Pub closures and community changes
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Toby Ingham MA UKCP BAPPS
30th May, 2008
A 66-year-old man, who I will call Robert, is finding things difficult at the moment and the recent news that his local pub is closing feels like the last straw. First they banned smoking, now they are closing the pub. All of his routines seem to be changing and it feels like every change is for the worse.
He had noticed people seem to be out less, he knows the credit-crunch means people are spending less money. He can understand it, but he finds it all a bit depressing, not that he would ever say he got depressed.
Robert knows he’s been going out less, and that he’s speaking to fewer people. He used to enjoy going out to the pub, he never drank very much but he liked joining in a bit, listening, just being in the swing of things. Now that’s going to stop. He doesn’t feel a part of things like he used to. He sits in more, watches more TV, it’s just not the same.
So what can we do when familiar community routines change?
The pub closures are a good example. Something in the community is closing down and in a way it feels to Robert that a bit of his personality is closing down too. So what happens next? One possibility is that he becomes more isolated, spends more time on his own and begins to feel more depressed. He becomes a bit gloomy and Eeyore-like about things, and isn’t much company.
Another possibility is that somehow Robert finds a way to change and adapt to his new circumstances. But, what would it take to motivate this change? Where would the energy come from? Robert doesn’t want to think about these questions, but he can’t continue to bury his head in the sand. He has to find a way out of his old routines, which he took for granted.
The dilemma is; will the changes to his routines depress him further, or given time will he be able to adapt and find a useful new outlet for his energy and a new way to connect to the community? And these are questions for all of us really, because Robert can’t be expected to change the community on his own.
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