Monday, 5 December 2011

Random Ranting and Round up

Looking at the news this week, I have to say I am quite pleased.  Regular readers will know that I am concerned about men and their mental health, and recently there has been a spate of well known blokes talking about how they have suffered from depression.  The Sun's website is full of them, including Stan Collymore, Jonny Wilkinson, Will Young and Russell Grant!  In the Independent it also says that since Gary Speed's death, many footballers have sought help from The Sporting Chance Clinic, a specialist mental health clinic.  It makes me happy because I worry about men keeping things to themselves too much, and not seeking help. 

In other news, David Cameron has done some survey on how happy people are apparently, where he asked a few people if there was meaning in their lives and they said they were quite happy.  The Metro reports that Relate counselor Christine Northam says the economic gloom is bringing out a 'blitz spirit' in people.  I'm sorry, but having to pay an extra £100 for a pension every month and not being able to afford to go to Disneyworld is hardly the same as sleeping in Hackney tube station every night for fear of being blown to shit by Hitler.  It is my opinion that the survey is bollocks, the idea behind it is bollocks, and David Cameron is a cunt.

Speaking of cunts, The Independent has also reported that people should swear in moderation, lest they will not feel the benefit when they do swear.  No shit, this is a study by Keele University that says swearing is a form of pain relief, but if you swear all the time and then shout a lot of profanities when you are in pain, the relief of the swears is lessened.  It's like swearing is an actual drug, and you can develop a tolerance to it.  Fucking brilliant?

Finally I am going to consider an article in the Telegraph about alternatives to antidepressants.  I'm generally not a fan of these articles as they tend to be quite negative about antidepressants, and I am not, because they have worked so well for me.  There are 3 'experts' giving their opinions about the alernatives, firstly the Consultant Psychologist (probably a bona fide expert).  He says that CBT is a good option, I have to agree there, although on its own it may not work.  I have found CBT to work best when you are feeling a bit better, as when you are feeling down it all seems a bit overwhelming, there's quite a lot of work involved, and also the thing about CBT is that I don't think it really exists.  I have been referred by about 3 different GPs to have CBT and nothing has materialised, I haven't even had one session.  You can do the CBT on line yourself for free at this site called Moodgym ( , which is pretty cool, but if you're trying to motivate yourself to do it, it's likely that when you are down you won't want to and when you're happy you'll feel you don't need to.

The second expert is a doctor of Chinese medicine, who says it is commonly known that depression is a physical illness that manifests as an emotional problem.  I like this, as it is true, and people are often forgetting the physical aspect of depression.  He suggests two herbs that might help, Rhodiola rosea and Ashwaghanda, which can obviously be found in your local Asdle (not, trawling Asian supermarkets will definitely help with the depression).  Then he suggests sticking needles in your ears to release some pain relieving opioids and endorphins.  Presumably, you can do this at home because all you need to do is cause yourself some pain and you will get the opioids and endorphins.  However, self harm is never a good idea, so I have included a link to the Harmless website, a page of alternative things to do instead of self harm:-

The last prick  expert is an Ayurvedic Herbalist.  These people are alright when you want a bit of incense, but when they start to try and get in on the doctoring lark they usually end up looking like twats.  However, this man suggests looking at your diet and lifestyle, which I would say is the VERY FIRST thing you should do if you're feeling down, so well done to him.  However, then he goes on to say that counselling will help you to uncover the underlying reasons for your depression.  This smells a bit like Freud, I'm not really of the belief that everyone has some sort of unconscious desire to shag their mum, or some sort of issue hidden deep in their subconscious that is fucking up their normal life.  Sometimes the underlying problem might be that your brain chemicals are screwed, and talking about stuff for hours on end is not going to uncover shit.  However, I do acknowledge that counselling can be helpful in some situations, when you have a lot to talk about and mentally sort through.  Consider the advice of cyberpunk William Gibson,
"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you're not surrounding yourself with assholes"
Having a bit of counselling might make it easier to establish whether your friends are actually assholes, like if you talk about your relationships and the counselor recoils in horror at the antics of people around you, it might signify that getting some new friends/partner might help.

So this is my round up of some of the recent news related to mental health, (obviously excluding the Daily Express as I do not believe it is actually a newspaper).  See you next time!

LL x

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