May 11th, 2021

book cover humor

Depression Can Be Depressing

 Hi, who wants to talk about something serious?

Fine, you people move on--but just so you know, the rest of us will be having chocolate.

I don't often get serious here, because the world's serious enough--and there are plenty of others out there talking seriously in my stead. I like to get serious with humor, which may offend some people ... but that's okay, because I don't want to hang around people who don't appreciate the principle of "lighten up". Besides, when I extract humor from a situation, it usually cheers up at least me, and sometimes others with me.


Now, I've never hidden the fact that during winter I take a little "happy pill" (that's not what the doctor calls it) to get through my Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is what normal people get when the days get short and the nights get cold. Abnormal people have a mental condition that allows them to be okay with winter, something experts are still puzzling out.

I wean myself off my happy pill, otherwise known as Sertraline, around early spring, as I did this spring. It has some un-fun side effects, while for some reason I never get the one good side effect: loss of appetite.

You'll remember that this year, 2021, is the year everyone going through 2020 was hoping and praying for.

Well, the joke's on you.

So far this year my brother died--and really, I can just stop right there, can't I? My wife says I still haven't dealt with it, and I'd appreciate if none of you told her she's absolutely right.

 The rest is all minor irritation. Still, minor irritations, such as getting sick after over a year of avoiding it, and having that sickness move into a massive sinus infection that I just started my third course of antibiotics to fight, can add up.

Where were we? Oh, yeah. Well, as of this writing Spring never showed up for more than a day. Emily fixed the usual leaky plumbing problems and replaced burned-out kitchen appliances, times two--each. One of Emily's favorite horses at her work had to be put down, and she had to be there for it. My job has been interesting, and not in a good way. And my occasional chronic back pain seems to have become un-occasional, to such an extent that the pain kept me from making any calls with my volunteer fire department this year. My book sales, like those of most authors, have tanked.

And my brother died. With the weather allegedly soon to be better and the pandemic slightly better (oh, and add pandemic to the list), a memorial gathering for my brother Jeff is coming up. Here's the info on that, for those who knew him:

Because info is good, and so is remembering. However, I never considered that three months after he died, just talking about a get-together would stir it all up again.

So ... depression and anxiety became a thing.

I finally accepted it after I put aside my writing business efforts, to start work on a new novel. Promotion, selling, and submitting are all part of being a working writer. But when I'm down, the only thing that really perks me up is the writing, itself.

But it didn't work this time. And I'm 20,000 words in.

So, as of yesterday, I went back on the happy pill. I also started using a multi-spectrum light again, because Mother Nature isn't cooperating, and I'm otherwise dealing as best I can. (No, I'm not suicidal. Homicidal? Well, I did feel an urge recently to run down a woman walking in the middle of the street when there was a sidewalk RIGHT THERE ... but I saw she was walking a dog, and I can't hurt a dog.)

Dogs--the best depression medicine.


Now, other than to apologize for being so antisocial and overall grouchy this year, writing this all down is mostly a public service announcement:

People get depressed. It's a real thing. It's usually not their fault, and there's help available to work through it. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it's nothing to shun people over. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and I fought that with meds and lifestyle changes. I have chronic back pain, and I treat it with cold, heat, and a wonderful but sadistic chiropractor. I have depression, and I treat it with medication, light therapy, the dog, comedy shows, writing, sleep, and chocolate.

That's what I call a well-rounded treatment regimen.

So to sum it all up: If you have a problem, get help. If you have a friend or family member who seems fine, remember: Some of the funniest and seemingly most lighthearted people might be struggling with darkness underneath."Mark R Hunter"