What's Getting Me Through Today, or Favorite Things: Anxiety Edition
Bustle tersely noted today that I have been remiss in my blogging duties, and she's right. Very right. Well, it was terse for her. She's gentle as a lamb, but I've known her most of my life so I can read between the tenderly worded lines. She has also rather compassionately noted that I seem depressed of late, and she's also probably right about that. Dear Readers, I'm having a tough time. Perhaps you are too. I suspect we all are right now in some way, when every day brings new terror-inducing, rage-inducing or merely "so this is what it's like to be the laughing stock of the world" headlines (and those are the good days). At this point I see a news alert and I am honestly not sure whether it's an Onion article or the real deal. That's....where we are now. I can feel it in the conversations with my friends, everyday interactions with strangers, even my facebook feed - I'm not the only one feeling tense these days.
I saw an ad for this the other day and my first, immediate thought was - I want that. I want that safe little tent. Because I'm ....haha....too tense...get it? I'm two ...oh, puns are the first warning sign. (I'm not kidding though, I do kind of want that.)
But it's not just the cheeto-colored cloud hanging over us all right now, there are plenty of personal, professional, and just general life-reasons for anyone wired for anxiety to need a little relief. A virtual tree-fort. Just...some... emotional pillows to absorb life's blows, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. So I present to you, in no particular order, my current favorite coping mechanisms. I'm not sure if this will be a helpful list of tips to brighten your day or a chronicling of my current mental state, but oh well. There's nothing saying it can't be both, friends.
Favorite Things: Anxiety Edition
I admit it, I haven't actually watched this show yet, but I'm definitely going to now. Many people have recommended it. I don't remember what internet wormhole I fell through to find the first video, but then I started bingeing them. I think my current favorites (or the ones I most indentify with) are Ladyboss and You're my Best Friend, but I'm also cracking up over her excellent Marylin Monroe impersonation in Love Triangles or her Spice Girls inspired Friendtopia. Check her out.
It started with his brilliant Maxine Waters segments, although I have to admit I have a soft spot for his searing indictment of Starbuck's Unicorn Frappacino, and his coverage of the audacious fax-flame war Aretha Franklin has started with Dionne Warwick (complete with classic lyric inspired wordplay). Do yourself a favor and visit Elle online for news that won't make you pull your hair out.
This may be what inspired me to write this post in the first place. Author Jenny Lawson has chronicled her struggles with anxiety and depression at The Blogess and in the books Let's Pretend this Never Happened and Furiously Happy. As she explains in the book, Lawson draws elaborate drawings, what she calls "doodles", as a way of keeping sane during the hardest times. She shares these illustrations in a part-memoir, part- self help workbook, part adult coloring book. Honestly, it's hard to describe, but I love it.
This is me, most days. (Illustration by Jenny Lawson)
I don't know what to say. I just showed you a picture of crackers. I will say that I am not normally an emotional eater. These crackers used to just be a delightful and reasonably low-calorie snack. And then at some point, they became a late night, emotional safety touchstone. What is it about our "comfort foods" that denotes them as such? What sorcery bestows this significance on some foods and not others? I don't know the answer. I can't promise these crackers will become your personal comfort food, nor can I promise there isn't a growing collection of empty cracker boxes by my bedside. I can promise they are tasty.
I didn't say these would all be healthy. And I'm not advising you try to drink the blues away. Far from it. But this is my favorite Bourbon and it is delicious with sprite or a little soda and lime. Dave and I discovered it's really good in cocoa over the holidays, and he's even experimented with putting it in a coke float (yum). Tipple responsibly.
Sometimes you have to take care of yourself. Sometimes you need to hide under the covers with some internet videos and a box of crackers. And sometimes the best thing you can do to take care of you, is take care of others, to speak up, to do what you can to change the world, even if it feels very small. I've been reading a lot about how our elected representative tend to ignore online petition and form letters, have heard them myself talk about "paid protesters", noted as they refuse to show up for town halls. It can feel like it's impossible to be heard, but Resistbot has helped save me from feeling helpless. Just type a short message via text and Resistbot will send a fax to your elected representatives, with appropriate headings and closing signature. It's more effective, since your original message is harder to dismiss than a form letter, and some research shows that a physical letter still gets weighed more than an email. Resistbot is for everyone, no matter your views. Because: democracy.
So these are a few of my favorite things, at least right now. I hope some, or all of them, bring you some pleasure whether you're fine and dandy, or feeling a little blue. Be kind to yourself, friends, and be kind to each other. As they say on Pinterest boards everywhere (I'm kidding, this quote is attributed to Wendy Mass) "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." Or as the late, great Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."
I leave you with this video, which is the most hysterical moment of cinematic depression ever depicted. Mahalo.
Jason Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall