Over the past week, the papers have been filled with the “fact” that last Monday was “officially” the most depressing day of the year. Dr Cliff Arnall actually has an equation to demonstrate this (that he also has an equation for the “happiest” day of the year, sponsored by Wall’s ice-cream, is a pretty good indicator that the whole idea is the most egregious bollocks).
You can tell exactly how egregious it is, the Daily Mail loves it! The Mail, and most other papers, all of whom seemed to take a break from reality and common sense, have tagged this cobblers as “official”.
It’s not bloody official, it’s just that Arnall is a dreadful media tart, and journalists don’t know crap “science” from a hole in the ground. Bloody hell, writing about this drivel has used up an entire week’s supply of quotation marks! But can there be any truth at all in the idea? Yes, indeed, just not Dr. Arnall’s version.
I’m not able to work now, but when I did, the third week in January – not just Monday – was always a bleak one. Why? Because in December, pay-day was brought forward a week, so we had money to enable us to prepare for Christmas, etc. That meant it was 5 weeks to the next pay-day on January 28. That, plus the hyper-expense of Christmas, and the booze-fest of New Year, meant that by January 21 we were all completely broke and utterly pissed off.
So, you see, there actually is a genuine reason, for many people to feel depressed (though not clinically so), at this time of year; we just don’t need any cod-psychological bullshit to explain it.
Oh, and just for the record, there is no scientific support for the idea of this time of year being more clinically depressing than any other, when measured in terms of the number of suicides. Quite the opposite. See Dr. Ben Goldacre on the subject. And yes, he did, in a less informative article in the Guardian, inspire this post. The explanation, lest I should be accused of plagiarism, is my own, and if you’ve seen it in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section, under the name LePendu (because I spend so much time hanging around there 😉 ), that’s me too.