Clinical depression sucks and it’s only growing more common. Almost one in two people in the U.S. will suffer from depression or another mental health condition at some point and about one in 17 Americans actually has a serious mental illness right now.
Despite its rising rates, depression can be hard to wrap your brain around, especially if you’ve never had it. It’s not easily treated or cleared up by positive thinking, or yanking yourself up by your bootstraps, or shoving your feelings to the dark corners of the back of your mind. It’s so much deeper and more insidious than that. I once described depression this way:
“None of those external [good things you have going for you] truly register or resonate when you have depression. You can logically identify them as Good Things, and you know they are supposed to make you feel Good, but you can’t feel them, they can’t get in. It’s like your brain is wearing a full-body armor designed to keep only the good things out. Bad things … get ushered in instantly, like VIPs.”
People who don’t have depression don’t always know what to say that could possibly help to a friend or family member going through the all-encompassing yet simultaneously utterly numb sensation of your own brain turning against you. Here are a few things not to say (unless you want said friend or loved one to grow homicidal as well as miserable): Keep reading »
Another day, another mother arrested for trying to have it all. And by “have it all,” I mean struggling to figure out child care with little support while maintaining a minimum wage food-service industry job.
A 46-year-old Black mother from South Carolina was jailed for letting her nine-year old daughter play at the park unsupervised while she went to work. Let’s look at the facts, as detailed by Free Range Kids’ Lenore Skenazy:
- Debra Harrell works at a McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina.
- Her nine-year-old daughter had been accompanying her to work for most of the summer, bringing along a laptop and using McD’s free wifi to keep her busy while Harrell worked her shift.
- Harrell’s home was recently robbed and the laptop was stolen, causing her daughter to request being dropped off at a local park.
- Harrell’s daughter was given a cell phone to call her in case she needed anything.
- On her third day at the park by herself, a stranger questioned Harrell’s daughter about her mother’s whereabouts, called the police, and subsequently, Harrell was arrested on abandonment charges.
Keep reading »
My best friend went on a date with a man who seemed fine at first — they sat at a neighborhood bar and talked for hours. They went on a second date, but this time, the dude tried every trick in the book to get her to come to his place and have sex. She refused his offer, and tried to leave it be, but three days later, when she was visiting me from out of town, she showed me the text he sent, asking her in a very straightforward manner whether or not she was interested, or if her lack of communication was the hint that he needed.
“You have two options here,” I told her. “Write back with a one word answer, or just don’t respond.”
“I have to say something,” she said. “I can’t just ignore this.”
“Just ghost on him, dude,” I told her. “It’s easy.”
When is it appropriate to ghost? Some may say never, that each person deserves the courtesy of hearing directly that you’re not interested in them, but please, take a moment to think about how many times you’ve been ghosted, specifically how sometimes it was fine and sometimes it wasn’t. It goes both ways. Here are some common dating situations in which it’s perfectly fine to ghost. Keep reading »
It was only a day or so after things crashed and burned on my date with Jack when OKCupid emailed me a “match,” alerting me that someone was interested. After checking out my match’s lengthy profile, which was refreshing to see since lots of guys write the bare minimum, he seemed to have a lot of potential. He loves dogs, has a great job, appears to share my values, plays baseball, enjoys being outdoors and was pretty damn cute, to boot. I figured it couldn’t hurt to shoot him a message. Just over a week later and after many exchanges back and forth, he asked me out for drinks. Obviously, I said yes. Keep reading »
Take notes, because this is how romance is done.
After 61 years of marriage, Bob Phillips admitted to his wife Gail that he’d been looking at other women the entire time they’d been married. But Bob wasn’t ogling them or admiring their beauty. He was looking in every Sunday paper to try and find a bride who could even come close to being as “lovely” as his own bride, many years ago. He always came up empty-handed. Keep reading »
Getting married at McDonald’s would have been my wildest dream around age five. Apparently some couples in Hong Kong never let go of that dream and are actually getting married with Ronald McDonald as a witness.
The wedding program at Hong Kong McDonald’s locations has become so popular that the website has a special page for nuptial planning, complete with golden arches shaped into a heart. It reads, “Thinking about throwing a really special party for your wedding, engagement, anniversary or bridal shower? Think McDonald’s.” Keep reading »
My boyfriend Max and I don’t live together, but since it takes about two minutes to walk from my place to his, I sometimes feel like we do. When I first started thinking about moving to his neighborhood, the idea had been to move in with him (we’ve been together two years), but when an apartment nearby became available at a freakishly good deal for the area, it was too awesome to pass up. He’s lived in the same apartment for years, and I’ve grown to see it as a home away from home, so that’s where we spend most of our time, but now I also have a cozy little place to call my own as well. In the past, when our houses were a long subway ride apart, we’d spend longer stretches of time at one another’s place to avoid the commute, so these days, we actually tend to see each other less than before. Our little in-between setup gives us a lot of opportunity to see what kinds of hurdles we might come up against if we did share the same address. These past few months, we’ve learned more than ever about our own habits and about how to compromise to create a happier environment. Keep reading »
I don’t know why anyone is still talking about the friendzone. I thought we’d established that it’s a whiny, childish idea, that some people feel entitled to a friend’s romantic attraction by rights of … I don’t know, having been their friend? Or that they feel that pretending to be a friend in hopes of getting some is an OK way to relate to other people and not at all dishonest. Or that being friends with someone they think is great is a bad thing, or that they see sex as the end-all be-all of all human relationships. Yeah, definitely childish and entitled.
Of all the sort of casual, social concepts that go hand-in-hand with misogyny (you know, not rape, abuse, disenfranchisement, slavery, or genital mutilation), I think the “friendzone” is the most offensive to me. I get that it sucks to be attracted to someone and not have that attraction reciprocated. The first song I ever recorded was about my grade school crush and how he didn’t like me back. I spent years in a weird situation with another person where we both really liked each other but for one reason or another kept each other at friend-distance, which I think ultimately ruined what was a good friendship. I’ve dated a few guys who I liked better than they liked me, and vice versa. It feels insulting and off-balance, and it feels like you aren’t on the same page when you so, so thought you were.
That being said — oh well? Keep reading »
W was 13 years older than me, one of my higher-ups, married to a really wonderful man, female, straight, and a Republican. I was married too, and absolutely dedicated to the idea that I had never loved or truly been attracted to anyone but my husband, which was a self-protective lie in a really miserable circumstance. W and I worked together three days a week, and while she was training me to do one of the things I would end up doing best in my life, she also gave me such wonderful nuggets of advice as “Dazzle them with bullshit” and “Ask forgiveness, not permission,” and “Shit in one hand, wish in the other, see which one fills up first.” She encouraged me to get a better job and to dedicate as little energy as I could to the job I had so that I could give as much as I could to school. Keep reading »