What Doesn’t Kill You

Abstract stairs with open door on landscape background. Opportunity concept. 3D Rendering

Is it just me, or does the expression, ‘When one door closes, a window opens’ make you cringe, too?  I get that it’s a neat phrase designed to provide comfort – a slightly more creative alternative to ‘don’t worry, it’ll be OK’  – but the fact that it’s trite and meaningless is surely indisputable.

It suggests that, when a ‘door’ closes in your life, all you have to do is sit and wait while ‘windows’ fly open all around you.  For most of us, that simply doesn’t happen.  And when it doesn’t, you start getting paranoid, asking yourself: is it me?  And that can ultimately be more damaging than never having been offered the platitude in the first place.

If I’d been given £1 for every time someone said those well-intentioned words to me a couple of years ago when an important door in my life slammed shut, I’d be considerably richer than I am now. Read More…

Small Pleasures

Small radiator with red wall

The world seems big and scary and out of control right now. I remember feeling just like this as a child, hiding behind the sofa and peering out occasionally at The Daleks, who seemed so utterly terrifying. (I met a real Dalek many years later backstage at the BBC and it was honestly like something I might have made as an art project – but that was alas too late to console a seven-year-old who regularly suffered Dr. Who-related Saturday nightmares.)

Fear and blind panic aren’t going to do anyone’s mental health any good, however. And they’re not going to solve or change anything at a time of global crisis. So I thought I’d share my coping strategy when the big picture seems overwhelming – which is to focus on the small stuff. In particular, small pleasures, which really can lift the spirits at dark times in a way that’s totally disproportionate to their size. I don’t think you have to be Pollyanna to get a boost from watching a bunch of daffs blossom on your kitchen table, or feeling happy at the unexpected sight of a rainbow. Read More…

Summer Sadness Is More Common Than You Think

Summer Sadness

We might be in the throes of one of the hottest, sunniest summers in history, but new research suggests that millions of Brits are unknowingly suffering with anxiety and depression. While we should be reaping the rewards of surplus serotonin (happy hormone) levels, according to a survey carried out by treatment clinic Smart TMS, 33% of us feel less confident than we used to and over 20% of us are sleeping more than we need to. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) might be something you usually associate with the cold, dark months of winter, but summer SAD is more common than you think. Read More…