Subliminal Sabotage, or hazards in the pursuit of happiness

Happiness strategies
3 Aug 2023

Possibly, just possibly, I may have an answer to my particular headology issue. I share it with Moodscopers just in case it helps.

I have never been able to remember useful stuff for quizzes, people’s names, jokes - all handy for the occasional trip to the pub. However I can remember myriad details relating to my former job as a farmer, growing vegetables and herbs. I spent 40 years concentrating on the survival of the business, and it’s a job that takes no prisoners; it also seemed to exacerbate my tendency to cyclical depression.

So, why, pray tell, 4 years into retirement, well into my seventh decade, with no pressure, modestly solvent, in a delightful area of Scotland with a supportive and understanding partner, was I still getting depressed?

My long-suffering other half once again said “too much time on soshul meeja”. Naturally I bristled, as before, at the advice - how can it be so?

Slowly the clues came together. 

Any reminders of the past environment, conversations that had links to the past, visits back down to the smoke - we farmed near Heathrow, London - I could understand those as triggers to my weird sort of post-farming stress disorder.

What I hadn’t really appreciated was my mind’s ability, when scrolling through Facebook and News websites, or when watching certain telly programmes, to absorb and fill my head with material that seems to feed and fan the flames, subliminally. This then results in crazy and exhausting dreams, all night, every night, as my mind seemed to be trying to mix and match all the latest rubbish with the legacy of cauterised memories from before. As a result, mental trauma leading to depression.

The answer - hopefully: I now watch very little telly, though David Attenborough seems harmless enough fodder, likewise the odd Sunday afternoon rom-com or Ealing comedy.

I read “improving books”, rarely fiction, never autobiographies - those amazing people’s achievements just seem to feed the “lack of self-worth” compost heap.

I try to live entirely in the moment, get plenty of sleep - afternoon naps are great - and concentrate on practical tasks with sometimes even tangible results.

And, amazingly, only a few weeks in to the new regime I’m actually beginning to remember stuff I want to.

Maybe, like a computer, we can never properly delete what’s gone in, it slows us down, cripples our thinking process and, like a virus, destroys our ability to function normally.

So - just don’t feed the rubbish in - simples.

And you know the best bit? Much to my wife’s horror and disgust I’m actually beginning occasionally to beat her at scrabble. Which might in itself shorten my life expectancy - but at least I’ll go out happy.

Farmer Charlie (Ret'd)

A Moodscope member

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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