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This Week's Adventures In Social Stigma!

This is a follow-up to the piece I wrote last week about how climbing has helped me work through my depression. Both for rock climbing related reasons and soap opera school of story telling reasons, I ended my tale with a bit of a cliff hanger (Boom. Cliffhanger/ climbing pun. Nailed it.) It's the basic unanswered question of every life chapter: what do I do next?


I chose 3 steps for the first round:

1.Put on pants.
2.Write about it.
3.Tell your friends.

Two of these three steps went fairly successfully. Pants? Fuck yeah. The first day I went with jeggings which are one step up from leggings which are one step up pajamas, but they have a button so that totally counts. The second day I went with rust colored corduroys which have pockets and a zipper. I put on the pants and then went right back to bed, but baby steps y'all. Today I am wearing business pants. Like a boss.


Then I decided to reach out to my five closest friends. I practiced what to say for what felt like hours.

Too informal:
— Oh hey gurl. Just FYI, I'm totes depressed. K thanx bye
— BRB y'all downward spiraling!
— So, how bouts that depression? Amirite? Ladies?
— What's got two thumbs and can barely get out of bed in the morning? This gal!


Too formal:
— Friends, we are gathered here today to reflect upon the chemical imbalances in my brain.
— Sit right here. Hold on a minute, I have some Sarah McLaughlin to cue up and then we can get right to the part where we talk about sadness.

Too Vanilla Ice:
— Alright, stop, collaborate and listen.
— Something has grabbed a hold of me tightly.
— Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know.
— It's killing my brain like a poisonous mushroom.


Just right (or so I thought):
— Hey I just wanted to let you know that I feel lately my struggles with depression have taken a turn for the worse. I'm really focusing right now on taking things one day at a time. I know that I'm difficult to be around, but I really appreciate your support.

Obviously, I made A Mistake. These five friends who I used to see and/or talk to everyday have now treated me to a week of full radio silence. I thought for sure there was some other explanation (for example, perhaps they all dropped their phones in the toilet, or maybe when I thought I told them I was struggling with depression I accidentally said on a secret ninja mission that must not be disturbed. I watch enough Dr. Who to not rule out the replaced-by-alien-shapeshifters option as well.) Perhaps they are concerned that depression is contagious? But I suspect it is a simple case of #AWKWARDMAYDAYMAYDAYABORT.


So, instead of dwelling in my sadness and feeling of abandonment, I am jotting down just a few ideas for future reference of What To Say When Your Friend Tells You Her Big Sad Secret:

If you were completely blindsided by this news:
- I am completely blindsided by this news. But I'm glad you felt comfortable coming to me.
- I had no idea you were in such a bad place, but please know that I support you.

If you have no idea what to say:
- I have no idea what to say, thank you for sharing this with me.
- I'm not sure what to tell you, but I'm here to listen.

If you have no idea what to say, but do have super delicious tater tots:
-I have no idea what to say, thank you for sharing this with me. Would you like a super delicious tater tot?
-I'm not sure what to tell you, but I'm here to listen and also here are some super delicious tater tots.

If you have a personal past history with mental illness and you fear this may be triggering or too upsetting for you to deal with:
-I know how hard this is for you. I'm not sure I can be the one to process this with you because my own experience was too painful, but I do care about you.

If you are a cat:
-I demand that you feed me this very instant.
-Can't talk right now. Just found something on the counter that needs to be knocked to the ground.

If you are really horrible at expressing yourself in these sorts of situations:
- I am really horrible at expressing myself in these situations, but that doesn't mean I don't care about you because I do.


If you have definitely noticed that I haven't showered in the recent past and my hair is greasy enough to fry a chicken in:
- You are working the hell out of that grunge look and are super on trend.

If you have a compulsive need to fix everything even when people sometimes just want you to listen:
- [listen]
- later on….hey I read this article thought it might be helpful for you. Hope you're doing okay!

If you show you care by making a swear:
- Motherfucking depression. Goddamn, that sucks.

If you actually are an alien shapeshifter in the form of one of my friends:
-Please monologue about your evil plans. At great length. Include details about the weak points. Be warned I own a replica sonic screwdriver and also a regular screwdriver.


In conclusion: Relationships are hard. Depression is hard. I would like some tater tots.

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