Thursday, July 23, 2009

Interactive Thursday

Howdy! I was supposed to be spending the next three days on a boat for the Maidstone River Festival, but when we came back from the (absolutely beautiful) beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex, we were all completely exhausted, stroked by the sun and in my case (after jumping into the sea like an over-excited dog) as salty as any regular seaman (Pun intended)

We decided to leave the boatery until the morrow, after we've all slept.

Jen, from the uh-maze-ziiiiiing!!! blog the novelista barista has, as part of her great series 'Interactive Thursday', posited the simple interactive request:

"Write about what u do when ur life sucks.. how do u get out of a funk.
bc i need to know the answer!"

So, as part of Interactive Thursday, I'll try to answer.

My silly head can swing between being in a sorta happy buzzymood to being ridiculously depressed. I used to spend way too much time worrying about what that meant until I got used to the idea that the jump between hyper and comatose (by way of assholeness and lazy-bastardness) led, apart from the annoying parts, to a much more interesting and eventful life.

What I've found though, is that my most favourite hobby, writing, follows these mood swings like a canoe on the sea. Sometimes,, when I'm on a buzzy high, I can spend hours and hours writing and coming up with new characters, stories and plots. The opposite happens when I'm down, or rather, the water turns choppy. If I'm pissed off, heartbroken, hungover or similar, I can use that to keep writing, and find it adds a different perspective to what I'm trying to say. However if it's a REALLY bad case of the blues, I find that the usual symptom is twofold; boredom and writer's block. The boredom is bad, but the writer's block is like having a limb removed, so it's necessary to act.

The answer is quite simple, but took me ages to come up with, although it'll probably be really obvious to everyone else.

I do stuff.

I find that if I even go for a walk, and try to notice something new or previously hidden about the sights and sounds I pass everyday, my mood can lift. One time, I was in a MAJOR depressive low, my friend suggested we go for a drink and then go to a ballroom dancing class. Despite the fact that I had previously spent seven hours watching 'The World At War' and feeling sorry for myself, I had one of the best nights ever. Nothing get's rid of the blues by half-drunkenly waltzing around with a bunch of strangers whilst pretending to be cool and suave.

It's a bit paradoxical. When the world seems like a concrete pigeon has taken a crap on my head, often the last thing I want to do is go out. However, if I try really really hard to not be an antisocial arse-biscuit, the low mood, even if it's terrible will eventually shift.

Some funks or major depressions can last for days, weeks even, and then it's the best thing in the world to have a safety net of friends to hang out with (even if it's just to drink tea and watch the match in silence) so that you're not alone in the flat all the time. I would advocate the acquisition of a girlfriend/boyfriend for people, but being depressed is never the best excuse to go chasing girls (as i've found out at my peril) and then some.

Really, the best answer about how to get out of a major funk is to never allow yourself to get bored, that's when the devil makes work for idle hands. Stephen Fry (a fellow upsy-downsy chap) said that he'd love to write a book called 'The Secret of Happiness' with nothing in it but five words and three hundred empty pages, 'Stop feeling sorry for yourself'. I dunno how that would work (especially for a moay SOB like me) but he has a point. If you never allow yourself to get bored, instead of spending your time alone and depressed, and keep an active enough life, the funk can be successfully avoided. Perhaps a combination of actvity and trying not to wallow too much (volunteering or charity work can help) can combat the funk.

Plus, when I'm active and going on adventures, I find I have better stuff to write about. We'll see how bored I can be after a weekend on a lovely boat.

I hope this helps :)



  1. AH! GREAT ANSWER! i love the 5 word book.... bc its so true. and that i have been doing that for a little bit now and its pretty lame.
    and definitly doing STUFF is better than sitting there and wallowing in ur own misery.
    drunk ballroom dancing sounds AWESOME! i need to find where i can do that... haha it would get messy!
    what kinda job do u have?

  2. I'm a grad student at the moment. Training to be a solicitor and I do a lot of writing in my spare time.

    Any ballroom dancing class is good, and a few bottles of wine beforehand is the tonic to make it more fun. Try sangrilla if it's a salsa class.

  3. oooooo sounds like a great idea!!!! :)

    so u live in ireland still???
    Bc where are ur pictures of that place?! i absolutely need to go there!

  4. I was born and raised there, spent (most of) my life there, but I'm prepping a move to London in the very near future for work, and I'm currently in Kent in England on a short vaykay.

    I've loads of photos on FB :)