A friend of mine posted a very interesting blog piece on Sunday about day dreams. It got me thinking. According to Jenny’s psychologist friend day dreams are made up of random thoughts whereas our decision making, the example she uses is what we want for our tea, is a more systematic process. I’m not sure I necessarily agree. I’m sure I am not alone in indulging in, somewhat too regular, bouts of day dreaming. There are many times when I should be concentrating on a particular task and yet my mind wanders off to what are for me more interesting and entertaining thoughts. In coping with my recent health problems I first addressed this as work avoidance. I then questioned whether it was me being merely lazy (though having consulted that great radio psychiatrist Dr Fraiser Craine whilst tackling the ironing mountain this morning I know leanr that this is fear!). The response to all of these seemed to be to buck up my ideas, focus, concetrate and get on with it – whatever “it” might me.
But Jenny’s post got me thinking. What if, instead of day dreams being a mere random thought they are infact much more systematic than we might think. Are my daydreams the means of telling me to that I engaged in the wrong task and that I would be better off and more productive in switch to my alternative. If this is the case, and I’m starting to believe it might be, rather than scolding daydreamers for being unrealistic the power to greater happiness and dare I say it a better society might lie in nurturing those dreams into reality. Like so much in life I am learning to realise the value of the small things. Jenny has sparked the idea that the value of dreams should not be overlooked and underestimated.
Whilst I was away last week I spotted this blog entry retweeted and it wasn’t until today that I had chance to read it. Yet again, it’s another demonstration that “nervous breakdowns” and “burnout” are the stuff of more common occurrence than many of us can or even chose to recognise. Yet again its a sign that it can happen to anyone. I recognised the signs and symptoms of the opening paragraph. Now this blog is written by someone who from the outside might seem like a strong character – an entrepreneur in the throes of starting their own business – and with a drive to succeed. However, despite recognising the risks that starting their own business might have on their mental health, they chose to gamble and are now paying for it. Although it seems that Craig knows how to deal with periodic burnout, my impression is that it occurs with a frequency and regularity that looking from the outside in one would question as being unhealthy. All of which makes me question the logic of the modern world again. We work for others for hours on end to get the pay so we can live life to the full yet either lack the time or the residual energy to do this. We decide to work for ourselves and we take on risk and responsibility often in the name of lifestyle change meaning the lifestyle has gotten more stressful rather than less. It makes me wonder what we do these things for – and don’t get me started on the Big Society or this post will never end. This is an interesting issue for me at the moment. Having emerged from my own period of burnout and breakdown and seeking to answer my own lifestyle concerns the temptation to do something different is burning strong. But I am held back by the fear not only of failure – and by that I mean financial – but also of making a rod for my own back and unbalancing that fine equilibrium in my mental health. And all of the time the world carries on revolving around me. Craig is also a good example as a social entrepreneur. In putting the needs and concerns of others on a par with his own needs it is likely that this adds to rather than takes away from the stresses. I know that feeling all too well.
So the world can often look big and bad. The skies turn grey, the black dogs bark and every silver lining is stalked by a pretty big cloud. The immediate temptation is to hide and pull the covers up. Then there is the strong urge to run in the opposite way. Ultimately the bravest and best decision is to jump. But building up to the jump, no matter how small, takes courage.