I’ve been feeling relatively low on the emotional scale these past few days, and it got me thinking about all the little joys we each have in life and how they can dredge us up from some pretty dark places.
I say “relatively” low because my standard mood setting is pretty low on the scale as is. Probably around a 3.5 out of 10 on most days, with 10 being when R.A. Salvatore told me he liked my short story and 1 being the danger-zone. I have Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but I like to call it clinical depression because it makes it sounds less likely that I’m going to go all Kurt Cobain on myself. You know, the kind you see on the TV a lot for people who like to self-medicate their symptoms. I also get the accompanying pain symptoms in my joints and general torso.
It’s because of this that I try to find little things to keep me up when I’m feeling down. Apparently just over 3% of people with clinical depression go the rout of Marcus Brutus in the end, and, as I refuse to take medication for this sort of thing, I’d rather not become part of that statistic. This led me when I was around 15 to become really into the philosophies of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, although that’s a tale for another day. But, I think everyone, not just the socially broken people like me, need these little things as well.
Lets be real, no one likes being around the recently-made sad-sack who’s thinking of making a My Chemical Romance cover-band to vent their feelings. (Remember when those guys were still relevant? Yeesh.) Everyone gets that kind of sad at some point in their year, if not more often than others.
These are all things I like to do by myself. I’ve found that if your pick-me-ups rely on being around other people you’ll end up disappointed more often than not.
So what’re some of my little things you might be asking? Well, good Sir and/or Madame, I’ll tell you.
Flowers. Roses specifically, if I can find them locally.
It seems a bit strange to me sometimes, but flowers really do lighten my mood. I think it’s the colors, mostly. That’s why I love roses so much. Not only do I love their shape, but they come in such a rainbow of shades and pigments that you can do wonderful things with them.
I’ve also always wanted a rose garden.
Kinda like this one here, which I believe is somewhere in Portland, Oregon.
The main issue is space. I don’t have any space at my house for something like a rose garden, and I very highly doubt I’ll ever be able to afford a house with that sort of space either. I’d still love to have one, though. I think it comes from me wanting to be able to control and shape something when I’m down that makes me want something like this for myself. So that when I look at it I can think “Yeah, I made that.”
But, either way, it doesn’t really matter if they’re mine or not. Being around flowers really helps to lighten my mood and make me forget most of my burdens.
Another thing that helps me up is: Girl Scout Thin Mint Ice Cream
As the American Rap scene would put it: “Yo dawg, ‘das mah shit.”
That’s the censored version, of course. I don’t need Reverend Jackson to knock in my door because I used a word he doesn’t particularly like white folk using.
This is your basic comfort-food kind of deal. It looks spectacular and it tastes like what I imagine a unicorn would be like. This one doesn’t really require a great deal of explanation, as it more or less speaks for itself. Although I don’t particularly like what the Girl Scouts of America has become (The GSA is trying to have a pissing contest with the Boy Scouts of America because the Eagle Award is a big deal but the Gold Award is seen as sort of a joke. The GSA cranked up their standards so high that a lot of their members just dropped, and the BSA just giggled and moved on. As an Eagle Scout myself, I find the whole thing quite funny), I do still enjoy this divinely flavored concoction. I don’t know how many unicorns, nymphs, and satyrs they had to grind into paste before they make a box of this, but I can assure you that it’s well worth the sacrifice from the Fae world.
Art and architecture are another thing that really get my jollies ‘a rollin’. Most especially Greco-Roman, Renaissance, and Pre-Raphaelite art, as well as the more heavy-duty religious architecture.
Now this is a weird one, since I really can’t just go out and see my favorite pieces of art and architecture because they’re all resting comfortably over in the Old World. However, looking them up online and imagining them in person is generally good enough. When it isn’t, I like to plan in my head what it’d be like to go and see them in person, which is what I really plan to do some day.
This one is my favorite:
Michelangelo’s “Pieta” is, to me, the epitome of sculpting perfection. The almost disturbing realism in the marble cloth and skin, combined with the emotions evoked by the mother-son dynamic in death is truly striking. Apparently pictures don’t hold a candle to the real thing, and I can believe that.
The closest I can get to most of my favorite pieces is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There at least my Greco-Roman jollies can be fulfilled.
Although this picker-upper is a bit more disconnected than a lot of other ones, I can still get a good sense of happy-feelings from the idea of one day visiting Rome, Vatican City, Istanbul, Paris, et cetera, et cetera.
Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) also help out quite a bit. Now, a lot of people say that playing these for extended periods of time actually causes the depressive feelings in the first place.
For me, personally, I’ve never had that problem. Largely, this is due to me never being a big “I need to grind this every day for three months to get this mount and open this up and . . . ” kind of individual.
Non-gamer tip: “grinding” as mentioned above means killing things or doing something in particular over and over again. Like putting something through a grinder, as it were. Just to clear things up.
For me, MMORPGs serve as a source for me to feel like I’m accomplishing a tangible goal. This is true for really any game, but MMORPGs are particularly effective at creating this feeling. Whether it’s Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic (my current favorite once I get to playing it again), Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online (soon to be replaced by the new Neverwinter MMORPG), or any other MMORPG, this both distracts me from the sad and gives me something to feel good about.
^ I mean, who isn’t going to feel good about bringing one of these bad boys down?
I could go on pretty much indefinitely with this, talking about music, certain movies, different animals and plants and whatnot, but I think here’s a good place to stop.
We all need these little things to make us feel better, or else we’d just be set adrift in the emotional doldrums of emotional depression. It’s alright to feel sad, and it’s alright to not want to do things. But, the important thing is to both recognize these feelings as legitimate, and learn that these emotions should not control you or your life. Don’t let them wrap around you and squeeze you until you break, regardless of whether that feeling is depression, bliss, or general apathy. Every emotion has its ups and downs, and one just needs to learn how to maintain a balance to keep moderation intact.
Hope you all enjoyed today’s little foray into the little things that make me smile.
Until next time!