Depression in Young Adults

December 14 2007 day 64 - Depression

December 14 2007 day 64 – Depression (Photo credit: DeathByBokeh)

The Prince’s Trust’s annual survey of 16 to 25 year-olds has found that one in ten young people can’t cope with daily life, with those not in work, education or training twice as likely to feel depressed.

The pressures of life can be overwhelming for many and although the survey has shown slight changes in overall confidence and happiness it it often a lack of a support network that can cause a downward spiral as feelings of hopelessness, that things can’t be any better take an ever deeper hold.

[BBC]

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Longfellow Has Been Unwell, Again

English: Promethazine-codeine cough syrup

English: Promethazine-codeine cough syrup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m just about over a nagging cold that has had me not wanting to do much after work other than sip hot lemon and watch tv for the last week and a bit.  I have only ever said it was a cold but I was still asked (by men, I might add) “you got the man flu?”

Then the best one, a new one on me: “got a dose of Manthrax?”

I must have looked bad that day.

57 Channels and Nothing On

WATCH TV

WATCH TV (Photo credit: Martin Ritter)

Today’s talk is about 21st century distraction, and repeats on tv – two for the price of one.  Ok, settle down, stop checking your notifications.  Oh, for goodness sake.  Thank you, now…

Ooh, an email…

It’s too easy today, you get home, put on some food, put on the tv for some background noise while you eat and bang, before you know it you’re laid on the sofa watching a repeat of Top Gear, Man vs Food, Mock The Week, Letterman (your country/mileage may vary).  You start to feel a bit tired because of the meal you’ve eaten and think I don’t have time to do what I’d intended to do.  The thing is though that when the UK first got digital terrestrial tv it seemed to offer so much, so many new channels, so much choice for everyone.  What we’ve got is occasional new content but mostly repeats and we watch them anyway.  How right Bruce was.

I don’t read or listen to music as much as I used to and for me the reason is that with only five channels there were large chunks of time when there was nothing remotely interesting to me on, so I had to go and find something else to do.  Now there’s always something I can watch even if it’s a repeat, and that’s the lazy, easy option.  Often the tired feeling vanishes when I start something more interesting.

But it doesn’t end with dragging yourself away from Mountain Pies and Aston Martins, I sit down here to write a post and there’s other enticing options – my mouse drifts towards Hot UK Deals, the National Lottery, shopping sites, other blogs, for you it may be Twitter or Facebook, iPlayer or YouTube, comics or news sites.

So think “am I really tired or is it boredom, how much more satisfied will I feel if I get on with a bit of that project, how will I feel if I just sit here for the next three hours?”  Sometimes the answer will be “I’ll feel fine with that, thankyou for asking” in which case grab a cuppa and stay put, else just get up and do something, you’ll feel better for it.

Being Yourself, Being Happier

Cherai Couple

Cherai Couple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days we are bombarded with imagery and articles telling us we should look a certain way, wear certain things, use certain perfumes or aftershaves and act certain ways to find love.  Most of this only makes people feel inadequate and depressed because they can’t achieve these ideals.

As this article by Ken Page describes trying to be someone who you just aren’t is emotionally exhausting and will either attract the kind of partner who won’t really be right for you or will put everyone off altogether.  You also need to be patient and not obsessed with “not being single”.

The most important thing to do is to respect and encourage your authentic self to surface, some people won’t like you doing that but being true to yourself is more important than keeping everyone happy.  Once you accept your gifts and flaws then your let your authentic self out you will feel more relaxed with yourself, will feel happier and can then attract the right kind of partner, one will be in harmony with you.

[Psychology Today]

Longfellow Has Been Unwell

Example of dark circles

Example of dark circles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happens when you combine frequently disturbed sleep, daily exercise involving cycling – usually against the wind, two weeks of work where you have been unusually busy so that you’ve barely sat down never mind had a proper half-hour lunch break all the while dealing with multiple tasks at once where you can’t quite get one done before the next walks through the door expecting to be dealt with immediately?

What you get is fatigue, and if you’re me a blog that looks abandoned.

Normally I balance things nicely, get enough rest but even then I still often find it difficult to sit down and write a blog post; I know what I want to say but just can’t get into the right frame of mind.  The last two weeks have been an exploration of the effects of fatigue and what I consider was probably mild compared to what some people have to deal with was eye-opening.

Each day I went to work (and these two weeks I volunteered to work Saturdays to cover a holiday) so woke up early, cycled in, stood up all day, went home full of good intentions and…

…collapsed onto the sofa with a microwave dinner and the TV remote.  During this time I felt too tired to do anything and could summon up no enthusiasm for anything either.  Nothing mattered – not even tidying up my apartment; I felt that nothing ever would; I didn’t want to talk to anyone; the slightest things going badly annoyed me; I certainly couldn’t put together an article on the joys and perils of 21st century life.  As such I was irritable frustrated and I didn’t feel like I was even in the real world.

The contrast was striking with the week off I enjoyed at home three weeks ago where I got lost of sleep (though still woke up at the same time) got lots of projects done and even managed to squeeze out a couple of posts for this site.

Today I’ve felt much better following a couple of quiet days at work, and some good nights sleep.  The things that fatigue us are cumulative if you don’t have a chance to properly slow down and recuperate.

It’s often difficult or even impossible to get sufficient breaks at work and sleep at night but I’ve found that it’s really important to aspire to getting both.

Old is the New… New

Alfa Romeo Duetto

Alfa Romeo Duetto (Photo credit: lewong2000)

It seems that the more we step forward into the blinding light of our techno future the more people seem to be looking back.  Retro is still with us and is increasingly seen as a mainstream design choice.  As I see it the reasons are varied and often depend on the product.

For some the appeal of retro design comes from the feeling that designs from the fifties and sixties were crafted with more care and solidity, with metal rather than plastic, with levers and cranks that moved with a reassuring smoothness, clicked and whirred precisely giving a sense that they’d last forever and that you were getting what you paid for.  Such is the case with cameras such as Digital Leica rangefinders that remain true to their film predecessors’ styling and construction; Fujifilm’s X100, X1 and X-Pro1 cameras which are also built from metals and leather patterned plastic; and my favourite the Olympus OM-D E-M5 digital system camera which from most angles looks as solid, sleek and minimalist as the old OM series cameras – it’s only round the back that you see the array of buttons and the large screen that betray it’s 21st Century innards.  It is true that these cameras are relatively expensive and for many that will be the reason they’ll buy them but there is also another reason for products like these: to look longingly at what is often perceived as a better time in society as well as manufacturing.

Many retro products aim squarely at a time before bling when cool meant understated presence, celebrities and celebrity photographers used Leicas, drove E-type Jags and Alfa Duettos – the latter cars also currently being reborn with new century tech and tweaked, sharper lines to again bridge the gap between the past and the future.  There are hints of the rejection of overt showiness and loud celeb culture beginning to emerge.  In fashion and advertising the likes of TV shows such as Mad Men are having an effect for the same reason.  Stella Artois’ current campaigns have an obvious fifties-sixties style to associate the brand with what is seen as classic cool.

Instagram and Hipstamatic photos flood daily into Facebook and while the low-fi style of these is fun and interesting too many of the people taking the shots take the whole thing too seriously telling people that their pictures are more “authentic” because they look like old photos taken with film cameras, this kind of retro though is not strictly accurate though as film hasn’t had the kind of graininess and vignetting applied by these apps for most of the last fifty years, unless you had a really cheap camera, like the ones that you can now buy imitations of to deliberately get the poor quality – because it looks cool, of course.

So retro is either a desire to emulate a seemingly better time before our throwaway society and our transient carbon-copy celebrities, or it’s a fad to show how unconventional you are, or it’s a way to say how well off and tasteful you are, or it’s a case of designers taking cues from a time where form and function both mattered and subtlety had more impact than in-your-face showiness to create something truly stylish and often beautiful.

To create the future it is often useful to reference the past, both for its mistakes and its triumphs.

Bag Fiend – The Best Kind of Bag is the Free Kind of Bag

Bright Green Rucksack

While riding my bike to work this morning I was caught by the fuzz.  Ok, it was neither as painful as it sounds or as serious.  The local police and road safety campaign were out again asking cyclists to complete a short questionnaire about our cycling habits and as a reward you receive the bright and shiny rucksack you see above, free!  As I cycle every day I applaud this effort as anything that helps drivers see me is a bonus.

It’s a nicely made bag, very visible with reflective stripes, has a couple of sizable internal pockets and a couple of decent sized external pockets that have elestic straps inside but open mesh lower parts which is the only downside – though I’m not complaining as it was, as I say, free.

As I sat down, about to put the bag under my desk Nick, one of our window fitters, walked by “ok, we know you’ve got a new bag, stop playing with it,” he said.  “But it’s new and shiny,” I replied, “and free.”

Step Away From The Computer

old hairdresser sleeping at work

old hairdresser sleeping at work (Photo credit: epSos.de)

No, not yet, read this first.

The reason I’m telling you this is that it’s good advice if you want a good night’s sleep.

I have read many times on Lifehacker that staring at devices that emit blue light before going to bed can disrupt your sleep patterns but had never tried it.  I have, however, been complaining for years that I often felt tired during the day no matter how much sleep I got.  Of course this can be a symptom of many other physical and psychological problems but having remembered the advice to switch off the computer, tablet, TV and so on and do something else like reading or listening to music I thought I’d give it a go.

The problem is that these bright light emitting devices cause the brain to stay alert and it is worse with computers which are typically close to your face, how close depends on what you’re looking at.

So far for me the results are encouraging and I feel significantly better.  If however you try this but don’t see any benefit and continue to suffer excessive tiredness then consult your doctor.

Night all, sleep well.

(Lifehacker)