Depression. It’s simply oodles of fun.

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I’m depressed.

Not “the bakery didn’t make enough Nutella cupcakes” depressed but actually, truly, clinically depressed.

On top of that, I’m depressed that my depression isn’t all that interesting to write about.

Why can’t depression at least give me good material? I might not be so bitter (hell, who are we kidding? I would still be bitter) about my depression if I could churn out a book like Running With Scissors or Prozac Nation or The Bell Jar (I know that story doesn’t exactly end well). As it is, now I’m depressed with extra layers of frustration and disappointment at my inability to write a bestseller.

Unfortunately (on so many levels), my mental state isn’t quirky or kooky. I don’t dress cats up like Downton Abbey characters so we can have tea parties (I don’t even watch Downton Abbey but it seemed like a good tea party reference). I haven’t transformed my garage into an art studio where I listen to psychedelic music while attempting to create Jackson Pollack-like masterpieces as I drink daiquiris in a thrift store prom dress.

Truth be told, I can’t even drink daiquiris (in a prom dress or regular clothes, for that matter) because of debilitating erosive gastritis. When I add alcohol to erosive gastritis, I want to stab everything and everybody in the house, including myself, partly so I can redirect the pain to another part of my body and partly to punish myself for ingesting a substance that I knew would make me feel like my stomach was lined with burning embers.

See, sometimes I think that a momentous occasion or an especially delightful cocktail will negate alcohol’s effect on my erosive gastritis. I am quickly reminded that it does not right around the time my stomach does an Amanar Vault using my intestines as a springboard. (The Amanar Vault begins with a round-off flip onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vault, and concludes with a two-and-a-half twisting back somersault. I googled it.) So I can’t even be one of those depressed writers who drinks to dull the pain (I know alcoholism + depression = bad news. It’s just that depressed alcoholic writers have raised it to an art form). Another failure. But I digress.

My depression is more like hating everyone and everything, including myself, and wondering how I will function for one more moment, while also questioning every single thing about myself and everything I’ve ever done and said, including how I’ve been able to fool so many people into believing that I’m a) normal and b) not a total piece of crap (it was a real struggle to not write “piece of shit” so I’d like some credit for that) who doesn’t deserve the time of day. I also call into question things I might potentially do and say in the future. In other words, it’s simply oodles of fun.

I always thought that the silver lining of being depressed would be staying in bed for two weeks without anyone demanding that I get up and do housework (having a justifiable excuse for not doing housework is always something I’m on the lookout for). I imagined myself in very distinguished striped pajamas with a pretentious monogram, enveloped in a bright white overly fluffy down comforter, propped on an exaggerated pile of pillows, surrounded by books and tissues and a journal.

I would burn the midnight hours with an endless stream of movies and marathons of TV shows. And at the end of the two weeks I’d have a masterpiece ready for publication which would slingshot me right out of my depression and onto the book-signing circuit.

Except that silver lining doesn’t exist for me (and, I imagine, millions of other people). For starters, I have a big dopey dog whose utter lack of opposable thumbs and good judgment means that I have to take her out on a regular basis which also means I can’t stay in bed for more than several hours straight. And lying in bed for several hours straight makes my back hurt. Another failure.

Being depressed also makes me feel like I want to eat anything and everything because, after all, I’m depressed and I deserve it and I want it and I don’t care what anyone or society says. At the same time, being depressed makes me so nauseated that I feel like I could vomit every time I open my mouth. Let me tell you, compulsively eating Nutella while fighting a gag reflex is not easy. It’s quite the conundrum.

As is trying to figure out how to function. Because, like so many people, I don’t just have depression. No, no, no. There’s anxiety, and phobias, and, well, you know. You probably know only too well. It’s a veritable nightmare. If you don’t know, well, God bless. Enjoy that whole not knowing thing.

In the meantime, I’ll be curled up under a blanket eating Nutella until it’s time to take the dog out. Damn her lack of opposable thumbs.

P.S. I re-read this and realized it’s nowhere near as funny as I wanted this to be. Sorry about that. But it’s not quite as much of a downer as the last time I wrote about depression.

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  1. Natalie Brown says

    I think you actually are a very good writer, if that helps at all. I’ve had severe depression and anxiety since I was a child (I’m now 52) and while, yes, some days are much better than others, some are really, really bad. Yes. My dog prevents me from being able to not get out of bed and, yes, my body starts to hurt when I’ve been in bed too long. I’m truly sorry you’re in this painful state. Although I want to thank-you for this honest and personal post.

    • says

      Thanks so much, Natalie. You’re so kind. I appreciate your support. How about those dogs, huh? Love them to death but boy…their needs are so needy, am I right? But I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world, having to get up and get moving with our furry friends. We gotta keep fightin’ the good fight!

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