I've been feeling a bit low, lately; staying at home, not working very effectively, feeling burned-out and demotivated.
In part, it's the effect of winter up here north of the 60th parallel — Edinburgh is north of every city in North America except maybe Anchorage; we're about fifty miles north of Moscow, and it's dark for up to 18 hours at a time. But I've got a SAD lamp for that, and besides, I'm used to it.
More interestingly, I was chatting to some friends yesterday and they were noting that everybody seems to be low right now. ("Everybody" for values of everybody in Edinburgh that they'd spoken to, that is.) The economy in the UK is, according to the IMF, due to take a bath in 2009, with shrinkage of 2.8% predicted — the worst recession since the 1930s — and this is making everyone feel a bit grim and pessimistic. Retail sales have fallen off a cliff and large retailer managers were predicting last month that 10% of retail staff nation-wide would be out of a job within 12 months. The housing market is something that, as a homeowner, I don't even want to think about. Our currency nearly collapsed last week, falling to its lowest level in 23 years. Everybody seems to know someone who has lost their job, or worse, to have lost their own: there's an pall of "who's next?" hovering in the air. Even for those of us who, like me, know we've got a solid job through 2009, it's gloomy, and your mood appears to be strongly influenced by that of your second-order friends and acquaintances.
Anyway: is this actually a common phenomenon in economic depressions? That is: are they characterised by pervasive emotional depression (as well as economic malaise) among the population at large? (I don't know anyone who's old enough to have experienced the 1930s depression as an adult ...) And if so, do we have the technology today — in the form of SSRIs and other medication — to fix Depression 2.0 on a global scale?