“…Brown paper packages, tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things.”
Unless you are 1) deprived, 2) young and deprived or 3) just not into musicals like Deon is, you recognize “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.” It was sung with gentle precision by the character Maria, and written by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Kerri Williams is an absolutely lovely blogger who wrestles with the same things our whole little community wrestles against, and she gave us all a thoughtful challenge I think will be worthwhile. And if it doesn’t work, well what the fuck, it was worth a shot and maybe it’ll distract me from being depressed for a while.
She said we should make a list of things we love to do that we drop when we’re depressed. And then try to do those things. If you didn’t already, click the link. She’s so sweet! If you don’t love her after you read it, you’re a heartless jerk or you’re a rock who has no emotion. Sometimes I wish I could be a rock with no emotion, but being human means I have feelings, and sometimes they get hurt. Which sucks. But this isn’t about my triggers. I can’t escape those, or can I, by making this list and trying to do some of them (list item 1, Mrs M. Yeah I want to do that. “Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean? Say no more.” Unfortunately she’s also high on my list of damnable triggers and right at the moment I’m not feeling so loved. It might swing back, as pendulums do. A guy can hope.)
If you think I’m manic, you only think I’m manic because I pretend well. But it’s true, writing makes me less depressed. I already try to write more when I’m depressed. But not always. So that’s on the top of my top 10 list. I force myself, some days. Others, it comes out because it has to.
Top 10 Things I Love to do That I Stop Doing When I’m Depressed
10) Writing. I love to write. It makes me less depressed even though as Mrs M points out, it isn’t paying the (fucking) bills (the “fucking” part is me, the rest is her opinion. I should be working on a novel or something (and I have ideas and characters) to induce more suffering and worry and try to pay the bills, but really. Am I going to be the next J.K. (fucking) Rowling? Mrs M. isn’t the sweary type, how the fuck did I get her to say “I do?” And why doesn’t she? That said, I wish she were the fucking part, “wink, wink, say no more”). The lack of money is a trigger for depression too. Damned bill collector vultures. Fuckers. This brings me to
9) Sex. When I’m depressed, I tend to push people away more than attract them. I push people away all the time. And, it’s an odd trigger, but when you push me away, Mrs. M, it makes me depressed. So if you want to help me not be depressed, do something about it instead of doing the thing that makes me depressed. Or should I say, not doing the thing that makes me not depressed. Or should I say, to put it more clearly, what would possibly make me less depressed is if you were doing me. I mean, “smack it up, flip it, rub it down.” None of that underage shit “backstage and underage,” BBD, I only want Mrs. M.
8) Cleaning. I love to clean. The neatness encourages me, a mess throws me off, and a huge (fucking) mess is a trigger. That sink full of dishes I just washed fucking YESTERDAY, that’s full again today, is discouraging. And when I’m discouraged, it takes more effort, or more encouragement, to get me up and cleaning again. Seriously I’m like a sick horse if I’m depressed. “He’s down, doctor. Should we shoot him?” “Neigh.” Wait, shouldn’t we ask the horse?
7) Reading. When I was a kid I didn’t understand. When I was a kid I read just for the joy of reading. I read every book in the library in my age section and the ones I liked, multiple times. When I was in school, turned out I was required to read, which I didn’t understand it but that was and is a trigger for me to feel depressed. So about two weeks into summer vacation I would feel like reading for the fun of it again, go to the library and go wild. But in those two weeks I was getting over being depressed from being REQUIRED to fucking read something they required I read. And lately, I don’t read at all, except your delightful blogs and anything else is because I’m required to read it. I don’t digest the details of what I’m reading if I don’t enjoy it. So my emails pile up and seven fucking thousand later I want to delete them all and read none of them, but I want the free time to read them all. I bought a new novel and I want to sit and read it. Un-fucking-inter-fucking-rupted. Would the world, my family, the damned bill collectors, the neighbors all leave me the fuck alone so I can read it? Suuuuure they will. Yeah, I can expect that. When I’m fucking dead. Which brings up
6) Finishing things. I love to finish things. I love to have time to finish things, and when I don’t have time or I get distracted or interrupted when I’m trying to finish things, it pisses me off, which is nothing but depression because you’re not letting me do my shit until I’m done doing my shit. When I’ve been interrupted and couldn’t finish, fuck you if you want me to go back and finish now, because if it was that important you’d have fucking let me finish when I was interested in finishing it. Or maybe that’s kind of Asperger’s. Who knows? Anyway, leave me the fuck alone until I want to talk to you. I don’t answer the phone at home and I make the excuse of having to answer it at work but really it’s because I couldn’t be arsed to answer and interrupt whatever I’m doing at home in my free time. Thank God I have the excuse. I’d never get anything done and I’d never do anything I like if I had to deal with all the fucking interruptions.
5) Experiencing music. I (fucking) LOVE music. But I listen differently when I’m depressed. I’ve never analyzed it before, but Mrs. M hates my music in general, and hates it more when I’m depressed. I like to play music, and I have a library of music I go to all the time, but I don’t enjoy it as much as I NEED it when I’m depressed. I like to listen to music, but I shift toward The Doors and Janis Joplin when I’m depressed. When I’m not, I shift toward Led Zeppelin, and amusing country lyrics.
4) Experiencing sleep. I don’t have the luxury of a shutdown when I’m depressed. I don’t have the luxury of giving in to the desire to just fucking stay home. I’m a bit jealous, but then maybe I’m just high functioning, whatever the fuck that means. I don’t feel high functioning. I feel fucking PUSHED. I have bills, obligations, and a work ethic, and a wife, that shoves my ass out of bed whether I slept a decent night or not. Mostly, not. But when I’m depressed and I don’t HAVE to go anywhere or do anything, I try to sleep. And then I fucking can’t. I think rationally, that if I had enough money to handle obligations and fix the shit that breaks I’d be at peace enough to sleep. And my church people give me the spiritual-ese bullshit that if I really trusted God and put Him first I’d have peace and I’d be able to rest. After all, that pat verse spoken by Jesus that they go to tells them so:
Matthew 11:28-30New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
which brings me to
3) Doing ministry work. I know this challenge is all about doing more of the things I used to do that I don’t do because I’m depressed, but this one. I can’t do more, can’t do it any more, don’t want to, fuck that a million times. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. I used to, and I honestly used to want more, but I don’t do it because I’m depressed, and unlike the rest of the list, this line item is very different. Ministry work without rewards is depressing, so I’m depressed about it. I trained for it. I got a degree so they wouldn’t just laugh when I knocked on the door. I put God first, started working, and got shit on, and I kept trying and I got shit on some more, and I’m sick of it. And I still hear people like those spiritualese people tell me “put God first,” and throw Matthew 6:33 in my face. To which I now say, Oh, FUCK YOU. When I tried to come and have an easy yoke and a light burden I got a taste and really liked it, and then I got the bitterness. I got the bitterness because my heart was in it, my heart was pure, or so I thought, and then people I trusted, who said they were following Jesus like I was, started dicking me around. It was a few pastors who turned out less pastoral and more control freaks who felt threatened by my coming along to help. I didn’t have aspirations of becoming a senior pastor, and now, since that career path was so thoroughly interrupted by ass holes who claimed to have my best interests at heart but really they were only selfish arrogant egotistical shitheads who wanted it their way or no way, God, if You want me to become a pastor now, even to help as an assistant, you’ll have to force me, and fucking PAY me, because fuck that. I was on a path to it and You let me get interrupted. See also, #6. Not that I’m not willing. It’s that I’m not able. I can’t go back to it, all the stupidity. It’ll have to be a miraculously easy transition before I’ll take on that shit again. Go ahead, open that door and see how slowly I walk through because I got burned the last several times I tried, and it hurt more each time the cut got reopened. But I might, because I used to love it. However, there are now conditions to my availability for service, firstly, it’ll have to be at a family-sustaining wage because
1 Timothy 5:18 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
18 For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’
I’m not volunteering any more, because I don’t have the free time. Except at my tiny role as a musician, and I’m debating whether to keep on doing even that. I did it for a long time and now someone is fucking it up: I’ve got an issue with the sound controllers. Ministry? I did that for years, doing far more than I do now, and I’m feeling less and less rewarded about it. If the opportunity comes I’ll try again if my conditions are met, because before the people fucked it up for me, I did enjoy the work. Sensing my bitterness, are you? Mmm hmm?? Then I expressed it right.
2) Experiencing Food – Don’t get me wrong. I’m not starving myself to death. I just don’t have the stamina to sort through the refrigerator for leftovers to turn into something good. I don’t want to eat pizza, I don’t want to go to the store because there are future bills I might pay faster if I had the cash instead of the groceries. It all doesn’t taste as good as it should because depression even affects my taste buds. I still want coffee. I still want fried chicken. I still want ice cream. I still want alcohol. I just don’t want it.
1) Hygiene – I don’t want to shower and comb hair and brush teeth and shave and dress nicely when I’m depressed. I don’t want to. I want to not do those things because what’s the fucking point? There’s no reward, there’s no purpose, there’s nothing in it that seems worth anything. So this one is something I’ll try to do. I’m not promising anything (because what’s the fucking point?), but I think I’ll try, because of being challenged by someone else who understands why I’d ask that question.
So thanks, dear Kerri, for your encouragement through my shitty days, and your challenge to me when I don’t feel like doing anything. You and others who understand make the experience more bearable.