If You're Depressed and You Know It, Clap Your Hands

Same day, same Gay Pride Parade last year.

I was sitting in traffic--in the very special head trip that only depression can bring to you with its trashcan lid cymbals--surrounded by many, many Dorothy's.

Yes, that Dorothy. From the Wizard of Oz. Only there were many of them. With red glitter shoes. And some with moustaches. Oh! It was a glorious head trip.

Some were cheerfully shouting...

We're here!
We're queer!
And we won't be ignored!

...alternately with others who were shouting back...

We're here!
We're queer!
And these f**kin' heels are killin' me!

How could you not smile at this? I don't care HOW far GONE you are into depression. If someone with a moustache, a blue-checked dress and a Chihuahua in a basket is dancing next to your car, you can at least summon up a "Well, life could be worse. I could be wearing that dress."

The cheers? The cadence really sticks in your brain. Especially if you get into an OCD loop. And then, I thought of my own little cheer.


I chanted it all the way from the parking garage to my shrink's office.

And the other people on the sidewalk? Just cleared right outta my way.

There are SOME advantages.


DSM-IV Pride Day

I have this wicked smart, very funny psych med doctor who saved my life...basically. Remind me to tell you more about that someday. Now THAT'S a funny story. No, it is!

I should also tell you that Dr. X is in a committed relationship with another man and is one of the most caring, upright people I know. Very comfortable with his life. He's d*mn funny. One of the few people who really gets the "depression can be funny!" thing.

Last year, I was curled up on the leather sofa in his office and we were "going through the checklist." (You know the drill.) Appetite, sleep patterns, the desire to buy cheap glassware and smash it in the dumpster. The regular stuff.

The Gay Pride Parade had tangled up traffic and made me late for the appointment. I should have been more concerned about being late, but I was proud of myself for having started a CAR. It wasn't a stellar week.

I mentioned that I was SO out of the closet about my depression. For some reason, this spawned a whole riff on "What if the DSM-IV had its own parade day?"

Me: Yeah, the BPD's would be doing the cute little Miss America wave and smiling, then *BAM!*, they would give everyone the finger. Then they would wave some more...then *BAM!!!*

Dr. X: And the delusional schizophrenics would be singing "I can fly! I can fly!" from Peter Pan...

Me: ...in harmony with the other voices they are hearing. And the depressives? We would be just sitting in chairs. No waving. Just sitting. Or maybe they would be under really large chairs. Or just laying in beds with the covers up and there would be a big sign on the float, "GO AWAY! I'M Sorry."

Dr. X: And the music would alternate between a dirge and polka music. And all of these dancing Prozacs would run around the floats...you know? Like those clowns at the Thanksgiving Day Parade...

Me: Maybe the obsessive-compulsives would keep trying to rearrange everyone in line. Man, that would be some parade. Where's your DSM-IV? We need more floats.

Yes, my insurance pays for me to visit this man. Best money they ever spent on my mental health, actually.


Science & Depression

So, a recent article came out about a study which shows that mildly-depressed women tend to live longer than other women.

I think that it's all related to pain tolerance. We just don't know when we are starting to REALLY lose it like other people know it about themselves.

I can imagine having this conversation with my doctor. "I'm dying? Tell me something I DON'T know..."


Top Ten Reasons I Can Go with the "Depression Flow"

Let's face it. I'd rather not have it. I mean, kee-riste! Who wouldn't give it up? But if you've gotta have it, there has to be a good side. Right? Right?

#10 - The prestige. I mean, ALL of the best artists & writers have it. What? You don't have it? Too bad for your Guggenheim/Pulitzer aspirations.

# 9 - The drama. Lord knows, there is never a dull moment. "Guiding Light"? Amateurs.

# 8 - The food. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. And I will bite your hand off if you take it away.

# 7 - The Zen-ness. You feel "as one" with every droopy flower, abandoned kitten and mud puddle in the entire world. It's extremely hip.

# 6 - Reprieve from personal hygiene. Because taking a shower everyday is SO time consuming.

# 5 - Someone gets PAID to listen to you complain. God, how REFRESHING is THAT?! Thank you, therapy.

# 4 - Secret club membership. "You too? I had NO idea." Handshake, pin & membership card. We get a VIP Box at Sarah McLachlan concerts. And coupons for ready-made icing in the can as well as Hostess products.

# 3 - Freedom from fashion. Because, really. You look just FINE in sweats. And the comfort, my God! These socks. I never want to take them off. I mean that.

# 2 - Do you know how many pounds you can lose from nerves and anxiety? A lot. Just think of yourself as the Calista Flockhart of Melancholia.

and the NUMBER ONE REASON is.....



Oh, that head in the oven thing?

Don't worry. Really.

It's electric.

I come in here once in awhile for the peace and quiet. I just tell everyone I'm cleaning it.


Perceptions vs. Reality

Do you wonder sometimes if you see yourself as reallybadmom because you KNOW what you would do differently if you were feeling better? And that kids/pets/spouses don't see it at all because they don't know what you would do differently? Does that even make sense?

I am blabbering. Meanwhile, the Dog (a chocolate lab) is blissfully unaware that she is being "angsted" over. She divides her world up in two ways:

1) Those who will share food with her.
2) Those who will not share food with her.

I could learn something from that.


Day "Whatever" of Ativan withdrawal

I have no memory anymore. Do you really expect me to remember what day it is?

The headaches and joint pain have gotten better, but the ADD and demotivation have gotten worse. Guilt and paranoia are kicking in too. I packed my stoopid stoopid work that I have to read through and respond to, and dragged my ass through the shower, stopping only long enough to wash my hair but not shave my legs. I shuffled down to the coffee shop on the corner where I agonized over notes about work. The dog was tied up outside, on a gorgeous day, happy as a clam to be out, and I kept thinking, "Other owners are so much better than I am. I suck as a dog owner. My dog hates me." ???

Now the phone is ringing and I sing at it, "Shut up! Shut up! Leave me alone, stoopid phone!"

But I can't get myself to go over and turn it off. That would require energy.

And the guilt is the worse part. The dread of all of those post-episode apologies and excuses. "Sorry, sorry. Voicemail was broken. Um, phone was broken. No, wait, it was me, I was broken. Couldn't get fixed soon enough. No warranty."