Why Brexit is so depressing and scary.

There are a number of ways I could think of myself as benefitting from Brexit. True, most are linked to the falling value of the pound, and they are really offset by the whack our (USA) retirement account is getting from drops in the stock market. Still, if predictions are correct, one of those dear little renovated terrace houses in Oxford will drop in USD from about $775,000 to $550,000. Still hideously expensive, but perhaps no longer something that is too painful to dream about. And my time next year in Oxford may be thousands of dollars cheaper. So why am I so depressed about Brexit?

738 sq ft, 550,000 pounds.
738 sq ft, 550,000 pounds.

I thought part of it was about seeing the great unhappiness in the faces of young people who saw their future as Europeans killed. Or the chaos in world markets. Or the financial problems English universities will face. Or the costs to ordinary Brits. Or the disdain for experts that the leave voters were expressing. Or, finally, the great contempt for immigrants.

Well, that’s all well and good, but apparently my depression is fundamentally really about me.  And your is about you, etc.

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From the Guardian:

Many people feel transported into a dystopian Britain that they “do not recognise, cannot understand”. Thousands are hatching plans to leave the country. Social media are full of suddenly violent flaming between former friends.

Therapists everywhere are reporting shockingly elevated levels of anxiety and despair, with few patients wishing to talk about anything else. Mental health referrals have already begun to mushroom. Why is the Brexit vote affecting us so personally? And, what does this tell us about the make-up of our psyches?

First, we need to consider what we were voting about. The Brexit vote was always about identity and the boundaries between ourselves and others, be that our relationship with Europe and migration, or the expert and politician.

Anything connected with borders brings with it an association to the body, and the boundary between inner and outer. This elicits primitive anxieties, the fears of both annihilation and colonisation. Such fears are heightened in relation to the EU, which carries associations with our biggest cultural trauma, that of the world wars.

To be truthful and accurate, the way the themes are further worked out in the article, it looks as though we can actually care about the welfare of others. But it’s close.

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