Very rarely have I ever written anything to anyone on Serial Optimist. That’s never been the point. This isn’t a blog. This is a digital magazine that is supposed to make you smile and be on the cutting edge of happiness. Positive. Enthusiastic. Fun. Big smiles. OPTIMISTIC. If you know SO well, you know it’s about introductions to comedians, musicians, artists, or people who are just doing things we find inspiring, funny, and unique. I share my opinions elsewhere, but today I’m writing to you.
Serial Optimist is a title, a title that has been my life since I gave up my career to start it over two years ago. Part of the reason of its creation is that I really did want to make people smile everyday, be it through an interview, a picture, a song, just something that would make you grin.
I suffer from depression. It started four years ago. Is it ironic that I own a publication called Serial Optimist, while at times I couldn’t leave my room for days? Sure it is. Did I feel like making other people smile would make me smile? I don’t know. I didn’t give a shit about me smiling. I didn’t give a shit about anything. I didn’t understand why I felt the way I felt, why I couldn’t remember what day it was or why I couldn’t make a decision about what I was supposed to eat for dinner or let alone what to do with my life.
I took medications that didn’t work, but I didn’t really seek help. I didn’t want it. I didn’t think I deserved it. I was embarrassed. Ashamed. I couldn’t tell people I have anxiety, or that I was depressed, because how would they respond? It made me anxious just thinking about it! I didn’t want to know what they would say. Because it’s embarrassing…shameful…
But then when you start getting better, you find the right medications, you talk to someone, you start TO COME ALIVE AGAIN, you WANT to tell people, because so many are hiding under this blanket of a disease.
Of course not everyone has this problem or can even remotely relate to it. Kind of like that person you know who’s never had a pimple in their life and washes their face with body soap. BODY SOAP ON YOUR FACE!?!? How could they understand how ghastly of a face-sin it is not to cleanse properly, moisturize, and put cover-up on (yes I’m a guy) when they’ve never had a pimple? The same goes for depression. How could a person understand not wanting to get better, taking medication, feeling sick for days each month, when that person has never been sad for no reason, or more than a moment…not months…at a time.
I remember someone saying “just man up!” and “if you can’t sleep at night just go to bed and stop thinking about everything”. You can only say, “yeah, sure, I’ll do that” while thinking “YEAHH, thanks, duh, this whole time I just forgot to man up! I’ll just STOP being bummed bro!” Lots of people just don’t understand. But the point of these words you’re so kindly reading is that LOTS OF PEOPLE DO UNDERSTAND. I’m not gay, but for some reason I feel like maybe finally coming out and admitting that I was suffering from depression, clinical serious depression, is relatable in a way to finally coming out for a homosexual (shout out Frank Ocean). RELIEF. Then you realize IT’S OKAY. You see life again, and its not like butterflies are landing on your arms and birds are singing your name, but you see life and are ready to battle again.
These words aren’t supposed to be a bummer; I am an optimist, and enthusiastic, and positive, and when I’m myself I’m big time smiles, but sometimes you lose yourself, and you don’t want to go searching. If you had a disease that was damaging your life, but accepted amongst society, would you hide it? Probably not. Depression is a disease with a cure. With therapy, medication and support, you can beat it, and you start to live again.
I recently talked with a 70-year-old man who said he fought clinical depression his whole life; it ruined his marriage, his relationship with his children, and eventually his physical health. He put all his time into his work because he didn’t know what else to do, and would take frequent vacations alone just to stay in a hotel room by himself all week. He said, “You just couldn’t talk about something like that in my generation.” He eventually “manned up” and got help, found his smile again, and feels better in his seventies than he did at any other point in his adult life. He’s healthy and has a great relationship with his family.
I won’t accept that I live in a generation that frowns (pun!) upon depression. I will no longer justify it. I will accept depression, and get over it, but am also trying to tell you that saying “I will accept it, and get over it” doesn’t work. Go get help. Get on the right medication. Get therapy. Therapy is great, and if anyone gives you a confused look about it, who cares? Be like “your face looks weird, bro”. Who wouldn’t want to talk to a professional who can’t judge you and just listens to all your shit? If you think you don’t have these resources, know that you do have these resources. Just get the nerve to find them wherever you live.
Some of my best friends are married. Some still go out every weekend. Some are successful. Some are lost but trying so hard. All are confused. Everyone is a little crazy. Everyone has problems. The WORLD is crazy. LIFE is problems. But it’s also amazing and beautiful. It’s amazingly scary beautiful. We live in a world where we are over saturated with madness on the constant, and sometimes we don’t stop and just slow down. Time stops. You start to think everything is dark, when really it’s only dark for you and you’re choosing not to turn the light on, to open the blinds. Girls are still foxy, families are still laughing, dogs are still running, people are still putting kitten videos on YouTube, people are singing loudly in their car, someone is dancing, LIFE IS HAPPENING. TIME HAS NOT STOPPED.
I’m a good actor and covered myself well for years, but the acting wore thin and the problem wore too heavy. This is all coming from a guy who is super self-conscious and deeply cares about what others think. Maybe I wrote this for myself, and not for you. Maybe I should have left it that. But in my head, and I don’t want to get all doctors office-after school special-pamphlet about it, but if just one person reads this who is having similar problems, then maybe that person will think “I’m not crazy. If this guy can admit to thousands of people, I can start by admitting it to one.” Then fix that shit and get back in action. You’re a total peach, true blue, the real deal, and the shocking thing is when you go back out into the world, you’ll realize not much has changed. It’s just a little brighter.
Now, let’s get back to the good stuff, the Serial Optimist stuff, and I’ll just leave this photo here, because a post on SO is worth nothing if it didn’t make you smile. XO
SO Note: Follow Serial Optimist @Serial_Optimist.