Mr. Depression showed up at my door a couple of months ago.  I hate him.  He hangs on like that dinner guest who doesn’t seem to realize that a dwindling fireplace, empty bottle of wine and frequent yawns from the host is very good indication that it’s time to leave.

Mr. Depression has overstayed his visit.

As a young adult, I was told that I suffered from clinical depression.  Over the next decade and a half, I had bouts of depression that was treated with medication.  I hated medication.  Zoloft ruined my sex life (can’t have that).  Remeron made me instantly fat and Wellbutrin had me in such a state of paranoia that I became prone to panic attacks.  Ever have a panic attack?  It’s really freaky.

When I was in my late thirties, I realized that *my depression was mostly caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, cigarettes and my overall outlook on life.  To touch on the latter part of that statement; Happiness is a state of being.  It doesn’t just…happen. You have to be happy.  You have to wake up and say to yourself, “Wow! Look at the sunrise.  What a great day.”

However, that’s easier said than done.  Pollyanna I’m not.  You see, you can’t just say it, you have to mean it too.  The past couple of months, I’ve been saying it but without much meaning.

The funny thing about my relationship with depression is that I tend to be unaware of it.  I find myself wondering “Why am I so tired?  Why do I feel like a stupid piece of shit? That’s so unlike me. ”  I’d spill my coffee — a thing we all do occasionally — and it feels like the whole world was out to get me.  “Why do I always spill my coffee??”

I was ruminating over all these feelings the other day when suddenly it hit me…my father died!  I’m still grieving!  My father is gone, it’s cold and gray outside, we still have all of February to get through for crying out loud!  It’s no wonder I’m depressed.  Rainy days and winter always get me down…and — my dad died!  My father! The guy who was always there from the beginning of my life is gone.  Forever.  It’s natural to feel sad for a really long time.

So, I know what’s causing my depression.  You’d think that would alleviate some of the symptoms.  It doesn’t.  I’m aware of what’s bothering me and yet I’m left feeling like a big stinky pile of dog poo.  Nonetheless, I’m trying to move on with my life especially my workout regimen.  It’s really hard when you’re trying to muster up the energy to run an extra mile and a voice in your head keeps reminding you to give up . . .

“So you lost weight, you gained it back while vacationing in Florida.”
“You’re always going to have a flabby belly.”
“Face it, you’ll never get any better at this.”
“Why do you even bother with weight training? You’re a joke.”
“Must be nice to be Ray, he just looks at a barbell and bulks up.”
“You should give up.  You’ll always look the same.  Always.”

Imagine that kind of negativity layered onto everything.  On second thought — don’t.

Most of the time, that little voice is muffled to the point of inaudibility.  I have learned to ignore it.  It’s only at times of fatigue and genuine sadness (like now) that the little voice gets a chance to pull free and start shouting in my ear.

Under normal everyday circumstances I’m standing tall and oozing with confidence which is the worst thing about depression.  One moment, I’m the King of the World and the next…someone is cursing the fact that they stepped in a big warm smelly pile of MePoo.  I’m the shit mashed into the bottom of someone’s shoe.

So, yeah, I’m depressed but it’s OK.  The key thing for me in handling my depression is recognition.  I know that after seeing there’s no more wine left, the fire has gone out and I’ve fallen asleep, Mr. Depression will realize he’s overstayed his visit, get bored and leave.

*My depression. I am not speaking for anyone who has had to deal with their own depression.

5 Thoughts on “Mister Depression

  1. As you say, recognizing the signs and the reasons why – that’s the first step. Just keep reminding yourself – Ray chased YOU. YOU are a catch in your own right. You’re talented, you’re nice – what’s not to like?

    Of course it’s never that easy in real life but hang in there… spring is coming and so is gorgeous weather.

  2. SHAZAM!

    Good for you, for recognizing it and writing it out (no pun intended).

    Even the seemingly most-put-together folk get depressed. Thanks you for sharing this, Cobban. Not only is it good for you, It’s good for the rest of us. Helps others recognize and fell less-alone as well.

    You never cease to amaze and inspire me.

    Drew

    PS. How about a good laugh (or at least a giggle)? I can always count on reCAPTCHA™ for that. Before I submit this comment, I’ll need to type “it dwarves.” On another friends blog yesterday, I was asked to type “yummier ballistic.” Someone at reCAPTCHA™ is truly twisted.

    Snork!

  3. I know exactly what you are talking about.

  4. I hear you. My annual SAD seems just a bit worse than normal this year. We should both take heart that spring really is coming.

    Could I have a brief word with your little voice?

    Hey little voice. When you say “You’ll always look the same. Always,” you say it like it’s a bad thing. Cobban is unquestionably a hottie, so just STFU, ‘K?

  5. Joe in Tampa on February 8, 2010 at 8:00 AM said:

    Ahhhh, I have been silent a long time, but silence does not preclude care and observation. Living a lot of depression via my OCD brother and myself and your words are beautiful to the eyes and even more the head. They helped and help……..thank you! Ray’s muscles may bulk at the just the look of a barbell, but your mind bulks just by your existence.

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