In Defense of Self-Medication: An Attempt to Cure Winter Quarter Depression
Seasonal affect disorder is a thing. A REAL thing. I mean, the acronym is literally SAD so the shrinks who came up with it were either fucking with us or spent a half hour with a Northwestern student (read: me) and realized Googling “teach me how to be happy” and “people having a worse day than me” on a semi-regular basis are grounds to be concerned about mental stability. And this SADdness infiltrates your life in every way until the only thing saving you from full-blown depression is the knowledge that a repeat of House Hunters might be on later and that maybe the couple will be beautiful and loaded.
Enter me. There was a time in my life (I think maybe up until 3rd grade?) when happiness came easy and my biggest concern was whether or not there were sexual undertones in Disney movies that fucked with your perception of innocence (there are, and I actually learned about these undertones as a freshman in high school, and it would be fair to say that this revelation has influenced who I’ve become today more than anything else except pizza). That time has passed. These days, happiness comes neither easily nor frequently. But years spent in pursuit of elusive contentment have taught me a few short-term solutions. These solutions are the drug equivalent of Tylenol – they might work, they might not, and in the case they don’t you can always fall back on the placebo effect and convince yourself you’re all better. What follows is my advice to my fellow SAD victims, but remember, if all else fails, at least you’re not this guy.
1. Wine. Lots of wine. Copious amounts of wine.
I’m not promoting alcoholism (ain’t nobody got time for that), but wine is magical. It’s literally magical. Jesus fucking turned water into wine which is magical (if you’re into the whole religion thing). And it’s cheap!! It’s SO CHEAP! At Whole Foods you drop only $3 for a bottle, LEGGO. You can’t even get Subway for $3 anymore (other things you can’t get for $3: a roundtrip El ticket, a used copy of Mean Girls, your dignity back). And it doesn’t fuck you up unless you drink it in excess (which is fun too), so you’re still a functional human being (or as functional as you were before you started drinking). There’s no downside, except that it eventually runs out, so just go buy another bottle.
2. Facebook stalk people from high school
Let’s call a spade a spade: If you’re at Northwestern, you likely did pretty well in school. You were probably in the academic elite, and therefore were definitely better than everyone else. Nothing cuts you down to size like coming to Northwestern, so relive the intellectual glory days by going through pictures of your pregnant/ beer-bellied/ community schooled (unless it’s Greendale) peers. Remember that guy who sat in the back of pre-calc and took pride in his ability to fall asleep while the teacher explained the subtlety of the Pythagorean Theorem? His burgeoning career in the not-quite-fast-food field was just thwarted when he was demoted from Olive Garden host to busboy. And the girl who tried to hide the fact that she was texting through out the entirety of the lecture about how El Nino affects the crop cycles on the west coast and in Central America (to be fair, that was me last quarter)? She’s now a secretary at your pediatrician’s office. So basically, it could be worse.
3. Put on a different pair of underwear
This takes the award for simplest solution. Without getting into detail, putting on a fresh pair of underwear is as refreshing as a nap and wastes NONE OF THE TIME! Underwear = nap, people. Don’t forget it.
4. Read Ken Jennings’ Twitter feed
There are funny people out there – Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Louis CK and Nick Offerman all immediately come to mind – but the cultural awareness and dry wit of the former 6-month Jeopardy champ (you remember him) sneaks up on you like a Jew (it’s okay, I’m essentially Jewish by proxy so I can make this joke). A few sample tweets: “Apart from my children, nothing is more disappointing to me than raisins in carrot cake”; “You guys, The Hobbit is a straight-up ripoff of my unreleased 3-hour experimental film ‘Helicopter Shots of People Walking.’”; and “The Rescuers is the best 1970s Disney cartoon but that's like saying Hermann Goering was the coolest Nazi.” Do you believe me now? Ken Jennings is my best-kept secret and you should feel honored that I shared him with you.
5. Google image search Donald Glover
I try to do this at least once or twice or thrice a week. This would be the most effective strategy if it weren’t inevitable that you’ll fall back into depression once you realize he’ll never be yours. But in the mean time, remember when he told you this.
This is just a short list. There are plenty of other options. Like Vicodin or cocaine. KIDDING, don’t do drugs (become a pop star and they’ll give them to you for free).