Depression/The Blues by Joana Roja
Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wondering if I'd changed at all
If my eyes were still red...
New Year - clean slate, right? Ideally, maybe. But in reality that's not how life works. We'd all like to flip a switch, turn a calendar page - New Year, new week, new month - anything to wipe that slate clean and begin anew, washing away life's disappointments, fears, mistakes, sorrows, anxieties.
The sad fact of the matter, quite literally, is that this time of year is tough for those who suffer from depression. You'd think that the end of the Holidays would be the time to let out a huge sigh of relief, put on a happy face and get on with it already. However, days are still shorter and darker and that new calendar on the wall doesn't erase the things that hung on the previous one. Things that hang heavy on our minds and hearts as we carefully tiptoe through the minefield that is life.
Sitting at a roundtable during a comedy blogging conference not long ago, I asked the question: "Should I broach the 'depression topic' when what I'm writing is ostensibly a humor blog?" The answer I got from seasoned bloggers who've been there themselves was a resounding "Yes!" After all, as one roundtable member pointed out, The Bloggess, for example, has dealt with depression and anxiety very publicly within the framework of a humor blog and has done it so eloquently while reaching out and touching all those readers who are there themselves, and in doing so, created a community and a safe haven to discuss a once taboo subject.
And of course, the question arises as to how public to go with something so personal. But depression is such an integral part of a person's life. It's an integral part of my life.
I have depression. Big surprise? Probably not. It's no secret that many who are drawn to comedy have battled depression, anxiety, crummy childhoods and used humor as a coping mechanism. Even so, people are often surprised when the person they feel comfortable calling "the life of the party" suddenly shows their dark side.
Believe me...you don't know the power of the Dark Side. Or maybe you do.
I was diagnosed with Dysthymia several years ago; a low grade form of chronic depression that often begins at childhood and goes undiagnosed because it's mistaken for moodiness. I was that moody kid and worse? I was the arty-farty moody kid. That's what my family and I chalked it up to. If "emo" was a thing in the 70s and 80s...and 90s...that would have been me - Hello! - clad in black and brooding, sitting in my room all day writing songs with stupid titles like "I'm Not Bitter". Uh huh. Oh, I've got notebooks full of diatribes to sorrow, resentment and anger.
Depression has held me back, held me up, held me hostage. But I truly believe it has played a huge part in shaping who I am creatively. Ah...that so often goes with the territory too, doesn't it? The list of creative people who have hung depression on their doors is seemingly endless.
As the year unfolds in front of me, I sit in my PJs wrapped in the safety of my comfy soft blanket, pug at my side (oh yes...multiple small animals are a sign of neediness, didn't you get that memo?) and try to fight off the thoughts swirling in my head. All the various ways my monkey mind likes to remind me of the mistakes I've made, how I haven't done or become enough, how I should be and do more. Blah blah blah. How even all these years later, at the start of a new year, I continue to feel the fallout of past missteps after so many attempts to make amends. How I still can't come to a place of acceptance and peace over so many things. That putting those things out of my mind is a band aid and not the solution.
Today, I wish I could write an eloquent epiphany of a peaceful resolution in this time of so many resolutions, like the ones I've read elsewhere. For now though, I'm learning from their words and from their shared experiences in the hopes that as I float in and out of the dark and white puffy clouds that inevitably await me, this will be a safe place for others to land and know that they are not up there floating alone.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headed for another joint
I always did feel the same
I just saw from a different point of view
Tangled Up in blue...