Friday, August 09, 2013

working, working, working out of a funk

The month of July was a very hard month for me.  It felt like I fell into a funk out of the blue, but talking things over with my psychiatrist, I was able to identify a number of uncontrollable stresses which had all struck at the same time.  My funk wasn't the random act of craziness it might have appeared to be, say, to a sane bystanding husband.

It is pathetic to be a middle-aged person who lives in a nice house in a beautiful city with a husband, cats, parrots, and vivacious children who is depressed.  Very, very pathetic.  I have been working to pull myself out of that funk, with extreme exercise when I am healthy (I seem to pick up viruses like clockwork), antidepressants, and avoiding stressful situations when I can.

During the worst of the funk, while I was trying to keep myself out of the darker abysses, I saw one of those extra annoying posts on Facebook.  A friend wrote about an amazing vacation day filled with adventures, love, and decadent desserts, capping it up with, "I love my life!"  At the time I was devoting myself to keeping my head out of the oven, metaphorically speaking (my beloved Aga is a lifegiver, not a machine of death).  Usually I'm not prey to the Facebook my-life-sucks-compared-to-yours demon, but it hit me that day, and it hit hard.  I fretted about how I don't go on vacations, I don't travel, I deny myself fattening foods, I budget, I have no life comparatively.  Not wanting to slide down into the abyss, I gave myself a shake. I told myself that I needed to stay off Facebook if I was going to let it upset me.

Over time I pulled myself out of the worst of that funk, and my psychiatrist congratulated me on my self care and improvement.  Then I read another update from that same friend, sharing that the friend had been fired for seeking accommodation at work for severe depression .... before the "I love my life!" post.  That person was vacationing and adventuring to fill up free time from having been fired.  I was stunned.  How ironic that this person's cheering-the-self-up to cope with depression had triggered and worsened my own.  I wondered:  do the depressed owe one another a duty not to post life-gloating updates?  Or do I owe the world a duty not to post "I'm in a funk" updates, which I have been guilty of in dark moments?  In any event, Facebook is not for the fragile.  

Thursday, August 08, 2013

scholasticism meets "King of the Hill"

The children and I were unwinding one late evening, watching a couple of "King of the Hill" episodes.  I was exhausted from a grueling workout earlier in the day; the children were tired as well.

Their father entered the room, ignoring our enrapt viewing, and asked Iris some questions about a potential new humanities teacher for her school whom she had met.  His voice booming, he asked, "Does anyone know what 'humanities' is?"  A couple of us, trying to quiet him down, offered definitions, but he would not be bought off.  His voice ever louder, he proclaimed, "Humanities is a rejection of scholasticism!"  He laughed at his own wit.  Everyone else gazed raptly at the cartoon Texans, intensely beaming out "be quiet and leave us with our lowbrow entertainment" thought rays.