If you’re a lover of history, I invite you to investigate the trials and tribulations of Lewis & Clark’s “Corps of Discovery Expedition.” Pay particular attention to the part where they explain the epic disaster that led to a place in Montana that they called “Camp Disappointment.” At this point in the expedition the mission was to find if the Missouri River reached the Atlantic. It didn’t. It went in a different direction. It was supposedly a beautiful place, but it was cold and rainy and miserable. Everyplace else they went had lots of game and food. Except here. They met some friendly Blackfeet Indians. The Indians discovered the party was trading guns with enemies of the Blackfoot. During the night, attempting to take the guns, 2 Indians were killed. So much for friendship.
Now, tell me if I’m wrong here, but when I think about a trip like this, the last word I’d use is “disappointment.” If I were giving it a name, I’d have called it “Camp Epically Terrible” or “Get-Me-Out-Of-This-God-Forsaken-Hell-Hole.” I mean, if you’re going to describe how yucky something is, give it a TRUE name. If you’re cold, hungry, wet, under a threat of death, and just found out your entire mission was a wash, you’d hardly describe yourself as disappointed! There’s another D word for that.
Depression. The word that is FAR too easy to pronounce compared to how it feels. “Bottom Feeding Life Sucking Blahs” is much more descriptive. And it hits you so fast, that you can’t figure out from which direction it’s blasting you. I can be all up and running in the morning, and not wanting to so much as look out the window in the afternoon. And you know it’s going to be a bad day if you wake up that way.
This is supposed to be normal when you’re 52. “Your hormones are out of whack, and they just need to stabilize,” says the perky 12 year old doctor. He knows because he read it in a book once… He gave me some advice on non-medicated ways to help. And my cynical, sarcastic, and snarky 52 year old self decided to give my answers to each one.
- Get some sunshine. Vitamin D helps.- right up until you burn your scalp because your hair is thinning and falling out.
- Get more vitamins.- why did my mind just picture Flintstone Chewables? Those things were NASTY.
- Eat a healthy diet of green vegetables.- I’m certainly going to count the celery stick in my bloody mary as a serving of vegetables.
- Get some exercise.- EVERYTHING is solved by exercise. Except shin splints, blisters, and the nasty rash you get when your thighs rub together… And PLEASE don’t mention yoga. No amount of Bean-o is going to help me with my last “Down Dog Disaster.”
- Read your Bible.- Great. So I can compare my misery to those who had it worse? Reminds me of my mother. “What? You broke your leg? Well it’s nothing compared to what I-I-I went through. You couldn’t possibly survive what I had to endure.” She was the gold medal winner of competition martyrdom.
- Go to therapy.- THAT would mean I have to leave the house and TALK. TO. PEOPLE!!! Has this guy not been LISTENING?
But, Doogie Howser is right. I need to do these things. And probably take some medication if things don’t change. Depression isn’t funny when you’re in the middle of it. Merriwether Lewis and his party was not having fun during this leg of his camp-out. So go ahead, give the feeling some names. And the next time my Camp Disappointment has been set up again, here’s hoping that it doesn’t last very long…