Here for the last couple of days I’ve been particularly emo. No, I haven’t dyed my hair, started cutting myself, or wearing women’s jeans. I’ve just been feeling a general malaise about me. I wouldn’t classify it as a depression, yet, it’s more like I’m riding the spiral slide at the park, and the bottom of the slide is depression. I’m too tall these days to slide down it easy, but if I don’t actively stop myself from going down, I’ll end up at the bottom sooner or later. At this point, I’m probably stuck at the first bend, just a little distracted from what I’m working on and having a hard time not dwelling on the negative thoughts creeping into my brain. The farther down the slide I slip, the harder it is to climb back up, and the easier it comes to just let myself go.
I have a solution, though, and one that doesn’t involve taking a handful of over-the-counter stimulants. That’s this new thing I’ve been trying for a few years now, not using amateur chemistry to regulate my brain, or professional chemistry for that matter. No, this new solution is a multi-tiered attack on poorly functioning brain, and has proven to be fairly successful lately.
Stage 1 – Short Term Brain Distractions
The first stage is good if you catch yourself in the emo-spiral early as it’s a stop gap to keep you from ever really starting to go down. The primary weight dragging you down the slide is caused by dwelling on, well, anything. Therefore, the key strategy in stage one is to distract your brain from thinking about anything sad, uncomfortable or humiliating. I generally do this by hunting through the internet for 1 of 2 things:
- Things that make me laugh
- Things that make me angry
I find it incredibly difficult to have any form of depression while I am angrily laughing like a mad hyena about to slaughter a wayward antelope. It’s usually fairly easy for me to find one or the other, and on occasion, both. Emotional distractions seemed to be the most basic way of stopping the emo-spiral, but they are also the least potent attack. You basically have to use them the moment you notice you’re sitting down on the slide. It’s not always easy to do that.
That’s when you get more complex in your brain distractions. You find things to crack jokes at or rant over for no real reason other than being a raving madman. You mask the depression in a subtle layer of humor and wit, pushing all of the negative thoughts out of your head and filling them with positive thoughts, or rather, thoughts that make you feel not depressed. If this doesn’t distract your mind, you can try playing some Zuma Blitz, or move on to Stage 2.
Stage 2 – Too Damn Stubborn to Give In
Stage 2 comes entirely from will power. You see at this point the emotude is far to heavy to just ignore until it goes away, so you have to actively deny it’s existence. This is the metaphorical equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “LALALALALALALALALALALALA!” at the top of your lungs. Basically, no matter what the situation actually is, you smile and laugh, and force yourself to be happy. It requires a substantial force of will to even maintain stability at this point, but if you have the mental stamina you can trick your brain into believing the lie, which in this case inherently makes it true.
Be extra careful to avoid things like funerals or colonoscopies at this point, because forcing yourself to be happy at these events is inappropriate. Other things to be avoided include Disney or Nickelodeon shows staring teenage girls turned pop stars, hardcore depressants, alcohol, the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe, Rap Metal and Chocolate tainted with coconut, as these things are known to increase the suicidal tendencies in even perfectly healthy minds.
Also limit your exposure to gamma radiation. This is just good advice.
Stage 3 – Forced Group Therapy
I find that it helps me deal with the emo-spiral if I share it with everyone I know. This means not only pestering my roommates, family, coworkers, friends, the woman that works behind the counter at the gas station, and random strangers that happen to say “Hi” to me on the street, but also extends onto the internet. You may have noticed the abundance of emo-driven websites, especially in the social networking world. This is because the best way to get over the emo funk is to get it off your chest.
On the internet, no one hears you bitch.
I find that while Twitter and Facebook are effective, the best tools for clearing your negativity by pumping it into the vast infinite reaches of cyberspace is by posting it in a giant wall of text. Livejournal and similar journaling sites can work for this, but I find the best solution is a self hosted blog that you’ve tricked a dozen or so people into reading.
If you’ve tried all of these steps and you’re still falling into depression, you should probably make an appointment to seek professional help, and in the meantime call your sponsor.