What’s Even the F*****g Point?!
We couldn’t be bothered to name this article
Jack (more or less)
Jack has been fortunate enough to suffer a bout of summer-flu. Symptoms have been coughing up lumps of his own lungs, headaches, backaches, feeling like crap, and referring to himself in the 3rd person.
During this time where productivity has been reduced from a torrent to a trickle, I watched an unusually large number of Youtube videos. Most of these channels I’ve seen before, but where they used to be a curiosity, they suddenly became the object of a large amount of my conscious attention.
One channel featured a man who presented the subject matter with a flippant disregard for normalcy, but always spoke to the audience with measured respect. His videos now held a hint of aggression, an air of just not giving a crap took over from the playful vibe that made his videos so entertaining. He looked different too; wisps of grey hair have begun to encroach from the sides, and wrinkles are starting to set in around his face.
Another set of videos featured a bunch of New Zealand comedians who, while oddly amusing, probably aren’t as funny as they think they are. They had a female guest who occasionally worked with them, but who vanished from the line-up and recently returned looking quite different. She had put on weight and aged noticeably, as well as seeming to lose that enthusiasm she used to have.
Another channel was a man in a black room who talked about films. Eventually he had left the shores of England to make a short film in America. Something has clearly not gone quite to plan. Gone now are his reviews of films, his sharp commentary and keen observations, and replaced by journalism pointing out, just as savagely, cases of the horrendous habits of wealthy people.
This can be seen all over the web. Things have changed, and people have changed along with them.
In the case of the Kiwi comedians, they released a recent video that really cut to the heart of the matter. They made a short sketch about mental health, addressing the audience afterwards and explaining that this was a matter close to their hearts.
The last two years have been insane, and that wasn’t even the start of it. World leaders have made good and sure that every moment of joy has been stripped away from us, social connections have been mired in fear, shuttered behind suspicion and doubt. The media has promoted terror, and facts have been replaced with manipulative nonsense. In times like these, what faint tendrils of mental health we cling to have slipped through our fingers like ever decreasing grains of sand.
When I look in the mirror, I see a face staring back at me that I barely recognise. Because of what’s happened, I have faced the very real possibility of being separated from my family. My employer has reduced my wages for over a year to below half of my regular income, destroying my savings and leaving us struggling to survive. The extra pressures and stress that this has caused have caused a wobble in my already dubious mental equilibrium.
When I see a movie critic switching subjects and reporting on the abuses of the wealthy, I understand what’s happening to him. I know how it feels to have control of your life ripped from you so that the simple pleasures no longer feel important enough to care about. To put himself back in control, he’s turned to something that makes him feel like he’s doing something worthwhile. Perhaps his experiences in making a short film opened his eyes to just how dreadful the situation really is?
When I see people putting on weight, it makes perfect sense. Eating is something I do when bored. My own diet has slipped several times, and I don’t always make the healthiest choices when those choices seem trivial against all my other problems. A lot of people I know have changed their body type, myself included.
The last two years have been enormously destructive to the mental health of the entire population of the planet. The measures used to control the spread of the virus have now been proven to have been used completely incorrectly, and we’re left reeling from the apparent idiocy of people who have horrendously mismanaged the whole situation.
As for me, my life has been shredded. I own several motorcycles which are all rotting away while I struggle to get the money together to get them working. Riding motorcycles used to be something that was fun, that helped me shrug off the routine pressures of the day. Now, owning them has become a nuisance and I’ve completely lost interest in riding.
My wife is pregnant and could give birth at any time now, but the situation has been so difficult and so traumatic that any enthusiasm has been chipped away completely. One hospital lied about a white mark on her heart, telling us the baby would probably die if we didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for more tests, another prescribed her drugs that would have hurt the baby.
Mental health has always been an interest of mine. My novel, ‘Those Two Idiots,’ as published by ‘Roaddog Publications’ is available now and all proceeds go to a mental health charity that supports depression and bi-polar disorders.
I’ve suffered from varying degrees of depression all my life, and until fairly recently, had things mostly under control. Now, it’s getting harder to keep saying that with any confidence. I’m fortunate to not have personal experience of a bi-polar condition, but I have many friends who have.
The mother of four of my god-daughters suffered a physical assault so violent that it fractured her skull and left her a post traumatic stress disorder. With the right medication and social care, this can be nurtured into a full-blown mental health collapse, and she now enjoys laying on the sofa, gazing blankly at the ceiling.
There are no easy solutions to any of this, and the only thing I’ve found that’s kept me going is to remember to just carry on for one more day. Never give up—tomorrow could very easily be the day that everything changes.
All these people on Youtube are coping in their own way; we are all doing what we need to do to keep getting through it. We can all survive this.
Good luck to everyone out there whose mirror isn’t showing them the face they remember.
You’re not alone.
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