What is enthusiasm ?
Well, I would venture to suggest that most people know what enthusiasm is.
The Cambridge dictionary defines enthusiasm as :
So, what happens to a human being when the enthusiasm for anything and everything seems to have disappeared?
As I write it’s Christmas Eve, and by the time this is posted Christmas will be a distant memory for many of us. Which is probably a good time to post a blog of Christmas, for, I would not want to affect the enthusiasm and magic that exists for some people at Christmas. For many I realise it’s a joyous, happy, spiritual and garnering time for friends and family.
In Europe, North America and much of the northern hemisphere the winter will be establishing its firm grip on the way of life for us humans and our cohabitants of the world.
I’ve long been disturbed by the way the premature nature and commercial side of Christmas can affect folks, including me. When it gets to September, the supermarkets are preparing for the restocking of shelves to accommodate Christmas fare. I understand that shops are businesses and they have to capitalise on the “enthusiasm” of folks at certain times of the year.
The disturbing aspect for me is that many people will worry themselves sick and get into great debt to buy the latest gadget or gizmo or toys for there loved ones and children. I know I’ve been there.
Others will barely notice that Christmas Day has been and gone due to blocking out interaction with anyone and getting as far away as they possibly can. I know, I now do this, because Christmas is such a painful time for me if I think too much…..which I usually do, and thus I really don’t want to be with anyone.
Even my nearest and dearest because I don’t want to sap their enthusiasm, and I don’t want to act a lie.
You might argue “It’s a state of human mindfulness” I suppose.
Let me explain that.
While some people are thoroughly energised and enthused by the time of year, for others this is completely life sapping and potentially a dangerous time of year. But whilst you may think this is the highest suicide risk time of year, as has often been reported, in fact it is thought that spring is the most risky season.
In the US, nearly 30,000 people die by suicide each year, and the rate of attempted suicide is much higher—so much so that there is an estimated one attempted suicide per minute. Worldwide, suicide claims more deaths than accidents, homicides, and war combined. And many cases of suicide, particularly in the elderly, go completely undetected and unaccounted.
The Samaritans in the U.K. have collated some quite shocking and insightful facts on the subject of suicide :
- There were 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, in 2014.
- In 2014, 6,122 suicides were registered in the UK. This corresponds to a suicide rate of 10.8 per 100,000 people (16.8 per 100,000 for men and 5.2 per 100,000 for women).
- The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at 26.5 per 100,000.
- The male suicide rate decreased in the UK (by 5.6%), England (by less than 1%), Wales (by 37.6%), Scotland (by 17.6%), Northern Ireland (by 10.2%) and Republic of Ireland (by 6.4%) between 2013 and 2014.
- Female suicide rates increased in the UK (by 8.3%), England (by 14%), Scotland (by 7.8%) and Republic of Ireland (by 14.7%) between 2013 and 2014. Female suicide rates decreased in Wales (by 38.2%) and Northern Ireland (by 17.7%).
- The female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005.
- The female suicide rate in the UK is at its highest since 2011.
If you suffer with mental health issues, you may find that the lessening of sunlight can add to your low feelings. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a clinically proven physiological condition.
I purposely put the emphasis on PHYSIOLOGICAL, because it is. An imbalance of physical hormones can lead us to hold extreme views that may be distorted from reality.
Ever heard these comments, (if you are not filled with enthusiasm for Christmas)?
“Argh, it’s all in the mind, cheer up, don’t be such a humbug, you’re a grinch ”
You get the picture.
The fact of the matter is that lack of enthusiasm which is often linked to depression is a PHYSIOLOGICAL condition and not a PSYCHOLOGICAL condition, so it’s NOT all in the mind !
The playful and well meaning teasing has been said to me hundreds of times, so often in fact that, I beat those, sometimes very well meaning attempts at humour to the “strap line” and pronounce the fact that I am a miserable so and so and a humbug, and I hate Christmas, blah blah blah, I follow this with a smile.
FACT is this is the truth and it’s much worse than that for me, as it is for many.
Indeed at this time of year my resolve for living is terribly challenged. Just today I drove past a gun shop and had a very dark “enthusiasm” in the sign outside.
So enthusiasm for me at this time of year is very highly challenged, and it doesn’t take much of a knock for me to mentally go into “reverse”.
Recently, and concurrently I have had other big areas of doubt and worry and I have been almost catatonic for days. I’m having trouble sleeping, and I take some pretty powerful drugs for that.
I have lost the will to fight and the will to live.
Yesterday I wrote a poem…..(I still turn to my writing when neck deep in the pool of detritus in my soul)
Those lines on a sea shell
Would have stories to tell
Like the lines on my face
Just craving for space
When nothing I do seems right
What’s the point in holding tight
When every word is of past
What’s the point in standing fast ?
And even when “past” is faded
Feels like all I do is degraded
But this ain’t necessarily so
I just can’t see, you know ?
Folk may say there’s always another way
BUT! How would they know ?
You see when the will to breathe is sucked
The tide of life just leaves you fucked.
This is far from complete but it’s a window into the feelings of me and, possibly, many like me.
Every year I am lucky enough to have many many invitations to join a throng of folks to celebrate Christmas, but for ten years now, or more, I make it my business not to be near friends or family.
So it’s too late for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but I think I can still just about get away with wishing you a prosperous new year.