The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid Friend

Sup, yo? I’m here to talk about my second suggestion from The Cure for Depression: the most amazing elixir to not actually exist and is therefore really a list of 14ish items that seriously help.

I need to work on my advertising taglines. Let’s try again:

Are you suffering from Depression? Do you think you might be? If yes or no; you’re reading this article, so there’s a good chance you don’t want to stay down in your hole.

You could use professional help.

“But… but, I don’t know who to talk to!”
I don’t either. I’m not you, sitting on your floor, living in your town, with or without your health benefits. That’s Google’s responsibility. -Google, or your old enemy Facebook.
Open up ye olde FB, and type something like “Hey guys, do you know a good counselor? Asking for a friend.” You’re not really lying because you should be your own best friend, right?
If that’s too intense, text a close friend. I literally did this to my neighbor, out of the blue, and got one of the best therapists I’ve ever been to (and, believe me, I’ve been to two in my life).

I have no way to pay for services.”
-I don’t, either. I’m a moocher off my husband. It’s not even covered by our health insurance, so there goes this year’s family trip and a few months of groceries. As he says, “It’s cheaper than divorce.” He’s sweet like that.
Do not get me started, rambling, and still cursing about health insurance. Even in America where I live, it has issues. I do happen to know that options exist out there. Use your friend, the internet, to look into what you can get.
If you’re religious, many ecclesiastical leaders are willing to help with what they can.
If you have parents, try asking them. Maybe they can at least let you live downstairs for another decade while you get to a better place.
If you have a rich great aunt, hope that she knocks off sooner than later. Okay; just kidding about that one.

“What if the person I get sucks?”
-Find a new person. It’s your hard-earned money (or, your great aunt’s). If you’re stuck picking from a certain office or a specific list, try asking the nurses who they think is good for what you’re experiencing.

“I can’t open up to a therapist or counselor. What if s/he judges me?”
-I may have this exact problem. Still. I am the slowest person ever, I’m sure; because I finally start opening up at the END of the session. Sometimes, I close off at the end. I’m a mixed bag of self-protective measures, really.
I keep going back to my paid friend because THIS IS HER JOB. She is supposed to “judge me,” because she’s trying to help me. She’s super nice so would probably want to help anyway, but she is also there because I’m paying her.

“Insert your excuse here.”
-Nope, not going to buy it. Do what I said. Try, try again.

Think of it this way: A counselor, therapist, or psychologist is like a tightrope instructor. Instead of tightrope walking the way you have for (possibly) YEARS now, why not pay a person who knows? After a few sessions, you may think, So I wasn’t supposed to be doing it UPSIDE-DOWN this whole time! Who knew?!

You’ve tried it your way. A paid friend can show you a better way.

In terms of a more advanced paid friend, aka a psychiatrist, I’m afraid I have no experience in this regard. I’ll do some more research, and get back with you next week.

Go get a counselor if you don’t have one. A good one is worth it because YOU ARE worth it.

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unsplash-logoCasey Horner

How Expensive is This Happiness Thing?

They say that money can’t buy happiness, but I only halfway agree.

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True; money doesn’t directly purchase a meaningful relationship with another person, a healthy child who grows up to support and love you, the satisfaction of completing a challenging job, nor creating something with your own hands.

It does pay for the braces, beauty products, restaurant food, cell phones, wedding, new spouse’s parents’ costs, anniversaries, random presents, midlife marriage counseling, throw pillows, curtains, rediscovery vacations, and all the ending of life costs -that facilitate a meaningful relationship with another person.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

think I’m saying money is necessary for happiness. You can’t be happy with no money to speak of or not enough for your needs. Heck, life’s difficult with not enough to cover the cost of a few wants, too.

What about a couple who really wants to have a child, yet can’t afford expensive IVF treatments or adoption? Or that retired guy who just wants a place to live amongst ever-rising house prices? Or the kids who grow up with terrible friends in a bad neighborhood because the parents worked two jobs, put them in the local (awful) daycare, could not pay for sports programs, and felt too depressed themselves to listen to their children’s needs?

Are they happy?

I know, I know. Mr. Optimist says they could be. They could find their happy place even in a sad, little, dark corner of the world in which they sit with rising medical costs for a genetic disease that prevents them from working so they can’t even buy decent housing and food nor meet anyone who wants to be friends.

…That may have been Sadness talking.

To play my own devil’s advocate, the reverse of my argument may also be true. I mean, I have enough money. I live a really cushy life compared to most people in the world. Yet, I’m not happy. A good chunk of that is beating myself up for not being happy despite having such an easy life, but we might want to get into that in another post.

I believe my point is that money is essential for happiness. One needs to spend it in the right way and with the right attitude, but cannot be happy without it.

What do you think?

—————

Think about it and let me know. For now, here’s my previous week, free of charge:
Wednesday, January 23: Several helpful friends helped solve whodunit in “It’s All a Mystery.”
Thursday, January 24: “The Cure for Depression: Connect with a Human,” the first tip in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, January 25: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to D. Wallace Peach!
Saturday, January 26: Announced the tenth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Enter it!
And, “Insided Out,” self-reflection at an internal, emotional level.
Sunday
, January 27: “Grandma’s Tears” for Carrot Ranch‘s flash fiction prompt.
Monday, January 28: A great quote from Len about love and marriage.
Tuesday, January 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty One.”
Also, “A Head Start on the Day?” at my mothering blog.
Wednesday, January 30: Today!

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-One

“Wil!” the crew chief said. “We’re here.”

Wil Power frowned in confusion and looked up from her idling IndyCar. Four hundred laps of looping, blackened tarmac still beckoned beyond the pit crew’s hunched shoulders. The hasty *bzzt* *bzzt* of impact wrenches played background music to the ever-present hum of the waiting track and its racers.

“Wil!” her father repeated. “Get out. I gotta go to work.”

“Oh!” Wil scrabbled at the straps of her backpack as cheering fans and roaring asphalt dissolved into a silent, gray schoolyard. She blinked. She turned to her father, noted his impatient expression, blushed, and stole a quick peck on his cheek. “‘Bye, Dad!”

Rob watched his impulsive daughter successfully exit the car and take off running toward the dim, dark building up the dim, dark hill. He hadn’t the time to reminisce after her waving scarf and hair, however. Leaning over the console and passenger seat, he sighed and stretched to pull her door closed.

Wil heard the telltale just-made-it clunking of her father’s engine as he accelerated out and away from the curb. A long, low *bonnng* sounded from the school. Huddled, rushing teenage bodies scurried around and before her as her scrambling boots slipped up the winter-dew grass.

She caught the shadow of someone slipping past; had the idea that it may have been HopeMan, she’s sneaky, was all Wil could think as she grabbed at a front door of the school building. Once inside, she rushed down rapidly-emptying hallways to her first class. Intermittent *bam* sounds echoed to her right and left as a few tardy people slammed locker doors shut.

She could hear Dr. L.‘s droning voice before she reached the hall of his classroom. “…We’ll see *mumble* *mumble* acidic *mumble*.” Wil turned a corner and saw the door near the end. “*Mumble* *mumble* bases and *mum*-acids are fairly inert at the midline, where you see water, blood, and urine.”

Wil walked in right when everyone snickered, yet also right when Dr. L. turned to his diagram to see what they all thought was so funny.

 

Continued from Eighty.
Keep reading to Eighty-Two.

“Romance is not being all starry eyed but an understanding that neither of us is perfect, and a willingness to put up with those imperfections.

“So here we are forty seven years later, still romantically involved, still forgiving each others faults and still trying the best we can to ensure our relationship endures.”

-Len, “Love and Marriage,” Len’s Daily Diary

Grandma’s Tears

The sun-warmed beach felt wet and warm
To tiny feet through after-storm;
A woven bowl within her hands,
A flutt’ring hope within the sands.
Searching, searching patiently;
Seeking out a memory.
A glint! A glare! She shouted, skipped!
She danced in young explorer bliss.
For, bit by shining bit, she found
Crystal shards strewn over ground.
And, ducking leaping dancing low
They came to fill her basket-bowl.
Look, Gram, she told the sunshaft sky;
Laughing, she lofted basket high,
I fin’lly found your present, here;
I fin’lly found your star-shed tears.
Clouding sunset smiles played:
Snug’ling, warming, happy rays.

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Beach-combed for Carrot Ranch‘s writing prompt.

January 24, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about shards. You can write about the pieces, the item they once were, or who picks them up and why. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 29, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Insided Out

We watched Inside Out for our family movie night last week. Since then, my husband and I have had a lot to think about. He relates to Joy.

“I’m like Joy. I draw a circle and tell Sadness to stay inside it….” -Him

Me? I relate to Sadness, then Anger, then Fear. Sadness runs my little control panel, and tells Joy to keep it contained. We wouldn’t want things to get too happy, you know?

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.” -Sadness

I know it sounds depressing. You don’t really need to tell a depressing person that she’s depressing. The funny thing is that, when other people express similar sentiments, I put on a little mask and cheerleader demeanor (though not ever the outfit). “I’m sure that problem would be helped by _________” I say. “You’re not worthless,” I add. “Every human being has worth and I have seen you do amazing things.”

Inside, however, my coagulation of Sadangryscared says rotten things.

“There is no point to life and no one really likes you.” -Me

I’ve expressed the feeling that others are driving, that life is ho-hum, that I don’t know what to do and that I feel badly for feeling this way on top of it all. At rarer times; I have been a little happier and explained how to move on, get over oneself, and improve.

The problem is Depression and its insidious friend, Despair. When both of those are too lazy to try very hard, they kick Apathy over to sit on me. I can’t care about much with her sitting there.

…. -Apathy

See? She can’t even be bothered to construct a sentence, let alone give me the idea that I ought to try to try.

Why are things that way? Why can’t I try a little joy? It’s because when Joy is loose inside my mind, she’s a tad crazy. We’re talking toga party crazy. We’re talking repressed emotion crazy. She bounces off walls, says embarrassing things, and doesn’t really know how to respond to others’ comments. As Fear slowly gets a good grip on her arm to put her back over in her circle, she turns into Anxiety.

“Oh, no. What did I say? I should never have allowed myself to feel happy.” -Me again, or Joy as Anxiety

Like in the film, I believe my emotions need to get along better if I hope for more stability. My mind islands need a fusion; a cohesive Pangaea where all may play and get along.

After all, Riley’s mother’s dominant emotion is Sadness. She and the other eyeglass-wearing, ponytail-toting gals get along fine and don’t seem to be collapsing in crying heaps all over the place. I can aim for that, can’t I?

Until then, here’s a final message from Sadness:

“I’m too sad to walk. Just give me a few …hours.”

 

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Good Saturday morning to you all, even if you are not necessarily reading this on a morning nor a Saturday.

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, episode Eleven.

What is terrible poetry? Please read my helpful article, “How To Write Terrible Poetry.” Lower your standards, trash your meter, near-rhyme your audience to tears, and then read the rules for this week:

  1. Topic: Diamond in the Rough.
  2. Length should be greater than 5 words but fewer than 200 words. (5<poem<200)
  3. Rhyme if you want. Don’t if you don’t want.
  4. Make it terrible.
    Your dear old granny who never said anything bad about anybody (excepting for using passive-aggression, of course; bless her heart) will want to tell you not to worry; not everyone can be a poet and isn’t it good you have other talents to fall back on, Dearie?
  5. Terrible can still be granny-approved. Keep it PG-rated.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (February 2, 2019) to submit a poem.

Post your poem or a link to it in the comments, or fill out the included form. I read them all and judge as impartially and blindly as I may.

Geode

Yes, I know it’s a geode. It’s the thought that counts.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Wow.

I’m speechless, so it’s a good thing I’m able to type.

I read through all the entries this week several times, and kept thinking that I need to make a ten-way tie. Only two or three of the submitted poems were too fancy for our dubious standards, and even those were just barely so.

The winner this week is D. Wallace Peach.

Poots

by D. Wallace Peach

There once was a hairy old coot
Who loved to squeeze out a poot
It was stinky and smelly
Gurgled like jelly
And popped off a sound like a toot

But he wasn’t close to the worst
My granny caught poots in her purse
She saved up the sound
For when grandkids came ‘round
Then out of her purse they would burst

Now MY poots are dainty as roses
No trouble for delicate noses
They make a small putter
Wheeze or soft flutter
But they won’t curl your hair or your toeses

Congratulations, Diana! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

I don’t want to encourage next week’s poets to utilize this strategy, but I had to force myself to go through reading hers the second time. 😀

All of you employed bad meter, mismatched rhyming, theme that rambled somewhere and then got lost but came back in a related way, and plenty of references and word usages to make artistic nerves cringe. On top of that extremely high bar, Diana won with the added benefit of -well, if you read it, you know.

I am not pandering in any way when I say the rest of the entries were AMAZING. As a poet sponsor, I am so proud of you all!

Here you are, in whatever order I could use to catch ’em all:

THE LOCKLOOSE GOOSE TRUCE!

by southernwriter122051046

I was hunting in far off Lockloose,
In the woods near St. Patty’s dam,
When I spied me an aging goose,
Just as sure as I’m sure I am,

And I was so damn hungry,
So, I wasn’t a bit choose-y,
So, I grabbed my gun, see,
And shot that ole’ goose-y,

But then it grabbed my gun,
And shot me back, damn!
So, we both lay bleedin’ at the settin’ sun,
Just as sure as I’m sure I am!

So, now, me and ole’ goose-y
Are bestest chums, by damn,
If you can’t eat ’em, don’t be choose-y,
Just as sure as I’m sure I am!

—–

Untitled piece

by Peregrine Arc

Listen…

Hark! Hark! Listen to that bark.

For sooth, or is it for sure? The tea kettle is boiling over, I assure…

Drip. Drip. Drip.

KLANG! KLANG! KLANG!

Ring, ring, ring.

Ka-boom, pop, boom!

Noises! Ack! What, where, how?

My ears are crying green pus, how doth one make it stop now?

Oh, I have my instrument pointed at Earth. It’s picking up all the audio waves. ‘Tis a terribly noisy planet, ’tis sooth, I’m afraid.

Quick Makbobblec3ft0, point the spaceship the other way. We shouldn’t have taken a left at Mars, nay neigh.

For sooth.

KLANG!

—–

Untitled piece

by Greygirlieandme

What’s that noise?
The car started it.
I felt such a twit when
The intermittent twanging
From the bang
When I put my foot down
Was actually
Nothing.
And then the kettle
Got really annoying
When it sang an aria rather than
Its normal whistle.
Don’t they know
It hurts my head
When their infernal row
Makes me see Scarlett.
Bet she didn’t have
These issues at Tara.
All her noises went away in the wind.
And she had a butler to sort them out
Anyway.
All day.
Not like me.
Stupid noises.

—–

The hootin’ toothy tootin’ lady

by RhScribbles

There was an old lady who tooted
The kids all thought it was a hoot
She sniffled and coughed
And ate applesauce
And went to sleep over there
On the sofa
Her bed was piled with laundry

—–

Bawls before kickoff

by Molly Stevens

They’re sitting in the stands,
All settled in their rows,
Bundled in sensible layers
Wearing adorable chapeaus.

The crowd noise is thunderous,
Delighting in their teams,
When a star takes center stage
And utters a piercing scream.

Has there been a threat to life?
A gunman on the loose?
From whence sprung this shrill shriek?
Some sort of harsh abuse?

The throng is shocked into silence
Hoping no one throws a tantrum,
As the screeching goes on and on and on and on
To execute the national anthem.

Oh, say, can you sing?
No! The group decrees.
Hire an opera singer
Who can reach the last high E!

—–

Squirrels go whirling

by RhScribbles

The squirrel in the attic
Became full of static
From running around in the insulation
Itching and scratching
He left the attic because the people
Heard him running
And they went to chase him out
But it was a nightmare because
He caused sparks that sizzled
From the static in the attic
And then I woke up.

—–

Untitled piece

by Anne Copeland

Terrible noises.
They seem to follow me secretly.
They can be farts
Or doggies squatting
with terrible noises that don’t come out
But I can smell.
Or they can be loud and rude
Especially when the back
of the one I love
is turned directly to my face.
It gives me warning,
but it is too late.
I’m afraid terrible noises
are to be my lifetime fate!

—–

The Bottom Burp

by TanGental

At heart
The fart
Was really very small

And well
It’s smell
Was nothing at all.

But parps
That start
On the tiny side

May grow
You know
And be difficult to hide

Don’t think
The stink
Will give you away

It’s the sound
That’s bound
To make you pay.

Try, my boys
To keep the noise
Under some control

Or you’ll find
Mankind
Won’t be very impressed and may well think you’re some kind of uncivilised idiot.

—–

Cola Etiquette

by Jon

It’s OK to slurp
at the bottom of the cup.
But try not to burp,
or let some come back up.

If you drink it too fast,
a cola will fizz,
and run out your nose,
that’s just how it is.

—–

An ode to Aunt Marlene

by Bruce Goodman

I worry some about worrisome noise, boys.
Cars are not toys
No matter if they bring you joys.
They are dangerous and when one hears a worrisome noise
When driving along the road
One knows instantly that it’s either the engine producing too much heat
Or old Aunt Marlene in the back seat.

The other day while driving along the road,
Just after leaving my abode,
Something went clack clack clack.
Oh what a worrisome noise!
No, it wasn’t old Aunt Marlene in the back.
I’d run over Aunt Marlene’s cat.

Old Aunt Marlene likes to read poetry out loud
When she’s in the back sitting proud.
Last week she read “The Ballad of Dick Turpin”.
It went on and on.
I said, “Can’t you shut up, Aunt Marlene, you’re driving us nuts?”
She said “It’s by Alfred Noyes”.
And I said “Well he’s a most worrisome Noyes.”

Drop the “I” out of NOISE and you get a WORRISOME NOSE.
Blow it.

—–

Untitled piece

by Bladud Fleas

here is a poem to sing
grundle pip boing thwack and ping
brrrp tinkle whap hmmp prr-dong
and that’s about the end of the song

no, wait, there’s another verse
and the noises they get a whole lot worse
but so we don’t increase our fears
we’ll just think them so no one hears

—–

Noises Everywhere

by Anneberly

What’s with these ear piercing, skin crawling sounds?
They are eating me alive, I just can’t stick around.

Where would I go? These noises are everywhere.
They’ve even made appearances in my nightmares.

Please save me from these “schlik, squish, slurp” type noises,
Before I become psychotic, and start hearing them as voices.

—–

Visit tomorrow for next week’s prompt, and keep up the terrible work!!

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The Cure for Depression: Connect with a Human

Looking at tips for curing Depression? If not, stick around anyway and you might make a friend.

Which leads us into the first tip: Connect with a human.

I don’t know about the rest of the crowd, but the last thing I want to do when I’m down in my cozy depression pit is seek out other people. They are often the reason I crawled into my closet in the first place. They should seek me out, preferably with a bribe.

Unfortunately, people are rather self-centered. Usually, a person is most concerned with his own thoughts and feelings because that is who he is literally inside of. So, your (and my) dummy friends and family need at least a little tiny clue that we could use a helping hand. And a bribe.

Another failing of mine is a tendency to look at the great big huge picture of a problem and find (somehow) that I cannot even take one step toward progress. This is even worse when I am inside my depressive mind, trapped in a swirling vortex of apathy and negative self-talk.

What do we do? I will beat this tip over your head about 14 times: Start with small.

I happen to know that you can still get cell phone reception inside your mind/mud pit/closet/bathroom. So, the way to start small is by:

  1. Texting a friend
  2. Reading and commenting on safe and open blog posts. Most of us are nice, and know what you go through.
  3. Talking to your friend, partner, spouse, or roommate from behind the door.

I am also a big fan of pets as comforters. Go ahead and hide from the world for some recharge time, but bring your cat or dog or chinchilla with you. You can pet them all Dr. Evil style, tell them everything that sucks about humans, then connect with a person.

As amazing as animal companions are, however, you will gain the most benefit from other humans.

Yes, I know that is a scary idea. I spent nearly an entire counseling session arguing with my paid friend about NOT TRUSTING ANYONE because people hurt you. However, I also know that I need a few good people.

Connections with peers was found to be the #1 determinant of happiness by some dude at Pennsylvania University, even more so than sugary dessert consumption. Knowing that, give it a chance. Start small, and you’ll eventually have some peeps you can send anything from concerns to dirty jokes to.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it. I know.

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It’s All a Mystery

New visitors to my blog might be a bit confused. Is this a poetry site? A place for flash fiction? One in which I go off the deep end in a depressive heap?

You’re not alone; I am also confused.

There may not be a term for what I do here, specifically, besides ‘impulsive’ or ‘whimsical’ or maybe even ‘nonsensical.’ If pressed, I like to say that I write on “many topics and in many styles of expression.” (That’s from my résumé.)

Despite this, there are two genres that I avoid: romance and mystery.

We’ll go into the former later, Dr. Freud. I only want to talk about the latter today, because I …can’t. I can’t write a mystery. “It’s not that difficult,” you might say. Or, “But, but, but -many of the stories I’ve read of yours reveal something the audience didn’t know. That’s mystery, you know.”

They’re really not, because of my approach to writing new stories. That approach is, basically, having a general idea of a theme or direction and then writing. Little details, dialogue, descriptions, and humor crop up as appropriate while I write. In a sense, I am as much in the dark as the reader until a resolution presents itself somewhere as I go.

So, today’s question is: How does one write a mystery? Plotting? Red herringing? Do you know every twist and turn and intentionally-wrongly-accused character? Do you *gasp* know whodunit from the outset?

If so, how is it any fun to write?

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—————

Looking to solve The Case of What I Did Last Week? Here are the spoilers:
Wednesday, January 16: “How to Win Friends and …Nevermind,” my admittance to social ineptitude.
Thursday, January 17: “The Cure for Depression,” the beginning of a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, January 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to second-time winner, Molly Stevens.
Also, a re-post of Peregrine Arc’s writing prompt. VISIT; WRITE SOMETHING!
Saturday, January 19: Announced the tenth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Enter, if you dare!
Sunday, January 20: “Home Life Poetry.” I may need to get out more on Sundays.
Monday, January 21: Some answers to Len‘s Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination.
Tuesday, January 22: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty.”
Also, “A Day in the Life” (a re-post of a poem I wrote on this site) at my mothering blog.
Wednesday, January 23: Today!