Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon.

Yeah, I know. I'm late. Ah well. Stuff happens.

Luna, aka Jaws, has continued to thrive, although just as she was done with parvo, she came down with giardia. Whee. Giardia is this little protozoal parasite that lives just about everywhere, and lots of people and animals carry it without ever getting infected. This is most likely what makes you sick when you drink water that hasn't been properly purified, and dogs usually get it from drinking out of puddles & whatnot. But that's not what I came to talk about.

I came to talk about mental health. Y'all can sing along when it comes around again on the guitar.

Over the last few months, a couple of my favorite bloggers have shared their struggles with depression: Hyperbole and a Half ( and The Bloggess ( These two ladies talk about their experiences with honesty and humor. I can especially relate to Hyperbole's cartoon self curled up into a little ball behind the couch, because I have been that little ball behind the couch.

I bring this up because I think it needs bringing up. About 25% of the population will experience clinical depression at some point. And in the world we live in right now, who could possibly be surprised at that? Everything seems to move faster than our feeble mortal minds can keep up with, not to mention the deplorable state of the economy, which has caused people to lose their jobs, homes, and self-respect. Can you blame anyone for being depressed? Most people won't get help, because of stigma, pride, finances, or denial, among other reasons.

Now, you have to understand, there's a difference between clinical depression and having a bad day. Depression is having a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day 24/7 for at least two weeks running. Mine went on for about a solid year.

Yes. I spent a year in one terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, where I ran off to the bathroom at work so I could go cry - for no good reason, except that I just felt like it. This was the nadir of many years of denial. (The irony is that at the time, I worked for a mental health organization.)

Yes again. I did say YEARS. When I finally got help and came out the other side, I was like, what the hell took me so long? And that's one of the bizarre things about depression: you don't know how sick you really were till you get better. It's cruel, for sure, but that's how it is. While depression is a temporary situation for most people, for others (like me) it's chronic, and the best we can do is manage it.

It's been over 10 years now. I should have gotten help 10 years before that. It was one of the best things I ever did. I have the tools now to recognize when things aren't right and the knowledge to fix them, or at least take care of myself till it passes. So I guess what I'm saying to you is, if you're having a perpetual 24/7 Bad Day, don't ignore it. Don't wait to get help. DON'T SUFFER. Visit the Mental Health America website at and look for the affiliate office nearest you. Call them. They can put you in touch with the resources you need, so don't assume that because you're broke and/or have no insurance, you can't get help. Chances are, you can, and you'll be glad you did.

Till next time, take care of yourself. And Happy New Year.

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