DAILY PROMPT: SINGING THE BLUES
We all feel down from time to time. How do you combat the blues? What’s one tip you can share with others that always helps to lift your spirits?
Depression, the chaplain told us, is a Sin.
Easy to say when you have the depth of puddle, the self-awareness of a stone fish and all the compassion of the Southern Ocean in winter. He may have reasoned, of course, that for Young Ladies at a Good Boarding School, depression smacked of Self-indulgence, which was also a Sin. (What, after all, did we have to be depressed about?) But I doubt it. Cognitive processing is not compatible with high levels of complacent self-satisfaction.
Either way, it did rather rule God out as a source of comfort if you were feeling less than upbeat and chipper. Add to that our daily brainwashing – We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy table, we said, heads bowed, battered knees whimpering in protest – and you’ll realise there was only one answer to a bout of the blues: suck it up.
In some circumstances, this might not be a bad idea. Feeling a bit blue? Admit it, wallow briefly and move on. Chances are tomorrow will be better, and prolonged pity-parties – the ones that include weeks of constant wailing and beating of chest, wringing of hands, endless outpourings of victimhood and stubborn, blinkered inertia for the purposes of gaining sympathy and miraculous red Porsches – those sorts of wallowings are guaranteed to lead to the irritation and ultimate alienation of friends and acquaintances, who by the end of the first week will see exactly what you’re up to and realise that a smack in the head would do you the world of good if only they were bold enough to administer it. Counterproductive, you see, for all concerned.
True depression, on the other hand, doesn’t react well to being sucked up. Not that you’re advised to wallow in that, either, but it feeds on denial until it’s so huge it’s likely to swallow you whole. Get help.
And somewhere in the middle are those days when the straw’s broken the camel’s back, the weather is lousy (or sadistically sparkling), your job sucks, there’s nothing to look forward to and snails have eaten your prize chrysanthemum… Yep, we’ve all been there, will probably go there again and that’s OK because it’s allowed.
Not fun, though, so what do you do?
In my case, you read. Preferably something the literati would consider crap – meaning it’s light, has characters I relate to, a satisfying ending and not a whiff of elegant lyricism or deep and meaningful soul-searching. It still has to be well-written – but that’s probably just me being picky.