I have been languishing in a pit of depression over the past few days. Not real depression, you understand, but rather the sort of self-indulgent melancholy that creeps up on me every so often. It’s kind of like the psychological equivalent of when people claim to have ‘flu when they actually have a cold. Anyone who has had genuine ‘flu knows that it feels like a raging hangover that lasts for weeks, so a sniffle and a cough do not equate to influenza by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, it is one of those harmless fictions that most people subscribe to and by the same token, most people do understand that ‘depressed’ is code for ‘I feel a bit sorry for myself’.
I am reminded of the scene in ‘Shall We Dance’ where Richard Gere’s character tried to explain to his wife how he felt ashamed to be dissatisfied with life, because he had no real reason to be unhappy (feel free to insert a snide remark about Richard Gere and/or Susan Sarandon here – I just couldn’t be bothered at the moment).
Consequently, I find myself asking, “What the hell do I have to be depressed about?” It’s true that life is seldom perfect and I certainly have plenty to bitch about, but we’re talking about pretty minor blips on the great radar screen of life here. Emotions have their own chaotic internal logic, so there isn’t always a cause and effect relationship between what happens and how I feel about it. Nevertheless, I am vaguely embarrassed with myself, because it seems so inappropriate to feel this way. It’s a bit like being trapped in a cheesy country music song (except that I don’t have a truck and a dog out of choice, rather than because I’ve managed to lose them).