It can happen to depressive persons in this climate in June, when the days get hot and humid. A police lieutenant told me that’s when the suicide rate rises.
The first sign I was sinking into gloom came two weeks after I’d soared through a free promotion for my Kindle book, giving away 4500 copies in three days and reaching the top 100 ranking. Then a new review on my amazon site hit me, claiming the book format was unreadable and deserved only two stars.
My nerves became touchy. The least frown or loud word from my husband drove me to tears. I was mad. Chemicals descending on my brain were telling me life was irksome, I had no reason to feel happy or worthwhile.
I’d been through this before. My English mother called it “the funk”; it was in our family. I had to take the symptoms seriously; I had a fight on my hands.
Last Sunday I didn’t dare go to church; I was in no shape to see people; I would cry. This Sunday I’m ‘A OK’.
Here are six steps I took that worked:
1. I told my husband I was in trouble and he must help me. The state of confrontation we’d wound ourselves up into was replaced by cuddling and love.
2. I swallowed his criticism that I’d been working too hard for six months and I looked inside. It was true that my attempt to crack the ebook market with a new Kindle had left me feeling out of control, embarrassed and futile in the weird webbed world of electronic foraging and social media entanglement.
3. I slept whenever I felt like it, clinging to Shakespeare’s line, “sleep knits up the ravelled sleeve of care” and the cliché, “sleep is the best medicine.”
4. I remembered Dad’s advice (he always had ups and downs, depending on the weather) to do something for somebody else. I wrote a letter to an old college friend whose wife has Alzheimer’s disease, gave $10 to the Strawberry Festival and tweeted ‘Happy Father’s Day‘ to all the people in Hobart, Tasmania.
5. I followed my Mother’s example of reading fiction to focus her mind and stretch her emotions. I indulged in J.D. Salinger’s Nine Short Stories, a quizzical cocktail of amazing writing, people and description.
6. We went sailing and are planning to have a vacation after attending a wedding in Philadelphia in late July. The prospect of driving along the east coast seeing new sights, and maybe even staying in a resort for a night or two, is making me happy.
These six steps were enough to chase the depressive fluids out of my brain for now.
Fact is that a person who has a loving husband, good health, descendants, roses, lives and sails in a beautiful lakeside town with an island and has the ability to blog and connect with others should be happy.
But we depressives know that’s not how it works, so my advice is here to help others too.
A Book of Kells, one of the first ebooks, was never formatted; my well edited 2007 paperback edition was just dumped into the system by amazon digital services. I didn’t realize how bad it was until an honest reviewer jolted me out of complacency. Thank goodness M.B.O (Michelle and Barack Obama, perhaps?) wrote. Now I’ve fixed it up so that it and me are better than ever.
If you were one of the unlucky ones who downloaded a bad copy, or had some bad days too, let’s all go for a round of happier second chances.