Put On a Happy Face

I was digging through am old box of papers today. Cards and letters from college sent to me long before I was officially diagnosed with depression.

I guess it was pretty obvious that something was up way back then IF someone knew which signs to look for. I mean, symptoms other than the five-day long sleeping marathons and total loss of emotional control after a few beers. Because that only stands out as unusual if it continues after graduation and into--perhaps--your sixth or seventh year in management at a large corporation.

In the box of papers, I found a card from my old roommate and very close friend, Anne. We were undergraduates together. On the front of the card, there is a silly stick figure person jumping up and yelling...


Inside of the card, Anne had written...

"Perhaps just one? Just to try it out."


Fixed the Comments Feature...

No other message. Just "fixed the comments feature". Thank you to the folks who wrote to me and pointed out the bug.


One who is very sorry for sucking (SUCKING!) at the weblog set-up thing.

Holidays with HappyNotHappy: Erase the Blues

The Holidays with HappyNotHappy Series is in honor of my sainted mum who did not disown me or my sisters when we replaced the candy in her Christmas candy dish with the merry little meds. She also did not disown us for hanging special glass ornaments on her tree with tiny little Prozacs suspended in them.

In our family, depression is more than a CONdition...it's a TRADition!

Gift Idea for your very favorite depressed person...because it IS possible to wish you could erase depression sometimes :)


If you want something that it is a little more restrained regarding the language used?


On sale right now at one of my favorite hang outs, the Paper Source. Happy Holidays!


My Diary: Catch Up Entry #1

I was keeping an offline diary about depression. And I put a few stories online, but nothing really "striking". I'd like to hang them here so that I can examine them next to these other stories. I hope you don't mind.

November 27, 2003

Some history of me: Girl Blue

It's the middle of the day, February 2001, and the cold light outside of the window matches the light of my inner mood. Depression is only something that you can talk about in similes and metaphors to people who have never experienced it. It's not a feeling of sadness or a "just pick yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of down feeling. It is more like the absence of emotion...not a color really, but having the kind of hazy opaqueness of dirty ice on a winter sidewalk. Blue is not its color, and black is not its color, and grey is not its color. It is the absence of color.

Important things can't get through to your receptors in the middle of a depressive episode--emotions, thoughts, rationalizations. I am a modern television and the cable is out. I can try to help the reception using a set of those rabbit ear antennae from an old TV set, but the picture and sound are drowned out by static. And I would only be able to get three channels anyway.


Holidays with HappyNotHappy: Freud-In-A-Box

Jack-in-the-Boxes are just too...too...surprising for those of us with delicate nerve endings.

That is why YOU TOO can have your VERY OWN nifty FREUD IN A BOX!!!

This Freud Action Figure comes with, er, a cigar. A steady knowing gaze. And that familiar goatee. He can make all of your other action hero dolls CRY FOR THEIR MAMA'S! Because that is his special superhero power. Take THAT Batman, you sissy boy.

And if you've never heard of Santa Freud...or, you, Scroogey Psychologist that you might be, don't BELIVE in Santa Freud? Well, I say HA! Just in time for the holidays...here is Santa Freud. (You're going to want RealPLAYER to hear this...and you're going to want to thank This American Life :)


I've gone all mushy on you tonight...

Mushy, mushy, mushy. But I can't help it.

My husband and I went to a Santa Lucia festival this past weekend...the Swedish celebration of a beloved saint.

My husband's parents are in Sweden right now where it is SO DARK this time of year, ALL DAY LONG, that you might as well hibernate until Spring. Sweden is a lot like Alaska. My husband's sister lives in Alaska and we visited her one winter. It was so freaking dark and cold that my diurnal rhythm clock busted its cogs and springs. I spent whole stretches of the day huddled in the guest bed praying for a sunrise.

No sunrise in Alaska in the winter. None in Sweden either.

I decided right there that the State Motto of Alaska should be changed from




You get the picture. Anyway...

Here we were, sitting in our dark little pew, when the music started. And this beautiful girl walks down the aisle with a crown of candles. It was so achingly lovely.

You will have to forgive me that this is all I could find to share with you:

The Santa Lucia Music

But the music isn't as important as the words are to me--a depressive who despises the cold and the dark. I could put down the Swedish lyrics which would just confuse you more. Or I could cut to the chase and note the English translation:

Nightly, go heavy hearts
Round farm and steading
On earth, where sun departs,
shadows are spreading.
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

So, here are these farmers and they still have to drag themselves around in the dark and tend to everything and it's all grey. All cold. All heavy. Then comes Lucia and the promise of light.

Night-darkling, huge and still.
Hark! something's stirring!
In all our silent rooms,
Wingbeats are whisp'ring!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

"Darkness shall fly away
Through earthly portals!"
She brings such wonderful
words to us mortals!
"Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!"
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
"Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!"
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

They trust her. The girl with the crown of candles is not going to let them wallow around in depression forever. They can follow her out. They aren't stuck in a vice of despair. They know that they will be liberated if they follow this girl.

Tonight, I bought Swedish candles for our windows and breathed a soft prayer over them for Lucia. I would gladly brave her firery crown if I knew she would lead me from this place.


Collect 'Em All!

Whoo hoo! Saints trading cards! Collect them all!

This is the one especially for the HappyNotHappy Crowd...St. Dymphna, Patron Saint of the Depressed AND Therapists. Which tells you more about therapists actually.

Did all of you Irish Catholics in the crowd notice the shamrock? Huh? Didja?

I'm not surprised. We Irish have always been overachievers in this area.


I am my own grandma

There used to be this song which was (just a bit) controversial in that it declared I Am My Own Grandpa.

This morning, I looked down at my handful of Neurontin, vitamins, Parnate, Cytomel and Allegra right before I swallowed 'em. I looked up at my old stash of discarded drugs in the medicine cabinet which I just can't bring myself to throw away yet...Prozac, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Effexor. All of those pills. All of those pill bottles. All of those pharmacy labels.

I closed the door to the medicine cabinet and stared into the mirror for awhile. I still look somewhat young for my age (late thirties). But I have become my own grandma.

And that's okay. When grandma was depressed, she didn't have the resources I had.

These pills would make an awesome mosaic. Maybe I should use them to make a modern art interpretation of my grandma's photo. I think she would like that.