Saturday, September 3, 2016

How the Doubleclicks Saved My Life

This is going to be kind of a weird post because I'm talking about my personal life for once instead of a book or a board game I've played or some other form of media I've consumed. Honestly, it never occurred to me to blog about my personal life because it didn't seem interesting enough for people to want to read about. Especially when there were so many good books to talk about! But over the past year I've had a very powerful and extremely emotional series of events and I feel the need to at least write about them. And I'm well aware the title of this post sounds extremely dramatic but I feel that it's still very true. I've been debating whether I should write this post at all because it feels kind of weird to put all these emotions out there's something important that I feel needs to be said. Even if nobody reads it.

Also, very important warning, this post is going to explore some pretty heavy emotional stuff so it's not exactly light reading.

About a year ago I had some very traumatic life events, including being let go from what was basically my dream job and scrambling to find some form of employment. Although I didn't know it at the time, I also suffered a relapse in the chronic depression I've struggled with since at least my teenage years. I say didn't realize at the time because it's only in the past year I've come to accept I actually suffer from depression. Friends who have known me for a long time can attest I've had a fairly melancholy outlook on life for years and I've definitely struggled with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide since at least high school. But for a variety of reasons I always assumed I just had a grim or fatalistic outlook on life that wasn't depression. And in truth up until about a year ago I had actually been doing pretty well, so any depressive symptoms I had were well in remission. But then about a year ago a lot of those symptoms came flooding back and there were numerous points where I was just....done. I couldn't see any point to keeping up with life for another forty or fifty or sixty years and I was going to die anyway, so why wait? I was ready to die.

So how do The Doubleclicks come into this? Well, I was listening to music by Jonathan Coulton on Pandora, as well as songs by Weird Al Yankovic and Tom Lehrer, all of whom I was familiar with. And then this song called ''Dimetrodon'' came on. And my response was, ''Hey, I like this song. Who made this? The Doubleclicks. I'll have to check them out when I get home.'' After some internet searching I found out a little bit more about the band, listened to some more of their songs, and decided I liked what they did.

The Doubleclicks: Left and in a banana suit, Aubrey. Right and not in a banana suit, Angela.
So stumbling around their website I found a link to a post that Angela wrote about making things while struggling with depression herself, which I found to be very interesting and...I guess I want to say emotionally touching? I write that and it looks completely trite to me but there seemed something sincere and genuine in her writing that connected with me on some level and touching seems the best word for it. Plus, it provided a new insight into some of their more serious songs that deal with things like Impostor Syndrome.

And that brings us to ''Ennui (On We Go)''. I'm actually going to include the video here in the blog post instead of just providing a link because this was the song that gave me an epiphany moment.

Now I had heard this song before and I laughed at it at first because it was different and I thought it was kind of funny. I actually had heard it a couple of times and when I learned Angela struggled with depression I realized it really encapsulated the emotions of that experience. But on this particular day I was walking around, listening to music on Pandora, and this song came back on. So help me for whatever reason at that moment this particular song hit me and I stopped right in my tracks and said, ''My god. This is exactly how I feel. ...maybe I do have depression.''

And from there it just became one of those moments. A moment when you knew with absolute certainty that another human being had experienced the exact same thing as you. You might never get to talk to them but they would completely understand what you were feeling and now you know that you aren't alone. You aren't the only one like this. You may have had a moment like that yourself. Whether listening to a song or reading a book or watching a movie, you came to a part that resonated with you on some fundamental level and you just...understood. For me it was an earth-shattering experience. What I was feeling had a name and more importantly, once I knew what it was I could find a way to fight it.

Now, was a Doubleclicks song the only thing that convinced me to get help? No. There were a few other factors that helped convince me to go get help. I had several good friends who asked how I was doing and suggested I go get help because I felt like I was barely hanging on by my fingertips. I had dark days where I thought I'd be better off dead and with the opportunity to step back and analyze it I realized that wasn't a good thing. And then there were the inevitable ads that popped up on the internet raising mental health awareness. But I can definitely say that a song by two sisters in Portland helped me identify what I was struggling with and what I needed to do to fight it.

And things are improving, albeit at a gradual pace. The nurse practitioner I've been seeing has managed to find a medication that's helping me out a lot and the psychologist I've been seeing has been very supportive and helpful in finding specific things I can tackle to help reduce stressors that contribute to my depression. It's an ongoing process and I may live with depression for the rest of my life. But now I feel like I've got a fighting chance and that makes all the difference in the world.

So in a way, yes, The Doubleclicks saved my life because they, along with my friends and other resources, helped me make the decision to go get help. And if I hadn't gone to get help when I did, I honestly don't know if I'd still be here today. Thank you, Angela and Aubrey.

All right, one more song so this doesn't end on a down note.

(More info about The Doubleclicks can be found at their website:

- Kalpar

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