Sometimes the Sun is Bad for Depression

Bad Sun

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been busy with work, but mostly, I’ve been too depressed to care. I’ve been using my energy on what matters in the end: My wife and kids. Yesterday, we drove around a little more than usual, and I had to fight a losing battle: staying awake while the sun was shining on me.

You see, for most people (often including myself), the sun can help depression significantly. The light, warmth, and natural light add up to be a wonderful boost to mood and energy. Unfortunately, the sun can have another, stronger effect when I’m exposed too long. The heat and light drain my energy. My eyes are sensitive to the harsh Arizona sun, and my body thinks the only answer is the make me close my eyes. The longer my eyes are closed, the sleepier I get. On the other hand, the longer my eyes are open, the harder it is to keep them open. It’s a vicious trap.

When I wake up, I’m groggy and it takes several minutes to regain my status as a human being. My energy is gone, sapped by the light and heat. I’m a pile of noodles, which sucks. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem when I’m driving, because my body is really good at fight/flight/freeze management. But it can make me a terrible passenger, and goober up my mood. Bleh.

Thankfully, I have an understanding family, and the ability to pretend to be a human being, even when I feel like Chewbacca. Thank God for coping skills.


I Love You, Andre.

For many of us, it is hard to love ourselves because we feel unloved, unwanted. Indeed, I believe self-love is the most challenging task a person can be given. But you’re worth it. I’m worth it. We are both worth it. You are amazing, that is all. Enjoy this clip, it’s beautiful.

Letter From the Jailer #4—You Aren’t Creative

I'm not that nice.

I’m not that nice.

In a sluggish progression, your creativity drains away. No muse, no love, no inspiration. Writing, creating, building, making, nothing is there for you. Find meaning in trivial tasks. Obsess over nonsense.

Passion is nonsense, and trust is a weakness. Open yourself to pain and ridicule; you deserve it. the loss of your drive is a natural consequence of your sloth.

There is work to be done, but why bother? Work makes you money so you can eat and sleep and wake up and work. Life is a donut on a string hanging from a pole on your head. You’ll never reach it, never embody it.

You’re alone, friendless. Those who love you do so from a distance. Those who hate you keep it to themselves, so you’ll never know who they are. Judgment and ridicule are the sum and total of your docket for entertainment.

Go. Try to create. Embrace yourself, and love yourself through it all. It’s all pointless. You’re still under the wet blanket of failure, behind the bars of despair.

Ignore me as long as you can. You’re not going anywhere, and neither am I.


As ever, Letters from the Jailer are a summary of the things my brain tells me. Thankfully, they don’t often translate into real-world problems. Thank God. But yeah, my brain is really good at hating me.

You Can Get Ready for Christmas Now

halloween is over

Thanks to the miracle of time, the harvest festivals are over, and the witches’ hats are hung. A chill is in the air (we had our first freeze last night to celebrate), and winter is well on its way. Now that Halloween is over, you officially have my permission to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or all of the above.

I’m getting ready, too! We’re learning new Christmas carols, I recently made a new stocking, and making plans for Christmas, because it’s after Halloween, and it’s now time for these shenanigans. As ever, we had a blast on Halloween, supporting our kids as they quest for treasure. We picked up a kid-friend, went out to eat, and then let them loose on a local neighborhood. And by “set loose”, I mean that I became a cruise director for the evening, jovially pointing out all the houses they are missing, and making sure they don’t eat any glass. You know, normal parent stuff.

We then had a sleepover, and I’ll be making egg-nog waffles for breakfast. Because it’s holiday time, folks. Huzzah!

Mental Illness is Not a Halloween Costume

Damn. Don’t you think she’d have made a killer Cruela Dent? Or a nasty Bellatrix Lestrange?

This isn’t cute. It’s not funny, creative or original. It’s a cruel jab at a part of the population dealing with serious issues. Seriously, someone give this woman a prize for awesome make-up, and encourage her to find an appropriate costume.

Oh, and here's how she dressed her kids. 'Cause why not?

Oh, and here’s how she dressed her kids. ‘Cause why not?

Do anything else. Those kids would have been great zombies or something, you know, actually scary.

I don’t want to go off for hours on this, but I could. It’s just too damned exhausting, and I have work to do. Please teach your children about the difference between the criminal and the insane. There really is a very small crossover there.

I Need Someone to Tell Me to Stand Up in the Morning

Image: Rory Bristol Original photo: Allen Watkin from London, UK (Lazy Cat) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ]

Image: Rory Bristol
Original photo: Allen Watkin from London, UK (Lazy Cat) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ]

I’m depressed. I’m not sad, I’m not separating myself from everyone else, I’m just depressed. Mostly, this means that I wake up, and follow my normal routine until it fails. Namely, I wake up, check the time, start planning my day. Normally, this is the part where I get out of bed and do stuff. Lately? Notsomuch. I fall asleep before I finish planning my day.

After a couple of days struggling to start working on time, I realized I had a problem. Jenny had to come wake me up on Saturday. I had been in bed like three extra hours. We talked about it a bit, and decided to work to be pro-active together. All I need is for Jenny to say, “Stand up.”

That’s it. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s not that I’m sad, or tired, even. I just don’t wake up with enough brain to tell me I’m going to fall back asleep if I don’t stand up. Pretty simple. I just need one thing, and my day is back on track, right from the start.

Huzzah for figuring my brain out a little bit!

Also, a follow-up about telling my therapist “no”… I chickened out when I realized she was going on vacation. I’ll have to do it later. I didn’t want to ruin her vacation with my complaints, and she didn’t tell me how I was feeling once that whole session! So, no harm done. Now… where’s my mug? I need caffeine.

7 Must-Know Facts About Depression


Tickle yourself 2

There is so much to know about Major Depressive Disorder that it can be daunting to learn about it. Thousands of studies representing billions of dollars of research have been conducted around the world. This isn’t the work of a few deranged folks. Dozens of countries have been studying this illness for decades, and the work is far from done. Here are the must-know facts of Depression:

Depression isn’t a mood. It’s a mood disorder. The difference being that moods change constantly. Mood disorders are often a permanent part of a person’s mental chemistry. Those with Major Depression face the daunting possibility of ongoing treatments for the rest of their lives.

Depression is the leading cause of disability world-wide. With over 350 million people world-wide dealing with Depression, it is also a leading portion of the world health burden.

Depression ≠ Laziness. Lethargy and a lack of energy are symptoms of Depression, but it’s not a matter of being lazy, it’s a matter of being overcome with an illness. When someone suffering from Depression says they literally cannot get out of bed, it is not a matter of being “too sad” to get up. I compare it to hypothyroidism. In both cases, the body has created a lack of hormones required to function properly. It is literally impossible to do more than the body allows.

Depression cannot be cured. Some people who are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder are later declared “cured”, but no cure was applied. In some way (as yet still not discovered by any scientific community), the person’s bio-chemistry has altered significantly, removing the disorder.

Depression is difficult to treat. If things weren’t hard enough, folks with Depression might never find a treatment that helps. Nearly half of the population with Depression are unaffected by Depression medications.

There is hope. Effective medications and other treatments have helped millions of people find relief from their symptoms. Medication is not the only treatment out there. Psychosocial treatments, therapy, and other ongoing care can treat symptoms.

The best treatments are unique to each person. While it is encouraged to use therapy, medication, and other treatments, not everyone needs all of these. Some people will not find success with medication, while others will struggle more while participating in therapy. Only a diligent care team and physician can make the final call, but the patient knows themselves better than anyone.

Check back tomorrow for my list of things you should never say to a depressed person.