Monday 11 November 2019

Enough about me - it's time to spread the feelgood factor vibes

David Looby
David Looby
Glory Days: Irish supporters feeling good at the Ireland v England game in Euro '88

By david looby

ENOUGH about me. The Boys in Green are in Versailles!

The world is spinning as fast as ever and it won't be slowing down for anyone.

The fine weather has given almost everyone a lift and for the first time in years I haven't heard anyone complaining about 'the heat!'

The Good Woman was one of many who succumbed to sunburn last week, having taken her husband-made sandwich out onto the quays for lunch. Lobster-red, she emerged from the hall this morning asking how she looked in her dress. I couldn't contain my laughter at the sunburn to white skin ratio.

This, after I invested in a whole range of different sun blocks for the lot of us, in my infinite optimism.

Having tested her patience to the limit with my diet and fairly hectic schedule over the past while, a weight has been lifted, (pardon the pun), and now everything's back to abnormal.

The Whirlwind Princess is enrolled in school and we got to meet her new teacher. Being back in a primary school class for the first time in ages was a real eye-opener: all the boxes of toys and fun things, and the arts and crafts area with hundreds of colourful bottles, and the tiny chairs and desks.

A flood of good memories rushed through my mind as I recalled my school-going days.

Meanwhile The Little Fella has switched from 'whatever, I'm happy just to sit here with you' mode to full-on 'gimme, gimme, gimme' mode. Still in his third year he knows exactly what he wants and will raise his voice to eardrum bursting levels, at times, to get it. For the most part he's easily amused playing ball and he has learned to entertain himself with jigsaws which is great.

Along with my colleague Maria, I've been writing a lot about mental health lately.

Having trawled through decades of statistics and spent hours speaking to mental health service users in the region, I concluded my writing with a sense that there is no greater issue that we, as a newspaper, can highlight at the moment.

Poor mental health and an impoverished mental health service is where we're at in Ireland at the moment.

We've got things wrong and we need to admit it. The Nordic Model of schooling - based around developing a feeling of belonging and community - provides a guiding light for us going forward, but, we as a society, cannot wait.

Courageous people have spoken out of their experiences and every voice smashes another hole in a stigma which has held us back as a society. It is often said we're too negative and that we are begrudgers. Funny, but when you go abroad all you hear is how great we are and what fun we are to be around.

We have a great and proud history. We have so much going for us, and yet the number of people on anti depressants stands at more than 330,000. We feel lonelier and more disconnected than ever.

Taking the time to stop and chat to someone and to ask a few questions of them about how they're doing might seem like nothing at all, but it can make that person feel real and reaffirm their place in the world.

In our Internet age, when a tsunami of online gambling, sexting, emails, porn etc confronts people every day, it's hard to keep our heads. Imagine if you had a traumatic childhood or suffered from a mental illness?

The old stigma is crumbling but people no longer care as much. We all need to look beyond our own little worlds to experience life.

Wexford People