Go Away, Black Dog

You might think that slipping out in the middle of the afternoon to see a movie would be a nice tonic for mild depression, but not if that movie is Silver Linings Playbook, and you’re both dealing with and recovering from mental illness in your loved ones. My friend leaned over early on and said we could leave whenever I wanted. I held out, optimistically, for another hour. Then I suggested we split. I just don’t find mental illness to be entertaining these days, and why was I exposing myself to all that yelling? She’s dealing with her own caretaking of mental illness, so she leapt out of her seat as soon as I spoke up. We laughed it off and figured we’ll go to the film series next time and just rewatch a classic movie. 

Things that help with mild depression–leaving a wretched movie experience and laughing about it, lots of planks (a strong core inspires confidence), cleaning the refrigerator, donning a hat over many-days unwashed hair to stock up on winter greens at the farmers market, quirky music through the earphones while shoveling snow and shoveling again, and again, bingewatching a tv series on Netflix, cooking (well-fed children are mollified children).

I think I’m coming out of the depressive funk. It’s like a cold that sends me to bed for a few days and if I give in, it passes. Compared to grief, depression is adorable, gnawing at me with my own self-doubt and lassitude. I gotta do things, whether I believe I can or not, whether I feel like getting out of bed or not. And anything I do kicks back at the depression. If my core feels strong or my shopping bag is full of winter greens, I will feel better and pop out of its cognitive loop. The imperatives of my crappy new life chase the depression away. I may not be happy, but at least I’m not depressed. 

Now, where’s the vacuum?

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4 thoughts on “Go Away, Black Dog

  1. I saw Silver Lining Playbook, too, and I didn’t come away with the same impressions as the women I went to it had. Nothing against the film itself but we do have to be in the right place to see or read certain stuff. Did you stay long enough to find out the female led was a widow carrying around a lot of guilt?

    My sister-in-law nagged me into seeing Hope Springs, said it was really funny. But after watching it, I just saw it as very sad that people who loved each other could waste so many years of their marriage taking each other for granted. Glad you have crossed from ‘grief’ to ‘mild depression.’ That’s a step forward in a widow’s world.

  2. I’m not sure if this was a stage of grief. I think this is just plain old depression revisiting, and I’m kicking it to the curb so I can get back to grieving and coping. I don’t know, though, I’m too far into it. I do know that I’m having trouble taking depression seriously. I know how to deal with it, and it’s an inconvenience. The therapist and I had some witty banter going last week. She saw it, I saw it, she prodded me to take a vacation/remember things I enjoy/feel proud of my accomplishments, and I had a snarky rejoinder for everything. But, of course, I took her advice when I left the office. Compared to the people with intractable mental illness or the other challenges in my life, this little blip was easily taken care of.

    Yeah, gotta be in the mood for that movie. Lots of people enjoy it, if the awards are an indication of anything. Good for them. Me, I need a good escapist film, or a pastoral British tv series that will put me to sleep. Sleep is an excellent leisure activity.

  3. Maybe you could put training wheels on the vacation idea and just go on a weekend get-away very close by home—like a hotel in town with a big pool and spa treatments. That way if it doesn’t work out you’re not out a lot of money or time away from work.

  4. Excellent idea! I just need a break as state-of-mind, rather than an exotic location. There are spas yonder over the hills that could do the trick. Heck, I may even splurge for some daylong yoga workshops, just to feel like I’m indulging.

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