come back saying he doesn't do medicals anymore - he has passed my information on to someone who does, but said that in his opinion I shouldn't be diving.

One has come back saying that I shouldn't be rushing into any decisions about diving, and that he would want information from my psychiatrist and GP nearer the time to make an informed decision. I could book a medical with him for £60.

Question:
Do I :

a) Book the medical, although it's beginning to look as though the result is predetermined. Go through the hassle and stress of trying to convince my GP and the eating disorder clinic why I need a medical certificate to dive, try and get them to supply him with information (although the clinic has only seen me for an evaluation - I'm still on the waiting list and will be until long after the trip). Accept that this process may not be good for me, and the result may still be that I still am not able to dive. And that if it takes a long time to determine this, I may lose deposit money on the trip.

b) Write this summer off as non-diving. Give up on the summer trip, although I've been looking forward to it since April. Not all of my friends are going. But accept that for those two weeks, a large number of my friends will be having the most amazing fun and doing the most amazing diving, and it will be all that's talked about for a good deal of time after. Make that decision now, and start working on making this not matter to me.

Choices:
take the medical
give up on the dive trip

 


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Posts: 10543 | Location: deepest darkest somerset | Registered: December 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yahr!
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Unless the financial aspect is really crucial, I think you should take the medical. I don't see the point in just giving up on the whole thing other then saving money.


~ Gal-El

I don't have a drinking problem. What I have is a drinking solution.
 
Posts: 16427 | Location: Haifa, Israel | Registered: August 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
has no member title
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Yeah. I think you'll be feeling crap all summer for sure if you give up now.

The other way it's lots of hassle, and you *might* feel crap, but you might end up succeeding, too.


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Posts: 15475 | Location: Bouncing round in bathrooms! | Registered: October 19, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oestre sparagmos!
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quote:
I don't see the point in just giving up on the whole thing other then saving money.


the point is that the whole process of going through with the medical will probably not do me any good at all. and being told, in writing, that I'm unfit to dive - I don't really know what that will do to me.

On the one hand, it is giving up. It is the easy way out. And I don't want to do that.

On the other hand, fighting to make other people believe what I know to be true is what landed me in a hospital bed last time.

Money is an issue, but not enough to prevent me from taking the medical. I just don't know if the whole process would be counter-productive.


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Posts: 10543 | Location: deepest darkest somerset | Registered: December 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is in perfect karmic alignment
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So...
a) You take the medical, you have a (maybe small) chance of a clean bill of health: so a chance for the trip.
a-sub-1) If not, you start work at gaining some perspective: this is not the only-diving-trip-ever, and you need to concentrate on regaining your strength.
b) you have no chance on going on the trip, move straight to a-sub-1.

If you need time before you can dive, you need time. Don't focus on it so much, you know? You'll only make things impossible for yourself.
Think of it this way: if i'd planned on a summer trip, and i carcked a rib. And the GP told me i'd better either cancel, or not do much on the trip: because otherwise my rib might not heal properly: i have two choices.
Either don't go and fret endlessly about how i'm not there. Go anyway and sit still and fret about it. Or just make my peace with the fact that life's a bitch like that sometimes, and think of something else to do.

I'd say: make your peace with the idea it might not be possible for you *yet* to go diving *before* you get the medical, then get the medical anyway.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Punkyfins,


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Posts: 8667 | Location: Just north of Earth | Registered: July 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yahr!
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quote:
Originally posted by fionchadd:
quote:
I don't see the point in just giving up on the whole thing other then saving money.


the point is that the whole process of going through with the medical will probably not do me any good at all. and being told, in writing, that I'm unfit to dive - I don't really know what that will do to me.


That means that I (and I dare say any of us) can't really advise you. None of us have that kind of familiarity with the inside of your head. I think you have little to lose by taking the medical, but "think" is the operative word here. Only you can deal with your feelings.


~ Gal-El

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Posts: 16427 | Location: Haifa, Israel | Registered: August 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is tired of these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane
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diving and depression

so this article says there is very little research one on diving and depression. check the list to see which done you are, see if you are happy with the possible side effects.

if a) you are. fuck everyone and go diving
b) if you aren't, don't go diving

here is another FAQ about medication and diving


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Posts: 29254 | Location: Somewhereshire | Registered: January 05, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One thing to take into consideration: Every single person involved in telling you whether you can dive or not will have one primary motive: If anything happens to you, they don't want it to fall back on them.

This explains why they are so reluctant to give you the written go-ahead, particularly in a situation they know nothing about (the diving guy doesn't know about depression and the psychiatrist doesn't know about diving).

ETA: The FAQ SP quoted has some great stuff. Particularly:
quote:
The thing is that you really need to be assessed by someone who has a good understanding of psychology and diving to see if you are fit enough to dive and unlikely to not suffer a fear or anxiety that will endanger you or your buddy. These doctors are as rare as hen's teeth as the doc has to have a good experience of depression as well as diving medicine, but I have a list of appropriate people.


Maybe you should ask him for it?

I also like this argument which might serve you well:

quote:
The intriguing point here as well is that there are many depressives who only feel well and free of their problem when they are one on one with a nudibranch on a clear blue day at depth. And as someone who has seen plenty of these divers I can only see the benefits of diving for their wellbeing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: His Noodle Girl,


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Posts: 15475 | Location: Bouncing round in bathrooms! | Registered: October 19, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My reply is going to come across as cold and heartless, but bear in mind this is my logical side dealing with someone else's problem.

At the moment, you're trying to recover from depression. You've been pretty bad about it, and if you feel anything like I used to, you're fed up and sick of feeling that way and want to be normal.

I'm sorry to say that in my (cold-hearted, analytical and detached) opinion, that's way more important than diving, or pretty much anything else. Easier said than done, I know. But Punkyfins simile is fitting -you're sick at the moment, and need to get better before you get on with your life as you used to.

Another cold-hearted remark: much as you enjoy diving, and much as though it means to you -it's not going to help you be less depressed, in the long run. So not going is not going to make you more depressed -if you end up not going, don't think about "they're not letting me", but rather "I'm not well enough to do it" and then do something else. So some of your friends will be having fun -use the money and the time to do something fun yourself with other friends, if you can -a weekend break, the theatre, whatever.

If you don't go, don't get down about it. Shit happens to us all and things we plan for don't come to pass. It's bad though when you're already down, but ultimately we do have to learn how to cope with these things becuas ehtey happen all the time.

(And if you go, be safe Smile)


 
Posts: 11803 | Location: home? | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
really is wicked
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I agree with everyone else on this: you need to weigh the pros of how healing and benificial going on the diving trip will be against how harmful and exhausting the medical and the posibility that you can't go will be, as well as dealing with the fact that your friends went and you did not go.

But this is not the only diving trip in the world. Also, not going on this trip and instead looking after your health will be good pointers for passing the medical next time.

I'm really not sure what would be more harmful to you - not going and feeling left out, or going through the medical and then being told you can't go. By the sounds of it, the actual diving trip would be benificial - but it sounds as if the chances of that are slim at the moment. Only you will be able to decide which course of action is the least harmful, but you really must remember to keep your health as your main priority. There will be other diving trips that will be equally special, and perhaps more so if you are able to go on them without all this nerve-wracking hassle before hand.


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Posts: 11561 | Location: ooop norrff | Registered: May 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm. After some quick reading about the potential risks related to either the depressed state of mind (its effect on decision-making, especially combined with nitrogen narcosis, as well as it possibly blurring the symptoms of the bends) and the side-effects of the meds (risks of seizures, bleeding, again DCS-mimicking symptoms, etc.), well - it seems to me really quite reasonable that they'd need some background info about you first. And to be blunt, they're probably also worried because of the earlier suicide attempt. (One article I found claimed that as many as 17% of fatal diving accidents in the UK may in reality be suicides.)

I hope you're not taking their approach (or even the possible refusal to declare you fit) personally; they just prefer to err to the side of caution. Yeah, maybe covering their own asses like Noodles said, but also really with your best interest at heart. I'm actually quite glad nobody's just rubberstamping this - I would not want anything bad happening to you.

One of the online articles I skimmed said that most people responding well to stabilized medication (unless we're talking about really high doses) do receive clearance, so it seems there's a good chance going through with the whole thing wouldn't necessarily be futile?

But I guess the important thing is that you'd have be able to think of it as a simple safety issue - which it is - and not any kind of assessment (or judgement) of you as a person. Do you think you could, you know, remain a bit detached from the outcome? If you think a letdown would be really bad for your well being, then maybe you shouldn't go through with it now. Or: what FatOigeon said. We can't really tell.

Do you think it could make a difference with the referee if you agreed beforehand to plan your dives easy, so that the risks remain low even if something goes wrong? Staying within depths that don't require decompression stops, maybe having longer surface intervals, always having a very experienced buddy? Maybe that would increase the chances of getting a clearance?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tismalleen,


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Posts: 2414 | Location: fluttering about | Registered: September 18, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Are you my mummy?
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I've often seen this in the Army. Soldiers usually don't get help. Admitting it is a career ender. We just start caring less and less about danger. Enjoying the adrenaline and looking like fearless motherfu$%ers. Most soldiers consider the sufferers bad juju on a squad.

I would not take someone like that into dangerous situations. They might fuck up and endanger other members of my team trying to save you. Plus the trauma to the team of losing a member. Not worth it.

There is one big question. Do you have enough empathy to understand the repercussions your actions have on others? I personally don't see it in your previous posts.

Now that I have reamed you a new one I will tell you the secret of happiness and courage. Care for others more than yourself.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nemo888,


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Posts: 852 | Location: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: July 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Adoration of the Modii
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My concern is that the doc seems to be pre-disposed.. I would look for another doc who can do a second opinion.. ask that doc for a referral to get a second opinion and show your psych doc the article DM posted.. it may help..

but.. truthfully, I think you should do a pass on this until you really start feeling better..


-- Give a man a fish, he eats for the day; Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime; Teach that man to cook, and he can feed the world....
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Posts: 13941 | Location: In the Kitchen, Cooking Something. | Registered: March 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oestre sparagmos!
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quote:
I will tell you the secret of happiness and courage. Care for others more than yourself.


Nemo? Go fuck yourself


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EP now available for FREE download! Click Here

"Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten"

a peek inside the whirlwind of my thoughts
 
Posts: 10543 | Location: deepest darkest somerset | Registered: December 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is in perfect karmic alignment
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quote:
Originally posted by fionchadd:
quote:
I will tell you the secret of happiness and courage. Care for others more than yourself.


Nemo? Go fuck yourself

*Grins*
You did notice that a lot of people researched for you and tried as best they could to give their opinions and be supportive. Focus on that, hon. We're still here to try and do the best we can think of for you, you know?

Just try to stay focused on healing. Swim, look at the blue sky, cook with us. Take some time off maybe. Take walks. Focus on getting on that road right there. Gal's right, we can't see into your head, we can't know how you feel. It's difficult to know what's right.
There are a lot of people here, with a lot of experiences. They might react unexpectedly. But I was taught back in the day, if things got rough to focus on concrete things. The lamp, the candle you lit, the sky, the park. And remember to breathe.

Maybe what worked for me works for you. Focus on what's around you. And maybe take some time to respond to all the constructive and positive feelings that have been going your way too. It might help.
A lot of us are rooting for you. Smile
Be well.


-------------------
Blog: Room with a view.

~You are a *Taverner*.
Sometimes patrons want to go where everybody knows their names, though it helps when half of them are named John. When people want to celebrate, or commiserate, they gather to your establishment. You provide the atmosphere, the warmth, rum, and even an ear to bend. Did I mention the rum? Years before the language will be mangled with terms like facilitator and networking and interpersonal communication, you've overseen it all, and broken up a few bar fights, to boot.~
-Royko

 
Posts: 8667 | Location: Just north of Earth | Registered: July 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Starving artist doctor - well, not starving, but if you happen to have an extra biscuit lying around . . .
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Dude, you're being an asshole. Wind your neck in.

Preferably with an apology.


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Posts: 9036 | Location: Belfast, NI | Registered: April 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nemo, in what universe are you actually helping?


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Posts: 15845 | Registered: April 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Adoration of the Modii
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Fionn...
In life, you have to do what is right for you.
Know and remember.. sear it on your heart of hearts.. we care for you, we love you. You are not alone in this.. Everyone's experience is different... The thing that helps me is to remember the lives I touch and those lives that touch me and others.. how we're all connected. Sure we all do stupid things.. Right Nemo? I've done a few near fatal things myself.. each one was a lesson.. I really like how this reality and universe was explained to me once - The Universe is one entity that has many bodies so it can understand itself.

This thread has turned into more than just "should I go diving".. Whatever happens, Sweets, what shall be shall be.. take the time and enjoy it...


-- Give a man a fish, he eats for the day; Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime; Teach that man to cook, and he can feed the world....
***********************
Head chef in the Realm of Procrastination and Unproductivity, Dp.u.: "You want fries with that?"
Holder for the Golden Pineapple Pin.
------------------------------------------------
If it is on the plate, its food. If it crawls off the plate; Kill it and put it back on the plate.
------------------------------------
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Posts: 13941 | Location: In the Kitchen, Cooking Something. | Registered: March 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Great wyrm of Toronto
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As everyone here has already said, get the physical. Get the referral. Do not rely on the previous referee at all, especially given the fact that he is no longer even practicing medicine, from what little I understand.

Talk to this new referee, who will hopefully be professional and objective enough to do his or her job without outside (or even professional) bias.

Diving is something that you enjoy, and writing it off right now will not help anything. Walking away from something you love is hard and sometimes can be even harder to get back to.

That said, take care yourself first. This is another reason why I think you should get this assessment because it will help you in the long run to be able to go on more trips and more dives. Maybe this referee can sit with you and discuss matters. I'm afraid I'm really not an expert in any of this.

But you will know what to expect if you have to meet with these diving referees again, if you don't know already.

I'm glad that you're getting help and that you're ok. If you don't get that referral ... it's very hard to tell anyone not to be depressed about it, but I will say that if you don't, find something else to do during that time. Something constructive to do. And later, you can always go back for that referral.

I'd also suggest that you ask the organizer of your trip, if possible, to give you your deposit back should this trip not happen for you.

I think it's important that you see this diving referral person, and that you see the second option -- the one telling you not to rush, but at the same time, also being willing to listen to your psychiatrist and your GP. As for them, if you can, talk with both of them some more.

My point is -- you are working and fighting something that is a part of your natural life and whether or not they let you go, it is worth doing. That's the short version of what I want to say.

*Hugs you* I hope everything goes well for you, Fion.


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Posts: 6059 | Location: Canada | Registered: July 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oestre sparagmos!
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quote:
You did notice that a lot of people researched for you and tried as best they could to give their opinions and be supportive.


oh I did notice that, and I'm very grateful Smile I was always intending to respond, I just needed time to process properly and consider my answers.

So, some general points and clarification:

When I was considering starting the anti-depressants, I did as much research as I could about their effect on diving and what the guidelines are. For information, I'm on an SSRI, which is one of the newer types, and less likely to react badly. The guidelines are that you don't dive for 3 months, just to make sure that you're on the right dose, the right type, and that you're not getting any severe side effects. I read up on the DAN website, the London Hyperbaric Chamber website, the UK Sport Diver Medical Committee website, and made an informed decision that I would start taking the anti-depressants and take some time off diving.
Having done all that research, I was then subjected to utter disbelief when I mentioned the issues with diving to my GP and my therapist. It wasn't written in the insert, so it wasn't a problem. Neither of them gave me any credit at all for knowing that it might be an issue, knowing where to look for more information, knowing that the information I'd found was correct. They thought - not that I was making it up - but certainly that I was wrong. It was an incredibly stressful few days, put me at an incredibly low ebb, and that's what I'm worried I'll be up against again in getting the medical.

At that time, however, I didn't consider the depression itself. I didn't think of it as an issue - I was only concerned with the drugs. But it is an issue - especially with the suicide attempt - it's probably more of an issue than the anti-depressants. But the thing is, I tried to kill myself before they'd kicked in. And I kept 'not wishing I hadn't done it' afterwards, until the anti-depressants kicked in. I mean, honestly, overnight, I was a whole different person. And that's what people are having trouble accepting. I am no longer in any danger of trying to harm myself. People don't seem to understand how I can now be 'fine' when I went to such drastic measures, but I honestly am. And that's why I wonder whether a diving doctor will understand.

some specific responses:

quote:
so this article says there is very little research one on diving and depression. check the list to see which done you are, see if you are happy with the possible side effects.

if a) you are. fuck everyone and go diving
b) if you aren't, don't go diving


Unfortunately this isn't my decision at the moment - my club have required that I get a diving medical before I am allowed to dive with them again. That's a permanent thing - regardless of the summer trip, I have to have a medical before I'm ever allowed to dive with the club again. THe issue is whether or not I'm more likely to pass it further down the line.

Thanks for the links though. I'd seen the DAN one before, but not the LDC. And I have emailed them asking for their list of diving referees with specific experience in this field.

quote:
Another cold-hearted remark: much as you enjoy diving, and much as though it means to you -it's not going to help you be less depressed, in the long run.


In the long run, perhaps not. But only perhaps. My best friends are in the dive club, and although I do see them outside of diving, that's our link. We have fun when we see each other, but it's really not a patch on the emotion and freedom we feel on a dive trip. And in the short term, diving will definitely make me less depressed.

quote:
Do you think it could make a difference with the referee if you agreed beforehand to plan your dives easy, so that the risks remain low even if something goes wrong? Staying within depths that don't require decompression stops, maybe having longer surface intervals, always having a very experienced buddy?

Unfortunately that's not really an option. The trip - the dive sites we're using, they'll be deepish wrecks for the most part. Some of them will be 'pick-your-depth', sure, but I won't have the option to do a different dive site to everyone else, and I won't have the option to stay on the surface longer than everyone else. (I will, of course, have the option of not doing a dive if I'm not feeling up to it). As far as experienced buddies go, I could request it, but it wouldn't be guaranteed. At the end of the day, it's a club trip, and everyone's there to enjoy themselves - it's pretty much the only club trip in a year which doesn't have any element of training or mollycoddling, so the instructors and advanced divers just want to chill out. I know that everyone will be looking out for me, but they will still want to enjoy themselves.

And lastly, on a more general note:

TOday is a better day. Yesterday, and the day before, were not good. They certainly weren't the sort of Bad Days I used to get - not even close - but every time I now wake up feeling even slightly meh, I get terrified that I'm falling back into it. I do not want to go back to that place. And the prospect that I might be is terrifying. Ferrau is doing as much as he can to convince me that one bad day is not the end. People are allowed to have bad days occasionally. And I'm trying to drill that into my head. But yesterday all I could think was 'I can't go through that again. Even if it means giving up, not fighting my corner, that's better than going there again'.

Today I feel better. I feel more positive. I feel that I could convince a doctor that I'm fine to go diving. But more than that, I feel that if they tell me to take it slowly then that'll be ok. I will understand. So I am going to get the medical, because it's something I have to do whenever I do it, but I'm not going to pin everything on it.

And thankyou to everyone for the links and the research and your responses. It's been very useful, and as ever it's good to know that you guys are looking out for me Smile


____________________________________________________
Did you know? When it snows, my eyes become large and the light that you shine can't be seen.

EP now available for FREE download! Click Here

"Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten"

a peek inside the whirlwind of my thoughts
 
Posts: 10543 | Location: deepest darkest somerset | Registered: December 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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