Do you have any tips on how to be Bullish when you’re going through depression, or anxiety, or other headfrying thingy? I’d love to read you on that and I think it’d help a lot of people.
- Melancholy in Melbourne
My freshman year in college, I became severely depressed. I’m not especially prone to these things. But it’s not surprising that the confluence of being away from home the first time, having absolutely no time management or schedule-setting ability and thereby sleeping and waking at bizarre hours, and moving from Virginia Beach to a a dark and freezing valley in New England might have some kind of effect. While I was at Dartmouth, someone told me that the campus health center had a “sunlamp room,” where students who had Seasonal Affective Disorder could just lie around until they were less sad.
At the time, I was interested in writing fiction, and I had this idea that being depressed would make my work more profound. There may be some truth to this, or at least some correlation — many great artists have had serious mental illnesses — but very few of us are going to be great artists, and many great artists have also lived pretty jolly lives, holding loft parties and sexing up young acolytes. I was seriously disserved by the idea that depression was somehow “deep.” Looking at a tree on the campus green for twenty-five minutes because you think it’s so profound is not helpful to you or anyone else (or the tree).
I do have some tips. A few. But I’m obviously not a medical professional, so I’m adding the caveat here that what I have to say is meant to be helpful only to someone who has already sought out the help of a trained professional, or whose problems (general moodiness, for instance) are just a normal part of the human condition, and under the bar for a treatable condition.
Image by Allie Brosh of Hyperbole & A Half