Archive for December 2nd, 2011
It’s the beginning of December 2011, which marks 10 years since I got over my brief period of depression. A decade ago in the fall of 2001 was the most depressed I’ve ever felt. At the time, I was a recent college graduate living in my mother’s basement with a part-time temp job. I was broke, single, lonely and driving a ’91 Ford Escort that was ready to die. And if all of that wasn’t depressing enough, I was trying to make sense of the events of September 11th along with everyone else. It was a low point in my life, one that I thought would go on forever at the time. But luckily by the New Year I was on my way to a much better place.
Thinking back, I can clearly remember a few specific things that help break the cloud of my depression. So I thought I would dedicate a Friday 5 to say thanks.
Top 5 Things That Helped Me Get Over My Brief Depression
1. Is This It
The very first thing I can remember breaking through my fog of depression was watching the video for Last Nite by the Strokes. In early October 2001 I had a habit of staying up late flipping channels on the television in the basement. At the time there was a whole messload of depressing coverage of September 11th along with depressing stories coming out from those who lived through it. While this television was moving, it didn’t exactly cheer me up. And then late one nite I stumbled upon this gem on MTV at 2 in the morning.
It was like a lightning bolt straight to my senses. While there was lots of good music at the time, nothing that I liked was getting much attention. Most of the popular music at the time was either teen queen/boy bands or rap/rock. And then these five shaggy haired hipsters came and blew me out of the water. They looked, sounded and felt like everything I thought was cool about music. It was instantly memorable, especially since it was obvious the video was shot live!
I rushed out the next day and spent what little money I had on their debut cd and instantly fell in love. The album was perfect from start to finish. I must’ve listened to Is This It 3-5 times a day that fall, and it always seemed to make me feel better. I recorded the video on a VHS tape and watched it a couple of times a day. Something about seeing guys my age making music that so clearly spoke to me really helped me to get out of my head. To this day, it still features prominently on my Top 5 albums of all time.
2. Cedar Pointe
Being broke and depressed, I spent a lot of time in the basement. I never had enough gas money to go anywhere, nor did I feel much like socializing. It took an eight hour drive to go ride roller coasters to help get me out of the basement. Late that October my friends from high school Grellner and Spillman were planning a trip to Cedar Pointe Amusement Park. Knowing I was broke, they offered to pay my share if I joined them. I didn’t want to take advantage of them, but they kept pressing and I agreed after a few days. It was a good decision.
While I had been to several big theme parks, I was unprepared for the awesomeness that is Cedar Pointe. The park was much bigger, the roller coasters were much taller and Halloween attractions were much better done than any park I had ever visited. And as an added bonus, the park was mostly empty that weekend due to lousy weather and downtick of tourism after September 11th. So we never really had to wait in line at any of the rides, which is an amazing feat for Cedar Pointe. We were able to ride Millennium Force, which at the time was the tallest and longest roller coaster in the world, four times in one hour. If that doesn’t help shake the depression out of you, I don’t know what would. It was a generous move on the part of my friends, and I’ve been grateful ever since.
3. Aqua Netter’s 21st birthday
Another reason I was depressed at the time was from leaving my college town. Most of my college friends were still down in Springfield living it up and I was miserable up in St. Louis. I didn’t have the money to visit that often, but I made a special point to drive down for @AquaNetter’s 21st birthday, which happened to be on Halloween. It was quite a memorable nite with several great stories emerging afterwards, none of which I will be sharing here. But I did want to mention one of the best parts of the evening – the costumes. I decided to go as my buddy Hippie Dave, and he borrowed my Captains Hat and went as me! Tall Tom had a contest winning costume in the Jolly Green Giant, and the birthday boy went as Sprout. It was entertaining evening, one that I would probably retell to those interested. But it’s gonna cost you a few beers to get it out of me…
4. The Royal Tenenbaums
Around the beginning of December ten years ago, I was anxiously awaiting the release of The Royal Tenenbaums based solely on television advertisements. I thought it looked really funny, having no idea how soon I would intensely love the film. I saw it opening nite and laughed embarrassingly loud from beginning to end. I went back the following weekend and watched the film again and laughed even harder at all the minutia I had missed the first time. I plan on devoting a week’s worth of blog’s to the ten year anniversary of my favorite film in a few weeks, but I just wanted to give it a shout out here for making me laugh at a time when I really need it.
While everything here helped me move on, nothing compared to the support I received from my family. First and foremost, my mother was there in so many ways that I needed at the time. She let me live at home rent free, she fed me, she listened to me when I needed someone to talk to and tried her damnedest to help me. My Aunt Jacki was able to get me the temp job I had at the time, which eventually lead to a full time position after the New Year. My sister was always willing to talk on the phone when I needed to hear a friendly voice. And my brothers, who were 8 and 5 at the time, really helped me to focus on what was important in life. Ten years later it’s great to know that I have such a wonderful family to lean on when need be.