A lot is being said about “Blue Monday”. And most of it is the product of a bull’s rear end!
If you are down, you are down. And no amount of people telling you to pick yourself up will change that. I know. I know all too well after the year I have just had.
But the opposite is true in reverse: telling somebody with depression that they should be sad, is a way of pulling them down. If you are “up”, if you are feeling positive about life and about yourself, don’t let anybody pull you down.
I don’t know where “Blue Monday” is coming from. And I don’t care. It is dangerous.
The idea that a particular day is “the saddest day of the year” is nonsense. Dangerous nonsense.
I know that there is a big difference between sadness and depression; but sadness is a big part of depression. And when you suffer from depression you can feel sad, down, and worthless at the drop of a hat. Depression is more than just feeling sad – and there is often nothing obvious that causes the down-times.
And when the bad times go, there is often nothing obvious that makes them go away. The down-times can last minutes. Or they can last hours, days and weeks. And when they have gone, there is no way of knowing how long the good times, or the up-times, or the normal times, are going to last.
I don’t know what marketing company came up with the idea of Blue Monday. I don’t know what they are trying to sell. The original concept has long gone and it has now taken on a life of itself.
Can I appeal to my colleagues in the media industries: drop the hype. Blue Monday isn’t real. It doesn’t exist. But telling people that it does will not help the many, many, people struggling from depression.
I can say this because I’m currently in a good place. I hope I’ll be in a good place for a long time going forward. But the reality is that I don’t know when I will next be in a dark place. I hope that I won’t be in a dark place again.
I don’t mean that I hope I won’t be sad again. Being sad is a part of the rhythm of life. I am talking instead of being in the deep dark pit of despair. I have been there too often and for too long last year. But for now, I’m in a good place and I can see a future. And what’s more, the future that I see is bright (a few months ago, I couldn’t see a future at all). What I don’t need is to hear left, right, and centre voices in the media trying to pull me down again.
And neither do people who are still in, or close to, that deep dark pit.
As I said at the start, telling people to pull themselves together and pick themselves up is a silly thing to say to somebody who is depressed. But telling somebody trying to cope with depression that they should be sad or down, is really not very helpful.
Blue Monday? No.
Monday might be blue for you. It might not be. But don’t let a PR company convince you that it is.
Don’t suffer alone:
You can call the Samaritans any time of the day or night for free, confidential support. It is a freephone number in the UK: 116 123.
Other helplines can be found by clicking here.