Reeves column: Fighting boo-hoos with some ha-has I remember watching some movie and the punchline was poking gentle fun at what was then called manic depression. My sister got in a snit and said, “There’s nothing funny about depression!”
Of course, the Queen of Prozac was right in her own way, but she was wrong, too. I have fought my own battles with the black beast of depression over the years — usually triggered by a chemical imbalance or seasonal affective disorder. OK, McNair leaving the Titans didn’t help, either. Or waiting until January to start showing new episodes of “Crossing Jordan,” or taking my favorite color out of the Crayola line-up …
Is humor appropriate when dealing with depression? I can’t speak for everyone, but humor is about the only thing short of a raid on the local pharmacy that helps me with mine. It’s just really hard for me to stare at belly button lint and feel the woes of the world when I’ve got “Young Frankenstein” on the tube.
This time of year — post-holiday let-down combined with the pre-holiday bills make a lethal emotional cocktail — breeds the blues like the interest rate on a Discover card. I’ve learned that grabbing a few laughs helps ease over the emotional bumps — even if it’s just the late, great Marty Feldman staring wild-eyed out of a grave and saying, “Could be worse. Could be raining!”
They say many of the great comedians in the world have been bipolar, or just depressed and darned good at hiding it. Buster Keaton, Robin Williams, Walter Mondale …
I am by no means in their elevated company, but I understand the thought process. It all goes back to “If I didn’t laugh, I’d have to cry.”
Luckily, my family’s pretty good at spotting potential mood swings on the horizon — although the hormone issues that have recently entered the picture have them scrambling like cross-eyed ferrets in a rabbit factory.
My husband will catch me getting blue — or worse, laughing too hard at something that’s not really that funny, like Walter Mondale, and he’ll hustle us all outside for some sunshine and shove some form of potassium in my hand, from bananas to broccoli.
Or better yet, he plugs in “Young Frankenstein” or “Blazing Saddles,” and tells me about something the kids have done. Even if it can’t pull me out of that particular jag, it gets stored in the back brain cells as column fodder.
Is someone around you suffering from depression? I’d risk my puny bank account and wager yes. Do you know the signs? If you don’t, please learn them, and learn what you can do to help, even if it’s just handing someone a banana.
Is depression a source of humor? Oh, hell no. Anyone who has ever wrestled with despair can tell you that. But sometimes, a good laugh can provide a light at the end of that dark tunnel.