The depression has come. Not a debilitating kind. I’ve never been too debilitated by depression, really. I just get a bit hopeless, angry (usually at me), want to escape my own body, be dead (but just for a few weeks).
I don’t talk about my mental health much. I’ve tried to talk about it onstage, but it always felt like whining to me, or sympathy-seeking. I am scared of being seen as attention- or sympathy-seeking. (But any person who does standup is attention-seeking, I guess.) I become extremely self-conscious if I talk about it to anyone. Embarrassed when they don’t get it, and even when they do. My depression level has never risen to such a degree that I can’t eat or sleep or get to my job, so why talk about it? Let other people—the really depressed people—lead the charge on destigmatizing mental health. That’s always been my backwards view on it. The people who are too depressed to get out of bed should not only get their depressed asses out of bed, but lead the charge in destigmatizing their inability to do so.
If you’re gonna talk about depression as a comic, you’d better have some serious depression experience. Like Gary Gulman, who has a new special premiering this weekend on HBO called The Great Depresh which I can’t watch, because there’s no HBO in Australia. Which, how depressing is that? If nothing else depressed me about leaving the USA, that sure as hell would.
But if you move to a new country and don’t feel some depression, you’re an asshole. Whoa, wait, I don’t mean that. Sometimes when I’m depressed I say things I don’t mean. But if you moved countries ever and didn’t get depressed, like, fuck you. That’s all I meant.
I’m trying to be proactive about it, though. I think I found a therapist, and I still take meds for depression, which I’ve done for almost ten years , which my mom and sister tell me I need to stop taking, but the times I’ve stopped taking them have been bad, so I think I will never stop taking them. But still the hardest thing about depression, for me, is talking about it, being honest about how I feel and what I need from the people I love.
My wife asked me last night, “What can I do?”
I said, “I dunno. I guess you could, like, tell me it’s gonna be ok?” Even that was hard to ask.
She told me it was going to be ok.
I said, “Ok, but, like, could you, like, hug me when you say it?” Incredibly difficult to ask for that. But she hugged me and it felt nice and afterwards I waited for her to call me a “big girl’s blouse” or some other weird Australian insult. But she didn’t. Pretty cool.
It’s nothing specific that I miss about home. I know I’ll be back to visit soon enough, to eat my mom’s cooking and binge-watch her HBO. It’s just having to feel around in the dark for a new life that I think has offset my brain chemistry. The mere idea of making new friends is exhausting. Being legally prevented from finding a job and establishing a routine is bad for my head. What a great time this would be to catch up on all that great HBO programming. Goddamn. I might just steal it. Then I can wait for my depression to subside while I’m in jail. Or “gaol,” as it’s spelled here. Jesus Christ this country is nuts.
This was a very brave post.