Scallywag

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

Everybody Has Blue Days Too

March 21st, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 2 secs

Do you get blue too?

Ever get that blue feeling come over you for no particular reason at all? People mistake it for depression, but really, it’s quite normal.

Having said that, with an estimated 8%* of people suffering at least one major depressive episode in the past 12 months, clinical depression isn’t exactly rare either (*based on a 2004 US study, sourced from Medline). I’ve even seen figures of around 20% bandied about. But, whatever the real figures, depressive illness is ranked as the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide. By comparison, feeling blue, is something we all experience repeatedly. As part of the spectrum of regular emotions, experiencing dejection is a commonplace event.

The triggers for feeling blue are many and diverse, from:

  • How you feel the moment you wake
  • What happens at breakfast
  • The traffic jam that blocks you or the train or bus you miss, and
  • The boss who just blew up.

Any or all of these will do it. But while the list of things that spark the start of a blue day is virtually endless, the effects are much the same.

A bout of the blues can leave you feeling any or all of the following:

  1. Sad
  2. Prickly and easily annoyed
  3. Lacking motivation
  4. Feeling tired and having little energy
  5. Feeling guilty
  6. Experiencing a sense of unworthiness
  7. Having trouble making decisions
  8. Struggling to remember basic things
  9. Difficulty concentrating

This list might bother some psychologists who would say they’re the signs of diagnosable depression. But I believe it’s the degree of intensity and how long you experience these feelings that make a crucial distinction between feeling blue and being ill.

What’s more, being blue is actually a natural and matter of fact experience in anyone’s life. Problems do rear up and overwhelm us. Hardships happen, and your mood state can swing wildly for a whole host of reasons, be they hormonal or brought on by hassles.

Interestingly, culture plays a part in how people view being blue too, making it an accepted part of living or a major catastrophe. The terms we use and tools for identification can easily medicalize temporary feelings. So we need to have our wits about us to discern the difference between a bad day or two versus weeks of grim desperation.

When bad things happen and we feel blue about their impact, some people take the view that we need to eradicate despair with treatment. But there are times in life when despair is the best answer to the tragedies we encounter. To “treat” grief like it’s wrong and must be “cured” denies our humanity. That’s why I am wary of cultish happiness at-all-costs quacks who make being real something to be ashamed of.

Next time you have a rotten day and find yourself feeling blue, remember it’s okay, and even good to feel your whole palette of emotions. Happy people get discouraged too.

Feegs

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