Who cares about the secret to happiness? I found the secret to depression. And once you know that, then you have the key to happiness or at least the key to feeling less horrible.
Two hallmarks of depression is a glut of self-hatred and inappropriate guilt; hallmarks which, in my experience, beget self-punishment.
When I started experiencing the deep unfathomable tar pits of depression, there was a set of behaviors I did to reinforce the feelings of worthlessness. Like someone who self-harms, my actions distracted me from the pain of the depression while at same time making me feel I had control over these all encompassing dark emotions.
And as I became more aware (more painfully aware) of these behaviors, the more I could avoid making my depression worse.
Here is my list of facetious but nonetheless true tips on how to feel even more depressed than you already are.
Quick tips for finding depression (which will help you find happiness if you avoid them).
1. Only watch TV shows that focus on things you can never attain. My favorites are 'America’s Next Top Model', 'House Hunters International', and reruns of 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous'. This is Social Comparison Theory at its best. For best results practice this for 3 – 6 hours a day for several days in a row while sitting in a dark room, eating potato chips from a bag (never use a bowl).
2. Weigh yourself. But in order for this tip to truly work you must follow these instructions very carefully. First weigh yourself at NIGHT and AFTER you eat a large meal (preferably one that makes you feel bloated and greasy – the Double Down at KFC and large Blizzards from Dairy Queen work particularly well). THEN immediately have a shower and wash your hair (if you have long thick hair this holds added benefit to the weigh in). With your wet hair, get FULLY dressed and put on shoes (work boots really help). NOW weigh yourself.
3. This next tip is especially for older men (or in some cases older women). Stare in the mirror. Check how much hair you have on your head and how much you have in your ears (usually it is in inverse proportions). For women look at your chin and above your lip.
4. Watch the news – all day. Especially Nancy Grace (the nastier the better).
5. Go onto Face Book, Twitter or LinkedIn. Compare how many more friends, followers and contacts other people have than you.
6. Don’t wash any dishes for at least a week and a half, or until you have to eat out of a pot with your hands.
7. Attempt a crossword puzzle or Soduko that you know you can’t do. Discouragement is a wonderful and failsafe measure towards worsening depression.
Repeat these behaviors daily over a period of 7 – 14 days. If you don’t feel the full effect of falling deeper into the depression you are experiencing, call your doctor.
Honestly though, as soon as I notice I am sliding into what I know could be the jaws of the black dog, I make sure I avoid doing the above things. Or if I can’t seem to avoid doing them, I call upon a friend to help me stay clear of these behaviours. The calling of the friend is in and of itself a good way to lessen the bite of the black dog.
© Victoria Maxwell 2012
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