With all the bad news and shocking stories we are living with at the moment you feel overwhelmed. There’s a sense of being dragged towards a sink hole with little chance of escape. All around us the news reports are bleak, miserable and unforgiving.
In the last month alone we’ve had all the stories about the floods across the North-East of Scotland devastating people’s lives, deaths of famous singers and actors who were part of our consciousness, political instability across the globe, the gun issues and “Black lives matter” in the US, the continued rise of Donald Trump (and the subsequent reappearance of Sarah Palin), ongoing questions surrounding the Jimmy Saville inquiry, job losses, food banks and ongoing government cuts. It doesn’t make great reading or viewing for a time of year during which we all struggle anyway.
You can fully understand the escapism of shopping for holidays and watching sci-fi box sets on Netflix. There’s a need for us to remove ourselves from this dark reality – a way out that means we don’t get pulled down beneath the surface. With my current dip in mood you look for every life buoy you can grab on to – a way to float up the way. Not being a winter weather sports type (or a summer one if I’m honest) going out in this miserable weather doesn’t appeal so you find yourself confined to the house which can make you worse.
I know that spending a weekend in the house doing nothing sounds great but it does nothing to lift you out of the depressive funk. Artificial lights on as you shut the blinds on the outside deprives you of anything but your front room or bedroom. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of misery. And it’s not that I’m not aware of the issue – I really am – but inside is warm, dry and comfy. The get-up-and-go has f*cked-off-and-disappeared so getting the motivation to go out for a long walk is not there just now. Roll on lighter and warmer nights for those long walks along the beach, around forest walks.They say that depression can be helped by exercise, but finding the will to get up and go is really difficult.
So you are trapped inside trying to avoid the news only for the misery to pop up on your news feeds telling you of explosions, death and Putin. January wraps you up in cold damp towel as the media pelts you with darkness. It’s not their fault, it’s just the news – it’s tough to polish a turd. Depression is very much a place that thrives on the darker elements of life by enlarging the negative news and makes you worry about things that have no real direct impact on you. It’s not my job to police or care for the world but sometimes depression makes you feel a responsibility for the woes of the world.
Is there an answer? A solution? Not an easy one – you need to fight yourself and your preconceived perceptions. you have to force yourself to do things, be active, and get out of the house. I find planning ahead can help – even by a couple of days. Today it’s Friday and I have already put the idea in my head I’m going to the shops on Sunday and will visit my folks on the way back. Not a major expedition but planting the seed today means that my brain is preprogrammed to mean I’ll resist it when Sunday comes round. It really is the little things that help you get through.
I could stop watching the news or unsubscribe from certain feeds online, but I think it’s important to be informed about the world around you and remember that all these stories are important but their importance is not linked to my life or my actions. Like the depression I know there is a better day around the corner and things will sort themselves out eventually. They always do.