December 16, 2007

Three Handy Tips For Battling Winter Depression

Like a lot of people of mostly Northern European descent, I have a tendency toward seasonal affective disorder, or, to use the clinical term, "not giving a shit about anything/disconnectedly taking note of my precipitously falling self-esteem/teetering on the brink of a hollow, meaningless existence between December and April."

This is partly due to the genetics my hardy but sullen ancestors handed down to me. On my father's side, I'm descended from Amish people, who reinforced whatever depressive tendencies they may have had by, after fleeing murderous mobs throughout Europe, deciding to forever live the lives of 16th century agrarian peasants here in America. It's nothing but horse shit, itchy fabrics, butter churning, self-denial, and collectively-imposed ignorance and isolation for my people, which I'm sure you'll agree is the quickest path toward a joyless existence.

Granted, whatever genetic predisposition I may have toward being a bit "glass half empty," I don't help myself much by, once the days become shorter and colder, fortifying myself with cheap whiskey, burrowing under the covers in abject defeat, reflecting -- in a particularly self-punishing German and Catholic way -- on man's inhumanity to man, and avoiding personal contact as much as possible.

But I'm here to tell you that we're not powerless in this fight. There is hope. Winter depression doesn't have to get the better of you.

My tips for others with a tendency toward the morose:

#1. Consider engaging in a bit of wanton promiscuity, even if such behavior is not part of your usual character. Sex is an important part of health, and being extra slutty in the winter offers several depression-battling advantages. It gets you out of the house to meet people, boosts the old adrenaline and oxytocin levels, and is excellent, calorie-burning cardio, which boosts your endorphins, too. Don't worry yourself with thoughts like "But will this evolve into a healthy relationship?" or "But I'm not actually gay." What's important is that you're meeting people again, and you're connecting -- even if you're not making eye contact or remembering names.

#2. Boost your mood with high doses of amphetamines and other stimulants. Stock up on that ADD medication and buzz, vibrate, and shock your nervous system into a frenzy of activity. If you can't afford ADD meds, and are too depressed even to beat up school kids for their Ritalin or Adderal, try espresso or Red Bull. You won't be able to think clearly enough to accomplish anything, or speak without grinding your teeth and scaring people, but you'll break out into a nice little jittery sweat and terrify your heart into pumping just a little bit faster, which is almost like feeling happy.

#2. As a last resort, attach a car battery to the most conductive parts of your body. For some people it's nipples, for others, fingertips. Who can afford those fancypants ECT treatments? Not me. Shock yourself into feeling something...anything. It's not just a metaphor: between your skin and your organs there is actually a thin layer of tiny batteries that can't be neglected. This is what those usually bullshitty holistic types mean when they say "recharge your batteries." Just be sure to slather yourself with aloe vera, cocoa butter, or some other electricity-conducting substance first, and maybe dab a little extra anti-frizz serum on the ends of your hair, too.

If none of these approaches help, consider my latest strategy: gather three of your nuttiest friends together and start a obsessive, immersive comedy project. Out of all that craziness should surely come some creative brilliance, right? Well, unless you're just "boring" crazy, and not "cool" crazy. In which case, reconsider that whole "whiskey and avoidance" thing I mentioned earlier. That might be the way to go. Whatever. What the fuck. Do I give a shit?

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