on dealing with depression

I present to you:

Tricks to Help you through a Depression

Formatted in list format, to appeal to the younger generation media consumers

1.Care for something other than yourself:

If you’re anything like me, cats and dogs can change your whole day around. I see a puppy on the street and it doesn’t matter whether I’m alone or with a friend you better believe I am the one there to ask to pet your dog. Right before my depression got really bad this last episode, I got a cat. I started to feel down on myself, and thought maybe a cat would help. (I also wanted a legitimate excuse for myself to get a cat.) I registered her as an “Emotional Support Animal,” what seemed like a kind of bullshit/but not bullshit way of keeping an animal in my house with permission from my landlord. I did not, however, no matter how much I read those articles and articles of the benefits, actually believe that having an animal would be so beneficial. It’s not just about having the comfort of an animal, (because believe me, my beloved kitty can be a hell of a demon, and in many different capacities, she has been the opposite of comforting). What they don’t emphasize about the ESAs is that they provide you with a schedule. Even if it’s just a little thing like feeding them or changing their litter box, you do it because it’s for them. They need you to take care of them. They need you to get out of bed in the morning, when you can’t get out of bed in the morning (and otherwise wouldn’t). Even if I did something as small as change Louise’s litter box, I could say hey, I accomplished something today. And with how powerful depression can be, it’s really important to have those little victories.

If you aren’t an animal fan, (or maybe you are terribly allergic, in which case I feel sad for you), find something else to take care of. A plant, even. Maybe some fish, for the allergy community. This way, you always will have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, even if it’s just across the hall.

2. Realize where you are

I hate the way this is stated, because I don’t mean it to come off as some cheesy article written by someone you don’t think know what it feels like. But really. I never paid attention to this, but it is SO important.

Even earlier today, I was in the shower, thinking about the nice water and letting my mind worry about this and that and talking to this person that person until I was like wait. Stop. Close your eyes. Feel the hot water on your shoulder. That feels good. I literally had to coach my brain through this. But I think it’s really important. I think for me, depression means not being sad all the time, but it means lack of clarity. All I can feel with my senses is clouded by my brain.

Stop.

Where are you right now? Are you comfortable? What does the air smell like? How does it feel when this person tells you about their day? Assess. I think that someday, this will be a habitual thing for me, if I practice enough. Sometimes I think like any other sort of physical rehab, we have to train our brains to start functioning again.

3. Accept the bad days

I told a very close friend of mine that the reason I dropped out of school was because I was terribly depressed. I can’t focus on anything. I can’t get my work done. It’s awful.

His reply: When you feel like you’re starting to feel that way, just, you know, shake it off.

Motherfucker shake it off my ass. I HATED that he said this. I hated it because it was untrue when I was in the depression. And I still hate it now that I have a bit more mental clarity. I hate it because it is totally invalidating. Not only was he shaking off my pain and simplifying it in a way that couldn’t be done for me, it makes me bear the weight of the “failure” I see in myself. Instead, I like to wake up and think, hmmm, why do I feel so shitty today? Did something happen, or do I just feel shitty? Okay. Today may be a bad day for me.

4. Make a schedule

This goes hand in hand with taking care of something, but branches a little further. Some nights before bed, when I was having a really tough time, I would write a note to myself for the next day. This was a tentative schedule that I was to follow for tomorrow. It included when I would get up, when I would work, when I would eat, when I would go grocery shopping, when I had free time, etc. Totally mundane day-to-day things—things you haven’t kept a schedule for since grade school. But you know what? Even if I didn’t always follow it, it helped. Because some days, I would follow it, and through the day, I would have things to check of my list. Little victories. I had accomplished something today.

 

And somewhere along the way I learned that depression doesn’t mean I am sad. I am depressed, which means that I exist, but feel like I don’t. I am not sad, because I am not anything at all. I am here now. And it sucks. And later on I won’t be here. And maybe someday again I will be. And all of this is fine.

 

the essay is

a culmination of feelings rooted in ideas of morality, where the essayist comes to terms with their own life, feelings, insecurities, and observations.

the essay aims to convince the readers that life is a certain way in an attempt to advocate for change

the essay is a memory that remains glued to the brain, right behind the eyes and oozing from the ears

the essay is tired of complacency

the essay is a realization that things were not as they should have been, but rather what they were and continue to be

the essay is an advocate for change in the face of oppression and complacency

the essay is in opposition of discourse

the essay is tired of existing in a world already formed in opinion and stubborn

the essay is striving to fit guidelines while concurrently breaking free, outside the restraints of the lines

the essay digs it’s claws deep into the brain and unhinges perception

the essay sheds new light that harbors meaning unfamiliar to the witness

the essay leaps over expectations

the essay follows guidelines

the essay breaks the rules

the essay shows and does not tell

the essay leaves interpretation up to it’s witnesses

I’ve found the balance

3 Strawberries

1 “lunchbox” Braeburn apple

A squeeze of honey

As many ice cubes as you can get out of the partially filled ice cube tray*

A splash of orange juice

A scoop of vanilla yogurt *

Blend

Serving Size 1-2

*

*my mom calls them Tice cubes (heh)

*From one of those tubs, not the little cups, because the consistency and flavor is more favorable

*I tried to download something that would allow me to format footnotes on WordPress but I couldn’t figure it out

On my impending graduation/doomsday/soul search

So I’ve embarked on the hunt for a full time job. The problem is, of course, that I haven’t gotten one yet. The second problem is, even if I do, will it be a good fit for me? I have been evaluating what I want and what will truly make me happy. Honestly it’s scaring the crap out of me, but here I am regardless. Being a lover of art, humanity, and spirituality, I realize that the likelihood of me finding a job to fulfill me while also paying me well is not very good. I suppose it’s true that people need different things in life. Or perhaps that the idea of “fulfillment” isn’t even a thought in most people’s lives, I dunno. I suppose I am more or less a weirdo.

Here’s a pretentious thing to say: I was reading Thoreau the other day, (most of the time I really can’t take myself seriously) and a line stuck out to me: “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” How do I find balance between living passionately and fully and pushing through not-so-great things in order to, in the future, be somewhere better? Is taking a not-so-good job that will get me where I want to go worth the effort? Should I suspend my happiness?

Perhaps I’m not seeing it clearly.  Perhaps it’s finding happiness in day-to-day things, people, places. All I know is that I’ve watched too many people in my life settle for careers they hated because it “will pay off in the end.”It allowed them to be financially secure. A job is a job, but if I’m going to spend 40+ hours a week there, I have to hope that I’d enjoy it. I’m not sure I can live another way.  Isn’t the biggest, unmendable wound in life wasted time?

 

The kid who ran for class office

Remember that guy? Relatively intelligent, a good student, known to party enough but not excessively? Strangely fitting in a lot of groups? Not really sure who specifically they are close to? Why do you care so much about homecoming float competitions?

Anyways that guy runs for class office, and then he, what? Does he become involved in real politics?

Note to self: follow up on people who ran for class office in high school.

Amendment to the note to self: find out who in high school was in class office.

This is the first presidential campaign that I have really very carefully followed. Maybe this one is particularly fascinating because of the candidates, but regardless, it’s intriguing. I was talking to someone recently who is visiting from Germany. What struck me the most about our government conversation was that she trusts German government. I found this odd, not because I don’t trust the US government, (which I don’t), but that I found the concept of trusting a government odd. Because I just never have. It didn’t occur to me that living under a government could be a different way.

Another thing that I hadn’t thought much about was that Germany recently had to rebuild their entire system. World War II absolutely wrecked German government. And while the rebuilding process has been terrible, really, and hard on their people, their government is now remade, built on principles that matter to the relatively current day, not something written two hundred years ago that hardly applies at all. The US government is as scattered as the church- none of us know how to interpret this stuff anymore.

Today I saw the first tabling of student government campaigners for the season. It’s funny comparing a college campaign to a presidential campaign, but really it’s still about the community, no matter how small. Lord knows I have no inkling whatsoever to participate, but I’d like to offer courage to those who do, as well as character. Because I shouldn’t innately not trust my government, nor should I hold the belief (that I do) that the slim pickings of politicians are mostly scum. I hope that our system can rebuild itself someday, without first having to be completely demolished, but I’m not sure it’s possible.

On Alan Rickman & Severus Snape

When I pick forms of entertainment, the key to success in my eyes is character development. Really, the only shows I ever consistently watch are ones that I would consider to have very strong development. I would say that the show Gilmore Girls as well as Bob’s Burgers have got to be the strongest (from what I’ve seen) in developing characterization to such an extent, that me as the viewer is invested in their lives, no matter how many times I’ve seen the same episode.

I think in the aftermath of Alan Rickman’s death social media has really shown the grief of losing a man, beloved, of course, for many of his other works, but, most prevalent being the Harry Potter series.

The most amazing thing to me is that the public is grieving twice– it’s grieving for the life of a talented actor and public figure, and secondly, Severus Snape, the character.

There are very few character roles that I would not consider any other person for the part. (The great character of Albus Dumbledore was even played by two different actors throughout the film after the death of Richard Harris promptly following the release of the second film, The Chamber of Secrets) However, it is my firm opinion that Alan Rickman and only Alan Rickman could have ever been Severus Snape.

Though Dumbledore was a very important character to Harry, his role is arguably less significant because of he is very much a static character, especially in the eyes of Harry.

Severus Snape, however, is, in the eyes of an eleven year old boy, a mean professor, questionably evil, in the eyes of a thirteen year old boy, an ally, in the eyes of a sixteen year old boy, an intense betrayer, and in the eyes of a seventeen year old boy, the purest demonstration of love.

This of course, was not in the layout of Rickman’s contract, because how the hell can you look at that big picture and not be overwhelmed. But he did it. Alan became Severus. He was absolutely brilliant.

I think I’d most like to thank Alan for truly being devoted to his art. He took an element of fiction, beloved by so many, and made it tangible and real.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Rickman. We can’t thank you enough.

Everything in time

My trance of concentration was broken when I noticed the subtle shuffling—the pencil returned to the backpack, the shifting in the seat. I watched from my seat across the room, not ready to delve in to the next piece that required my concentration, not until I knew for certain.

I knew for sure when the laptop closed. The coveted spot, the large square table by the two tall windows, desired by most, would be open. Suddenly I was a vulture at a crowded bar, rather than a quiet coffee shop, hovering and ready to pounce.

“Excuse me, are you leaving?”

She nodded in confirmation.

“I’m just gonna swoop in then, this is my favorite table.”

“I think it’s a lot of people’s favorite tables,” she answered, smiling.

I transitioned to my new seat by the window, brought my coffee over from the other table, and took an indulgent sip.

I glanced out the window to see the woman hustling to her car. A woman in uniform stood there writing a ticket to place on her windshield. She got there just in time.