As I type it’s Blue Monday. Who knew?!
A lot of us apparently. But did you know that the idea that today is “the most depressing day of the year” was completely fabricated
by PR company who were employed by a travel company in 2005? In fact a lot of mental health myths were created by PR companies but that’s for another blog post. With regard to this one:
“The formula was devised to help a travel company “analyze when people book holidays and holiday trends,” said Alex Kennedy, spokesperson for Porter Novelli, a London-basedPR agency.”
OK, so a lot of us will be joining family for ‘The Dinner’. And for a lot of us that’s super cool and lovely and something we look forward to and truly relish.
First the super good news: people are asking for Christmas gift therapy vouchers again this year and I think that’s amazing. It’s a sure sign that mental wellbeing is being taken more seriously than ever before and that therapy is being normalised. When I first started out in private practice this was one of my dreams and honestly, I didn’t think we’d get here.
But here we are!
Christmas has a way of jerking those tears right out of us doesn’t it? It’s a time where the pressure to be happy is really on – HO HO HO! Jeepers. It’s a cheer fest, that’s for sure. One that would make the calmest people want to gouge their own eyes out if they are also trying to cope with feeling of loss and loneliness. Feelings that don’t “match” with how we are ‘supposed’ to feel Christmas.
Here’s the thing though:
October. It’s infant and pregnancy loss awareness month as designated by Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Did you know?
What strikes me this week is how quietly it’s slipping by, we’re nearly in November. And not much has been said. Is it par for the course? Child loss is one of those things we don’t talk about – that women (and men) often “bear” in stoic silence and secret, private agony. One would think, given the referendum and outpouring of grief and concern for women and their babies that there would have been more said this month. Or maybe it’s because so much has already been said – maybe there is a collective compassion fatigue? Are we just exhausted from it? Because loss is exhausting, there’s no doubt about that. Or maybe there are just too many other things going on this month – it certainly has been busy in the media.
Is it that?
There’s a “syndrome” called ACOA – are you familiar with it? It means Adult Child of Alcoholic, or, as experience has taught me, Adult (or teen) Child of any Addict.
I came across it years ago, before I trained actually. Before I really understood what alcoholism was, or how common it is. I was lucky, I know. Since then I’ve learned how the idea of ACOA as a collection of “habits” really helps to explain a lot of the thought patterns and behaviours that thousands of adults experience and struggle with every day – every hour maybe. And the people who love them struggle too.
Mental Health Week is here and I’m a very happy bunny. There is a real sense of ‘normal’ taking hold in Ireland and this is incredibly heartening! We are finally “getting” that not feeling OK is OK, that asking for support is OK. We are fostering a ‘knowing’ that we have worth and that change is possible.
Shame-free, guilt-free change.
Some people woke up this morning feeling dark, empty, hopeless. Maybe they didn’t sleep, again. They feel desperate, crazy even, from lack of sleep. Not being able to think straight, not even knowing that they’re not thinking straight. Some people today can see no value, no point in being alive. There is no joy, not even peace. A quiet mind would be enough. But how to get that…
I was talking my niece who lives in Australia last week. We whatsapp regularly which is great, but we have only small windows during which we’re both awake and alert enough to be super witty and entertain each other – or indeed support each other as the need arises. (We’re only 8 years apart for anyone who might be concerned I’m leaning on a child for my entertainment and emotional needs!)