PHIL EVANS BLOG – OCTOBER 2013
Regular readers and those who need a daily bowl of bran to ease their bodily functions into action every morning (“It’s alimentary, my dear Watson! “) will remember I dealt with mental illness in a previous blog, in, I hope, an understated manner, whilst at the same time keeping it as light-hearted as I could, given the subject matter.
It received a positive response from many different quarters, for which I was very grateful, because it affirmed my belief that there are very few subjects a comedian cannot talk about.
Okay, I did receive one death threat, in an anonymous letter in the post written in crayons, but on closer examination I was relieved to see it was addressed to my next door neighbour. I popped it through next doors letterbox, since when my neighbours haven’t spoken to me and tend to give me funny looks as they pass me in the street.
This time around, I’m tackling a medical condition that affects thousands of people as the nights start to draw-in and we ‘cwtsh’ down in front of the old telly-box for the evening – sometimes even switching it on.
I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder or as it’s often referred to SAD, which makes people utterly depressed through the dark days of Autumn and Winter. I’ve never suffered from SAD because for me Autumn is the time for taking long walks on overcast afternoons; kicking up the gold and brown leaves in the park – while making sure that big grey leaf isn’t a knackered old squirrel having a well-earned kip after spending all day burying fifty conkers; and country ‘pubs with good food, blazing log fires and half-a-dozen miserable regulars stood at the bar, mumbling under their breath, nursing their silver tankards, unable to disguise their resentment that you’re enjoying good food in front of a blazing log fire…while you’re sat in their favourite arm chairs.
Those individuals who suffer from SAD absolutely loathe the coming of Autumn and dread the approach of Winters mid-afternoon darkness as the watery sun disappears over the horizon and the temperature drops by several degrees. They become depressed at the prospect of one gloomy day following another until the clocks go forward in the Spring.
Most of us get fed up with the Winter, but unlike people with SAD we try not to let it affect us, especially if we lead busy lives, getting out and about every day, rather than sitting around the house contemplating whether to switch-on the second bar of the electric fire. I don’t have that problem. My electric fire only has one bar.
So what can SAD sufferers do to make life during the dark months a little more pleasant? Well, not for nothing did our ancestors make the last week in December a time for celebrating. The Mid Winter Festival gave everyone the chance to celebrate before the harsh winter months kicked-in.
Now of course we have the season of Good Will and double-edition of the Radio Times (Christmas) to brighten up our lives for a couple of days. Or two weeks if you’re a builder.
What do they find to do at home for two whole weeks? Just two days of watching ‘special’ Christmas editions of Downton, Corrie and Hitler’s Home Movies In Colour is enough for me.
But, if you suffer from SAD, these festivities, with its lively get-togethers with family and friends, gaiety and lights and colourful decorations, can be a blessed relief. Then there are traditional pantomimes to put a smile on your face and cheer the soul. From early December right through to February, whether it’s an expensive production in a Number One theatre; a slick professional touring company in a Miners Institute; or an amateur company in a village hall, I recommend that any SAD sufferer should see at least one panto. It’ll put them in a good mood for days. Oh yes it will. Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
Something else that would help would be to watch loads of comedy dvds; read comic novels and comedians autobiographies; watch classic TV sitcoms; or go out to a stand-up comedy show now and then – check my website for details of my gigs!.
Whether it’s a pantomime, a comedy movie or a comedy gig, the anticipation of going out to be entertained and the physical act of getting dressed-up for a night out will help lift your mood. While this is no permanent cure for SAD – and of course sufferers will want to seek professional help- if you can have a good laugh at least once a day during the dark winter months, the Spring won’t seem quite so far away. Another example of comedy working as a therapy.
Before I go I’d just like to remind you that November the 5th isn’t too far away and if you do own a dog, please ensure you keep it safely inside…… because there’s nothing worse on Bonfire Night than a dog p*ssing all over your fireworks.
Thanks for reading xxx