It’s Blue Monday – the third Monday of January, and officially the most depressing day of the year. With New Year’s Resolutions already broken, a few too many pounds on the scales and a few hundred pounds short in our wallets, it’s no surprise.
While pseudoscience has come up with the concept of Blue Monday, depression is a far more real and serious condition that affects many throughout the year.
It’s not OK to Feel Blue and Other Lies, a collection of essays, song lyrics and poetry by well-known people who open up about their mental health, curated by Scarlett Curtis, is well worth a read for anyone who’s struggling with depression, Blue Monday or not. It also offers an insight to others on mental health issues.
Here’s some of my favourite snippets from the collection.
“I look around and realise, / So many feel like me, / So many people get this low / And feel anxiety.”
Sam Smith, singer/songwriter
“The most important thing I’ve learned is: Be kind to yourself. Don’t get angry because you feel a certain way and can’t help it. Instead sit with what you’re feeling. Try to understand where it’s coming from and try to reason with it. Everything passes. Eventually.”
“You are not to blame for any of the shit things that happen in your life. You did not deserve it. No one deserves it and there is nothing you could have done differently to prevent it from happening. (Even if your brain tries to convince you otherwise.) It is, however, your responsibility to change how you react, because you are the only person who can and you are the person it is affecting the most.”
Michelle Elman, author
“Being vulnerable, and open, and kissing our friends’ faces, and filling ourselves with melted-cheese toasties, and being kind to one another. I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the joys of today if I hadn’t let myself feel the downs of yesterday. Cheesy, but true. We are lucky if we choose to be.
It’s a journey, and we are constantly evolving. And it’s all worth it. And it’s all beautiful.
And, in the end, it’s all valid.”
Ella Purnell, actor
“Your mental health does not define who you are.”
Naomi Campbell, model/actor/entrepreneur
“Turning the worst moments of your life into stories is a powerful way to reclaim a moment when you felt completely out of control. It turns trauma into folklore and if you tell it enough many times you start to feel like you’re talking about someone else.”
Scarlet Curtis, journalist/activist
“Don’t believe the thoughts created in your anxious brain. Talking about them will almost always reveal them as overwrought fictions they are.”
Jonah Freud, writer/artist
“The only consistent advice I give is to never give up on yourself, even if at times you disappoint yourself, and to seek a safe space to talk through whatever you might be dealing with.”
Kelechi Okafor, actor/director/podcaster/writer
“There will always be heartache and fear, but there’s always love and courage.”
Nadia Craddock, body image researcher/podcast producer and co-host
“If you know that you are loved and accepted and perfect just by being born, then anxiety simply cannot flourish.”
Miranda Hart, actor/writer/comedian
“Don’t think too far ahead. Evening is fine, but tomorrow can look after itself.”
Emma Thompson, actor/screenwriter/ activist/ author/comedian
“Maybe tomorrow will be brighter. Maybe not. But since I’ve survived 100% of my most grey days so far, I have no reason to believe that I won’t weather this one too.”
Megan Crabbe, author
“And if we can help one person turn a blue day bright, it’s all worth it. This alone gives me the strength I need to get through.”
Poppy Jamie, founder of Happy not Perfect