How to Solve Depressed Fish Syndrome


I took a trip to The Deep, in Hull, recently.

I highly recommend it, if you get the chance to go.
Great for adults and kids alike and my three year old Daughter loved it.

We had spent a couple of hours, wandering around, looking at all the different fish – they even had penguins.

I was impressed by how big the tanks were – incredible, vast, units holding thousands of gallons of water.

The venue mostly had low lighting, I guess to help the fish, which created a magical feel as the light reflected off the glass and around the rooms.

We were coming to the end of our time at The Deep and one of the last sections involves walking through a glass tunnel.

All around, including above me, fish darted around the huge tank.

It provided a really good opportunity to see the fish up close.

Fish at the best of times do not appear to be that happy (unless they are Clown Fish – Zinger!) and a strange thought popped into my head. ‘Do fish get depressed?’

They pretty much do the same thing all day, there is no variation in what they do and they are constantly stared at – not great for the self esteem I would imagine. Add in the fact they live in the same space and see the same fish all the time, their ability to encounter new experiences is pretty slim.

Then I started to wonder if we too are like fish.

Are we swimming around in the same tank, treading the same water and being observed by the same people?

What image are we projecting to the people observing us?

About 100ft from where I was standing, in the The Deep, was fish freedom. The building is situated on the River Humber and it would not take long for the fish to reach the North Sea.

Now, for the purposes of this article, let’s all assume the fish could cope in cold water – I’m sure they could..

I started to wonder how they would feel if they felt this freedom.

Excited? Overwhelmed? Scared?

They would certainly experience something new and feeling may be very liberating for some of the fish. For others (if my earlier scientific estimate is wrong – ahem) it could result in increased risk of predators and death.

Are we too comfortable in our own tanks, at work and at home?

Think about the last five years and what you have experienced.
What would you change? What would you do differently?

I’m not advocating regret here, simply reminding you about the opportunity to shape your future.

It was at this point I decided that we are not like fish, swimming around in the tank. The following reasons convinced me that we overcome this syndrome on a daily basis.

1) Unlike the fish, we have the ability to influence our environment.
Much of this is down to making a choice about how we choose to perceive the world and the people around us. Many people believe changing a mindset is difficult but it can happen for you, if you choose to do so.

2) Our brains are wonderful complex instruments.
We have an incredible capacity for curiosity and learning – the fish do not. Their basic thoughts are ‘Where can I source food?’ and ‘Will I be eaten today?’

3) We can build amazing relationships with people.
Every time you interact with someone, you have an opportunity to strengthen or weaken that relationship. Imagine having power like that, including the power to remove those relationships that harm you.

4) Our most vivid memories will be inextricably linked to experience.
Think about your top three experiences ever and describe what makes them the top three. I guarantee it will be the way these experiences made you feel.

5) We can create new experiences all the time.
We live in a world where connectivity is no longer a problem.
You can hop on a plane and be on the other side of the world, in less than 12 hours. You can create a new top three, all the time.

For anyone suddenly worried about the life they are leading right now, it is not about casting a question mark over this.

There should be no target for how happy you want to be, in fact I encourage you to sit down and reflect on what is making you happy right now.

If you would like to read more on this topic, then please click here.

You have amazing opportunity, a world with infinite possibility, make the most of it.

You are definitely not fish.

Believe and take action.

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Ian Ruane

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