The funny thing about depression

This article is in bad taste. I wrote it so I know. But only if you take it seriously. First piece of advice, don’t. I’m a self-confessed lunatic. But chill out. I’m not out to offend anyone’s unhappy hormones. But I happen to think there’s a funny side to life. To everything. Trust me, I used to be on Prozac. OK, rule two, no Prozac jokes. Let’s take a moment, lighten up and try not to get to a point where someone needs a hammer and chisel to make an indent of a smile pass your lips. Now, that’s better.

P.S. what was rule one again?

Let’s talk about Depression:
This is the not so funny part: Depression is the world’s second most common illness after heart diseases. Women (that means us babes) are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression – and you thought you only had to contend with PMS. But the best part: the age at which depression strikes is getting lower and lower. But that doesn’t mean you reach for the Prozac every time your 8 year-old goes into a sulk. (Didn’t I say no Prozac jokes?)

Oh right. This article IS the funny part…
Depression is a bad blend of melancholy, unhappy feelings, dejection and homelessness… no wait, that’s hopelessness. If you are homeless as well as hopeless then I can’t help you. Go away. But if you are hopeless, i.e. the nobody-loves-me-everybody-hates-me-I-think-I’ll-go-eat-some-worms variety, then you are right to be reading this.

Depressed women feel fearful, guilty, and helpless and cry often (Hey, that sounds like me!) They lose interest in their work (vomiting sounds) and social life (BAWL!), suffer from aches (ooh), fatigue (aah) or other physical symptoms (ouch). Yes. Yuck. Gross. Bummer. Oh get a life! Get a life. Listen to the voices in your head. Not your mother screaming down the phone receiver telling you to get married, or the schizophrenic psychobabble, I am talking about your instinct. OK so now, we all agree life sucks. What did you expect, a miracle? What, do I look like Jesus to you? Although my abundant facial hair may mark a resemblance…

Never mind that. The next piece of advice I’m giving you is save the trees please. Pass on the tissues and blow your honkers on some poor unsuspecting woman’s sari on the 8:40 local instead- or such like. Medication, psychiatrists, past life regression, hypnotism… blah blah blah. They work, they don’t work, but different strokes for different folks. But better than that let’s look on the lighter side of sad.

What do they know?
How many people tell you to take up a class, learn a new craft, or join a club? Like, just because I am weeping at work, sleep all day and look like a raccoon’s twin sister; just because I won’t smile if you paid me, and I turn into a gargoyle fountain each time someone asks if everything’s alright… I mean, what? Do I look desperate to you or something? (Incidentally, I did join a dance class and even tried to get my driver’s license. Both were relatively safe, but that is beside the point) God, you people are nosey for asking and insensitive for not asking. They are morons who don’t know what I am going through. Everyone is the same. No one understands. Yeah yeah, yeah.

And the truth is…
The truth is that everyone has to figure out these things for themselves. You can’t not think about whatever it is that troubles you. That would be nice, and spare you much anguish time, money, liver and God knows what else. But the only reason I know all this now is because I didn’t know it before, and I had to try EVERYTHING before I figured it out. I just hope you guys don’t have to go to quite the extremes I did. However, if you insist on being on that lonely road to hell, here are a few things you could do on the trip. Remember, getting there is half the fun.

Be selfless and share your depression with other people by giving your depression a name. You might, for instance, decide to call it ‘Herbert’. Then, when a friend calls to invite you out to dinner, you should enquire, “Can Herbert come too?” If your friend is non-supportive, just say something like, “I’m sorry, if you can’t accept that I’m in a relationship with Herbert, then I really don’t want to come to dinner with you.” Another way of dealing with your depression is to give it a less depressing name than Herbert.

You can do it… or else:
Think of your negative feelings as fruits or vegetables. Your sadness is a tomato. Your anxiety is a pumpkin. Your guilt is a cucumber. Crush the tomato. Squash the pumpkin. Sit on the cucumber. And even if any of your little adventures turn out to be disasters, at least they served to make life exciting! Or were served up as salad at lunch. I incidentally, am turning into a most ample sack of potatoes. But at least I have my hair! There IS a bright side to everything; there is a silver lining on every cloud. (How boring, who wrote this predictable crap, anyway?) Life is gorgeous. And after reading this demented piece of writing you will understand that there really is hope left for you. Oh, if by any horrible chance you are the least bit suicidal, I swear I will come over there and kill you.

Good morning, you’ve been depressed since 1985:
What is happening with work (trick question?), with life (is that supposed to be a joke?), your friends (what are those?)? Have you even thought about it? Paid attention to your groaning, love-starved pet? Looked at your wilting rhododendrons and your sighing half-completed paint job? The mundane little things that make up each day? Don’t knock them. They’re the good little life things you save for a rainy day. My mundane things include feeding some plants, watering my cats and, no wait, that doesn’t sound right. well OK, practising writing suicide notes, cleaning my belly button and popping pimples on unmentionable parts of my body. However, you less enlightened ones can try some less complicated things:

Sit in your parked car and point the hairdryer at everyone you see

· Have a nice long hot shower and pretend you are the Liril girl under a waterfall

· Go out on date with your pet in the verandah. (Make sure it isn’t raining or else you’ll have one unhappy date, one unhappy pet and one unhappy you) Make sure the neighbours see.

· Hug trees. (But please stay away from the cacti. They are not friendly plants and pretty grumpy too. I’d describe them as… prickly).

· Take Herbert out to cafes and have stimulating, intellectual discussions with him. If people stare, don’t worry, they’re just jealous.

· Practice your kissing skills on a pillow and leave suggestive lipstick stains all over them.

· Loosen the screws on all office furniture and smugly watch it all fall apart everyday

· Stick your finger violently and several inches up your nose every time you think of who or what is making you so upset (this should be an excellent deterrent).

And stop for a moment and look around you. There are other things going on. Life is going on and carrying on with or without you. Damn it, I hate when that happens… I will just wait till we ALL are depressed and then we shall all be more the merrier. Till then, good luck and here’s hoping we won’t see you with massive red flared nostrils.

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