Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Laughing Like Crazy

Tonight's cocktail is called a French Blonde. I made it in honor of a French-themed dinner party at my friend Jill's house, where I laughed harder than I had in a very long time. I am thankful for my warm, loving friends who appreciate my weird little self.

The recipe: 
  • 1/2 oz elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain, but my liquor store has a cheaper brand that seems fine to me)
  • 1 oz dry gin
  • 2 oz Lillet Blanc (in Virginia, your best bet is Total Wine)
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1-2 dashes citrus bitters (I used grapefruit bitters)
Shake vigorously with ice until very cold, serve in a martini glass. You can pre-mix a big batch in a pitcher for a party and just keep shaking and pouring with a large-sized cocktail shaker.

French Blonde Avec French Poodle
Now, then. I'm embarrassed at how long it has been since I blogged. My friends have informed me that I have a fan base and that people miss me, but they might have just been trying to make me feel good or get me to mix them another French Blonde. I could make excuses about being busy (true), but the real reason is that every time I've sat down to write, I've felt so anxious I couldn't do it. I try to be honest in my writing, but I've been slogging through an emotional low place these past few months, and every time I tried to get the words down, I hated them, because nobody likes a Debbie Downer. There didn't seem to be much point in documenting it. When I can't use humor as a defense mechanism, you know it's bad.

On the upside, I feel like I'm pulling through to the other side. Maybe it's the returning sunshine, maybe it's that I've been making more of an effort to be physically active and take better care of myself, maybe it's because I went back to therapy; maybe it's just that I've just gotten to the end of the phase. Depression and anxiety are twin bitches, and I've been fighting them my whole life. Today, I decided to give them the finger and write no matter whether they barked at me or not.

But here's something great: my friends Jessica Azar and Alyson Herzig are publishing an anthology titled Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor. It includes an essay I wrote about my Anxiety Disorder, but the reason I love the crap out of this idea is that it includes so many bright, funny, strong people who had the courage to come forward and talk about the things they've struggled to overcome.

When Robin Williams took his own life last summer, people were shocked that someone so funny and talented and successful could do such a thing. Mental illness is supposed to be the territory of homeless people who argue with imaginary voices (people who, incidentally, deserve compassion because they are suffering). People with relatively good lives have no excuse to be depressed or anxious, right? They just need to cheer up and think about happy things! STOP THE SELF-PITY, LOSERS! It's just that simple. Except if you've been there, you know that's bullshit.

I'm not going to go into a tutorial on depression and anxiety, because others have done it better. I only hope that if you're suffering, you know you're not alone, and that you can and should reach out for help. Fuck the stigma. Medication might help, and a good therapist can help you develop better coping mechanisms. Being honest about having mental health problems does not make you any less. In fact, it can make you more insightful and empathetic, more appreciative of the people and things in your life that give you handholds in tough times, and better able to cut through the crap and focus on what really matters. For many of us, our perspective, gained through struggle, is what makes us so goddamn funny. We are able to use that humor as a lifeline, as a way to connect with others, as a way to clear our vision. If you can laugh at something, it loses its power to beat you down. It's one of the ways we fight. That's the beauty of this project - by standing up and being honest, and by being able to laugh at ourselves and the things around us, we hope to help bring people into the light.

I hope you'll check out the S.M.I.T.H. anthology - available April 7th. Don't worry, I won't let you forget.


4 comments:

  1. I'm new to this blog. I know you only by this post.

    I will say this - the blog world is full of polished words. They're great. They get us from here to there. What the blog world needs is more honest words. Posts written when things are gray, or even full-on black.

    As I said - I don't know you. But I do know that the way those of us who might experience things you are can connect is when we see ourselves in your words. I'll definitely be back, no matter what!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this book idea! So glad you have you back, lady! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to BE back! We weird-childhood people have to stick together!

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