One of the things I love about people is the sheer variety and diversity of opinions, outlook and coping mechanisms, and yet at the same time I am guilty of falling into an age old trap of assuming underneath it all everyone else is just like me. It was Dr Maroon who first pointed out to me this particular character trait of mine, although to be fair we were deep in conversation about his own solipsism at the time.
So, when I created the poll for the last post, What’s Your Medication? I knew full well that there would be a variety of responses. However, what I was also reminded of was not everyone has mental health or personality problems that lead them to self-medicate.
Of course everyone has off days, everyone has problems they wish they didn’t have to deal with and everyone gets down every now and then. But not everyone gets constant bouts of such extreme emotional pain that they regularly have to look for ways to try and dull that pain in order to just be able to reach the end of the day no matter how damaging it is in the long term.
I have to confess I’ve always slightly suspected that everyone is completely screwed up, but the world is split into a) those have psychological problems and b) those who are in denial.
However, judging by the number of people who said that reading a good book, going for a brisk walk, or just having a sharp word with themselves actually works, I think this could just be me projecting my own neuroses onto the rest of the population. For me, those solutions are rather like offering a sticky plaster (band aid) to someone who has just had a limb severed.
Clearly then, not everyone who frequents this blog is as screwed up as I am, even if I do think that one or two of you just haven’t accepted that your dedication to fitness is as pathological as my wife’s dedication to home baking.
So, on to the results – taken at 2.30pm on Tuesday 9th October
With 75 votes and 35 separate commenters, it looks like there are more lurkers than I realised, unless everyone has voted at least twice. A poll of this size isn’t big enough to draw global conclusions on the state of the human condition, but it does give us all a bit of an insight to the strange assortment of people who actually find these Ramblings interesting enough to periodically come back and see what else has been written here.
The most used form of self-medication by far, accounting for nearly a third of all votes was Food. Whether this is because of my own food problems I attract visitors who are like-minded, or whether it’s just that food is such a complex issue when it comes to how we deal with our emotions, I can’t say. However, it does show that I’m not completely alone.
Alcohol comes in 2nd place, but with only 12% of the vote I suspect there are one or two people here who refuse to accept they actually have a problem.
Other was 3rd although this was a hodgepodge of things I forgot to put on the list and included reading, listening to music and having a nice hot bath, rather than, say, self-mutilation with a piece of broken glass.
In 4th place, tied at 7% of the vote each, were A Brisk Walk, Talking to Friends, and Stop Being So Weak and Pathetic and Pull Yourself Together, which along with those in the Other category fall into my personal sticky plaster to an amputee analogy. The fact that I still find it easier to believe you’re all in denial rather than actually believe any of these really work (other than, perhaps, Talking with Friends), I guess only goes to show that I’m farther gone than I thought I was.
Video Games and Puzzles came next, keeping the mind occupied so other thoughts can’t get in, at least for the duration.
Interesting that more people are prepared to use Illegal drugs than ones prescribed by the doctor, though maybe not surprising.
Sexual Activity, Shopping, Exercise and Meditation only garnered 2 votes each, which is quite surprising considering that sex and shopping are widely recognised as the two biggest things the Internet is used for.
Another eyebrow raiser for me, was that only 1 person confessed to Blogging as their number one self-medicating distraction of choice. Food will always be my main struggle, but when I do keep away from gorging to fill the void within, blogging is probably my next biggest indulgence.
Finally, no one owned up to Gambling, Prayer or Violence as their preferred option for keeping the demons at bay, although Birdwatcher’s obsession with Rugby could easily have fallen into the Violence category in my book.
Unfortunately the sample was too small and too basic to be able to break down the results by age, nationality, religious affiliation or weight, but at least you can now compare yourself to the other visitors to these Ramblings in terms of neuroses.
I thank you all for your participation and hope you found it as interesting as I did.