So why can’t depression (and its kissing cousin seasonal affective disorder) be like any other illness – you know the kind of thing where you get casseroles and cards and your friends go to doctors appointments with you and people knit you hats and other friends dedicate their 5k race to you and wear the t-shirt and post it on Facebook and with a soundtrack by Wilco or Alt-J like on “Parenthood” at the end of every episode when the person who struggled during the episode pulls it together in the soft California light and hugs people and behaves with courage whilst wearing hip denim?
I’ve been struggling with depression since before I knew that is what it was – since the days in my late twenties when I just thought I needed to have a better attitude or be a better person. It’s always worse in the winter and it’s much much worse in northern climates. (Please note: Sydney, Australia is a great place to live if you want to dodge S.A.D.) I felt it hit this weekend again -GROAN – the slipping focus, the thoughts that nag but won’t form, the tears at the ready, the absolute absence of humor - right on time (late November) and likely to settle in until…well, at this latitude probably June.
I know myself now. I know the signs, I know what works, I know what anti-depressants work and what ones cause suicidal ideation (ouch!) and what to watch for now that I am forty and then some. I know I can’t eat refined sugar and flour and that greens and lean protein are energizers. I know caffeine can help in tiny high quality amounts. I know I need to go outside in the light every single day even if it’s 20 below zero. I know I have to exercise. I know that even though I *feel* like weeping because there is a dirty dish in the sink, that doing so would be getting things a teeny bit out of proportion.
I know all of these things. It’s just that depression doesn’t know them. Depression wants to sleep, eat pizza and cake, cry about dirty dishes and watch “Parenthood” and feel bad about not looking like a glowly northern Californian.
Which is where the casserole concept comes in. This time I really don’t want to do this alone. I need a team. I need someone to walk me around outside every day around noontime – like dog-walk me every single day whether I want to go or not. I need someone I can call when I want to put my face in a bowl of sugar (usually around 2pm) who will tell me it will make me feel worse and talk to me until I can have a few almonds instead. I need someone to bring me paleo type hot dinners once in awhile. I need someone who can text me at 6am and tell me that it will feel really good if I get up and erg and then tell me I’m a good girl later when I do.
I need a t-shirt that says “TEAM COURTNEY” on the front and
WINTER BLUES on the back. I need someone to make me a better t-shirt than that one that is clever and makes people laugh. Some graphic design type who can give me a logo. I need people to tweet at me and subscribe to this blog and comment and who can give me encouragement on Facebook and email. Ya know?
Couldn’t we do this for depressed folk when they need it in general? I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
What do you think?