DEPRESSION IS DEPRESSING

solitude

 

I don’t write much about depression because it’s, well, depressing, and most of the time, I’m trying to run from it rather than acknowledge it. When I’m depressed I tend to hide from the world and embrace my bed like a long-lost lover come home. I sleep. A lot. Because it’s an escape from the disturbing thoughts that obsessively bombard my mind.

The holidays tend to exacerbate this ugly beast of burden. There’s something about them that bring feelings of loneliness and unhappiness to the forefront. Right now, there are many posts on Facebook giving out the Suicide Hotline phone number, urging people to call if they become desperate. But many won’t. They’ll continue to suffer in silence.

For those who don’t have a problem with this illness, it may be difficult to understand the mind of a depressed person. Just like I don’t understand what it’s like to have cancer, or be paralyzed, or lose a child. I don’t pretend to. I would no more tell them to “buck up,” or “look on the bright side,” or “get over it” any more than a “positive” person should to someone suffering depression.

One word: Empathy. A quality many lack, especially when they don’t understand something. Empathy is “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.”

I personally believe the more sensitive and creative a person, the more prone they are to depression. They see more, feel more, and ponder more. About everything. But this can often lead to a downward spiraling of mood. Depressives are ruminators. They start with a negative feeling or thought, and they overthink it to death. They beat it until it’s nothing but a bloody pulp. Is it learned behavior, a default switch, in a sense? A chemical imbalance? Hereditary? Who knows, who cares? The important thing is realizing how dangerous and serious depression is.

I’ve been dealing with depression for over 20 years. I was never a depressed teen, but then again, I was partying way too much to feel anything. It wasn’t until I came down with CFIDS that I became depressed. Think about it. A healthy, outgoing 26-year-old actress living in NY, doing what she loved. Now imagine her getting sick with mono. Imagine it NEVER going away. Imagine all her hopes and dreams buried in a dumpster full of rotting food behind Denny’s.

Now I know there are people out there who get their legs blown off in Iraq, come home and start a foundation to help people like them, get married, and have a great life. There are others who are raped and tortured, write a book about it, and go on to counsel other survivors like themselves. I get it. Strong people turning adversity in to a positive. Rah rah for them.

But I’m not one of those people. Wish I were, but I’m not. I can blame it on my dad for yelling at me my whole life, telling me what a worthless piece of crap I am or I can blame it on brain chemistry. Bottom line? It is what it is.

So. Here’s an example of how my depressed mind works: I completed the first draft of my novel on Tuesday. It’s 90,000 words. That in and of itself is something to be proud of, right? And I was proud of myself. For the rest of the evening. The next day, I sat in front of my laptop, a little lost because every author says you should wait like 6 weeks before you edit, and I thought, Okay, WTF am I going to do while I’m waiting? So I start researching who I can shop my novel around to once I have a final draft ready.

Now, mind you, I’ve published 2 romantic comedies already, but decided to write a dark erotic romance. Why? I have no idea. I don’t read that much erotica. Hell, I don’t even like erotica all that much. So why did I write it? Come to discover the market is saturated already, and very few agents want to represent it. As for legit publishers, there is 1 for me to choose from. 1.

 

First thoughts: I just spent a year researching and writing a novel that I won’t be able to sell. Why didn’t I stick with my chosen genre, so I could have a better chance of building a following?

Second thoughts: Most erotic authors self-publish. I don’t want to learn how to self-publish. It’s too much work that I don’t have the energy for. I’m such a fucking idiot.

Third thoughts: Just like everything else in my life, I never think things through. Instead of furthering my career, I’ve stalled it. Something I can’t afford to do because I have a kid to feed.

Now by this point, I have a tension headache, my chest is tight because my breathing is shallow, and I start worrying about how I’m going to pay my rent next month. And afford $100 bucks to enroll my son in soccer. And renew HostGator for my website for $150. And pay property taxes. And buy soccer cleats, and…and…

And the worrying starts to spiral out of control. Depressed people don’t just think of the problem at hand (In my case, writing a ms that won’t sell). They remember every. single.  problem they’ve ever had since birth.

If only I were smarter, or married, or healthier, or skinnier, or richer, or my mother had breastfed me…fill in the blank.

And

I shouldn’t have married my abusive bf from high school, gotten into the car with that frat boy, done that line of meth, driven while drunk, picked up that hooker who turned out to be a guy, gotten that awful nose job…fill in the blank.

And

I should have gone to grad school, never quit that high-paying job even though it made me miserable, stayed on the Pill, kicked my husband out 5 years before, gotten my breasts done a long time ago, checked her license to see whether she was of legal age…fill in the blank.

And

My father, mother, old boyfriend, best friend was right. I’m a train wreck, a fuck up, stupid, ugly, fat, a douche canoe…fill in the blank.

And

I’m going to be 80 years old, poor, single, unhappy, fat, my cats will eat my dead body, no one will come to my funeral…fill in the blank.

 

This is how the depressed mind works. Or at least how mine does. Cognitive therapy helps if you’re willing to do the work. Meds only do so much for a while. Many lose the battle, because once that desperate hopelessness sets in, magnifying the feeling that nothing will ever change, that you’re going to feel this miserable torturous mindfuck forever, suicide seems like the only relief in sight. People usually don’t commit suicide because they want to end their lives; they commit suicide because they don’t want to feel the pain anymore. That’s an important distinction, and it truly breaks my heart. Because we’re not bad people. We’re not weak. We’re usually nicer and more successful than we think. And although I’ve had close friends accuse me of being negative (I’ve even lost best friends over it), I believe it’s more about their own self-centeredness in not wanting to be brought down. Again, they’re lacking that empathy factor.

I, on the other hand, because I’ve gone through so much hardship in my life would never berate or shun a person for being down, or negative, or suicidal. I’ve had strangers talk to me for hours, telling me all their problems or admit they’re wanting to commit suicide. Why? Because I genuinely listen, so they feel safe. I don’t judge them or tell them to turn that frown upside down. How many people can genuinely listen to the pain of another without judgment or telling them what to do to make themselves better? I’ve only met one or two.

If you need someone to listen and you have no one to talk to with a sympathetic ear, please, please, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255–24/7. Or message me here. You are not alone.

Happy holidays

Advertisements

MY NEW LEAF IS STILL A LITTLE BROWN

water-drops-leaf

Even though I don’t make resolutions per se, I always try to start off the year with a new and improved clean slate. After all, who doesn’t need some form of self-improvement?

I’m trying to adopt a more positive attitude in my life. Some people have this crazy notion that I’m a pessimist. I correct them by saying I’m a realist; there’s a difference. But once they start showing me all the ways I’m negative, I naturally become defensive and tell them if they were a fellow New Yorker, they’d “get” me in a way that only sarcastic, pragmatic New Yorkers can, then we end up arguing, and I eventually tell them to go fuck themselves if they think I’m such a horrible person, to which they exclaim, “See?! Negativity right there!”

So for all you fellow pess-, I mean, realists out there who want to improve your outlook a little (but only to get the people in your life off your back, NOT because you need an attitude adjustment), I’ll show you how I’m doing so far.

Today was Sunday—the perfect opportunity to sleep in. Only the dogs, the cats, and the birds didn’t see it that way. So every half hour starting at 7am, either the dog would lick my face or the cat would sit on my face while the birds loudly squawked in the background.

Finally, at 11 I hauled my butt out of bed. I hate mornings. So my first thought was, Ugh, I feel like crap. Mornings suck. Damn these animals.

But then I concentrated on how much I love my pets, even though they insist on puking all over the only 3-inch square of carpet that remains in our home, rather than on the 1300-square foot of floor. Or that every year the cats feel the need to mark the Christmas tree, leaving the delightful seasonal aroma of pine and piss throughout the house. Bodily fluid infractions aside, they bring me joy 98% of the time and that’s enough to be grateful for.

Already, I was happier. Until I remembered I had to walk the dog before my morning coffee. Going outside before I’ve had my first cup of coffee is akin to getting a tooth filled without Novocain. Annoyingly painful. But I’ve been written up so many times by management for letting the diva run loose to pee that we’re now at the “You have 7 days to get rid of your dog or we’ll evict you” stage.

However, my new and improved 2016 attitude realizes they’re just doing their job, and I needed to let go of the plan to make voodoo dolls in their likeness.

So I snapped the leash on the damn dog, er, my beloved dog, and we went for a walk. First person I saw was the man who filed a false complaint with management a few months ago over my dog. He claimed my dog pooped on his lawn, he told me to pick it up, and I refused. Even I’m not enough of an asshat to do something like that. The real story was my dog did in fact, unexpectedly take a dump on his lawn, his wife yelled at me through the window, I apologized profusely, ran to my house to get a bag, then returned to pick it up.

A few weeks ago, I may or may not have confronted him on the issue, peppering my verbal assault with some choice F-bombs, but that was still no reason for him to call the cops on me (3 of them! Who thankfully didn’t charge me with anything, but let me off with a warning to stay away from him).

In any case, this lovely morning the old me would have confronted him yet again to tell him that his damn cat has been on my property every day, eating my cat food, prompting fights with my cats, and taking numerous huge dumps on my property, and did he “know the definition of IRONY? Because that’s what this fucking situation is—Ironic!”

But alas, the brand spanking new me doesn’t want to get arrested no matter how much the experience may enhance my writing, so I calmly turned and strolled in the opposite direction, thank you very much.  See that? A positive, non-confrontational response to a potentially explosive and negative situation.

And that’s about all the grateful, optimistic energy I could muster up this morning, because after looking around at all the crap I needed to do, I realized if I weren’t a single mother I’d have some help with this never-ending mountain of crap, which then made me curse my loser of an ex for leaving and ruining my life, even though it was my own pathetic fault for choosing the deadbeat in the first place, and if I weren’t such an idiot my life would be so much better…

…but I digress.

Baby steps.

FOR ALL THE HOLIDAY MISFITS

krampus

For the past 5 years I have fallen into a holiday funk. Being single, coupled with not having any family to spend the holidays with during a season where ads for love and family and togetherness and diamond rings to “show her you care” are pounded into one’s psyche ad nauseam are enough to make anyone want to go off the deep end.

Then there’s my beloved Facebook, my social media of choice and social life all rolled up in one. Only this time of year, my preferred memes containing cats or offensive snarkiness fall along the wayside to ho hum pics of newly engaged couples in front of their tree and family gatherings with everyone dressed in their holiday finest—including my own, mind you, without me.

Here’s how it’s gone down for the last 5 years. Every Christmas eve, my entire family goes to an annual Xmas play. I drop my son off in front of my father’s house (because he and I are still not speaking to one another), wish my brother and sister a Merry Christmas, and off I go on my solitary way to feel sorry for myself at home while I view their happy group photos on Facebook that I’ve been tagged in so I can, you know, feel included as part of the family.

This year, I burst into tears as I was driving away, but only because my brother had just returned from Thailand and it would have been nice to be able to spend some time drinking with him that day and getting him to admit he solicited a she-male hooker by mistake. It would have been lovely to hang with my sister, who had finally fallen into a serious relationship with her best friend, even though he had fought their love for a year. I would have loved to tell her “I told you so,” because I did. Exactly a year ago.

They’re the family I miss. Not my asshat of a father who we all have to walk on eggshells around so as not to upset him. The asshat of a father who drinks too much and picks a fight with someone, anyone just to hear himself yell. No, I don’t miss that dysfunction at all.

With the world stressing how important family is, where does that leave you when you don’t have any to spend the holidays with? It sucks, but I vowed this year I wouldn’t fall into a deep, dark depression, and so far I haven’t. Maybe it was due to the power of intention. Perhaps my hormones are balanced this week. Or maybe for the first time, another single mother was at my friend’s Xmas dinner and for once, I didn’t feel so fucking alone in the sea of coupledom.

This woman’s husband committed suicide 2 years ago. Blew his brains out on a wilderness trail, leaving behind a wife and 11-year-old son. She’s very open about the whole ordeal, which is why I have enormous respect for her. Her family is spread out all over the world, and her mother is exactly like my father, so she’s essentially alone like I am. She has no interest in going out and trying to land another husband because she can’t hack being alone, and for that, along with her honesty and bluntness, she and I get along great.

We made plans to get together next week. She’s going to teach me how to make Spanish rice, authentic beans, and chicken Verde. Any other year I’d have shied away from making plans and doing anything that required me to smile, but this year is different. This year I consciously acknowledge there are other women out there who have just as craptastic a life as me. I simply have to find them. This woman whose husband blindsided her with death. Another woman I met on Thanksgiving has 2 kids, and is separated from her cross-dressing husband (although she’s OCD and a bit of a hoarder, so who the hell knows what the story is there). She’s asked me to get together with her as well.

These are the women I need to seek out in the years to come. Not the ones with their picture-perfect Norman Rockwell lives. I don’t have anything in common with them. I’ll seek out the misfits and the wounded and the shunned. The divorced and the widowed and the transgendered. Really anyone who doesn’t live a cookie-cutter life.

For all those who are going through a tough time this holiday season, take heart. It’s almost over. Try to seek out others in the same sinking boat. You may find they help keep you afloat.

HO HO HAH

Not finished with your Christmas shopping yet? Need some ideas for that impossible-to-buy-for person in your life? Thankfully, you have me to help you decide on a gift that will undoubtedly wind up being truly memorable. Ready?

Scrapbooking is so last year. We’re in an age now when we’re realizing our resources are precious and nothing, I mean NOTHING, should go to waste. Including cat hair. Have a friend who’s constantly taking out that lint brush to remove cat fur from their black clothing? Waste not, want not. Give them this book so they can get with the times.

cat hair

If you know someone with a young daughter, it’s imperative you give that girl this doll so she can learn early on how vile body hair truly is. How else will she ever attract a man? Or aspire to porn or stripper status? Give her a head start on knowing what’s important in life, because it’s certainly not education or being a humanitarian. I mean, please! Who is ever going to take you seriously with hairy legs? (This gift not appropriate for European babies.)

shavethebaby

Has there ever been a time when you’re horny AND hungry at the same time? And you’re going back and forth in your mind like, “I could eat a sandwich first, and then have sex, but I’ll probably just want to nap instead, OR, I can have sex first, but I’ll need to hurry because my stomach is growling like an angry dog…” Yeah, tell me about it. It’s a real dilemma. But not anymore! This is perfect for the man or woman in your life as it cuts out a huge amount of wasted time thinking, when you could be, um, eating? (wink wink)

brief jerkyWhat if your partner has trouble getting in the mood in the first place? You need to combine sex with a positive association. Rub some of this baby on whatever, and he or she will come running. Probably along with the dog and cat, but still…(Not appropriate for vegetarians, although a hummus-scented lube may be in the production stage as we speak.)

bacon lube

Now, me personally, I don’t need this book. I could have written this book.  But everyone has that one smug friend who thinks their kid’s shit doesn’t stink. Give her this book so she can see all the ways she is, in fact, unknowingly traumatizing her child. Then watch her scramble to catch up to all the money you’ve already saved in the jar labeled, “My Kid’s Therapy Fund.”

kid book

This probably isn’t in the Kid Trauma book, but here’s a surefire way to traumatize a kid. Wear these socks in their presence. Around their friends. Extra points scored for wearing them out in public. Like to the mall or the movies. This is a perfect gift for the husband of the uptight wife you buy the Kid Trauma book for!

sandal-socks

What if you’re completely broke this year? It’s cool, you don’t need to spend any money. People LOVE homemade gifts. Try this one and make sure to remind the recipient it’s the thought that counts.

CHRISTMAS-sanitary-napkin-slippers

Hope this helps!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

HALLOWEEN COSUMES FOR KIDS AND PETS THAT MAKE YOU GO OOH & HAH

It’s my most favorite time of the year–Halloween! I start planning for it November 1. And to celebrate, I thought I’d share some photos of animals and kids in costumes that are full of WIN. Are you ready?

This dog costume is one of my favorites this year because it literally transforms the cone of shame into something to be proud of–a martini. Because if you can drink more than, say, 3 martinis, that’s a feat to boast about. Of course, you may not remember what you do under the influence of 3 martinis, thus needing your own personal cone of shame the day after, but that’s for another post entitled “I wish I hadn’t gone home with ugly troll guy and other humiliating drunk stories”.

martini dog

How freaking adorable are these M&M pugs? Don’t you just want to take a bite out of them? Just the tail, or maybe the head. Mmmm, chocolate…no, wait, they’re dogs…or are they? Mmmm, chocolate…

Pug M&Ms

Any time you can actually put a costume onto a cat without getting your eyes scratched out , you’ve won. They look adorable in them, right? Of course there will be a price to pay for such cuteness. Never think for a moment cats won’t seek revenge by killing you in your sleep. You’ve been warned. Hey, and if you happen to only own a guinea pig, don’t despair. You can include him in the festivities, too. Just be careful if you own a guinea pig AND a cat. Or a guinea pig AND a snake (but that’s for another post entitled, “The time I left the lid off my boa constrictor’s cage by mistake and other mishaps by snake owners.”)

Sushi-Cat-Halloween-Costume2.jpg2_sushi guina pig

Okay, now this costume is a bit easier to manage with a cat because, well, it’s closer to their true nature so I’d like to think they’d secretly find it amusing, although they won’t show it. They may still kill you in your sleep, but that would only be because they’re secretly planning to take over the world. (You didn’t hear it from me.)

Oscar the Grouch

Need a costume for your baby in a pinch? Hungry for dinner? Solve both problems by getting takeout from Chipotle and wrapping the fruit of your loins in some gold wrapping paper. Make sure you take a picture of the cuteness immediately because my guess is that worm will squirm right outta that wrapping in the time it takes to say Boo.

baby burrito

For less than the cost of one of these drinks you can make this costume. In fact, I’ll bet having one of these ridiculously expensive drinks every day adds up to be more than the amount it costs to raise a child. Yes, I’m kicking myself for not buying Starbucks stock in the 90s, too.

Starbucks drink

What could be cuter than baby AND pet together in costumes? Besides the fact that baby looks like he can’t move his arms, which will royally piss him off in about 3.5 seconds, and dog looks like he’s planning to pee on your favorite shoes as soon as you turn your back on him, I’d say this is a raging success and will yield a buttload of trick or treating candy.

baby and dog fast food

I’m sensing an overall theme in this post, which alerts me to the fact that I must be hungry and thirsty. How about you? Have you ever dressed your kid and/or pet up for Halloween?

WHEN DID UGLY XMAS SWEATERS GET SO RAUNCHY?

 

tis the season

Why yes, it’s that time again–the season of ugly sweaters. Christmas sweaters have always been ugly (that’s part of their charm), but when did they get so, um, sexually explicit?

US 1

Is this Madonna’s Christmas sweater from the 80s made by Jean-Paul Gaultier? It needs to go back to the 80s and stay there, along with neon colors, leg warmers, and shoulder pads.

US 2

I can’t help but think these reindeer got punched in their noses outside the bar while Santa was inside having a few shots, or are experiencing a severe allergic reaction after eating a cheese ball covered in nuts.  I’m the one who needs a bottleful of Benadryl (or Pepto-Bismol) in order to deal with this one.  

US 4

Deck the balls with boughs of–oh, never mind. If I were face to face with this man I’d have to fight the urge to hang my coat from his erect carrot, or a dish towel, but I’m guessing he’s thinking more along the lines of hanging mistletoe from that bad boy. Ick.

US 7

Is that a frozen carrot or are you just happy to see me? Mrs. Snowwoman (who looks strikingly like a man) doesn’t look too happy. And neither would I if I had to wear this monstrosity, although it does bring to mind a joke: Why did Frosty the Snowman pull down his pants? He heard the snow blower coming. Heh.

US 8

Does anyone else just want to tweak that nose…or lance it because it looks like a boil? This is the perfect “sweater” for a stripper in North Dakota. Ho Ho Ho! Merry XXXmas!

US 6

Proof that Santa is lactose intolerant, because after a glass of milk this is what happens to me. Can you imagine poor Santa after 52 billion glasses of milk? For the record, we leave vanilla almond milk for Santa, which is why he visits our home first.

US 5

This gem isn’t necessarily raunchy. Instead, it looks as if someone ate a decorated Christmas tree and then vomited it up onto a piece of wool (or I’m guessing polyester in this case). It hurts my eyes and gives me a searing pain in my head–which is what ugly Christmas sweaters are supposed to do, so I choose this one for the WIN this year.

 

Here’s hoping your holiday season is filled with non-dysfunctional family time and gifts you don’t have to feign joy over receiving.

 

THE HOLIDAYS—MAY THEY REST IN PEACE

Bah humbug

I can’t lie—I’m glad the holidays are over. Yes, I’m one of those people. But when you have no family to spend Christmas with and no significant other to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the holidays blow. I survived by drinking more than I should and religiously following the posts on a site called Emerging from Broken. It was on this site I learned I was not alone. There’s many, many more like me who either have no contact or minimal contact with their terribly dysfunctional families.

Every day I’d peruse Facebook even though I was continuously assaulted by happy people getting together with their families. Even worse was seeing photos and postings of my own happy family. It stung. A lot. It wasn’t so much the lack of them I was missing. It was the lack of a family to call my own. Most people who are estranged from their family have chosen to create their own—usually through marriage. In my case, it’s only my son and I.

At some point in December, my son threw out those dreaded words no single mom ever wants to hear: “Why can’t you marry Daddy so he can come live with us?”

“Because Daddy is engaged to be married to another woman,” I told him. The boy is 11. Sorry, but I’m just not sugarcoating it anymore. At least my response succeeded in halting the conversation in its tracks.

We spent Christmas day with my friend’s in-laws who have graciously “adopted” us. There are advantages to celebrating with other people’s families. In between the ham and the pumpkin pie, the conversation turned to religion (a big social no-no) and ended with my friend’s husband banging his fists on the table and accusing his father of refusing to acknowledge his nephew’s homosexuality. “Why can’t you admit your nephew is gay, Dad? Say it!” he screamed.

This drama didn’t faze me in the least because hey—it ain’t my family. So I got up and went into the other room with the kids. It was very freeing. But New Year’s Eve was a completely different story. Who wants to go to a party where everyone is coupled up, or worse, there are 3 token single men all vying for my drunken attention? No thanks. Plus, everyone’s an alcoholic in my neighborhood, or a meth head (or usually both), so if driving is especially dicey under normal circumstances, can you imagine on New Year’s Eve?

But after a meh Christmas and an utterly craptastic New Year’s Eve, the Gods of Fair Play decided to reward me with a book contract for my hot mess that took me over a year to write and edit. It’s called THE MEATBALL MISTRESS and it’s about a sassy Italian girl from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who flees to the Jersey shore after finding her fiancé in a compromising position. She’s, of course, bitter and cynical about men (I really had to stretch to write about that!) and meets her match in a guy who’s probably the biggest commitment-phobe in Jersey. So how do they wind up falling in love, you ask? Hmmm…

Since I literally thought I was going to end up burying this one in my backyard underneath a mound of compost, I’ll admit I’m pleased. Hopefully this recent euphoria will work to balance out the emotional upheaval I’ll be experiencing next month when I turn 46.

So how were your holidays?

Previous Older Entries