There’s nothing like emerging from a vast, abysmal, months-long depressive period to make a girl feel brand new. Touched for the very first time, etc. Inside the void it’s tough to get excited about much, except maybe bedtime, happy hour, or just blacking out, if that’s more your thing. (No judgment here. It’s still a free country, sort of. A little bit.) Once it’s released its evil, voidy little grip, you’re left standing there, a sort of naked, baby-mouse Rip Van Winkle. You’ve got to remember how to do everything again. Once more, with feeling! But mostly–if you’re like me–you need to remember how to feel pleasure again, how to find joy in the small things around you, so that you can continue to be yourself. Otherwise there’s no point.
And so these are the things–trifling, perhaps; crucial, definitely–that are floating my boat, now that the boat is watertight and buoyant once more:
- Super Better. From the website: “SuperBetter is a gameful way of living to be Stronger for life. Living gamefully means bringing the same psychological strengths you naturally display when you play games – such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination – to your real life.” It’s been acutely helpful to me. I admire the hell out of its creator, the brilliant Jane McGonigal.
- Weleda Skin Food. Comme d’habitude, I am late to the party on this one, but became a certified believer™ after two uses. I’m basically a lizard, and never is that more obvious than during the winter, or what passes for winter in Los Angeles. Also, as mentioned previously, I’ve been limping along like an eviscerated ghost for the last few months, not at my healthiest. What I’m trying to say is this stuff has revived my skin to the point where, while perhaps no one would mistake my dewy visage for that of a collagen-rich eighth-grader’s face, it made an immediate difference. And despite my frequent hand washing (after giving birth thirteen years ago I became the tiniest bit obsessive about germs), I don’t need to reapply Skin Food to my hands more than two or so times during the day, unlike the product I’d been swearing by for twenty years (!). It, uh, even makes the ends of my damaged hair shiny without making them greasy. And it smells like a massage.
- Anemone by the Brian Jonestown Massacre. What is it about this song? The first time I heard it, I felt as though it were somehow coming from a place inside of me. It’s sad yet beautiful; affirming, yet narcotic. It’s good for what ails you, and good when nothing’s ailing you.
- Palo Santo + Amyris perfume oil blend from For Strange Women. I keep a few sticks of Palo Santo at my desk, for sniffing. Honestly. I love the scent so much. So I was happy to see that my favorite perfumer has this two-oil blend that captures it perfectly, without being overwhelming (I’m absurdly sensitive to scent, so it’s a fine line between wonder and horror, always!). One sniff and I’m grounded.
- These silly-ass, Pippi Longstocking looking rainboots. They make me smile. (I got them for a pittance from one of those online clearinghouse services.)
Of course, it’s not all things. Of course it isn’t. What has helped the most:
- The friends who said things like, “Promise you’ll tell me if it starts getting worse, tell me. You can’t shock me,” and those who opened up to me about their own experiences with depression.
- My dog.
- My husband and son, the brightest stars in the universe.
Onward. And miles to go before I sleep.