Blue Monday – the reality…

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.

2 thoughts on “Blue Monday – the reality…

  1. This time of year is disgusting. I don’t know about England (I suppose it’s utterly dreary year-round where you are?) but here in the States we get less sunlight this time of year than any other. I can’t wait for spring, to be outdoors again, to have sunlight on my skin all the time instead of just in the car. I hate this time of year, especially in Florida. At least in NY we were buried in snow by this time of year. As much as I hated shoveling it, I loved looking at it and being out in it – it made me happy in a way that looking at palm trees in the tropics in the middle of January does not.

    • Doh! No, we get variable weather here, just like anywhere else with an oceanic climate – the main difference between our weather and, say, somewhere like the Mid West, is that it’s massively variable and unstable – last Monday we got sunshine, gales, rain and a blizzard, all in one day, and almost none of it was forecast.

      Mind you, it’s over a decade since we had a proper winter – 1995-6 – with frost starting in October and going right through to March, with plenty of snow and lots of bright, crisp, sunny, days – perfect camping weather. The last few years, though, the main difference between the seasons has been the temperature of the rain!

      Like everywhere in the northern hemisphere, sunshine is at a premium this time of year, as the sun is so low in the sky. Most of the day it’s below my personal horizon – the buildings across the road. I don’t mid that, though, as my apartment faces due south, and gets more sun than is sensible most of the year.

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