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Kerry Hudson Headshot

In Response to Candy Chang's TEDTalk

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Kerry Hudson Headshot

In Response to Candy Chang's TEDTalk

Posted: Updated:

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

Funny how animals are unaware of mortality (to our knowledge), and as a result they seem a lot more chilled out then us. Would cats spend two thirds of their life asleep knowing that they were on borrowed time? Would they suddenly think "Shit! I need an education, I need some fulfillment other than food and covering up my poo, I should see more art, seek recognition from those other than my owner etc.." Flies would be the most frustrating species, imagine having to cram that all in one day?

The manic phase of my bipolar disorder, is a little like having been told that I've got a week left to live. I often create over-spilled lists of all the things I absolutely need to do and need to do right now. Ideas from nowhere pile up on top of each other, like a game of "thought genga". I guess it's similar to creating a bucket list but one that needs the lot ticking off by the end of the day. Most manifest as grandiose fantasies, others involve doing lots of running around, telling everyone I come into contact with my flush of ideas, opinions and delusions. Recently I've raced to B&Q to buy twenty-eight plants because by the following day it will be too late. If it had been closed I would have likely broken down or broken in. I've taken multiple pets home from multiple pet shops because if I don't I'm responsible for animal neglect and torture all over the world. (I once had ten guinea pigs, twelve rabbits, four quails and a parrot. You needed a ticket to get into my house). At the same time I was working on a city farm. In a fit of jealousy Noah and Dr. Doolittle would form a band and cover McCartney and Jackson's "The Girl is Mine."

I'm probably the biggest hypochondriac I know, apart from my cousin, who, having consumed a whole pack of bacon felt sick, and asked if it's possible to get bacon cancer. I spend much time Googling symptoms and calling NHS direct. If I have a complicated poo I fear I've had a prolapse, if I can't complete a crossword whilst hosting a hangover I think I have a brain tumor, and if my fingernails don't grow back on time I worry that my calcium deficiency will bring on osteoporosis, ketosis, and paralysis.

Straight from the scan room to an operation theater to a hospital bed to a morgue. Shortly after, a friend of mine cycled to the hospital for a heart operation, and again, never went home. -- Kerry Hudson

I dread the day that my doctor tells me I'm on borrowed time. Last year my uncle went to the hospital for a scan with suspected fluid on the lung and he never went home. Straight from the scan room to an operation theater to a hospital bed to a morgue. Shortly after, a friend of mine cycled to the hospital for a heart operation, and again, never went home. In my grief all I could think about was his bicycle chained up outside in the rain with nobody to cycle it home, like a dog chained up in the cold.

Following Candy Chang's "Before I die" project, I am hoping to take it to various arts/mental health services around London and photograph them to add to Chang's already extensive and global collection. How breathtaking is she that the love of one person transformed into a worldwide blackboard of dreams. In the meantime, I thought about the top ten things I would like to do before I die... of course I'd love to have kids, travel the world, follow my dream of becoming an author etc... but no matter how hard I try I struggle to see past the following day let alone week. Perhaps it's the short attention span that comes that comes from taking five doses of medication a day, or the negativity that comes with my condition, perhaps my denial about death and all it brings... so my bucket list is more of a "to do" list, and includes these.

--Stop thinking people are carers just before they care.
--Stop trying to save people (unless they are hedgehogs or Noel Edmonds.)
--Learn to play Air Guitar.
--Own my own redcoat.
--Get unbanned from uniformdating.com.
--Have a naughty nightwear stall on EastEnders called "Nan Summers."
--Go to the Norfolk Fjords.
--Stop having grandiose thoughts and Specsavers and sending then Thorntons chocolates.
--Stop calling customer services because I am lonely.
--Realize Wetherspoons is not a sperm bank.
--Realize, when chasing ambulances, that they are not ice-cream vans.

Death is the only inevitable thing that is going to happen to us, yet it is the most taboo, frightening and deniable thing amongst all of us. Yet our bucket lists are full of hope, individuality and finding something positive out of our fear and loss. I think we should all have one, even if we don't accomplish all of it, we will have fun trying.

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