Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Anxiety? Depression?? Or a Bad-Day-Cluster?
After my spousal unit’s diagnosis with myeloma, it was data that kept our family sane. I addicted myself to the Myeloma Beacon website and their daily, newsy updates about breakthroughs and clinical trials. It was the right thing to do: myeloma is one of only a few diseases where successful trials lead rapidly to change in treatment protocols. I actually said to my spouse the other day, “If only you were diagnosed YESTERDAY instead of WAY BACK IN AUGUST.”
The first time I realized how important information is to one’s mental health… was when I hypochondriacally diagnosed myself as clinically depressed. Turns out I was having a series of bad days: my four kids ranged in ages from ten to eight months at the time, and most of them were contagiously vomiting on each other. I was simply experiencing a stretch of bad days. WHAT A RELIEF!
I love the theory about ‘good versus bad days.’ On ‘good days’ your very own angel makes the sun shine relentlessly just to catch your blonde highlights. Your bank teller remembers to wear her patch making her SO excited to see you, she notices your highlights and gives you a lollipop the color of the happily shining sun. You believe that life is good.
Then there’s the super-ball rubber-check day, the “return of your favorite cold sore” day, a Jehovah’s Witness FINDS you day.
On Bad Days, even Burger King is out to get you.
“Sorry. We’re out of beef.”
But Stephen Hawking would tell you that good and bad days are scientifically impossible. His computer would say, “From the perspective of dimension-splicing and protonic time-reversal, ‘days’ as we know them do not exist. They are mythical units of measurement created by man to explain why we wake up one day looking old. ‘Ahh,’ we say. ‘The Earth-Sun Thing has happened many times. Enough to expose my face to radiation so I am wrinkled enough to die.’”
But Stephen KING would tell you Good and Bad Days are no myth. They are made of bad spirits that led to reality TV. You can actually see them at work in older movies like Carrie or Backdraft. (In these films, Kurt Russell and Sissy Spacek are ostracized by spouses or cheerleaders, Kurt’s budget is cut, Sissy’s Mom won’t buy tampons, then they both die, finally, blazingly, of thrilling special effects.)
Some people believe that Good and Bad Days exist for a purpose: that they are karma’s way of making humans experience polarization. Like a polar windstorm juxtaposed by a tropical drought -- to prove that misery would get even more boring than the curse of perpetual bliss. So karma alternates them. That we may enjoy each to the fullest.
Sometimes people try to enjoy Good and Bad Days at the same time. Karma intends this to entertain psychologists, so they get to use the term “rationalization.”
“It is GOOD I am working 85 hours per week. Now I earn enough money to pay a therapist so I can learn to balance my time.”
Occasionally, Good and Bad Days marry to create such balance, we can’t tell the difference. Like when our dog is struck dead by lightning, but we win $3,000 on a scratch ticket. Really. What do we feel then?
And when a string of ‘bad days’ cluster up on you insidiously, you, too, might diagnose yourself as “depressed.” But the only way to know the difference … is information:
See if you can tell in the following scenarios whether Julia is having a Bad Day, or is simply “Depressed.”
Julia’s very last “retro” glass bottle of Pepsi has a cap that refuses to twist off. Her church key is broken, her corkscrew is lost, so Julia uses the edge of a mahogany table to lift the cap, but instead lifts off the bottle neck causing a volcanic spray of glass and soda to erupt on a carpet she just had cleaned. Julia says, “Oh shit.”
Depression? Or just a Bad Day?
Julia goes to the refrigerator for a Pepsi only to discover there is just one left. Julia screams, “Why ME?” then impales the Retro bottleneck into her chest and falls into the refrigerator to bleed until EMTs arrive.
A Bad Day? Or Depression?
If both situations overwhelm you to the point where you have to lie down, you are depressed. If Scenario Two depresses you, you are having a Bad Day. If Scenario One makes you giggle with self-recognition, you need to put your corkscrews back where they belong. And anyone having a Good Day is having too much fun to read this so I hope my point is clear.
There are good days, there are bad days, depression is a mythical unit of measurement created by Stephen King, and all of us should only do banking with tellers who wear Xanax patches.
Truly, life is good.