I saw my GP yesterday. Not a major appointment, just a review six weeks after she suggested we double my dose of Escitalopram because I clearly wasn’t coping with life. We had a really good talk about depression, counselling, and the stigma attached to depression. She’s trying to organise some sessions with medical students where they can talk to people who have mental health problems and I said I’d be more than happy to participate.
Then, as I was leaving, she said ‘You seem like a completely different person from the one I saw last month. You’re glowing!’
And it’s true. I am. Because I have discovered how to make each day of your life seem motivational and empowering. Montage.
It started out as a joke. My mum was staying with us for a couple of weeks, from when I was really very low until last weekend by which time I was much better. During a conversation with her, I said ‘No! I’m not putting up with that!’ To which she said ‘Just look at you! How you’re standing!’ And I was standing, feet placed apart, fists on hips, shoulders squared, ready to take on the world. I felt strong enough to handle anything. Mum started humming the theme music to Rocky, I joined in, adding a slow motion jog on the spot, and an earworm was born.
The Rocky music has since been permanently in my head, soundtracking everything I do. So yesterday, when I was striding home after seeing Dr H, it was playing in my head and I was giggling to myself as a result, thinking that this would be the climactic scene in a film where our heroine throws off all that is holding her back to the backing of a swelling orchestral theme. Then Alistair came home for lunch, and mentioned in passing that he would be working on Saturday.
And an unholy bastard lovechild was spawned.
For some reason, I could not stop imagining little ten second snippets of Alistair at work, accompanied by the Rocky theme tune. Typing away at his computer. Making phone calls. Holding a clipboard. Pointing at something. Walking down a corridor. Making coffee. Putting on a hi-vis jacket and hard hat. Arguing with his boss. All with that song playing in the background. I tried to explain it to him, but all I got in response was a very worried look and ‘Do you think maybe they should lower your dose of antidepressants?’
And after that, I couldn’t stop it. Everything I did became part of a montage. Doing the washing up wasn’t me dispiritedly swiping at a saucepan for ten minutes, but a ten second flurry of scrubbing instead. Tramping down the long, damp and leafstrewn streets for the fifteen minute walk to school was transformed into a quick flash of me marching along, head held high. Taking The Girl to the park whilst we waited for The Boy to finish cross country training was no longer me being frozen to my very marrow, resignedly pushing her on the swings, and yearning for a cigarette. No, it was a burst of me putting all my energy into making the swing fly up higher, and The Girl throwing her head of blonde curls back and hooting with laughter. It made the whole day seem amazing and uplifting. Seriously.
I tried explaining it again to Alistair when he came home from work, including speaksinging his actions to the tune of Rocky. ‘Coming home, getting changed, opening a beer, having a fag. Getting sandpaper, ready to paint the stairhehhehhehhairs!’ He still didn’t get it. So I tried again, but this time with the theme from The A-Team. And then he totally got it. Totally. And from then on, everything he did was with a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment.
So clearly, it does work. You just have to have the right music to set your montage to. Alistair suggested Eye of the Tiger, which I’m unsure of. Partly because I am already prone to earworms and worry that if I invite them in once, they are like vampires and will take up residence in my mind forever. But also because it has words in it, which is best avoided.
There’s also the Knight Rider theme tune, which really doesn’t work for me. It’s not slowbuilding enough. The thing with Rocky is that it’s much slower than you remember, which is all the better for building up our little friend Maureen Mentum. But then I think Mission Impossible probably could work for some people. It doesn’t do it for me, because it just makes me think of Tom Cruise and shudder a little.
Beverly Hills Cop? Hmm. Has potential. Star Wars Theme doesn’t work for me, but The Imperial March does, especially if, like me, your day involves a lot of walking (minimum of six miles a day). A really good one I’ve discovered this morning is the Indiana Jones music.
Try it. Seriously. Stick the cinematic soundtrack of your choice on whilst you arse about on the internet, and suddenly you’re not wasting three hours of your day laughing at videos of people falling over. You are kickarsily spending ten seconds frowning at a computer screen in a way that seems massively important and meaningful. And when you make that fourth cup of coffee, it doesn’t take three minutes whilst you gaze into the middle distance, thinking about that ingrowing hair, waiting for the kettle to boil. No. It’s just a clip of you taking a swig from a steaming cup of caffeine. Trudging around Sainsbury’s isn’t an hour of your life wasted, it’s just ten seconds of you striding down the aisle, your trolley like a chariot in front of you.
And if you have any suggestions for any other pieces of music to montage your life to, then please do let me know. And it works best if you speak-sing your actions to the music, thusly (to the tune of Rocky): Put kettle on, grab a mug. Pick up spoon, open jar. Put coffee in mug, pour the water overherherherherherHER!
No need to thank me. It’s just what I do.