Depression is a huge issue today, with suicide now the leading cause of death for men under 45. It’s no secret that most people have considered suicide at least once in their lives, and it’s a timebomb ticking, especially when people often have no access to fresh air walks in nature, and those who get stressed by the outside world often have no respite from noisy shops and supermarkets, bullying cultures at work and beyond and not much free help.
Making Peace with Depression and Making Peace with Anxiety are two warm comforting books with super reviews, to help anyone who struggles with their mental health. The books have bite-sized tips ideal for overwhelm, and look at how our bodies respond to stress and worry, with tips to help calm you down or lift you up on bad days. Be kind to yourself and be your own best friends, in times of stress.
The same authors wrote Making Peace with Menopause which can help people struggling with feeling isolated and mood swings, along with weight gain and night sweats. It also has tips on natural ways to help beat hot flushes and amnesia (avoid medications made with urine from pregnant chained horses, ask your doctor to swap if need be).
where to find help for depression
You can call or chat with Samaritans (or Papyrus for young people) and contrary to what some people think, you don’t have to be suicidal to call these trained volunteers. They will listen – sometimes that’s all somebody needs to stop someone from doing something stupid.
An interesting service is 7 Cups, founded by a psychologist who wanted to help more people, but could not think how. Named after a Zen phrase, it offers paid online counsellers but importantly it also trains up caring people to become ‘free trained listeners’. You can go online now and find someone who will listen to you via chat, just like a counsellor that would charge £40 an hour. Obviously the caveat is that they are not counsellors, but they do get training and there are strong safety guards in place. If you’re feeling very depressed and there’s no-one to listen, this may be worth a try.
notOK app was invented by a techy brother, for his sister who had depression. Just add your ‘panic contact details’. Then if someone feels unsafe (say at a train platform), they just press the button and contacts are alerted, to get immediate help. What a wonderful brother to have!
get some rest in an exhausted age
Some of us are very influenced by our environments. So whereas some people may feel better after spending a week around lots of noisy people, to others it can send them into a deep depression. Some believed adored the pandemic lockdown, others despised it. It all depends on how you’re built!
Enchantment: Rewakening Wonder in an Exhausted Age is a beautifully-written book for anyone who is bone-tired, anxious and overwhelmed by the rolling news cycle and pandemic age, and find their life is wound toot tightly. Could there be another way to live? One that feels more meaningful, more grounded in the places beneath our feet? One that would allow us to feel more connected, more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet?
Craving a different path, the author explores the restorative properties of the natural world, and begins to rekindle her sense of wonder. It’s a journey that takes her from sacred wells to wild moors, and from cradling seas to starfalls. And there she finds nourishment, and a more hopeful relationship to the world around her. Katherine May is a writer and podcaster who lives in Whitstable (a pretty coastal town in Kent). Her memoir of a midlife autism diagnosis is currently being adapted into an audio drama.