"But I am very poorly today & very stupid & hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders." - Charles Darwin, 1861
In 2019, It is ok not to be ok.
The acceptance of mental health problems like depression are more accepted now than they ever were. It's hard to turn on the TV here in the UK without a program mentioning or including it as a topic. Our doctors are prescribing mindfulness courses, schools are using meditation as part of their daily curriculum and even companies like the one I work for are starting to offer access to mental health "hotlines" where you can privately talk to someone about your issues.
In 2019, it is probably one of the best times to "not be ok".
It is not long ago that people were sent to the Sanatorium or prison for having depression. Either that, or be subjected to inhumane treatments, such as electroshock therapy, or bloodletting and induced vomiting.
2019 is also a time when we are more inter-connected, but less connected. Many people live the sedentary Internet lifestyle, only communicating online to friends they used to see, or people across the world they will never meet. I wonder if Charles Darwin would approve of having his diaries published online for all to read? I can connect with him through his words, will never meet or know him, but can appreciate his life, what his struggles were, what his goals and achievements were and what happened in his life. Despite him writing that quote 157 years ago, we have a connection of sorts.
It is the same with the other writers here on 200WaD. We have a shared goal, by which we are all connected.
Writing journals, letters or diaries was commonplace in Darwin's time. Not just to record his scientific studies, but as a way to remember, process and clarify thoughts and feelings, ideas, memories or inspirations.
I wonder if writing helped those people to maintain good mental health? Did the daily practice of writing by hand force them to be truthful with themselves, to examine their thoughts and feelings in more sane detail?
My daily writing allows me to do this. I choose to remain anonymous in doing this, as it lets me write more freely, but it does help stabilise my mind and keep it on an even keel.
I hope I am making connections with others as they read my writing and I want to offer hope to those who are considering starting here at 200WaD that this process works, helps and improves you as a person and as a writer.
I have written plenty of posts here that sound a lot like the Darwin quote at the top of the page, but it helped me, letting my thoughts and feelings be free on the page. And sometimes, when I read them back, they seem less important or problematic. But, making daily writing a habit has helped my mental health immeasurably and I feel privileged to be a part of this community.