Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to solve depression in fifteen minutes

Simple.  Go walk up on a stage somewhere by yourself and turn toward the audience.  There are all those eager faces waiting to be entertained, and you promised, long before the depression kicked in, to do this.  So here you are.  Do something. Nobody knows or cares all that much about your problems.

So I looked down at the three sheets of paper that I'd brought with me.  It was a short story about a relationship I'd had in my college days which seems a very long time ago.  In fact, this year would be the 35th annual reunion of my graduating class. I'm not going, but I'll assume they'll still have the party.

Now of course one of the diseases would show up, and this time I had trouble swallowing as I was reading, plus dry mouth.  But I read my story.  And the diseases, while mentioned in the story, never got to mess with me after that, much to their chagrin.

This story is three pages long and has an arc of nearly 35 years as well, from my college days to the present time.  My parents, the women in my life, my wife, and the girlfriend of the 70's are all in it, and that a lot of ground to cover in about 1000 words, which is what the curator at the Troy Arts Center requested from the six of us reading.  Lots of editing.

And then reading in front of people I did not know, except Jackie of course.  But it went well.  They laughed where I hoped they would and were silent when I hoped, also.  Picked up nice compliments.

I think it helped the depression because for those minutes I was only concerned that the audience enjoyed the performance.  For those minutes the depression was locked away in his normal closet, and a little manic took the stage along with me.  Boy that was nice.  I'm having a pretty good day today, but it would better if I could read one of my stories for you, and hope you like it.

You see, we are concerned with others. Bipolar disorder is a very selfish disease, I've always thought.  If we're manic, we are excited about great we are and all the things we can accomplish (we = just me).  When depression hits, we are concerned about how miserable we feel (we = just me) and why the world can't be fixed so that I would not feel so bad, or I could be fixed so that I would not feel so bad. But even with this, the disease is not your fault, nor mine, and anyone who tells you different needs to be removed from your life. Pronto.

A little therapy and the proper drugs (if needed and taken properly) can help adjust the world so that we can start looking back out at it and tell our stories. You all have them.  Good and bad, everyone has a story and, believe it or not, there are plenty that want to hear it.  Get ready and start talking.

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