• neil

Day 20 (6 April): Black Dog

I’m having a bad day today. I am down and I don’t much see the point of anything. It feels like I will never find a path leading in the direction of happiness and I can’t for the life of me think of anything funny to say; so I’m a bit late getting the blog out and it isn't a barrel of laughs.

I live by myself and for the past couple of days I’ve been feeling very lonely. Many of the jokes doing the rounds are about couples losing all patience with each other because of the stresses of close proximity. Close proximity is precisely what I miss. Having the wife and family around. Being busy. Being needed. And the present enforced isolation has been accentuating my propensity to self-indulgent sadness.

I’m missing other people and I can’t get away from me.

Am I alone in being down? Does nobody else go through bad stretches?

The answers are obvious. And very many, if not most people are finding confinement difficult; for reasons which will be both different and yet the same for everybody.

I suppose what I’m saying is, don’t be too down on yourself if you have a bad day. Or several. It is allowed. It is normal. It is what makes you human.

Enough of the despondency; just print this blog out, roll it up and use it to set fire to your spouse.

Keeping busy

I find that keeping busy is a bloody good start to morale improvement because busy time seems to steal resources from sad time.

Get out those to do lists! Of course getting everything on a list ticked off is not a recipe for merriment or even satisfaction. But whilst doing all the things on my lists I can, to some extent, lose myself in them.

I start off with maintenance stuff; both for myself and the house. You know the kind of thing. Cut the grass, do the washing, change the bedsheets, go for a run and do some yoga.

Although it might not look like yoga when I do it.

But then I add some development stuff. Something which takes me beyond where I was before. I’m learning Spanish, improving my Dutch and doing some meditation. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it pushes the frontiers outwards. You’ll probably find you started something you want to continue when confinement comes to an end. I’m not sure if this applies to my knitting.

Clearly this is not in itself a panacea or I wouldn't be having a bad day. But it is an important element in finding a path to a happier place. Getting this blog out to you today has helped me.

Keeping Positive for others

We sympathise with and find understanding for ourselves when we are in a dip and struggling to get out of it. We know how hard it can be. So when we are on the other days, the okay days, the good days, the top-of-the-hill-and-looking-over-the-promised-land days, it is heartwarming and sustaining to be able to reach out and encourage somebody else - whether they be from your tribe or not - somebody who clearly needs a warm word, a helping hand or a hug.

I'm looking forward to having that on my to do list tomorrow.

If you have somebody nearby to hug, hug them.

And if you don’t, phone somebody.

Be kind, reach out, be safe.



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