It comes as no surprise to me that Horsham has been designated the ‘most anxious’ town in the United Kingdom. Attempting to manage radical change can be the cause of both anxiety and reactive depression. ‘Happy-clappy’ church services are killers!
Any reasonably intelligent resident who is perceptive and sensitive to change must surely feel depressed by what one can only describe as the wholesale destruction of our town.
The massive housing development taking place at Broadbridge Heath with the prospect of what amounts to a new town on a green field site north of Horsham - plus a possible second runway at Gatwick - is enough to give anyone the blues.
The first major change came in the 1960s with the construction of Albion Way which had the effect of cutting the town in half.
I recall that one depressed shop owner whose premises were demolished simply took his own life.
When the iconic Black Horse Hotel was demolished in the early 1970s, it was replaced with a most hideous concrete monstrosity which now houses a Travel Lodge and a firm of bookmakers.
The original Swan Walk shopping centre which was in keeping in scale and material with a market town received a Civic Trust award which was swiftly withdrawn when it received a ‘make-over’ by the current owners.
This development witnessed the demolition of the town’s Capitol Theatre to make way for the present Marks and Sparks – yet another example of commercial triumph over culture.
In our once small market town, consumerism reigns supreme.
In spite of our depressed economy, we are expected to shop until we drop – treating our benefit-laden children to plastic Halloween tat – thrust upon parents by our supermarkets.
In East Street - now renamed, ‘The Quarter’ by the powers that be - it’s food, glorious food.
I can only conclude that the five residents interviewed at random on the subject have never suffered from severe anxiety or depression – either reactive (the loss of a loved one, for example) or endogenous (which has no apparent cause).
Your GP can often be of help with the use of prescribed drugs for a limited period or what is termed ‘cognitive therapy’ which aims to change the patient’s view of the world.
Personally, I would steer well clear of any offer of ECT (electro convulsive therapy) – which can have disastrous long-term side effects.
To conclude, I do hope that this advice has been helpful to your readers – it’s being so cheerful that keeps me going!
ROBERT B. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham