Grooming is a part of life. By grooming I mean both personal and social grooming. When we feel left out both our personal and social grooming habits slip. Social grooming was what I thought monkeys did to each other, removing nits from each others fur. But when it comes to people we take it a bit further. Social grooming is the interaction between people, but not necessarily limited to physical touching. Social grooming also includes small talk and gossip.
When depression affects a person the person tends to withdraw from social situations rather than maintaining them. Not only this but personal grooming and hygiene habits become less important. The funny thing is the person that gets depression usually is the last one to know about the change in habits until it becomes noticeable to others. By that time the steps on the path to depression are well worn down. When the person realises this for themselves they seem unable to act on this as they feel overwhelmed and cannot seem to find a way to get back to their non depressed self. We are our own worst enemy.
Shopping habits of decades past used to involve going to multiple shops and conversing with each shopkeeper. The interaction with multiple people was a daily habit and with that came physical activity, the walking to and from places. The social grooming of society, the interaction of people in their daily lives. Perfection of social sanity, a sense of belonging and engaging with others.
Supermarkets and the Internet are wonderful inventions but they come at a price. Supermarkets create a single one stop shopping at reduced prices to make shopping a quick and convenient experience. The Internet has opened up information to all corners of the earth to allow people to communicate and share ideas. On the surface these are two wonderful concepts. I wouldn’t be able to share my blog post if it weren’t for the Internet for starters. I’m not saying that I am against supermarkets or the Internet but we should use them in moderation. Supermarkets allow people to purchase in bulk and shop weekly instead of daily. Efficient. Checkout operators at supermarkets use barcodes to scan prices to save the company finances to speed up the number of customers who can pay and leave. The time to chat at the checkout is limited to brief pleasantries of salutations. There is no time for more. Efficient. The Internet allows us to communicate with long lost school friends via social media and if we chose to we can actually meet them in person. We can find answers to questions we might chose to ask at three in the morning. The Internet never sleeps, the information is available always, unless the power goes down due to a freak of nature or you can’t pay your power bill. If we chose we can even purchase groceries online and never leave the house. For someone with mobility issues this is wonderful for someone with depression this is perhaps not really so wonderful. Stepping outside should be a part of the day.
Social grooming is communicating with people, and with social media this on the surface may appear helpful, I don’t believe in the long run will be so. The original purpose of the Internet was to share information, just that. Commerce plus Internet has created a monster, add social interaction and you have a unique web of online social communities. It is a lifeline for those who find communicating verbally in social situation a challenge. However I find that the same people we find we don’t want to talk to or can’t talk to are invading our cyberspace. Social media brings with it social rules. In real life a person feels they must put on a happy front as society rules insist on it. Social media rules are the overflow of real life social rules and even online on social media you must maintain a smile even when you don’t feel like smiling. Where do people have left to rant or cry? Businesses are constantly trawling sites for those interviewing for jobs to see what their online persona is and whether it matches the person in front of them. I know the purpose of the Internet is sharing information but it is getting out of hand. Learning to block out the vast amounts of gibberish online is a skill. You cannot believe everything you read. I wonder what people in the future will make of us?
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong speaking at the beginning of song