Fight the Advertising!

I found this great video about spring fashion on college humor, and I have to share. They totally captured how advertising tries to suck you in by making you imagine how much more fun/awesome/exciting/classy/sexy your life will be if you buy this outfit.

different outfits spring fashion collegehumor video
Who do you want to be?

I’ve got to admit. The idea of trying out all those different lifestyles is kind of awesome. And terrifying (I have issues). Yeah, clothes don’t actually shape your life choices, but they definitely influence how you feel and how people react to you. The trick is to go with what you want rather than what they want you to want.

Fight the advertisers! Be yourself!

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Make the Day Worth Living

It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living. F. Scott Fitzgerald
I came across this and nearly cried reading it. I have no idea if F. Scott Fitzgerald actually wrote it, but it’s beautiful.

My favorite part is, “little it cost in the giving.” It costs us so little to be kind. To show another warmth or friendship. Yet that little kindness can make all the difference to the other person. Including a reason to live.

Who knew that you could save a life with a smile?

Sabrina Benaim’s “Explaining My Depression to My Mother”

Sabrina Benaim’s poem, “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” is sweeping the internet. I can’t help but think that proves just how powerful the poem is. And how common depression is. For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, here it is.

I can’t say that’s exactly what my depression and anxiety are like. Her metaphors and expressions are different. I am not confined to my bed. I am chained to my emotions. I am dragged down by sudden onsets of fear, rage, weeping, and more. I force myself to go out for that same keeping busy that she mentions, and I do have fun until the instant when the outing is over. Then, I rage at myself and beg people who aren’t even there to forgive me for my stupidity and worthlessness.

No, her story isn’t exactly like mine. A detail here. An idea there. But it isn’t the details and the ideas that make her poem so strong or give it the voice to speak to my heart and make it crumble. It isn’t her metaphors. It isn’t her mother’s questions although God knows anyone who has tried to explain depression to someone who doesn’t have it has heard a series of problem-solving questions so similar that they might as well be identical.

These questions and suggestions echo with variations on the theme that you are weak. That what is happening to you is your choice. Your fault. Until you feel like you need a tattoo on your forehead: I am not a problem to be solved, and there is no off switch for my depression.

And that is the key to her poem’s power. Not the details, not each moment, but the feelings behind them. It is her emotions that we remember, and it is those emotions that are the same. The despair of being understood. The frustration as each explanation is twisted and misinterpreted so far from your meaning that you have to wonder why you bothered to speak at all. The sly, lying voice that delights in destruction that tries to convince you that they’re right so that you can have one more thing to feel guilty about.

As if feeling guilty for existing is not enough

Whether you hide under the blankets, run from one party to the next, distance yourself with drugs, or any other escape – the pull downwards, the darkness and the bear, the nagging voice of self-doubt and self-despair – the emotions that trap us or send us running are the same. Like links in a chain. People with depression bear similar burdens like jumpsuits in a prison.

If you cannot understand the why of depression, if you cannot understand the reasons or reactions that come from it, please, try to understand at least this: the emotions are real. Whether you understand them or not, they are real, they are strong, and they can easily become overwhelming. Fighting against them is a struggle, and there is never a finish line where you can check off a victory and forget about them forever.

Even if you cannot understand, you can respect that they are. Do not dismiss them. Do not wave them aside as fantasies or delusions. Do not act like there is an easy fix. There isn’t. There are behaviors that can help. There are treatments. But there is no simple or permanent solution.

Instead of seeing a depressed person’s reaction and thinking, “Why is he so upset over nothing?” Think “He’s really upset. What would it be like to feel that upset over something you ‘logically’ know isn’t important?” If you can do that, if you can put yourself into that other person’s shoes and feel that frustration, pain, and despair for that lack of control over your own emotions, then you will have an inkling of what depression is like.

And if you can do that, I challenge you to watch Sabrina Benaim say her poem about explaining depression to her mother again without feeling some of that same pain and despair. Can you? I can’t.

I Don’t Like Chick Flicks Because I Don’t Want To Believe People Are That Dumb

Ugh
Ugh

Ok. Let’s be specific. I don’t like most chick flicks. Most so-called “romantic comedies.” For most of them, the ending’s the best part of the movie – who doesn’t like a happy ending? Otherwise, they’re really badly written, and they make the main characters act like total idiots. Unbelievably so.

Are you telling me that a woman can’t have a happy ending or fall in love without acting like a complete moron? Are you serious? I know plenty of people who fell in love, married, and live happily (as much as is possible in reality) without making total idiots of themselves and completely ruining their lives first. Those movies totally perpetuate the idea that women are completely emotion-driven and illogical.

I get that strong emotions can make people act irrationally. Boy, do I get that. But does that have to be the major conflict of every single bloody chick flick? Could there be some actual conflicts like job issues or bad health? Could the conflict between the couple be caused by realistic stuff rather than over-the-top behavior?

Because it’s not just the women acting like jerks and idiots. The men in them are just as bad. It’s like anything with the word “comedy” in it must now be synonymous with “people doing stupid shit.”

They’re not all like that. The movies, not the men. Some of them have decent plots and characters with some depth. Characters who have entertainment value beyond doing stupid things and freaking out about the results. Lines that are actually well-written and witty.

I can’t think of any right now, but I’m sure there are a few.

Am I alone in this? The only person who isn’t entertained by watching people make absolute fools of themselves? The only person who likes well-written, well-acted movies? Or semi-realistic love stories?

Never mind. I just remembered how popular reality tv is. I withdraw the question. I’m gonna go sit in a corner and cry for humanity.

Is It Time To Start Therapy & Meds Again? Or Should I Try More Lifestyle Changes?

group therapy session
It’s hard to make yourself bare your flaws to others. Even when you know it’s the best way to heal.

Technically, I haven’t tried medication yet, and it’s been a couple of years since I last did therapy. Even then, it wasn’t actually for the depression, so I guess this would be my first time for both.

Back then, the anxiety was a more immediate problem to getting my life back. And when I finally stopped therapy it was because there didn’t seem much point to continue working with a therapist on the anxiety. I could do the exercises and stuff we worked on at home on my own. That was true then. Not anymore.

Now, it feels like I’ve hit a plateau with the depression. I think it’s because for the longest time, my way of dealing was to look at now. I focused on now and taking one step at a time and moving forward. And that gave me a chance to heal and get a little stronger. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m steady enough that I need to look at the future, and I have no idea how to do that without being overwhelmed or breaking down. Something needs to change. I need to change.

I’ve already made some lifestyle changes, enough to cope. I know there are more I could do. That I should do.

  • Eating better can help. Avoiding all the foods that the depression makes me want. That my own self-loathing makes it hard to avoid.
  • Exercise can help. Doing all the stuff that the depression tells me is pointless. As the depression would say, “Even if you got skinny, no one would love you, so why bother?”
  • Being social can help. Something that both the depression and the social anxiety make me want to run away from. Go do something that terrifies you. It’ll make you feel better. Right.
  • Keeping your house clean can help. I know that. I’ve talked about it before. I haven’t gotten any better about doing it.
  • Getting a healthy amount of sleep can help. Says the sleep-deprived person. I’m totally failing at this one. And my run-forward strategy for coping isn’t helping me improve it either.
  • Taking time to relax can help. Did you hear that, Anxiety? I need to relax.
  • Getting sunlight can help. I guess I could work outside. But I’m so used to being inside now that I can barely see to walk to my car. I’m like a vampire who wears pastels. And doesn’t sparkle.

I’m sure there are even more than that. And I’m sure that a lot of the time with the therapist will be spent picking some of these to try and reporting on my progress. But that’s kind of the point of a therapist. It’s about having a fairly objective person to talk to who is supportive but holds you accountable for the effort you put in. And has credentials and training that give what they say more power.

As far as meds go, they’re like floodgates. The goal is to help keep the waters back until the inside’s ready to deal with it. More ready, anyway. I’m a little conflicted about taking them – not because I have anything against taking depression meds. As far as I’m concerned, it’s like treating any other illness. You take the meds that treat the illness.

The reason I’m being wishy-washy about them is that one of the reasons I’m tempted to go on a specific anti-depressant is that several people I know lost weight when on it. Ok, it helped their depression, too, but there’s part of me that thinks using it for depression is an excuse to use it to lose weight. Which isn’t healthy. And it’s pretty sneaky of my subconscious.

I also worry because a lot of anti-depressants can cause anxiety or make anxiety worse. Hello, bad idea. Especially since anxiety makes my depression worse. Get skinny and lose your mind! What a plan.

I guess I could let a therapist decide whether the meds are a good idea/necessary and which one would help without making the anxiety worse. You know, like a logical person. But that would mean that I have to find a therapist. And pay for a therapist. Which could be covered by my insurance. Or it could increase my bills, making my anxiety worse.

So, either I can put the time and energy into finding a therapist and a way to pay for one, or I can put the same time and energy into trying to change my everyday lifestyle.

What would you choose?

My Sex Life Is Like A Ferrari

So I stole this image from Dating Dramas of a Thirty Something. I’m sure she stole it from somewhere else, so I’m not gonna guilt about it. Because it is sadly and aggravatingly true for me, too.

My sex life is like a Ferrari. I don't have a Ferrari.
By those standards, I have a bicycle. Or a pair of walking shoes.

I want a Ferrari. I want exciting, powerful, and expensive. Ok, I can live without the expensive part, but for goodness sakes, a taste of the other two would be bloody nice. Hell, I’d settle for one of them. I don’t even know anyone with a Ferrari I can borrow.

I took that too far, didn’t I? Don’t worry. If anyone I knew had a Ferrari, they wouldn’t let anyone borrow it. Are you kidding? They might tell everyone about it and post about it on social media, but there’s no way they’d give away the secret to the rest of us. As much as people think women share, they still don’t want to give their competition a leg up.

That said, if anyone would like to prove me wrong and share said Ferrari tips, please, feel free to post in the comments. Make, model, and specs are preferred. Time share options are available. And, no, I’m not serious about that.

To be honest, while I’m open to taking tips (because why not?), I prefer to find my own Ferrari, thank you. Actually, I think you kind of have to, right? What you consider a Ferrari might be a station wagon to me. Or a freight train aimed right at where I’m tied to the tracks.

This analogy is getting disturbing. The point is that what some people consider exciting in a sex life might be boring or terrifying for others. I mean, as far as cars, a Ferrari is not as exciting to me as say an old cadillac in good condition.

I’m not sure what that does to the analogy, and I’m not gonna think too much into it. It doesn’t really matter anyway. As far as that analogy goes, I don’t have either, and I’m not too happy about it. The problem is that I don’t meet guys in my day-to-day life, and I’m not too thrilled with going on match or tinder either. Time issues aside, dating with social anxiety is crap on a stick. Being single is easier. It’s less stressful.

But it doesn’t do much for your sex life. Unless you’re into one night stands or friends with benefits. Anxiety-wise, the first one sounds awful. The second one, not so much, but getting friends who’re interested in benefits has the same problems as dating. Maybe more.

Why is getting good sex so complicated? I mean, you can buy a Ferrari.