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Sunday, 9 May 2010

The World and His Wife

These days I find myself getting irritated and irritable, on occasion irrationally, about the slightest of things...

I lost a good portion of tooth this week on a piece of (so good for you!) Fairtrade dark chocolate. My shower spluttered and gasped its last, in cahoots with the pull-cord of the bathroom light that came away in my hands as I tugged it to switch the brightness off - I was up a ladder at midnight attempting to right that wrong!

And I snarl and bare my newly sharpened teeth.

I realise that this is a symptom of the anxiety that I have been living with - An unwelcome, squatting, free-loading lodger.

I read in an online newspaper this week that more women of around our generation and age are presenting with mental health issues, anxiety and depression, than ever before.

Is it because mental health decline is easier to diagnose than it has ever been before? Is it down to the plethora of pills and potions available for ready money that promise relief, and sometimes sweet oblivion?

Is it because we are the generation that were told could "Have It All?"

I'm not sure... I'd love your opinion on that one?

I turned a different corner last week, by the grace of Goddess Wiki. I found myself laughing at daft things, post-election, as the media induced hysteria rolled on in this island kingdom of ours, and we were supposed to be in desperate straits, given our 'hung' (it sure ought to be!) parliament.

In fact, it's not really a hung parliament, is it?

The 'machinery of government' has continued, with folk such as me working our fingers to the sinewy bone, to ensure the status quo, as far as possible, so that:

...state benefits and pensions are being paid to those in most need;

...no TV blares unlicensed in a stifling room; (some irony there, given the current round the clock TV media circus!)

...transport plans and projects continue, roads are built and repaired;

...the sick are still referred for timely treatment;

...house-fires are fought;

...children are taught;

...criminals are, for the most part, caught, and

...postage stamps are bought...

And I wonder how this life of ours compares with those a century ago, in nearby Cullercoats, where Winslow Homer, whose very name made the fisher-wives chuckle, captured his subjects aloft in the freezing elements, going about their daily toil, gutting the fish brought back from the stormy seas by the village menfolk.

Did they dream of 'having it all'? Did they dream of ageless skin, and sculpted bodies. Did they dwell on a fortnight spent abroad in the sun each year, getting stressed out by the very thought of volcanic ash and cancelled flights? Did they fret about whether their bright children would enjoy and stick to University?

Somehow I doubt it...

Winslow Homer
United States, 1836-1910
Looking out to Sea, Cullercoats, 1882
Watercolor on paper
13 3/4 x 20"
Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Bequest of Charles Shipman Payson, 1988.55.17


jinksy said...

Go listen to John Denver singing 'Some days are Diamonds'and forget about the stone ones for a little while m'dear! :) Good luck with teeth, showers and light pulls...

SKIZO said...

In your honour and in the honour of wall the Writwrs and Poets, I published an ilustration.

Helena Halme said...

I definitely think that we are of the generation who thought having it all is what we deserve. Just look at mothers shopping for Christmas - to forget one thing, be it brandy sauce or one less cooked vegetable is unthinkable.

As far as illness is concerned, I think people of our generation do think there should be a pill for everything. Sometimes a good night's sleep is all that's required...but I may be biased as I am today in both good health and good spirits. My blog will give you a clue why. (Apologies for this shameless self PR)

Helena xx

carma said...

I chalk all the anxiety up to women being too darn competent these days and therefore having become the primary decisions makers. So much is on our shoulders...I'm struggling with many of the same issues you are...Have a wonderful Mother's Day (not sure if this commercial holiday is celebrated in the UK - but in case it is :-)

Chairman Bill said...

It's caused by the triumph of reality over unreaalistic expectation.

diney said...

Bad luck with the run of problems. Yes, we do seem to have expectations in society which are far too ideal to be realised - life was arguably better in some ways when it was less competitive, progressive and aggressive. Any yet I'm not a Luddite at all.... It's a good topic for a dissertation!

Suldog said...

I expect that mental illness is more readily diagnosed, and that the threshold for being diagnosed is lower than previous. That would account for much of the increase. Treatment is more exact, and less painful in some instances, as well as carrying less of a stigma, so doctors and patients are more willing to publicize same.

If you hang your Parliament, would you be kind enough to send the hangmen around here, after they've finished the job, to do in our Congress as well? Thanks!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

My, what a week you've had! But you've written about it brilliantly, and posed some very profound questions here! And yes, I think we were sold "a bill of goods." What a pipe dream--having it all...it's enough to make ANYONE irritable...Hope this coming week finds everything sorted for you! You'll be in my thoughts! ~Janine XO

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