Dear America,

Dear America,

I remember hearing about you when I was growing up.

I saw your movies.

I saw your TV shows. (Seriously, thank you for the X Files).

I heard about the food.

Your larger than life personalities seemed cooler then us Brits, and heck. Even your politicians seemed more interesting then what we had. In fact.
That’s probably still the case.

You gave the world Ghostbusters.

You have Disney World – which back then seemed like a far away wonderland of excitement.

You even have New York.

My point?

You are better then the news we are hearing. Please be great, and do something about gun safety.

Basically. Stop it.

And Make America Great Again.

A reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

Upon hearing the sad news that Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, had committed suicide,  I wanted to share a part of a Guardian article written after Robin Williams had taken his life.

There are some common sense points here about depression, and mental health issues, that I feel are good to serve as a reminder for us all.

Depression IS an illness

Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Depression doesn’t discriminate

How, many seem to wonder, could someone with so much going for them, possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? With all the money/fame/family/success they have, to be depressed makes no sense?

Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of logic to this. But, and this is important, depression (like all mental illnesses) typically doesn’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. We’ve all heard of the “madness” of King George III; if mental illness won’t spare someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful well-bred humans alive, why would it spare someone just because they have a film career?

Granted, those with worse lives are probably going to be exposed to the greater number of risk factors for depression, but that doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider “too successful” to be ill?

Read the rest over at The Guardian website.

Has this whole matter hit home a little hard. Contact The Samaritans, or find someone else to talk to. Please.

A Small Something About Manchester.

Yesterday, wasn’t a noteworthy day, until the night went on and conflicting reports came in from Manchester. Manchester, my university city for four years, the people who welcomed me, and a place I called home, and very nearly stayed.

Today, I awoke to news of children targeted at a concert. Not random people in a country far away, but faces that don’t look too far from the same age as my daughter in a city I love.

So many questions, but what I do know is that there were more heroes involved than people responsible for what happened. I know that Manchester is a city that is facing this as one. And I know that events like this remind us to appreciate and show love to the ones around, and not to wait till tomorrow.

But to do it today.

 

Looking For Good News?

Have you ever woken up, and checked the news, wondering what else is wrong with the world?

Perhaps with something like this going through your head?

Good News Page

The Sofa cant shake the feeling that the world is filled with bad news story followed by bad news story. (At least according to the newspapers anyway…). Well The Sofa has cracked a little, and has created The Good News Page on Facebook, in an attempt to make the web a little more positive.

The Good News Page is there to talk about the good stuff in the world.

The Good News Page is there to put something positive into your Facebook feed.

If you like the idea, can you spare The Good News Page a like, and get some good news into your Facebook world.

#Brexit – Through The Eyes of Twitter.

Today, Theresa May wrote to the European Council president Donald Tusk, to trigger Article 50, and officially begin the break up of UKs relationship with Europe.

To mark this day, I considered writing a list of stuff that will probably be lost as a result, or a pondering on if Theresa May actually knows what she is doing?

Instead I figured I would share some of the highlights of how Twitter observed “Brexit Day”:

Any reactions you want to share?

10 Ways To Feel Better on Blue Monday

Been feeling like crap?

Like really – more then having a bad day crap?

You are not alone.

January is generally known for being crap. Seriously, it seems its a mix of things.

To start with, Christmas is over. The bright lights, excitement, and seasonal greetings, are being replaced with dark nights, winter flu, and grumpy souls on the bus. Less mince pies, more salad. You’ve probably also realised those New Year Resolutions aren’t working.

In fact this month is so rubbish a few years ago a PR company coined the phrase Blue Monday to describe the tipping point of crappy feelings that people feel in this post festive gloom. In short, Blue Monday is meant to be the most depressing day of the year. This year Blue Monday is on Monday 16th January, the timing of which is worked out based on a complex formula involving all of the above mentioned issues, and probably more.

I guess “Blue Monday” is mostly rubbish, but January may be rubbish month for many people. It probably a good time to remind ourselves to look after our own mental health.

I’ve found this over at Social Work Tutor Facebook page, and wanted to share this in case it helps someone…

I guess, have a chat with your GP if you’re feeling depressed, stressed, anxious or whatever.

Or at least speak to someone.

Chat to someone online if that’s easier.

kooth.com and www.qwellcounselling.com

You are not alone.

Be like Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. Be A Hero.

It’s a popular observation that 2016 has claimed many famous people. One of the most recent being Carrie Fisher known for her role as Princess Leia.

Considering the amount of beloved celebrities that have taken their bow this year, Carrie Fishers death struck me the hardest. She was the one that was part of a crew that I grew up watching fight their way through the galaxy. I spent weekends at home watching VHS recordings of Return of The Jedi, and explored the other two parts during lunch times on the school video players. (I guess I was a geek back then as well).

And I guess that’s why it’s hit the hardest.

I’m getting to the age that I get to see my heroes of the big screen die.

And I guess that’s one reason why being an adult can suck.

The thing with Princess Leia was, she didn’t just get rescued. She took control, rescued others, and bossed the guys around in the process.

The character of Princess Leia opened the way for Rey and Jyn, and all three are action heroes for people today.
Heroes die.

But heroes can inspire new ones in their place.

Here’s one of my favourite Princess Leia scenes…

What is your favourite Princess Leia scene?

Title of this post inspired by manvspink, who has written a great piece on his defining image of Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. Image from StarWars.com