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Talk & Listen Sessions

Thursday 21 December 2023

Nothing's Working; The World is Broken!

There's a difference between feeling "a bit under the weather" type depression, which everyone in the world suffers from fairly routinely on their "bad days", and "depression", the chronic mental health condition. The former is something that people might even say with a smile! The latter is an actual psychological affliction the symptoms of which spill out into all sorts of manifestations: lack of motivation, irritability, insomnia, over/ under eating, spirals of negative thoughts, lack of enthusiasm, withdrawal and isolation. Depression creates a dark, morbid and bleak view of the world for the sufferer that clouds everything else in a thick fog through which they cannot see their way through. There simply isn't any light at the end of their tunnel. Hell no, there isn't even any tunnel, but rather just a thick, muddy quicksand in the middle of nowhere that gradually swallows us bit by bit until we start to suffocate. So yeah, it's not really anything like feeling "a bit under the weather"; it's something a little bit more deeply troubling.

Scientific and medical research has probably been carried out since decades before I was even born and I am sure there have been discoveries made that show differences in the brains of people suffering from depression from those who aren't. I'm no expert but I imagine that differences can probably be seen in things like MRI scans and tests carried out on brain chemistry. Dopamine and endorphin levels spring to mind (no pun intended!) but I'm sure there's a lot more to it than that. There's probably a significant psychological aspect to this too. The brain's development over time will have facilitated the script that we're working from, the one that automatically informs us what and how to exist and to function, which determines the thoughts that we have which impacts on how we feel. It's complicated and I can't even begin to work it all out; I doubt that anyone fully understands the infinite complexities of the human mind!

Today I found myself in the mire and engulfed in a dark fog in which I was lost without a psychological compass to show me a way through. On days like these I put my detective hat on to try and pinpoint the source of these feelings. It didn't take long to see a pattern of thoughts with a common theme. It boils down to a despondency arising from a complete lack of control in being able to do anything about things that are in the hands of untouchables. It's a story of David and Goliath in reverse, where David is actually helpless against the might of Goliath, who has all the power. I hear in the news, in other media, and in conversations about how Covid-19 has had a hugely detrimental impact on the mental health of the population. It's truer than I had at first appreciated. I also see that organisations are becoming bigger, more distant, and less human. I see them putting corporate financial gain above helping their customers. I see politicians gaslighting the population for their own political gain and pursuit of power. Let's put this all together: you do the maths! The vast majority of life-changing power affecting everyone's lives is in the hands of the very few.

Man standing in middle of landscape looking at distant trees in the mist

When I started writing this blog a few months ago I wanted someone to read it. Ideally I wanted a few people to read it! I knew that as soon as it were to be indexed by Google that people would start to find it and there'd be someone who would read it and either appreciate something I've written about or relate to something I've said. But my blog was refused by Google for reasons that I cannot even guess. Google says that it will only index good quality content. Well, I see a lot of garbage in Google's search results so I guess that Google finds my writings below the lowest of the low. That's fine, but the realisation that one global behemoth, the monopoly that is Google, can command such vast power on a global scale is very, very scary. Our online life is dictated to by this one untouchable power; it is the Goliath of the entire internet.

Before the coronavirus pandemic things weren't perfect but they generally worked. You could 'phone up your energy company, bank, internet service provider and anyone else and get through to a human being who would usually be helpful and quite knowledgeable. You wouldn't have needed to wait too long and neither would you get cut off whilst waiting or as soon as they answered. More often than not your query would be dealt with in a way that was satisfactory and conducive to good professional relations! Not anymore. I've had to make several calls in the past few days where I cannot get through to anyone, or if I do it's only after typically waiting for over an hour. But it's even worse than that! That hour requires an excruciating endurance of some useless royalty-free eighties disco tune or some obscure classical music, neither of which I am in the mood for, to then be greeted by a human voice to be immediately followed by the line going dead. The only alternative option is the dreaded online instant chat bots which take up an entire afternoon and get nowhere. These organisations are the Goliaths that blight our daily lives.

There are so many things I needed to get done recently but have not been able to get through to anyone. The lines of communication have been severed by all these companies and public institutions. I can't get the over-charge on my energy bill corrected; I cannot get the fault on my internet fixed; I cannot report my phone lost; I cannot get the service charges corrected by my landlord; I cannot get my hospital appointment sorted out; I cannot make an appointment with my GP; I cannot contact my MP. And Google won't index my blog (maybe Google is right; maybe my blog is just a load of ol' cobblers). Nothing's working; the world is broken. David has lost; the Goliaths have won. 

It seems to me that depression can have many sources. I am feeling depressed because I've spent hours, nay days, trying to sort so many things out but have achieved nothing. Endless time and energy has been expended with the result being a feeling of helplessness and frustration. I have no control over the responsiveness and understanding of any of these organisations. They hold the keys to unlocking the problems they create but they keep them locked in their cabinet of impunity. Profits and power come first on their list of priorities; mental health and well-being aren't even on it. The feelings of helplessness have come about through an accumulation of events with a common thread: the failure of David in what is an insurmountable battle against the mighty Goliaths. I know that I also feel depressed when my endeavours for human connection fall flat on their face, just when I need such connections the most. That depression is much more profound and I am saving writing about it for another day. I suppose it might be something to look forward to! In the meantime I need to try and find a way out of this quicksand and hold onto some hope that the fog might start to clear.

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