Recovering from my Brexit depression

Those of you who read my earlier post on Brexit will know that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on the 23rd of June really hit me for six. Friday the 24th of June and the days that followed were deeply shocking: sterling plummeted 10%, Scotland said it wanted independence (again), families were divided, the young blamed the old, remainers blamed the ‘uneducated’, and our leaders on both sides of the campaign decided that the the task was too huge, the metaphorical s**t had well and truly hit the fan and the only option was to sulk and resign (thank goodness there’s a woman who is able to be a grown up). 

This is what Brexit is all about.  Fan-bloody-tastic.

Many of us, myself included, saw a picture of a country that we didn’t identify with, a country that despises the ‘other’ and where its people feel it is okay to be aggressive and verbally abusive to anyone who is remotely different, a country whose citizens are small minded. 

Admittedly, this situation was exaggerated by the media, and I can see that there are a broad spectrum of reasons why people voted to leave the European Union.  Some of these reasons are logical.  I am not convinced by any of them, but then I don’t need to be, because this is a democracy and I am just one person. 

About a week after Brexit I read an article by a psychologist which reported that passionate ‘remainers’ (those who had voted for the UK to remain in the EU) had reported difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, lack of appetite and a low mood. Thank goodness I thought, this validates how I am feeling.  It isn’t just me. 

The day before reading this article I had told my mother that I felt slightly depressed about Brexit.  She, a remain voter herself, suppressed a smirk that said “don’t be so melodramatic Pen, get things in perspective.”  She was right of course, but then mothers always are.  The vile attack in Nice, the terrifying response to the attempted military coup in Turkey and the spiralling situation in the US following the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille (check out #blacklivesmatter) certainly put my self-indulgent Brexit sulk into perspective.  


It is only now, a month later, that I finally think I am beginning to get over my post-Brexit depression.

I found this TED talk about Brexit last week.   There was one comment in Alexander Bett’s talk that really resonated with me.  

He commented that when he looked at voting patterns across the country, what struck him is that he has spent very little of his life in any of the areas of the country that voted to leave European Union.  The BBC’s website is probably the best place to find all of the voting outcomes in case you’re interested. 

This is entirely true for me.  In fact, I have probably spent a sum total of three days of my entire life in ‘leave’ areas, and that was over a decade ago when I used to visit my then boyfriend’s parents in Oldham, Lancashire.   

It is easy for me to be open, inclusive and tolerant when I, in my London flat, am living in blissful ignorance of the lives of those who voted for Brexit.  I don’t despise the ‘other’, I am just not sure that I have got a clue who they are.  And that, my dear readers, is more than a little shameful. 

So, six months after everyone else set, and then broke, their New Year’s resolutions, I am setting myself a new one:

Before this year, 2016, is out, I am going to visit three parts of the country which voted ‘leave’. I am going to ignore those voting districts which voted ‘leave’ by a narrow margin.  I am going to chose those districts where the leave vote was convincing and unambiguous. 

Cygnet my son, brace yourself, Boston (75.6% in favour of leave), South Holland (73.6% in favour of leave) and Castle Point (72.7% in favour of leave)  here we come! 

I can see I am going to need a map. 

Let’s just hope there is a Starbucks…blissful ignorance strikes again…I’ll let you know. 

And then the fun began...
Reflections From Me
My Random Musings
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows


  1. July 20, 2016 / 9:08 am

    It’s an interesting approach! I have spent more time living in leave areas than you and I have some sympathy, but I find it staggering these are also the areas which receive the greatest EU support. Anyway, enjoy your trips. I hope you choose to write about them afterwards. #TruthAbout

    • thesingleswan
      July 25, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment. I will indeed write about my trips afterwards. I need to get planning I think. Pen

  2. July 20, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    The result was hugely depressing, as much for the resulting ‘permission’ it seems to have given people to be hateful as anything else. But I think that your approach going forward is very positive and enlightened. Good luck with your trips, I hope you blog about them x
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…On writing and feeling lostMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 25, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Hi Sara,

      I’ll tell you all about it. Pen x

  3. July 21, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Oh, I can empathise with the brexit depression – the way that the vote seemed to legitimise racism I found truly horrifying and, although I think it’s a very bad move for this country economically, I think it’s the fact that it feels like a move away from togetherness that has really knocked me. And I’m gutted that the areas who voted leave were often the ones who benefitted most from EU funding and so things may get even worse for them when what they wanted was something better – I feel like people were lied to and taken advantage of. Anyway… I’m interested in your approach. Personally I live in a leave area although all my friends voted remain so I’m clearly in my own little bubble regardless! #thetruthabout
    Maddy@writingbubble recently posted…moving onMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 25, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Hi Maddy,

      Yes, it is incredibly frustrating that those areas that voted leave are often the areas that receive the most EU funding. Interesting that all of your friends voted remain despite you living in a leave area. My friends all voted remain, but then a lot of my closest friends were language students at university so I would have eaten my hat if they had even contemplated voting leave. Pen x

  4. July 21, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    I agree that maybe the post-Brexit depression was a bit dramatic but it’s really interesting to know that the places with the highest Leave vote (presumably deprived areas although I’ve been to Boston and it’s quite nice…) are also the places that have been receiving the most help from the EU. I’m not overly sure what you might get from visiting those places – it would be hard to empathise with the people living there without actually living there yourself? Not sure.. Anyway thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout with this – very thought provoking.
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #84My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 25, 2016 / 9:07 pm

      Hi Sam,

      Yes you’re right. I am not sure that I am going to be able to empathise after having spent an afternoon in these places. At the moment though I am not even sure that I could tell you where they are and this is bad. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  5. July 26, 2016 / 2:29 am

    Very interesting post. I live in the United States and I’m often confused by the fact that the areas of the country that most benefit from government intervention and help are also the areas that seem to vote Republican and end up getting their benefits cut. I think that for whatever reason people seem to believe the lies of those that are able to give them somebody else to blame for their condition. #anythinggoes
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    • thesingleswan
      July 26, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      Agree Jeremy. Bonkers isn’t it. Lies lies lies, why do we believe the lies? Pen x

  6. July 26, 2016 / 7:41 am

    That is a great idea. I live in a part of the world that voted to stay but we are very isolated. This is a great approach. Good luck with it xx #mg

    • thesingleswan
      July 26, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      thanks Lisa. I’ll let you know how it goes. Pen x

  7. July 26, 2016 / 8:30 am

    I think this is such a great approach now and one that will be a really positive experience with or without starbucks 😉 Lou at

    • thesingleswan
      July 26, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Yes, it hope so. It doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but I will need a coffee though. Maybe I’ll take a packed lunch and a thermos flask. Pen x

  8. July 26, 2016 / 8:40 am

    apologies forgot #mg X

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      No worries. Pen x

  9. July 26, 2016 / 10:40 am

    very interesting and Im interested to read your write ups of the top 3 leave places. like you, ive never been either and like you, have had major brexit depression too. #anythinggoes

    • thesingleswan
      July 26, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Thanks Emma.

      I will let you know how my visits go. By the end of the year – I’ll be there. Pen x

  10. July 30, 2016 / 10:17 pm

    Ha – well, I’ve heard of Boston, but not the other 2. You’ll probably find the starbucks between BetFred and Poundland 😉
    Seriously though, its interesting you say you don’t know who these voters are because I am a Physical Therapist and on a daily basis speak to a cross section of the British public and it has actually surprised me who voted Brexit and who didn’t – I started off trying to guess in my mind, now I don’t bother because I got a lot wrong and it’s become quite clear that the Brexiters come in all shapes and forms
    Alex recently posted…Nottingham’s Five Best BurgersMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      Hi Alex,

      You are right Brexiteers do come in all shapes and sizes. I have heard so many reasons why people voted leave, there is no way that they can all be satisfied. Pen x

  11. July 31, 2016 / 12:35 am

    I think you are quite right to feel depressed – if you look at what will unfold and the global patterns around the world, I’m depressed too and I didn’t even get to vote. HOWEVER, what I LOVE in this post, and your thinking, is that you are getting out there and checking it out. This is brilliant! Won’t change anything but the first step to understanding is education and the first step to change is from the inside. I think you are on the start of a great journey. Starting with this small decision…I’m sure I will be reading great things from you in years to come.#KCALCOLS

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:39 pm

      Hi Lydia,

      I hope you do hear great things from me in years to come. In the short to medium term you’ll be hearing about my trips to random parts of the UK. Watch this space. Pen x

  12. July 31, 2016 / 4:33 am

    I imagine it would be depressing, being Australian I watch from afar, amazed at Brexit, amazed at the Americans supporting Trump and then here in Australia people never seem to care as all our politicians seem clueless. There is so much drama and so much horror around the world, it is easy to feel lost and down. #mg
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    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:37 pm

      Hi Mac,

      It is really depressing. I am also watching the Trump / Clinton saga with interest. I am genuinely fearful of a Trump victory in November. It will change the world and not for the better. Pen x

  13. July 31, 2016 / 7:21 am

    It is horrible, this outcome, but that’s democracy, as you rightly say. A good idea of yours to visit those places and I look forward to reading about your experiences in due course.
    x Alice
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    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Hi Alice,

      thanks for your comment. I’ll let you know how my visits go. Pen x

  14. July 31, 2016 / 8:38 am

    The result was so depressing and I felt very unprepared for it. We now live in Jersey but were still eligible to vote because we have lived here a lot less than 10 years. Our vote arrived on the day of the result. Not very helpful. We used to live in West Yorkshire, just outside of Leeds and that area did vote to leave. When I came back to London on the weekend of the result I was surprised to see vote leave flags flying from flats. I wasn’t expecting that and it made me feel really sad. I am also probably being really dramatic here but I felt that London’s spirit was squashed, it didn’t seem the same London. Then I witnessed a nasty Brexit fight. Not good #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Hi Emma,

      Depressing indeed. I didn’t witness any fighting but I did witness some horrendous verbal abuse on a train. Despicable. Pen x

  15. July 31, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    I am looking forward to reading all about these visits Pen! What surprised me was the urban/rural voting pattern. An interesting point about how you hadn’t been to many of the parts of the country that voted leave. Are you going to go for those three because they have the biggest margins? #KCACOLS
    Min recently posted…Having a Baby: What’s The Right Time?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:31 pm

      Hi MIn,

      I am not sure exactly where I am going to go. I will ensure that I got to places with big margins. It might not be those specific three. You’ll soon find out. Pen x

  16. July 31, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    The leave vote seems to have come as a shock to most people I know. It was so narrow too. I’m also upset by what it now means for Scotland, as I live there. I don’t think our country can cope with another referendum so soon after the two we have just had. There was such animosity last time that hasn’t yet been helaed, so to fuel it all again wull only make matters worse. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, it made interesting reading. #KCACOLS
    Upside Mum recently posted…Beautiful BlogsMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 31, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      Hi, I am really glad you liked the post and find your perspective on the situation in Scotland interesting. Referendums are very divisive – they are a dangerous political instrument and should be used wisely. Pen x

  17. August 1, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    It’s amazing how the sense of the Remain bubble I’ve lived in – particularly on social media. Fair to say that’s burst though! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 1, 2016 / 9:41 pm

      Agree. I was absolutely stunned to hear that we had voted leave. All of my friends and associates both on and offline where remain voters. I am not even sure who the leave voters are. Let the voyages of discovery commence. Pen x

  18. August 1, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    What a great idea and how very insightful too. I was a remain voter and too was quite rocked and upset by the vote. I have got my head around it now but it took some time. I guess if I take a step back and think about it I guess I don’t know a great deal about places that voted out. I certainly look forward to reading your post about your visits! Thanks for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you can come back again next Sunday.
    Tammymum recently posted…Tomorrow, I’ll do betterMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 1, 2016 / 9:40 pm


      I will make sure that I link up my ‘leave tour’ to KCACOLS. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  19. August 2, 2016 / 1:24 am

    I am watching with great interest from Australia how this will all pan out. I like your active stance in not just sulking; but learning more. #FartGlitter

    • thesingleswan
      August 2, 2016 / 6:42 am

      Thanks for your comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      hahaa, thank you. Pen x

  20. August 2, 2016 / 1:52 pm

    Great post. I can relate to your Brexit depression, which I’ve been mostly dealing with by being in denial and hoping there’s still a chance it won’t happen after all. And like you I was a remain voter surrounded by remain voters. But my area still voted to leave. I would welcome the chance to try and have constructive conversations with leave voters and maybe understand some of their reasons a bit more. Good on you for your plans to go and seek them out. Will be very interested to hear how that goes. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      I will let you know how the trips go. You are right. I think that a lot of remain voters are still in the denial phase. Some days i am, but we are all going to have to accept it. thanks for your comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 3, 2016 / 9:39 pm

      Good. I hope you like them. I need to get some trips organised. Pen x

  21. August 4, 2016 / 8:24 am

    I wrote about Brexit before the big day… I still can’t believe the result, and it does seem like a huge anti-establishment/system vote as opposed to an anti-EU vote, so it will be interesting to see what you come across on your travels! #KCACOLS
    Heledd- YummyBlogger recently posted…How to break a world record… This summer!My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      Hi, I will let you know. I definitely agree that it feels like an anti-establishment and anti London political elite vote rather than an anti-Europe vote. A lot of people are going to be very disappointed. Pen x

  22. August 6, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    It’s an interesting idea and well worth doing. Any attempt to walk a mile in the other’s shoes is always a route to increased knowledge – you still may not agree but you understand better. Ultimately, whatever the decision process, people voted Leave for a reason – they may have been ill-informed, selfish or actually had very good reasons for believing this was the better choice. Fundamentally people always vote for what they believe is right – being different to us doesn’t necessarily make them wrong, any more than the fact that those of us who voted Remain ‘lost’ makes us wrong. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      Tim, your words are always so wise! Thanks for commenting on my post. Pen x

  23. August 9, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I live n the US and I am depressed about Brexit. I live in the US and I am depressed about the state of affairs around the globe. I am amazed that there isn’t more empathy in the world. Bravo for you going to see the places who voted differently. We all need to understand what it is like to walk in other people’s shoes.
    Now, don’t get me started about our own election here. We cant let HATE keep winning. #fartglitter

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your comment. I am really scared about your election. It will have global consequences. After the Brexit vote, we cannot be complacent. Pen x

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