This is.....

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Probably insane, sometimes cynical, mostly absurd and occasionally feisty, buddhist, sapiosexual witch with a passion for love, food and life. Convinced that most people either need a hug, or a damn good slap :)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

softies, suicides and surprises

Was chatting to my boss today, he was telling me about a friend of his that had committed suicide. Apparently it was his third attempt. He was successful, had a loving family, but that old black dog depression finally took him. 

As chats generally do, it gently touched several related topics before settling on something I wasn't expecting. He is a lot younger than me, and nearly always upbeat. 

I'd commented, in the way of all older people when talking about the 'younger' generation, that it seemed to me that people just weren't coping with life how they used to when I was young. He looked at me for a moment and then sighed.

"Even I can see it Kate. Things are so different now. When you were young, people just got on with things. If they had nothing, they made the best of what they had. When you were young, things were so different" 

I understood what he meant, even though I was kinda waiting for the "what were dinosaurs really like" question!

This is not them!
When I was young, I had two uncles. My father's brothers. Both had gone to war, one to be captured and ended up in a prisoner of war camp. On his return, all he could eat were little cheesy biscuits that he kept in a tin beside him. He'd pop one in his mouth every so often. He wasn't able to keep more than that down. The other, although a robust and healthy looking man, took a bullet which travelled through the side of his thigh, upwards, taking out most of his 'manhood'. I remember them as lovely men, smiling and laughing, although even at a young age I remember the occasional haunted look in my Uncle Harry's eyes (the POW). They fought on, long after the war was ended, both dying old men. 

I can't help wondering what would happen now, if our young men had to go to war, had no choice like my uncles.

We talked on, comparing differences, then and now. Designer clothes hadn't really been around when I was small, nor had most of the electronic things that people rely on now. My boss is convinced we are breeding a world of 'softies' who can't cope without a mobile phone, access to the internet and a decent wrapping of cotton wool protecting them from the world.

This made me think. I remember my dad, who was ill for so many years, telling me that the world didn't owe me a living, that everything I wanted I had to go out and fight for. I did too, taking any job that came along, hating nearly all of them, but doing what I had to do to get what I wanted. Worst saturday job?
Worst job EVER!
Easy. Working in a wet fish shop, with fishing nets full of ice, dripping down on all different kinds of raw fish. An open fronted shop, so in the winter, not only was it cold from the weather, iced water constantly dripped down on your frozen hands while you were trying to bag it for the customers. Have you ever squeezed the arse of a fish to see whether soft or hard roe came out? I feel nauseous even remembering it! Then going home, stinking of raw fish. It was the best paid Saturday job in Billericay High Street but the most god awful one as well! 

I'm trying really hard not to turn this into a rant, because while in no way do I agree with some that people with depression need to just 'pull themselves together' and as I have had depression I know just how insulting that phrase is, it was the catch all for every emotion going when I was small. You couldn't go along to the doctors and get anti-depressants, not easily anyway. People got on with it.. or didn't. There wasn't the publicity there is now. It was kept very quiet, I really think people were ashamed if a member of their family killed themselves.

Doing a little research, I discovered something surprisingly interesting.. yes i'm warped like that. Take a look at this table It shows the ratio of suicides for men and women from 1981 to 2013 aged between 15 and 85+. Looking at the men, there are no great differences until you get to the age of between 40 and 50. The increase in suicides of those of that age are frightening. In 1981 the total was 279 between 40-44 and 286 between 45-49. In 2013 that had jumped to 496 and 505 respectively. Oddly, in women, at every age range there has been a drop in the rate. 

What does this tell us? Damned if I know. Are kids softer now? I think they might be. So many don't seem to have the drive to succeed, to go out and earn, to explore. 

And we wander off on a short tangent here. I was known as the strictest mum on the street when my girls were small. I was the one that didn't have underage pregnancies or drug addicts to deal with though. No reason for saying that, just wanted to put it out there!

There is a large part of me that would like to see the return of National Service, not an army based one though, one where kids are taught discipline, taught to take pride in themselves, learning skills, helping others, being shown how to look out at the world rather than in at themselves. 

My word.. this was a ramble. I actually came at this from a grumpy old woman point of view.. I was going to put down all the things that annoy me, all the things that I think people are doing wrong etc. Jeez I can get conceited sometimes in thinking I know best. I'm glad it toned itself down a bit. 

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