Perhaps it’s just me but words about anxiety and depression seem to be popping up just about everywhere at the moment. In the shadow of a few high profile suicides, more and more words add to the echo chamber about how to deal with the symptoms of these worldly illnesses and there is no shortage of advice.
My inner dialogue, unhelpfully prompted by the instruction regurgitated on social media goes something like this:
Eat right. Exercise. Meditate. Think. Don’t think. Believe in yourself. Don’t overthink it. Mindfulness. Seek distraction. Eg. Work. Structure. But don’t let it get monotonous. Find passion. First, stability. Don’t look for approval. Be impressive. Inner worth. Listen to yourself. Be engaged. Ignore everyone. Pay attention. Don’t run too fast. Find down time. But first you need to prove you deserve it. Drugs don’t work. You can fix yourself. You’re not broken. There is only this moment. Except there isn’t. Think ahead. Plan for the future. Be in the moment. Make plans to be in the moment. Make yourself happy. Plan for happy. Make other people happy. Don’t forget it’s not always happy. Don’t look too happy. Don’t care about how you look. Here’s how to look good but also like you don’t care like you have inner worth and you didn’t have to try to look good but you look good anyway. Don’t try hard but be excellent. Fall into it and follow your dreams. Dream big. Nothing wrong with ordinary. And then I made my first million. Work hard. If you work hard. Focus. Make sure you have hobbies. Be kind. Look out for yourself. Be kind in a way that is looking out for yourself. Human nature. Ask the big questions but make sure you make it to work on time. Contribute. Blow his mind in bed. Sex doesn’t matter. Be yourself. Waxed and tanned. 594 ways to be a better person. Be a better person. You aren’t good enough. Be comfortable with yourself. Ignore, ignore ignore. Pay attention. Take my advice, don’t listen to a word they say.
This story usually leaves me reeling before I’ve even gotten out of bed.
There is a lovely big kitchen in the new house we live in. I liked it immediately even though I’ve actively rejected culinary pursuits with increasing gusto as my twenties passed and somehow became my thirties. I wore my kitchen incompetence as a badge of honour, perhaps as some kind of misguided feminist rejection of normative behavior. It certainly proved misguided because not cooking immediately relegates one to the washing up detail where I have remained in dutiful unglorified occupation ever since.
The birth of this little literary exploration ‘Phase one, in which Doris eats…” captures a few themes of the moment: First and foremost it is an attempt to get out of doing the dishes.
Second, it is a firm acknowledgment and response to those dull voices in my own head, in social media land, in internet land that say, no no no no, don’t do it, you can’t do it.
Thirdly it is a perfectly ordinary, human necessity to eat food. It makes sense to be able to do it. I am the business of perfectly ordinary human-ness.
Doris has given me permission to go forth and multiply. And so here we are. Standing by for the next entirely frivolous but fun installment of In which Doris eats. Thanks, Doris.