Depression and Bipolar info explaining the latest research in everyday English

26Aug/09Off

On depression, anxiety, and 40 days and nights

A Second Life avatar relaxing at the beach

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind during the week was how we rarely if ever take a break.

I’m not talking about holidays – although most of us don’t take our full allotment of holidays in one go, and when we do we invariably fill those days with adventure, excitement and stimulation.

No, I’m talking about the ‘40 days in the wilderness’ stuff, the retreat (religious or otherwise) that allows us to go somewhere quiet and do little else except recharge our thoroughly depleted batteries and spend days and nights in quiet alcohol-free contemplation.

There are so many competing demands on our time, even away from the hurly-burly of work, that the opportunity to escape for any period longer that a long-weekend is sadly not an option for the vast majority of us.

Yet how different might our mental health be if we allowed ourselves the luxury (and it IS a luxury) of unplugging from the world for two or more weeks whilst still having our basic needs of food, shelter and personal safety met? How less anxious might we become? How less stressed might we return?

Perhaps only those who are stressed, depressed or anxious might understand the need to ‘disappear’ from view for a little while… our already over-worked families and friends would, I’m sure, be less than impressed by our desire to unhitch ourselves from our responsibilities and dump even more of a load on them. I can’t say I blame them.

But in an ideal world wouldn’t it be lovely to have the freedom to be able to leave all one’s worldly cares and possessions behind and disappear for ‘forty days and forty nights’ in order to face one’s demons and peer into the murky depths of one’s own black soul?

With thanks to Drinda for the inspiration behind this post.


Please note the medical disclaimer.


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  1. We are a culture that is addicted to speed.
    Orientated towards career advancement
    Towards progress.
    One that does not stop.
    It’s mind is busy analysing the past and future. Deadlines to meet. Demands to uphold.

    Is this healthy?
    Are humans, at our most fundamental level, meant to live in this manner?
    Was the industrial revolution neccessarily good for the human soul?
    Maybe. But Maybe not.

    Should we not be enjoying the moment.
    Celebrating simple things.
    A laugh with a mate.
    Lazying around the house.
    Looking up at the stars.

    Simple matters.
    Simple means slow.
    Slow is better for the mind.
    Slow prevents depression and mental illness.

    Perhaps speed is a major factor in the staggering increase in mental illness.
    We need a revolution in slow.
    A revolution for people doing what they want. And with meaning.
    Because meaning gives contentment.
    Gives strength.
    Gives us the tools to fight mental illness.
    We should not blame ourselves.
    We should blame speed.
    And slow down.

    (Where the hell did that come from?!!!)

  2. I am off overseas for three weeks very soon
    The only thing i am plugging into is my family, the food and the culture.
    I can’t wait!

  3. Jenni – you need to report back: as a digital consultant, was the lure of the online to strong to resist? Was 21 days and nights enough of a break or too long?

    And Ed – I couldn’t agree with you more; we DO rush around far too fast for our own good


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