One of my depression-combatting strategies is to watch hours of sitcoms with my bulldog, Wonderbutt, snoring and farting in my lap. I’m not really sure if it’s the sitcoms, Wonderbutt, or the inhalation of gases that actually help, but I’ve been too lazy to change any of the variables in the attempt to conduct a scientific investigation. The most recent sitcom therapy has been “Modern Family” for the sole reason that one of the networks has been running “Modern Family” marathons during the past couple of weeks. However, they alternate them with “NCIS” marathons, which seem to have the opposite effect on my temperament. I tell you, this T.V. watching can be a real roller-coaster for the psyche.
The other problem with watching “Modern Family” is that I’m not sure it’s actually improving my mood, so much as altering my personality. After watching for a few hours, I have a keen desire to go to dinner with the gay brother that I don’t have or to call Claire and challenge her to a battle of the neurotic perfectionists. Even worse, I start speaking in a thick Colombian accent, saying things like, “Aiii! After all those years with Peg, who knew Al Bundy could be so sweet and charming?” I have a tendency to immerse myself in fictional worlds, in case you couldn’t tell.
These issues could be avoided, of course, if someone just decided to make a sitcom out of my own life. I already mentally explain things to a camera-man half the time, anyway, so putting an actual camera in front of me would not be a stretch. Then I would could watch my own show for hours with Wonderbutt snoring and farting on my lap, and become myself – which would be a welcome change.
Or I might become Wonderbutt.
Some might say that would be an improvement.
So, I finally seem to have found a great anti-depressant that allows me to feel somewhat sane and fairly happy. The only problem is that it seem to have the side-effect of making every other adult I know completely despondent. And, you know, it’s not really any fun being happy when you’re the only one smiling.
I can’t find any warnings about this on the paperwork provided by the pharmacy. But it’s clear to me that, while my medication is helping me, it is slowly depleting the jubilance levels of the rest of society. Before I started taking this medicine, everyone was way happier than me. Now, suddenly, these same people are cheerless and glum – and peering at me very suspiciously. It’s enough to make me go back to being depressed.
Even my dog, Wonderbutt, glares at me like I’m insane for experiencing any kind of joy.
I feel like a Tigger in a world of Eeyores.
Except Tigger wouldn’t care.
So, maybe a better analogy would be that I’m a Piglet who took one sip too many of Tigger’s 5 Hour Energy Drink. Now, instead of being debilitatingly anxious about everything, I am anxious that I am debilitatingly happy about everything that no one else seems to find remotely joyful.
I am depressed that I am not depressed.
I blame it all on Jon Stewart. I mean, the man leaves for a 3 month vacation, and of course my newish anti-depressant, which was working just fine for three weeks, abandons me at the same exact time. This can not be a coincidence.
I’m sure my abysmal attitude has nothing to do with my Groundhog Day week of chauffeuring my daughter back and forth from synchronized swimming practice as she prepares to compete at Nationals.
Or with the fact that my hair stylist, who told me in no uncertain terms 5 years ago that he would not give me bangs, inexplicably and with no warning, suddenly gave me a Frankenstein cut yesterday.
My less-than-positive reaction to both of those incidents is a symptom of the problem – not the cause.
No, it’s definitely Jon Stewart’s absence. And even though John Oliver is a worthy replacement, he is not Jon. I mean, for crying out loud, he has an “h” in his first name.
And I’m not the only one effected. The Bloggess is also missing him. Though she didn’t say it in so many words. Actually she didn’t say it in any words. But she’s depressed, too, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason.
I saw this video on an education blog today, of all places, and because the world revolves around me, I realized the song writer was actually speaking to me when he wrote it, although it appears it was written at least 4 years ago so that would be an amazing example of prescience that should probably be investigated by scientists, or at least by Anderson Cooper.
As I am a generous person, I thought I would share it with those of you who might also be dealing with the gaping hole that Jon Stewart’s dereliction of duty may have left in your life.
So Many Ways To Die
so many ways to die
so many ways to stay alive
but if you wouldn’t mind to wait a while
you could give another day a try
you tell me all that you cherished is through
well that’s not true it isn’t true
it isn’t true
i read it in the news it is but really isn’t you
you are exactly who you choose
you’re only lying to you
so many ways to think
how differently we interpret the brink
between the side of life worth living
and the point at which you’re better off to sink
so many ways to laugh
chortle chuckle giggle cachinnate guffaw like william howard taft
science has proven it’s correlated
with the number of days your life will pass
so many ways to die
so many different ways to lie
should a community allow
or should society continue to deny
what could i say where do you go
what could i do what could i know
so many different lives
so many different ways to hide
but if you open your shutters
you might find the joy that only lives outside
so many ways to dance
so many different meanings for glance
but you only get a few if you keep staring at your shoes
you will miss every single chance
three thousand different ways
they could’ve rearranged your dna
but I believe just for today that
you can conquer your affliction of the brain
It all comes from deciding not to go to the Goat Barbecue and Craft Fair.
I don’t know what got into me. I read the blurb for this amazing event in the Sunday newspaper, and thought, “That has got to be the coolest name for anything. Ever.” And I mean, anything. Like the name of the new band I’m going to start with Jon Stewart. Or the bookstore I’m going to open in my garage. If David Sedaris can explore diabetes with owls, I don’t see why I can’t spend an afternoon embroidering a lamp shade with a goat while eating some juicy ribs.
I have to admit, though, that I was a bit confused about the goat’s part in all of this. Is the goat doing the barbecuing and the crafting? Or are the goats being barbecued? If so, is that before or after they make a craft? And, most importantly, how do you train a goat to make the Alamo out of Popsicle sticks without the goat actually consuming it?
I could have discovered the answers to all of these riveting questions if I had chosen to make an actual appearance at the Goat Barbecue and Craft Fair. But, as tempting as it sounded, I couldn’t convince myself that anything was better than hanging around the house morbidly depressed. Even the “cow patty plop” didn’t persuade me. Though it did bring up more questions…
So, instead, I stayed home. My daughter, who was bored, got herself invited to a friend’s neighborhood pool. The friend’s mom decided not to make an appearance at the pool, so I waited for her with our bulldog, Wonderbutt, in tow. Not surprisingly, Wonderbutt fell in the pool and almost drowned because, stupidly, I had not brought his life jacket along on what I assumed to be a Drop-Off-And-Drive-Away situation.
Now, if you would have asked me who would be more resentful about this whole experience, I would have laid odds on the daughter, who got yanked back home when her friend’s mother took too long to return to three unchaperoned girls at an unlifeguarded pool. Instead, it’s Wonderbutt who isn’t speaking to me.
Being spurned by an obese bulldog is even more depressing than the thought of eating barbecued goat.
This was the chain of events I began to relate to my doctor the next day as evidence that he probably needed to change my medication – again.
He stopped me at “cow patty.”
It’s kind of scary how little convincing was needed to persuade him to write out a new prescription.
My antidepressant does not work in Houston or its suburbs. I would like to know why the commercial for it did not warn me of this unfortunate side-effect. “Can cause weight gain and completely lose its effectiveness if you are anywhere in the vicinity of the 4th biggest city in the United States.” That’s what they should say.
Don’t ask me why it would work in the rest of Texas, but not in Houston. All I know is that it was working fine when I left San Antonio last Friday, but as soon as we hit the Houston metropolitan area I was wondering why I hadn’t drowned myself in the toilet at the Cracker Barrel where we stopped for lunch.
I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact that my husband questioned any and all navigation suggestions that I offered for three hours straight.
And it seems highly doubtful that the stress of my daughter’s synchronized swimming tournament would make me want to stick a bobby pin through my eye.
There was nothing remotely depressing about being accused of breaking our zillion dollar camera, “but not on purpose”, by my husband, either. Because that made me want to stick a bobby pin in his eye – and that doesn’t really count as depression, does it?
I’m absolutely convinced that there is some kind of GPS embedded in my pills that launches a self-destruct sequence as soon as I get within 30 miles of NASA.
Wait a second. What exactly are those guys at NASA doing right now since we no longer have a space program?
Messing with my pills, that’s what.
I pretty much have the same two main goals every day: don’t embarrass myself, and try to keep breathing.
You might think that, since I’m not suffering from a fatal illness (that I know of – but I still have thousands of internet diagnoses to comb through), that the latter one would not be that hard.
But I have three strikes against me – my depression, my forgetfulness, and my clumsiness.
I usually get up every morning, and my first thought is, “On a scale of 1-10, how much do I NOT want to be alive today?” If it’s over a 5 for more than a couple of days, I call the doctor. Usually, though,it hovers around a 3, in which case I resolve to make a concentrated effort for the next 24 hours not to kill myself. On “Three” Days, it’s easy to avoid killing myself on purpose, but an accidental death is always a distinct possibility.
Last week, for example, I was walking out the back door of our school one morning, on my way to my portable classroom. For absolutely no reason at all, other than a little mist in the air, I suddenly skied down the handicap ramp, did about a 5 minute dance that included a twirl and the splits, and fell. (It was truly a John- Travolta-Stayin’ Alive-Performance.) Hard. On my knee.
All in all, the experience was somewhat of a success. As you can tell, I did not kill myself. I didn’t even break any bones or, more importantly, the iPad that was in my purse. In addition, it was so early in the morning that only one person witnessed this amazing feat – and she was a substitute. (Notice that I am not including the school security cameras as a witness because I am holding out the hope that people have better things to do than to watch them every minute.)
For the next 4 days, I wore pants so my husband would not see my gravel-encrusted knee. He already knows I’m a klutz, but I keep thinking if he goes more than a couple of months without being directly reminded of this, he might replace my “Klutz” label with that of “Stunningly Efficient Wife.”
No matter. On the 4th day following my stunning performance, my husband was holding our golden retriever while I was kneeling (on my traitorous left knee) behind her, trying not to cry out in pain. My intention was to cut off a particularly nasty mat of hair conveniently located on her rear end. As I pushed the tip of the scissors through the mat, trying to find the other side so I would not slice off her skin, I managed to plunge the blade deep into one of my fingers.
Bloody, but not exactly deadly. Yay me. I missed stabbing myself in the jugular.
Since I’d already reverted to the “O Days Without an Incident” billboard in my husband’s eyes, I went ahead and confessed to my knee injury while I was at it.
It’s going to be pretty ironic if I conquer this whole depression thing, and I end up killing myself anyway…
Don’t hate on me yet. I know the title looks bad, but bear with me.
So, I was eating lunch today, and eavesdropping on conversations, like I usually do. One of the women began to proselytize about how much better it is to eat fresh food than something from a supermarket. Her rationale was that, with supermarket food, “you don’t know where it’s been.”
And I thought, “Well, you kind of know more about where it’s been than you do with food from a farmers market. I mean, you pretty much have just the word of the farmer that he hasn’t painted arsenic on it or anything. I’m not saying you should buy all of your food from a grocery store, but if your main reason for buying your zucchini from someone on the side of the road is that you think you can count on the goodness of people’s hearts not to poison your purchase by growing it in something other than pristine conditions, then you might want to rethink that. ”
But I didn’t say it. That is what this blog is for – whatimeant2say, but didn’t. This way, I don’t get fired from my job or shot at (this is Texas, after all).
A few minutes later, the same woman launched into a diatribe about anti-depressants.
“Well, I just don’t believe in them,” she said. “I think people just use them so they don’t have to deal with whatever is making them depressed. I mean, look at me, [insert details about her life that were very traumatic] and I didn’t take anti-depressants. Get over it.”
Wow. I can’t even type whatimeant2say because so many sentences crawled into my brain at the same time I think I almost blacked out.
Here is the long and short of it:
Not everyone who is depressed needs to take anti-depressants. But some people do. Like me.
Not every farmer’s market sells food that kills people. But sometimes they do. Like this one.
And not every person who eats food from a farmers market is ignorant. But some are. Like you. *
*(Not you, the person reading this; you, the person who likes to make sweeping generalizations on topics about which she is not an expert. I know you are not that person. So, don’t hate on me.)
Of course, I’m the person who thinks terrorists are poisoning our food. But just some terrorists. And some food. Some people, namely the author of this blog, like to be judicious when they jump to conclusions.
You (sweeping generalization person) should try it some time.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
I’ve been off the grid, mostly, for the last few days. Both electronically off the grid and mentally off the grid. I’m still working on getting my anti-depressant medication to sync with my physical hard drive, and I encountered a bit of an epic fail at the end of last week. Getting out of bed was completely unappealing – though I managed to avoid the need for any John Denver sing-alongs being conducted at the foot of my mattress. I’m not really sure the rest of the Firepants family actually knows any John Denver songs, so I might have had to settle for Dimples’ version of “Gangnam Style”, which would certainly put me over the edge.
I have a new little pill that allows me to look at a pile of laundry without hyperventilating. But, of course, the new medicine has its own side-effect, namely Insomnia. I was kind of hoping it would just balance out my other pill, which induces drowsiness, since I am supposed to take them both at the same time. But Pill #1 surrendered to Pill #2 without even a whimper of complaint. Which I consider quite a betrayal considering how adamant Pill #1 has been that I sleep through my entire life up until now. Typical bully. So, I am now cheerfully awake at 3 in the morning instead of mournfully tired at 3 in the afternoon. Except I am tired because I was awake at 3 A.M. But my body says that’s just plain silly, and to go ahead and do the stuff I didn’t do for three days right now because I was feeling so overwhelmed, but now is probably even more overwhelming, but that’s okay because I took Pill #2. And then it will be bed time, at which time my body will say, “O.K. You can lay down, but you shall remain hyper alert like a jaguar in the jungle. You might as well just think about all of things you are going to do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next 50 years of your life, because we are going to have plenty of time to get everything all planned out since you are not a jaguar in the jungle and it is unlikely you will actually have to pounce on anything during the next 7 hours.”
So, anyway, this is my way of apologizing for not commenting on anyone’s blog recently. Please send your letters of complaint to Pill #1. And, if you notice that I have begun to comment on your blogs at odd hours of the night, then you can rest assured that Pill #2 is behind that and that I am not actually a stalker. Unless you live in Australia or New Zealand. In which case, I think my comments appear at odd hours of the night anyway, so it would be the normal time comments that you can blame on Pill #2. But I’m still not a stalker.
So, just when I thought that my life had become devoid of any mirth, I ran across this on an educational website:
(Sorry, it’s so small. That’s the only way it would show in totality using this blog theme. Click on it if you are having trouble reading it.)
I think what completely sent me over the edge was the offer to host a custom pubic event for my colleagues.
I just started working at a new school this year. I don’t think I know my colleagues well enough to send out invitations to that kind of event.
I’m glad I took a screen shot, because the evidence was gone today. I’d like to know how that conversation went down at the Education Sector…