Josh And Depression Vs. The World: Day 26

Josh And Depression Vs. The World: Day 26

So the title change is an attempt to look at the situation differently, so that when bad things happen, I can continue to not deal with them well.

Namely, I’m trying to view depression as a “constant companion,” to quote Dr. Who. (I’m not feeling depressed at this moment, so my companion has taken a momentary bathroom break. But don’t worry, depression knows where I am. Depression has Siri.)

But I’m hoping this team up of sorts will help me get through the day. Maybe I can make a whole super team: Josh, Depression, Anxiety, and Lactose Intolerance. It’s the Four Horsemen of the Star Trek convention.

I’m finding, more than anything, that what I seek is equanimity. I shouldn’t write that – that’s really tempting fate. But it’s the truth. I’m looking for a kind of mental peace. I’m looking for simplicity. I long for the life that Thoreau led on Walden Pond, but with an Applebees within walking distance.

Perhaps, what I am seeking, whether it be artistically or emotionally, is presence. And perhaps the seeds and roots of depression lie in the past and the future. Ooh, I should trademark that thought.

There are days where I ask myself if it’s possible to let things go – to just snap my fingers and suddenly not be concerned anymore. I wonder if it is ultimately that simple. I wonder whether or not it is as easy as “getting over it.”

“The Buddha always gives you just enough problems.” Well, who the hell does his guy think he is?

I find myself taking a certain pride in my depression. I was reading about the emergence of gene editing, and the notion that science may soon allow for people to alter the DNA of their unborn children. And I’m asking myself if I would have wanted such a thing done to me. The answer, of course, is yes. Have you seen my kneecaps?

But seriously, folks, I don’t know what my answer to this would be. As pointed out by another buddhist book I read once, often times those elements of our personality that we deem as “negative” are connected with other elements that are “positive.” Without my depression, I may no longer have something I cherish about myself – like, for instance, my sense of worry. And then what would I be? Happy? I find such a thought offensive and odious, to say the least!

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 25

A good question has been raised: if the title of this blog is “Josh Vs. Depression,” where are the battle scenes? Well, let’s just say this blog is a lot like Batman V. Superman. Two hours of discussion, five seconds of action. And the only good thing about both is the cameo from Wonder Woman.

WONDER WOMAN: Have you tried exercise?

Thanks, Diana.

The purpose of this blog is not to fight depression. It’s merely to watch it. To describe as accurately as possible what is happening. Because I have noticed that when I do that here, things become more bearable out there.

In quantum theory, particles that are observed behave differently than particles that are not observed. I don’t have any scientific evidence to support this, but I’ve noticed the same thing in my own life. As soon as I observe what I am doing or what I am feeling, that observation yields some kind of change. And in this way, I can feel less depressed and still eat badly and not exercise. So you see, it’s a flawless plan.

The irony of irony is that my life got better after I started this blog – that is to say, my life got better after I took ownership over my depression. And the end goal is not to defeat it, but to get it on my side, and use it in the even greater battle of surviving in a world that is essentially the dark ages with wifi.

There will always be more bad days (at least, until death – though there might even be bad days after death. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of red tape involved – probably at least sales tax). I’m beginning to understand that my aim is not to escape the bad days, but to view all the good days and the bad days as clouds floating high above reality, which is immutable and slightly overpriced.

So yes, perhaps it’s time for a title change for this blog…

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 24

Here’s the advantage of having crippling anxiety: who needs alarm clocks when the alarm is provided by my own soul?!

I was trying to meditate while I was in bed this morning – I begin by counting my breaths – here’s how it went:

One… two… three… [I go on an imaginary rant, blaming everyone else around me, proceed to feel guilty, tell myself it’s all my fault, feel my heart palpitations, wonder if I have a heart problem, get out of bed, rock back and forth, watch the beginning of Chapelle’s comedy special, get jealous of Chapelle’s success, try to go back to bed, get up, watch a ten-minute video about how they did Jack Nicholson’s make-up in Batman].

So, long story short, my meditation skills leave something to be desired.

When things get really bad, I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. I don’t like watching new shows when I’m mentally unwell because it’s such a huge risk. What if the show is bad, or depressing, or too much like the kind of show I’d want to make. I’d end up being bored/depressed/really depressed.

Here’s the other fun thing about this process: when I’m lying in bed, I’m wide awake. When I’m going through my day, I’m exhausted.

“You should exercise,” say the people who are just as stressed as I am but who manage it differently. They are, however, correct. I should exercise more. That would help. It’s a shame I hate exercising. Other than taking long ponderous walks in which I contemplate the universal injustice that permeates the ether of this realm, I can’t stand working out.

“You should take a vacation,” say the people who make more money than I do.

If I take a vacation, I will go through a heightened version of what I call the “Sunday night downward spiral.” In other words, when the weekend rolls along, the best part of it is Friday night when I go to bed. Because I have the whole weekend ahead of me. Saturday night is neutral. I have one more day left, and then it’s back to hell. And then there’s Sunday night. The worst night of the week for me. The night when I envision all of the ways the next week could go wrong, and go through the conversations about it in my head in which I am indignant and justified in my ire. All a vacation really is to me is an extended weekend with an even worse Sunday night.

Wherever I go, there I am. That’s ultimately why I’d rather save my money than blow two grand to worry in a different latitude and longitude.

“But traveling gives you such a different perspective,” say the people who don’t have the same neuroses as I do and can only speak for themselves. It probably does give me a different perspective. When I went to London, the perspective I got was that I am an even bigger idiot than I thought. (That was actually a great trip. The trip helped me recover from the trauma of Star Trek: Nemesis).

Look, I’m not saying that all this advice is wrong. People are smarter than I give them credit for, except when they’re not, which is 75% of the time. (You can quote me on that).

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 23

Guilt. Finally, a topic of conversation that I can discuss with expertise. Whether or not I made a mistake in a situation, I can find the guilt. (By the way, sorry about the election). I can use whatever I did or didn’t do as evidence to myself that I am not worthy of happiness. Onstage, I will joke about how, by doing this, I am essentially practicing Judaism. That is a joke that is only 99.9999999% based in truth.

I remember taking a test in fourth or fifth grade. We were grading ourselves. I got two problems wrong, but the number I had written on a third answer was not very legible. So I went ahead and graded myself down. I don’t remember rationally why I did this, but I do remember feeling depressed about it. I injured myself on purpose.

I’m punishing myself with depression. I’ve done this for years. I did this in high school when I didn’t get into Advanced Acting, and I do it to this day.

“You enjoy being in your own pain,” my teacher once told me. The general feeling I get from people is this: “Some part of you must get off on it. That’s why you keep doing it.” That’s the common wisdom that’s thrown at me by people who have more traditional and accepted neuroses.

I’m beginning to think that guilt is easier than fear. Beating myself up is vastly preferable to admitting that I was wrong, or admitting that I was right, or taking an even greater risk: letting go and moving on. If I am feeling guilty, it means I am thinking instead of doing. The greatest advice I ever got was from my sixth grade history teacher. “When you stop to think, don’t forget to start again.”

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 22

I’m in the bitterness part of the cycle. This is where things are starting to better, and I need to do everything in my power to mitigate that, before God finds out and does it for me. So I complain about (insert meaningless detail about daily life that won’t matter in five years here).

This is the part of the cycle where I go on imaginary rants in my car and in the shower. I used to feel ashamed of doing this. Now I’m seeing the value in it. I rant to myself to get it out of my system so that I don’t do it in real life and say something I regret. I’m pretty sure He-Man does the same thing, standing in his shower –

Though, this brings up an interesting question. Does He-Man shower as He-Man or as Prince Adam? I would imagine that he showers when he’s Prince Adam. Because to shower while being He-Man would more than likely prove to be a breach in protocol. Then again, did the Sorceress ever say he couldn’t shower as He-Man? If it were up to me, I would probably shower as Prince Adam, because my body mass would be smaller and I wouldn’t use as much soap. It would be a good cost-cutting measure. And though he is a Prince, I would hazard to guess that he has a sound financial sense.

But at any rate, I’m sure that He-Man and/or Prince Adam lectures people in the shower:

“Well, that’s why you shouldn’t investigate something before calling me, Man At Arms! None of you are as powerful as I am. They shouldn’t even call us ‘Masters of the Universe.’ I’m the Master of the Universe, the rest of you are more like ‘middle management of the Universe.’ Don’t be offended, it’s the truth. And what the hell is that mouth guard thing you have? I can barely understand you. And for God’s sake, shave the moustache.”

Skeletor definitely screams in the shower. And it’s muffled because he has to put a plastic bag over his head so water doesn’t flow in through his eye sockets.

Is there a correlation between loneliness and depression? I used to think there was, but now I’m not so sure. As my mother is so fond of pointing out, even people who are in relationships are lonely. And surely, many of them are also depressed.

Perhaps, in the end, the emotional journey towards inner tranquility is a path that we must all walk alone, and rest assured, the flowers along that path will be murder on my sinuses.

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 21

To cheer myself up, I like inventing quotes by Confucius. Here’s one of my favorites:

“You’re an idiot.”
-Confucius

What it lacks in irony and poetry, it makes up for with the perfection of reality.

But I digress. I remember being told in college that we experience all emotions simultaneously. That is to say, at any given moment, we have the ability to feel any emotion. Emotions are like different paints on a palette. Granted, I’m not an expert in either psychology or biology, by my palette seems to have an inordinate amount of blue paint.

Or is that an illusion? Have I convinced myself of a reality about myself that is not, in fact, reality? Is the concept of “depression” simply a concept. A construct that exists only because the THOUGHT of it exists?

Or is it a habit? A pattern of behavior, established at an early age, that becomes very difficult to break?

This is where people would tell me “it is what it is,” which is the worst phrase of the 21st century, and I know this to be true because Seinfeld was making fun of the phrase on one of the latest episodes of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. If a phrase or a thing has been noticed by Seinfeld, that means it is annoying. All Supreme Court Justices would side with me on this.

The best wisdom I’ve ever heard is this: if you want something to change, the first thing you have to do is accept it for what it is. I accept my depression for what it is. Sometimes it is standing in front of me. Sometimes it is standing miles away. I just realized I’m basically saying “it is what it is,” which torments me.

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 20

I’m stressed and overwhelmed, which is one of the only ways that I can avoid depression. In other words, my primary coping mechanism for depression is panic. It sounds like a full-proof plan, doesn’t it?

And yet, a part of me longs to get to point in my life where I live near enough to the beach to feel the salt air, but far enough away to avoid the tsunami and/or rising ocean levels and/or invasion from New Zealand. (Why New Zealand? Because nobody would expect it, to paraphrase the Monty Python bit). And I would sit at a coffee shop every day, and every joke I would tweet would earn me billions – that would be the life. Sometimes I wonder if such a life would lead me to boredom and depression – the grass is always greener, people say. Here’s the thing about the expression “The grass is always greener.” Sometimes, it is actually greener. I’m saying “the grass is only greener” to myself because I’m HOPING it’s not greener. Because if it IS greener, then that will reaffirm that life is hell.

Fewer annoying people are at the coffee shop today – I shouldn’t write that, because as soon as I write that, God will say “Oh, sorry. I’ll get right on it.”

Where was I – sorry, I was fast forwarding to a part of the day where I’m planning on getting frustrated.

Maybe I need to turn my view of self-fulfilling prophecy around. What I don’t mean by that is that I should start focusing on positive self-fulfilling prophecies. I mean, haven’t I made God laugh enough? What I like about focusing on negative self-fulfilling prophecies is that I can choose when and how I’m miserable – it’s like “On Demand” for depression. The alternative is letting the outside world affect my mood- I refuse. By the way, mark your calendars for the 25th. That’s going to be a whopper of a downer. What will be the cause? Let’s go with the old reliable “I hope my epididymitis isn’t getting worse.”

I’ve also been wondering how much further I should take this blog. Theoretically, I could write this every day for the rest of my life. But then this thought crosses my mind: what if I am no longer depressed? Because I refuse to write a blog about being happy and fulfilled – I wouldn’t wish that blog on my greatest enemies.

SKELETOR: It was horrible.

EVILYN: what happened?

SKELETOR: He-Man forced me to read his happy journal.

EVILYN: You must be avenged.

SKELETOR: Yes. Summon Hordac. And the Snake Men. And Steve.

EVELYN: Who’s Steve?

SKELETOR: He’s the barista at Starbucks who tries really hard to be cheerful, but you can tell that he’s broken inside, and as a result, he comes off as really annoying. We need to put him on the front lines.

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 19

It doesn’t matter how good I feel. The fear of falling back into depression is always there. Lurking. Sitting next to the fear of death. I’m pretty sure they carpool.

Maybe the lurking is a good thing. The sheer irony of depression is that, when it lifts, I almost feel a hesitation to let it go. Depression is a safety blanket. If I remain depressed, then I don’t have to go through the enormous pain of falling from a good mood.

I’m not sure if my goal is happiness. My goal is quiet, mixed with not spending money.

There’s a – I don’t know what they are, a family – of people sitting next to me – they have a loud energy. There’s only three of them, but they make enough noise for five or six. And they make annoying noises in very odd ways – the way the shake their sugar packets endlessly – it grates on my nerves. Surely the real problem is within me. I am not satisfied with my life, and as a result, the life around me bothers me. On the other hand, stop shaking a sugar packet non stop. And why are you putting that much sugar in coffee? Just eat a pastry, for God’s sake. Where are these thoughts coming from?

I’m sorry that I am interrupting this blog with complaining about these people, but they’re at this Coffee Bean many times – and I don’t know what it is about them, but they get on my nerves. They’re the kind of family that lives next door to Chevy Chase in an 80’s movie. They’re funny to watch from a distance, but annoying up close.

I’m not even being fair to these people – I’m sure they’re not the monsters I am saying they are.

Granted, as I’m writing this, I am rocking back and forth, and I know that action annoys people. When I sit down at the coffee shop and rock back and forth, people around me very quickly get up and leave. I know I should work on centering myself, but at the same time, if you have a problem with me rocking back and forth, then stop shaking your sugar packets like an animal.

Where was I? Depression. That’s where I was. I’m actually feeling worse now, which is refreshing. For a second there, I was afraid things were going to look up too much.

Maybe it’s because I’m tired. Maybe that’s why these people are annoying me. I stayed up late watching Castlevania last night – it’s a great animated series based on a video game. It’s based, specifically, on Castlevania 3. Yet another example of a Vampire story in which nobody asks the Rabbi for help. Surely Rabbis can fight vampires just as well as priests? The Star of David is practically a throwing star. You know this, don’t you?

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 18

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 18

If you’re depressed today, remember: so is everybody else.

A friend of mine questioned whether or not depression is a label. Not to be confused with the label of a fine wine.

“Ah yes, I’ll have a glass of the dry, white depression, please. Yes, the ‘57 Chateu Des Miserables.”

By the way, if depression were a musical, it would be Les Mis. What is the lesson of Les Mis? Don’t try to navigate through a war unless your an ingenue.

But back to the matter at hand – regarding depression as a label.

The disadvantage: that the potential exists for depression to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The advantage: that the label somehow helps me get girls.

The second one is not so much an “advantage” as it is a “pipe dream.”

Speaking of labels, I might also be a little bisexual. I’m sensing a running theme in my life. Mild depression, mild bisexuality. Joshua Snyder: a touch of sad. I say this because, in any of the preceding or following blogs, when I say “I hope I get the girl,” what I mean to say is “I hope I get the girl and/or maybe a guy, just to try it once.” But that second way of saying it takes a lot more words.

Mild bisexuality does not help mild depression – not for a lack of support. I am blessed with having supportive parents and friends, so I’m not worried about a lack of acceptance. What I am worried about is that, by being heterosexual light, I am appealing to neither sex. But then I console myself with the fact that my sexual identity is not what is keeping me single – it’s my personality. It’s a non-sexual element. And remember, everybody else is miserable!

So where does that leave me for today? With a knot in my back.

I’m also having a lot of trouble falling asleep. Is this depression? Or is it the oppressive heat? Oppressive heat and depression have a lot of similarities. Depression is the psychological South Florida.

Josh Vs. Depression: Day 17

Feeling better today, emotionally. Feeling worse, physically. I should not have eaten those Lunchables at midnight last night. I figured that if I chose the turkey Lunchables over the ham Lunchables, I would be making the healthier choice. By choosing Turkey, I’m only going to suffer half the day today.

Depression effects what and how I eat. I have tried, in vein, to quit sugar. I use sugar as a pick-me-up, which is unhealthy. I heard recently that eating processed sugar is just as bad for me as smoking. That’s why those 1940’s movies are a bad influence – you know the ones – where the bombshell blonde walks into the detectives office and starts binge eating rice krispy treats.

That’s my current poison – the Starbucks rice krispy treat. According to the packaging, the treat is gluten free. “Well, there you have it,” I tell myself. “I’m turning over a new leaf with regard to my personal health.” You know what else is gluten free? Fallout from a nuclear weapon.

Underneath all of this is the dread of what I like to call “the oncoming storm.” What’s going to come along that will cause me distress. What mistake will I make, or have I already made without me knowing it, that will trigger my depression? It feels like a ticking time bomb.

Oddly, that’s why I have full confidence in continuing this blog. Even though I’m feeling better now, what are the chances that I won’t be better in one, two, or three days? Profoundly high.

So even when I am not depressed, I am still suffering from depression. What a brilliant disorder!

I’m writing this here at the Coffee Bean I always go to. Every day, an older woman comes in. She ties her dog to one of the chairs outside and goes into the Coffee Shop. While she is in the coffee shop, the dog barks non-stop. This is why I hate the human race. If aliens were watching that, they would say to themselves “you know what, we should feel no guilt in wiping this species off of the face of the earth – we mean the humans, not the dogs. The dogs deserve a medal after dealing with these idiots.”

And yet, part of me envies the dog. All the dog needs is to be close to its master. Once that happens, the dog is fine. What the hell am I saying? I have no idea what the dog is thinking. It could be a lose-lose situation for the dog. The dog barks when the master is out of sight, and when the master is there, the dog feels like nobody appreciates the novel he just self-published.