“Here, where the air is loaded with iodine and where the ultra-violet ray is ever-present in our smiling sunshine, your health and happiness is our business.”
Sun Fun in New Jersey
(1946 publication of the New Jersey Resort Association)
Given where I grew up, & that all my life I have been fascinated by colloquial American language, it astonishes me when certain white people think they can make their racism so coded it can fool me. Maybe they believe I had some sort of deluded drug-inspired epiphany that turned me into a "liberal" rather than the longer, twisting path it actually was, & at each step I had to make corresponding changes in my use of language. I also became good at mimicry.
Every time I tell this story it's a little different, although it leads to the same revelation.
For many years I had a strange, not especially pleasant memory of being in my Aunt Bella's kitchen in Somers Point NJ, watching her dump a basket of fresh live crabs into a cauldron of steaming water, slamming on the lid, & the lid bouncing as the poor crabs tried to escape. Now, Aunt Bella could be a fearsome person. She was one of my grandmother's younger sisters, & I hardly understood there were matriarchal tensions in that generation of Irish-American women, often angry ones, but these tensions did not preclude their strong sisterly bonds, which were nobody else's damned business. I was a grand-nephew. Yes, I was under her protection when in her home, she would have died for me, but she was under no obligation to show it openly, as my grandmother was.
I occasionally mulled over this memory, picturing it, panning it like a camera. Then one day it came to me: Aunt Bella must have barely cracked 5'. I was well below the stovetop looking up at her through a cloud of steam. I was three feet tall. The water was boiling, the crabs died instantly, & the roiling water made the lid rattle.
I recall trying to explain to one of my siblings that I don't write "history," I don't even write "autobiography." What I do is simply a combination of the personal anecdote composer John Cage wrote for his books & used in some of his compositions, & the sort of conversations poets have in diners following readings. Writers from families with strong ties & regular social occasions like holidays have a far greater number of childhood stories, more detailed, than I have. One of these writers, who grew up in a tight Irish-Catholic family in Pittsburgh, abandoned her blog because the memories poured out into long, funny tales, every post became a major writing project. You can't do a regular blog that way.
A high school student in Newark NJ requested that he be permitted to leave school early, in the afternoon. For some reason permission was granted. He was shot & killed a block away in a targeted execution. Police say they have "determined a motive." Councilman Ras Baraka called it "crazy." Indeed. Crazy has become the norm in Newark.
But I'm not writing about this particular murder. Rather, I'm writing about the white people from the suburbs who always have plenty to say in the comments below the story. These people inevitably decry the lawlessness, the poverty, with barely-concealed racism. The only reasons they care at all are: 1. They correctly perceive that urban crime & poverty affect their taxes. 2. They fear the crime will suddenly overtake them. But statistics do not bear this out. The crime stays where it is. The menace of crime to these people is symbolic. What they really fear are the ideas that come from cities. They don't give a damn about the humanity. It would be refreshingly honest if they admitted it.
Of course, many suburbanites love cities. They commute to them, go to concerts, museums, the events & places & culture not available in the suburbs. They appreciate the physical safety of the suburbs. It's not purchased cheaply. But other people find nothing useful at all in or about cities. They hate cities. They choose to reside in the suburbs because they believe it will isolate them not only from the crime & poverty - which it does, but also from everything else that cities provide, mainly, a liberal spirit. Not only political liberalism. In that sense, a political conservative residing in most American cities is like a liberal residing in the Bible Belt*; you're in the permanent minority, so get used to it. But urban culture & ideas have ways of making themselves felt, & gaining acceptance, outside cities. An easy current example is marriage equality, which spread remarkably fast.
If indirectly paying the cost of crime in Newark makes you believe you're a victim in the safety of your suburban shelter, you're entitled to believe it & vent online. But don't forget that the real victims of urban crime & poverty are the people directly affected by them. What you really fear is something else.
* Christianity began as a dangerous idea from the cities.
The Jetstar coaster in Seaside Heights was demolished today. Some people had grown far too fond of the iconic image the coaster presented symbolizing the Jersey shore in ruins. Some even suggested it be left there. Ridiculous. To what purpose? An "attraction"? Boardwalk businesses are always looking to ways to make more money. But boardwalks aren't about ruins. They are about summers returning. They burn down, get washed away, are rebuilt. The boardwalk always changes from year-to-year. You pick up on these changes when you return year after year. The prizes at the game booths change. The rides change. The games in the arcadrs change. Same but different. The memories collect. The boardwalk becomes an experience of both the present & the past. Occasionally there is radical change, the result of a fire or storm. My Atlantic City boardwalk no longer exists, & neither fire nor storm effected the change. We will always have this image:
My brother Jim has been popping up on Facebook recently. He has nothing to say, but I'm glad to see him there. My particular part of FB is on the wacky side; odd music, photos of cholesterol loaded sandwiches, deviant cheap paperback covers of the Fifties, theological discussions, quotes from the old gothic soap Dark Shadows. SSD depressives & our allies. Even a few professional hockey fans. Annette's passing was taken hard, so was George Jones', we loved them both. Jim can be a screwball, but he's also a Methodist pastor, naturally it inhibits him on social media.
A simple easy listening arrangement of "La Dolce Vita." Always opened my WFMU radio shows with Nino Rota. (Rare exceptions were short pieces by Prokofiev or Shostakovich). Not always Rota's Fellini musc. Also sections of piano concertos & ballets. A wealth of Rota's concert hall music became available over the past few decades. Conservative in style, Rota chose to compose the way he did. He had a long friendship with Stravinsky. Never heard Kurt Weill & Rota mentioned together, but "La Dolce Vita" has a strong resemblance to "Mack the Knife."
The afternoon was proceeding ahead of schedule until the cab failed to show at the doctor's office. Dispatcher screwup. By the time I got a cab the schools had let out with the hundreds of buses, the hospital shift was changing, early shift county DPW workers were headed home, rush hour, & the wait for prescription at CVS had gone from mid afternoon 15 minutes to the late afternoon hour, forcing me to occupy time by going to the library near closing time mainly to use the men's, room, then wander around Dollar General trying not to spend money, then back to CVS, then walk home as sprinkles fell from the lovely cummulus clouds that had been billowing up all afternoon. By then my feet were hurting - I"m waiting for new sneakers. But as I passed the Greek Church the bells began ringing. I think they just celebrated Easter.
I could never have been incited to the kind of violence that brought the National Guard to the Kent State campus in May 1970. I have never been a revolutionary leftist, & I believed then as I do now that one-third to one-half of the loud, ideological leftists on campuses in 1970 were either FBI informants or actual agents placed there by agencies of the government to incite violence when & if the opportunity arose. It doesn't take much to get certain types of college students burning things. There was a near riot in New Brunswick a few weeks ago when police tried to break up a large block party after some drunken mooks had dragged a sofa into the street & set fire to it. I was at folk concert in New Brunswick when the Cambodia invansion was announced - attending a folk concert was itself a rarity for me, as I did not like folk music. A large impromptu march through downtown resulted, which began deteriorating into something messier. I recognized what was happening, "Agitators" were stirring it past the limits of a peaceful antiwar demonstration. I went home. By then I believed only the war-weariness of the American people, if they became sickened enough by the death & destruction, could end the war. Vietnam was a lost cause. The President knew it, the CIA knew it, the Pentagon knew it. We were sacrificing thousands only to save face., because we had "never been defeated." I was looking out for my own skin.
The young National Guardsmen at Kent State thought they were there to maintain order. They were poorly commanded, confused. They were not trained for the work. Two of the students killed were not participants in the demonstrations, & one of them was in ROTC. All but two of the students killed or wounded were over 200 feet away from the Guardsmen. Only one Guardsman required medical attention & he had been wounded before the shootings.
Richard Nixon, whose concept of "good" students consisted of his own two daughters & David Eisenhower, established a Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest. The Commission concluded:
Even if the guardsmen faced danger, it was not a danger that called for lethal force. The 61 shots by 28 guardsmen certainly cannot be justified. Apparently, no order to fire was given, and there was inadequate fire control discipline on Blanket Hill. The Kent State tragedy must mark the last time that, as a matter of course, loaded rifles are issued to guardsmen confronting student demonstrators.
He [Fugee] has attended weekend youth retreats in Marlboro and on the shores of Lake Hopatcong in Mount Arlington, parishioners say. Fugee also has traveled with members of the St. Mary’s youth group on an annual pilgrimage to Canada. At all three locations, he has heard confessions from minors behind closed doors.
What’s more, he has done so with the approval of New Jersey’s highest-ranking Catholic official, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers.
My attitude toward American RC Bishops ranges from indifference to contempt. Sometimes one of my Catholic friends mentions an o.k. one. Myers is not o.k. Aloof, isolated, autocratic, inclined to speak to the hoi polloi through his cathedral office mouthpieces, this is not his first pedophile cover-up scandal. But it is showing some endurance in local media, & is slowly going national The Star-Ledger called for his resignation in an editorial, an unusual act for a newspaper (although I'm sure it's happened elsewhere). Parishioners at the church where Fugee was assigned are outraged, as are the vast majority of Jersey Catholics polled on this. Catholic politicians are calling for Myers to step down. Except our Governor, who says it's political "grandstanding." He will soon perceive the error of that statement.
I think Myers can be pushed or removed from office this time, if media stays on the story, if pressure from New Jersey Catholics is relentless (following through on threats of withholding tithes), & some of his fellow Bishops in Jersey continue refusing to support him. There's a new Pope. Eventually he'll hear about it, if he hasn't already. Pope Francis can make an example of Myers if he truly wants to set himself apart from his two predecessors: Esto termina ahora. This ends now.
I lost my high school yearbook during a move when I was around 21. At the time it seemed like a big deal, but it was nowhere near what I felt when a box of rare movie soundtrack LPs disappeared in transit during a later move. Over the subsequent years I was spared those idle moments browsing through the yearbook & wondering, "Whatever happened to so & so?" Without the yearbook I remembered everyone worth remembering. But I still miss Malcolm Arnold's soundtrack from The Roots of Heaven, the deluxe MGM box for Bronislau Kaper's Mutiny on the Bounty with the souvenir book, & Nino Rota's music for the 1956 flop War & Peace. Mutiny On the Bounty is a good movie, maligned more than it deserves. Sometimes it seems as if Marlon Brando & Trevor Howard think they're in different films. Brando's fop Fletcher Christian was controversial (compared to manly Gable in 1935), but his character is just as distinctive & memorable as Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday in Tombstone. The shipboard scenes are terrific, realistic & harrowing.
A Facebook friend shared this graphic. She shares dozens every day, most are harmless & uplifting. She also posts links to good country songs. This one stopped me. Nothing about it felt right. First, it's obviously not what Jesus would do. Second, it doesn't sound like one of his stand-alone pronouncements. Something is missing. Third, the word "possessions" leaps out. Jesus isn't saying "family" or "children" or even the strong man "himself.'
I read Luke 11. It is jam-packed with important, memorable words. Jesus, by request, teaches "The Lord's Prayer" as a sufficient prayer if one can't think of anything else to pray. He relates a brief anecdote that leads to the reassuring "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find..." He casts out a demon, & when the source of his power is questioned, answers with "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall." Lincoln famously used that one. Jesus elaborates a bit on this. Then we come to the self-defense justification. Here is the full quote: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder."
Well, the meaning now is quite changed. The fully armed strong man, standing alone, is not strong enough. What immediately follows is:
"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." Jesus says if you sweep one impure spirit out of your house - call it a lone act of self-defense, it may come back with seven more. What protection does one have then? A woman in the audience interrupts with, " Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Nowadays she'd be a Roman Catholic. Jesus acknowledges this off-topic praise indirectly.
All of Luke 11 to this point is about community & solidarity. It's about security in faith & in the Word of God. It is not about having Jesus' permission to guard one's HD flat screen TV with a gun.
I am relieved there was no delay, no waffling about charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a civilian & a United States citizen & subjecting him to civilian justice. Many "conservatives" (who ought to know better but rarely do) wanted him tried as an "enemy combatant" in military court. The dangers of doing that are chilling, the very thing right wing Second Amendment purists would seem to be warning us against. You want martial law? Just start funneling civilians into military courts, with their lack of transparency.
Beyond that, I don't want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev given an "out" as an American citizen. As an "enemy combatant" he becomes an "other," an "outsider," not one of us & could justify his actions on that basis. He still can, but he will face the consequences as an American, as unrepentant killers Timothy McVeigh & Eric Rudolph did. Dzhokhar by accounts of his acquaintances is very much an American. He was nine years old when he came here. America raised him from there. There doesn't seem at this early stage of the investigation to be any camouflage involved until, possibly, a few weeks or months before the bombings. If Dzhokhar is guilty, he is guilty as an American, as one of us, which is far worse a thing than being an "enemy combatant."
In the late Sixties there were three popular, influential black artists performing mainly for young white audiences: Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, Richie Havens. All three gave extraordinary performances at Woodstock, & all three became influential with other African-American musicians as well. They were all musically adventurous. Sly & Jimi were largely stage inventions; Sly a record producer & businessman, Jimi a brooding bluesman at heart. Richie was Richie, the most accessible, shaped by large family in Brooklyn & the diverse, tolerant, politicized Greenwich Village of the Fifties & Sixties. His music was both gentle & ferocious. He had only one hit single, a cover of "Here Comes the Sun," but many songs are associated with him. I always liked this sitar-flavored folk-rock song from a studio/live double LP, released shortly before his Woodstock appearance made him really famous. He already had a solid following. He stayed in for the long haul, which ended today.
For a nation of "believers" which so many insist is a "Christian" nation, we are reluctant to discuss violence in depth or with honesty. That is one mirror we dislike holding up to ourselves.
We have a widespread belief that Islam has a unique relationship with & drive toward human violence. When Muslims say it does not, that they are not raised & taught to be terrorists & warriors, we dismiss them. We ignore the ancient tribal & clan animosities that fan violence throughout some Islamic nations. We decry the worst expressions of Islamic law, Sharia, while advocating similar laws be added our secular codes. We parse the rights we are supposed to extend to all Americans; these rights are for this group or person but not applicable to that group or person.
It can be said that much of the Islamic world, once more enlightened & progressive than the Christian world, now lags behind. But how much does it lag when a significant percentage of Americans cannot accept scientific reasoning & deny known historical facts?
We have an abominable knowledge of our own history.
We even have an Americanized version of Christianity we project back to Jesus Christ himself. We cannot discern the difference between the metaphoric sword Jesus said he had brought & the very real sword he ordered Peter to put away.
Then Jesus went to his execution without resistance.
I recommend Stonewall Jackson, a bio by James I. Robertson, Jr. Robertson is a conservative historian - when he uses the word "servant" he means "slave." It is a fine but disturbing book. The thread of the story is not Jackson's talent as a field commander, a small portion of his life - three years, but his spiritual journey, his deepening pious religiosity, from which he derived his lifestyle, his endurance & his clarity. Jackson is as "American" as we come. He was devoted to "The Prince of Peace." Every battlefield success was attributed to the blessings of God. But he tried always to accept "the will of God." He could be merciless, to his enemies, to his own solders, to himself. He stands in opposition to, say, General Sherman, a thoughtful, troubled leader, a "modern" man in his way, who had a nascent sense of the absurdity of his situation, wasting the lives of his soldiers in fruitless frontal assaults on Hood's army in Georgia. So he used other tactics. He allowed his men to believe they were avenging angels, but he had no such "spiritual" illusions about war.
Stonewall Jackson was, in my opinion, insane. Sherman, who was accused of insanity, was not.
Russian Orthodox philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev cried out in despair that we permitted ourselves to be enslaved by everything we believed liberated us.
Waiting for a cab in front of my shrink's office building,
looking across the street at the entrance to the psychiatric emergency room
as an ice cream truck parked on the corner plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" over & over.
Thinking of Nicanor Parra, the great Chilean anti-poet:
"Either God is everywhere
or He's absolutely nowhere"
There was a product rep by the cashier in 7-Eleven. She said I could have a dollar off coupon on an item if I let her scan my drivers license. I said, I'm not letting you scan my license. She asked why. I said, you'll have my name, address & license number, which you will send to the Great Cloud in the Sky. She said, what are you worried about? We won't do anything with it. I said, if you weren't doing anything with it, you'd just give me the coupon. She & the cashier, a college student who already knows I'm a peculiar person, thought I was nuts.
I know it impossible these days to protect one's personal information. But I'm not just going to hand it over to someone in a convenience store with a portable scanner. Hey, take my social security number while you're at it.
Two bombs exploded. Then an explosion was reported at the J.F.K. Library. This story stayed in circulation for awhile although it remained unverified. It was reported the Boston police had found unexploded device, then that the police had made a controlled detonation. This story disappeared & was replaced with anywhere from two to four unexploded bombs found. Someone was being held by police but was not yet even categorized as a "person of interest." The person was an injured Saudi student. Later, a a residence was being searched, There was no bomb at the Library, no unexploded bombs found. Nothing came of the Saudi student.
Associated Press via Yahoo updated throughout the late afternoon & evening , but some of the earlier stories were not updated & left online linked to subsequent update, although the dateline said "6 hours ago" & readers continued to accept the story as factual & add comments to the story.
The facts established early were: two bombs, three dead, & over 100 injured. many critically. You could take just about everything else & throw it away.
"I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go." Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.
Sometimes I wonder, which are the "difficult" emotions & which are the "easy" ones? Love & sorrow always go with the difficult ones, nostalgia & retribution with the easy ones.
What happened in Boston today happens every day in Iraq & Afghanistan. At the market, at a mosque, at a wedding, at a funeral. With the same horrific injuries. By comparison, we live a very secure nation. We will identify & apprehend the criminals. They go unpunished elsewhere, instead there is a deadly cycle of violent retribution upon the innocent.
21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in different ways. I did therapy. I did prozac. I did more therapy. My baseline is melancholic. I’d just made peace with it when I moved, unintentionally, to a place that had markedly less sunshine in the winter. I got seasonal depression. I got that under control. Then I got really, really sick. Turns out it’s a permanent, painful genetic disorder. My last pain-free day was four years ago.
So, this Cult of Happy article just set me off. Just… anger. Rage. Depression is serious – debilitating, often dangerous, and it’s got an enormous stigma. It leaves people to fend for themselves.
It’s bad enough without people ramming Happy Tips at you through facebook. There is no miracle behaviour change that will flip that switch for you. I know, I’ve tried.
A friend of mine suggested that I write something from my point of view because, surprisingly, I manage to give an outwards impression of having my shit together. I was shocked to hear this. And I find this comical, but I see her point. I’m functioning. I’ve adapted. I’m surprisingly okay. I think the medical term is “resilient”.
So, here it is.
My 21 Tips on Keeping Your Shit Together During Depression
1) Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying. There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.
2) Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)
3) Enlist the help of a professional. See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
4) Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
5) Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that. Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
6) Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.
7) While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.
8) If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil. Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….
9) Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.
10) Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.
11) Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
13) Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.
14) Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.
15) Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process - but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.
16) Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.
17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only. Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.
18) Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.
19) Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”. Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
20) If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.
21) Forgive yourself. I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.
This list will not cure you. This list will not flip on the happy switch. God, I wish it were that easy. The theme here is to not to unknowingly sabotage yourself. All these little things? Like your blood sugar, or watching nonstop episodes of House, or endless Try Harder lectures from your Perpetually Perky sister?
They all make dealing with depression just a tiny bit harder than it needs to be. And it’s hard enough, all on its own.
UPDATE: Wow, guys. Thank you. The feedback has been wonderful - all I wanted to set out to do was something helpful.
Also, a few people have mentioned that having a critter is a great thing to keep you on track, that taking care of something and having something rely on you keeps you going. I went back and forth on including that, but for some, it’s just not feasible to have a cat or a dog… but my cat is my Prozac.
And, I wrote this in Canada, where we have universal health care. It breaks my heart that people don’t have access to professional support. You can sometimes find a community health centre, or sometimes your work benefits will have an employee support or assistance plan as part of your insurance. If you’re without benefits and hitting desperation, phone someone. Friend, family - even your local distress centre.