Category Archives: Think About It

Winter trees.

Spare Me the Positivity Right Now

These are dark days.

I mean, literally dark. Winter solstice and all that. In these northern climes, we just don’t have a lot of daylight hours right now. And I’d like to believe that this darkness is responsible for what I’ve been feeling lately. It is surely a factor.

I suspect, however, the looming possibility of living under a dictatorship plays a whole hell of a lot more into what I’m feeling.

I live in a racially and economically diverse city with an LGBTQ community center at its heart. Having the good fortune to attend racially and culturally diverse schools the majority of my life, I feel quite at home in such an environment. But these days, I’m around many people who are feeling sadness, hopelessness, injustice and fear. And rightly so.

Being in this open and accepting neighborhood, I also frequently encounter new-age, “just think positive” advocates who keep telling me to look on the bright side, be thankful for what I have and expect good things.

Aw, that’s nice. And with all due respect, it’s emotionally dishonest and it’s bullshit.

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I’m A Yoga Teacher And I Take Medication For Depression

This past weekend, I was visiting with my friend Tom.

Tom and I share an appreciation for cooking – though his appreciation is far more passionate than mine. He adores cooking. He would, and has, put it above all else.

“Whenever I’m sad or having a tough time,” he says, “I just go to the kitchen and start chopping or shredding and my troubles just melt away.”

Tom has said this to me so many times that he’s beginning to sound like the autistic savant Raymond on Rain Man. (“Melt away. Away. Troubles melt away.”) And I know him well enough to understand that the implication is that I should give this ‘cooking thing’ a try whenever I’m feeling down.

Tom means well, but he is unable to grasp that it’s not that easy for me. And I envy him this.

I live with depression. And not the “I’m so bummed they discontinued my bra” or “I can’t believe they kicked my favorite singer off of The Voice” kind of depression. Mine is of the “don’t leave the house and suffer paralyzing fear/anxiety that makes me want to strangle myself with my discontinued bra” variety. It isn’t pretty.

And for me, it’s terrifying.

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Winter trees.

What I’ve Learned From Depression… And Ram Dass

“You can be still and still moving. Content even in your discontent.”     – Ram Dass

Over a decade ago, I was visiting Portland, Oregon when I saw a flyer advertising that Ram Dass was in town and speaking that night. It felt like one of those special deliveries from the universe. My exposure to Ram Dass at that point had been some older interviews and his indisputably trippy book, “Be Here Now.” I was geeked at the idea of being able to see and hear him in person, though I knew he’d had a stroke and had no illusion that he would be the vibrant soul I’d seen in interviews.

The joke was on me.

Continue reading What I’ve Learned From Depression… And Ram Dass