Dear Joie,

Buck up.  No one else gets to say this, and that’s a good thing.  But you?  You get to say it because: 1) You don’t say it with that exasperated misnomer that depression is fake and 2) YOU have lived through the years of dealing – you’ve earned the right.  So buck up.  This day (or week) is going to feel like forever while you’re in it, but like a blip that it is two weeks later.  It WILL go faster in the now if you try to face The Depression with a smile.  You’ll be fine.

Oh, and ignoring your basic needs like food and creating and clean clothing?  BAD IDEA, STUPID.  Don’t do it.  Ignoring the world has never made it go away, why would you ever think that ignoring YOURSELF would be successful?  Go eat. Scrapbook (especially in your journal and therapy album, that’s what they’re there for!).  And for goodness sake, do a little laundry (even if you don’t really need to).  The smell of warm, clean clothing ALONE is going to make today so much better.  And tomorrow when you wake up and your freshly laundered clothing is neat and organized in your drawers.  Oh, and go re-organize your book shelves.  You KNOW nothing makes you happier than being surrounded by piles of books, so why not just tear it all down and do it all up again?  Tell me that won’t make you smile.

Write a letter to Bex.  She knows your brain inside and out, even across a freaking ocean.  And she loves you completely.  She’ll know just what to say.

Call Celeste.  Tell her that it’s a bad day.  She knows your brain inside and out, even a thousand miles away.  And she loves you completely.  She’ll know just what to say.

DON’T call Dal.  Ever.

DON’T drink.  You’ve never touched a drop of alcohol and it is NOT WORTH IT to ruin the record and get screaming drunk (because you so know that once you drink one, you’ll drink more) just in the name of making the feelings “go away.”  Which they won’t.  They’ll just exacerbate while you’re drunk if you’re lucky (which wouldn’t be that lucky after all, since that could easily lead to cutting) or be repressed for an evening and comeback worse than ever tomorrow if you’re not so lucky.  If you’re REALLY unlucky, well, let’s not think about it.

Speaking of not thinking about it: DON’T OBSESS.  I know, it’s like telling you not to breathe.  I get it.  But obsessing on today of all days is pretty much the worst thing you can do.  So try your hardest not to.  Please.

It SHOULD go without saying that you shouldn’t be cutting on these days, but I’ll repeat it for safety’s sake!  DON’T CUT.  You’re over four and a half years now, don’t ruin it!  Hold your elbows and curl up in a ball if you have to.

DON’T call Sal.  You and he are still very much trying to figure out if you can make being friends work.  He can’t be your go-to when you’re feeling super crazy anymore.  I know, that sucks.  Especially since he was the one that was there during your first time really awake and off the meds.  But that Sal and the one you’re trying to be friends with now are not the same person and neither are you.

DON’T scroll through your phone looking for people to call.  It just depresses you to know that most of your friends are 1) not available or 2) not close enough to be the one you can call on these days.  You only have a couple close friends, but they’re really good friends.  Be happy that you have them.

DON’T wish you could call Bex.  That just depresses you, too.  She’s there for you through the 1’s and 0’s.  In some ways, that’s better than calling.  In some ways, it’s worse.  Be happy you have it at all.  If you REALLY need to hear her voice, send her a voice mail via e-mail and she’ll reciprocate.

Go outside.  You don’t shut down when you’re depressed.  It’s just one of the big swings in which you have the capacity to feel!  Go experience it.  Feel the breeze, touch a flower petal, soak it in.

Cry.  Let yourself cry.  Don’t worry that you look a mess or that you get a ginormous headache.  Just cry.  And then get some Diet Coke to help the headache go away.

Turn on the air conditioning/heater and lay down on the carpet.  Run your fingers through the shag.  Feel.

Work on the books on tape for your nieces and nephews.  Do something for someone else.  Love them.  And get excited about it!  (But only after you’re done crying.  It will not do anyone any good to have a book read in a watery, sniffly voice (unless that’s a character trait – use what you’ve got in that case).)

Remember who loves you.  Remember that you have more nieces and nephews than you know what to do with some days.  They’re wonderful.  And sweet.  As are their parents.  Don’t discount how wonderful it is to have a big family–even if they are far away.

Watch Classic Disney and live Tweet your snarky comments about it.  Don’t watch a RomCom.  If you HAVE to deal with a real-people flick, watch a shoot ’em up.  It’ll make you feel better.  And the unrealistic gore will make you laugh and yell all at once.  Live Tweet your snarky comments about that one, too.  You have an unlimited supply of snark.  This is a good day to dip into that well.

Read a book.  Read Thurber or Juster or Kitto or Riordan or Mull or something ridiculous.

Write it all down. Pour it onto the page.

Joie, just be you.  Bad days usually result from being unhappy with you.  So, just be you.

Deal?

You’ll feel better, I promise.

Joie

P.S. Don’t forget that Joie means joy.  You mean joy.  Find it, hold it, and don’t forget that in a few days you won’t have to stretch so far for it.

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