It’s been a tough couple of weeks. But I know I’m ultimately pretty lucky. I have a great therapist and a really amazing support network of friends, and I’m going to see the psychiatrist again next week to talk about how this first medication adventure is going.
Still, I remain desperate for a quicker fix; even just for a temporary, metaphorical Star Wars-brand Band-Aid that I can patch over my brain for a day or two. I fantasize constantly about all of the things I think I would accomplish if I could stop hating myself for 24-48 hours. I would walk the entire length of the city, I would buy myself some fresh flowers and maybe a balloon, I would take a notebook and a gigantic coffee to the park, and I would confidently begin the first draft of a brilliant one-woman show that would earn me awards and accolades and the attention of Joss Whedon who would then cast me in his next Shakespeare movie, wherein I would get to kiss Fran Kranz and wear a pretty blue dress, and then I would become just famous enough to never pay for a Dragon Con badge again which would be the perfect amount of fame.
And also the park where I start this first draft would be full to bursting with friendly dogs who come over for a pat. Two thirds of these dogs are Golden Retrievers.
Instead, I continue to feel more and more disconnected from who I think I am/who I want to be/oh God, what if I’ve never been right about who I am? I feel like the Girl Who Cried Bipolar Disorder.
“You’re FINE!” roars Unhelpful Voice. “Oh my God, get over it, and suck it up. You are the laziest piece of shit I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. Nothing is wrong with you.”
“You wouldn’t say that to one of your friends if they were having a rough time,” whispers Nice Voice. “Just put on the La La Land soundtrack again. Do you need a snack?”
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.” Is what I don’t say, but am silently screaming muffled into my heart.
In my continued quest for this mythical Quick Fix, I can’t stop reading Internet lists of “How to Be Happier.” They’re everywhere, and I keep swallowing them two at a time like Ibuprofen. “17 Ways to Feel Happier and Brighten Your Day!” 17?! That’s so many ways! Surely one of them will work! This is it!
The lists are all the same:
“Exercise! Get moving, and grab those endorphins! Endorphins are so fun!”
“Call a friend! Even just for five minutes!”
“Take just fifteen minutes a day to do something you love!”
THESE ARE ALL THE THINGS I CAN’T DO RIGHT BECAUSE OF DEPRESSION, INTERNET WOMEN’S MAGAZINE. Exercising just makes me aware of everything I don’t like about my body, I am frequently too ashamed of not being “better” yet to connect with friends, and I feel like I do a bad job at all the things I love so doing them just makes me feel worse.
The one suggestion for which I can usually summon up some enthusiasm is “Be Grateful.” My Gratitude faucet is always flowing. I don’t like myself very much, but dammit if I am not surrounded by the best people in the world, each of whom is a rainbow of talent and kindness and hilarity and general awesomeness. I am also grateful for the nerdy things in the world that make me so excited that I feel like busting out of my own face. Excited-me is my favorite version, so I am grateful for those moments in movies and books and songs that wake her up and hand her the keys.
With that in mind, I offer this list of “17 Mostly Nerdy Things For Which I Am Always Grateful, No Matter How Otherwise Blue I Am.”
1. That I sometimes get to wear multiple cloaks in a single day as part of my job requirements.
2. Danny Elfman’s score for Batman. It’s perfect; it’s triumphant and bombastic and fun while still retaining what’s dark and dangerous about the Caped Crusader. Danny Elfman is the best.
3. Marvel’s Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. My current girl-hero, Lunella Lafayette, has been officially declared the smartest person in the Marvel universe. AND HER BEST FRIEND IS A RED T-REX. Lunella is living all of our best lives.
4. The Alice Cooper episode of The Muppet Show. Sam the Eagle and Alice Cooper are a match made in comedy heaven.
5. Star Wars’ Rey.
6. The fact that, no matter how many times I’ve seen it or how old I become, the velociraptor kitchen scene in Jurassic Park will always fuck up my ability to sleep. Bonus entry: everything else about Jurassic Park.
7. The “Zuko Alone” and “Tales of Ba Sing Se” episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We do not deserve you, Uncle Iroh.
8. Bartleby’s triumphant return in Bone. #NotAllRatCreatures
9. That dramatic title card drop at the end of “Circle of Life.” THE LION KING. SIT THE FUCK DOWN, EVERYBODY. DID WE MENTION THIS IS HAMLET WITH ELTON JOHN AND LIONS? GET READY.
10. Sea creatures. [Including the subject of this post’s featured image; TJ the loggerhead sea turtle. He’s back in the ocean now after a successful rehabilitation at the Georgia Aquarium.]
11. The character Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle.
12. The palpable nerd excitement in the air the first time we all saw that post-credits scene in Iron Man. At the time, I didn’t even know who the Avengers were, but dammit, I knew from the gleeful whispers around me that Samuel L. Jackson saying “Avengers Initiative” meant something incredible was on the way.
13. The amazing inhale Luke does when he makes The Shot in A New Hope.
14. A perfect, flaky, buttery, perfect chocolate croissant, paired with a good coffee. In a pretty mug. When you have a new book you can’t wait to read. And it is sunny enough to read outside.
15. Act 4, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. “Lock the doors upon a woman’s wit, and it will out at the casement.”
16. Sam and Frodo. All of it. Every speech. Every look exchanged. All of it. I’m not crying, we’re all crying.
17. Everyone I am lucky enough to know; dreamers and creators and artists and performers and teachers and geniuses and dancers and visionaries and bio luminescent, magical star creatures. Thank you for being here.