I am writing this post from a rainy Cumbria. In fact since being here, from the 22nd of December, the rain hasn’t really stopped. It’s a strange thing for mental health isn’t it rain? Or at least it is for me. On the one hand, if you are feeling poorly mentally then rain seems to reflect that situation and can be quite comforting. You don’t feel alone with your misery somehow. On the other hand, relentless rain can make you feel like there is no light in your darkness and just exasperates emotions you don’t want to sit with. Of course both of these ways of looking at it are equally valid and interchangeable.
The way I feel about the rain has parallels with the way I feel about New Year (Happy New Year by the way). For some, seeing in a new year is a wonderful time. A way to sever ties with the events of the previous year, good, bad or indifferent and start completely afresh from midnight. A lot of people view the new year as a breath of much needed fresh air; and who can blame them after the last few horrorbags of years we have all had to endure.
This is not how I view the new year.
Before I explain, I just want to say that the following opinion of mine may not be the cheeriest of explanations, so if you prefer the prior opinion and want to stay optimistic then maybe don’t read on any further (It’s ok, I won’t mind).
To me, the new year has always been what I now term ‘Forced Fun’. I can’t recall whether or not I have mentioned this phenomena in previous blogs, but essentially, forced fun is what I call any event or occasion in which society expects you to 1. Take part in and 2. Enjoy. Of all the things we humans have learned about the existence of mental health, the one thing we have failed to recognise is the fact that everybody experiences things differently and that is completely OK. Unfortunately, too many people expect you to show up or shut up at new year (as well as other scenarios, you can fill in the blanks if you like); and for what exactly? Well it is to wait until midnight, maybe while eating buffet food and drinking fizz while trying to avoid your distant auntie that spits when she talks. Then after a short countdown, we watch other people do exactly the same thing, then sing Auld Lang Syne before skulking off to bed.
Let’s be honest it’s pretty cack.
However, that’s not the worst thing about it. The worst thing about new year are the New year, New you brigade, encouraging crash diets, gym memberships and the self-help section of Waterstones (other book stores are available). We are bombarded with new equipment that will help you shift the pounds gained from eating the food that the adverts before Christmas told you to eat. I wonder whether in the Metaverse a hand will come out of your TV and slap the cake right out of your hand?
Not content with making you feel like a fat shit, we are shown how people are ‘levelling up’ this year. The resolutions are endless diatribes from people who you really shouldn’t be taking lifestyle tips from. You have probably never met any of these people, and never will, so why on earth should you care about what they have to say about how you survive? It’s madness yes? Surely?!
So after my rantings I am hoping that if you are feeling a bit cranky about things this 1st of January, it’s absolutely fine. In fact I encourage it. If anything, just surviving last year is celebration enough. This new year, forget the resolutions maybe and just get through the next few days, and then the few days after that. That is QUITE ENOUGH. If you really want to make some promises for yourself, then by all means, but make them super realistic because let’s face it, you beat yourself up enough as it is and the last thing you need is more ammunition.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now, see you next time.
All my love