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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Depression, sober, trick or treating, and pumpkin spice.

Its been almost five months since I started blogging. I haven't shared any delightful recipes with adorable family stories. I have shared a few Cosmo "how to" style lists however, they were far from scandalous or risqué. I'm not a niche, artist, or counter coulter blogger. I'm a personal blogger not even focused on a personal brand. I am no Elon Musk or Gary Vaynerchuk. I'm a mid-30s mom who lives in the south with a couple kids, a husband, dog, and career.

Next weekend is Halloween. We are doing the whole trick or treating thing...costumes, candy, ghouls, and gobblins. Its a Saturday night, a full moon, and day light savings. Either 2020 will reset itself or it wont. November 1st will be like the day before except with more candy. I consider that a win. My seven year old most definitely considers that a win. The history books say that our version of trick or treating came out of the Great Depression. A way to bribe children who preferred mischief night with boston baked beans and mallo cups. Personally, I'd take mischief if those were my candy options. However, an old time candy website listed pumpkin spice malt balls as a "depression era" candy. Clearly we've been a society full of basic bitches since prohibition. No wonder the PSL is such a hit, we are all genetically predisposed.

Last year I missed the merriment of Halloween. I missed my daughters sixth birthday too. I was in a treatment facility in New England. I was settling in for a less than romantic fall getaway. I spent 30 days inpatient, watching leaves change and snow begin to fall. A bubble with 11 other folks working through their own stuff. Twelve people who all shared one thing in common the inability to effectively cope. We all got there differently. Some had journey's that I can't even imagine. Folks that I still think about and wonder how their healing. If they are healing. I guess healing is relative. I mean are you really healed if Ernest Angley didn't bop you on the forehead? Part of me does wish that a simple bop on the head was a cure all. I also know that a quick fix doesn't equate to long term success. My scars would need one hell of a band aid, some glue, and duct tape for good measure. I am a firm believer you can fix anything with duct tape.

Well I rounded the one year mark. No banner flew or confetti thrown. No duct tape needed. I am still not sure if there is a "right" way to celebrate one year. There is no smash cake or obnoxious photos. Simply turned pages on the calendar. I went to work, did mom stuff, did life stuff, and keep turning pages. Part of me wishes it was more exciting. This is different from a birthday. I didn't pick my birthday, technically my parents did, I was a scheduled

c-section. Type A since birth! Where as this date I picked myself. There was some threating involved by others however, I still picked the date and made it to the next date, and the next, and so on. Many friendships were impacted and at times that can be hard. Really hard. A truly unfortunate reality.

Healing during a pandemic is also a hell of a reality. Its like an extended timeout. Wash your damn hands, wear a mask, and stay six feet a part. Its really not that hard. Pick your quarenteam wisely as we are heading in to colder weather....or invest in a really nice winter coat and a fire pit. Pretty sure we've all seen the shinning.... remember what happened that winter? REDRUM.... just kidding, I think. I know some of you are over some of the folks in your house. Like I said before, get yourself a really warm coat. The winter months can also lead to an overall increase in depression. Its cold and less sunshine and people tend to hibernate. This year COVID will likely force hibernation as well. While we are learning this new pace its still challenging. Are we going to be having dinner outdoors in a blizzard simply to keep our sanity? Will natgeo be releasing documentaries for how to survive the great outdoors for urbanites and soccer moms during a pandemic? Will Bear Grylls save the day? Perhaps Steve Rinella and MeatEater will dazzle us with recipes on how to get in touch with our inner hunter and gatherer. Those mallo cups and boston baked beans are starting to sound appealing.

Depression can be bucketed into different types with different classifications. At the end of the day the how to list on how to keep the scaries away is the same...

  1. Eat healthy

  2. Get outside

  3. Stay active

  4. Get enough sleep


You would think such a straight forward list would be able to keep all us depressed and anxious folk boppin' around town. We would be the mayors of sunshine town and unicornville. It is election season after all. Turns out number five on the list is the hardest one. Its kind of a bitch actually and not the fun basic kind. Help and healing, two words that can be defined a thousand different ways. IF you are mental health expert and I mean the trained kind. Not the I've had 7,000 therapist been to treatment kind. I've been there, so I am not judging. Anyway...a mental health expert will likely have an incredibly thoughtful response to what help and healing means. They will also twist that question back to you and push and pull and support until you thinking you know what is means to you. For that hour in that day. We all know it changes every 12 seconds. That is why there is google and weekly sessions.

Help and healing take on a much serious undertone when you are dealing with someone who has my history. Not because we want it to. We just know its going to happen that way. We get a gold start that we really didn't want. Overachiever. My help and healing are constantly in motion. Sure, I have made progress. However, there are no benchmarks. Simply more lists. Gauging help and healing on an invisible disease is challenging. It’s subjective. If I think I’m doing great but others question that, whose right? Or do you spilt the difference? It’s like the word sober, which is defined as, “not affected by alcohol, not drunk.” For some sober means no alcohol, for some sober means not drunk. For some depression means this isn’t a label, for some it means I can’t get out of bed. There is no one size fits all. Big, heavy words and concepts. Happy Friday!

Depression, sober, trick or treating, and pumpkin spice. What do those four words have in common? They‘ve been a part of our world long before Starbucks, fun dip, and ugg boots. They are part of our society and they impact us all differently. There are serious societal movements against pumpkin spice and its followers. Some hope to one day defeat this autumnal highjacker. I personally believe the apple needs a better publicist. Trick or treating is also on the chopping block this year; CDC says no, we’re treating COVID friendly. I’m making the kids go as CDC workers in hazmat suits ....just kidding.

Why doesn’t depression get this kind of attention? Do we all need to wear leggings, Ugg’s, north face fleece, trucker hats, and drink PSLs? Will that summon a greater force that will bring depression to the top of normal life conversations?Apparently pumpkins are the game to beat when it comes to subversive messaging.

This post isn’t meant to make light of depression. It’s meant to add it the normalized conversation. You can talk about depression and ask how someones depression is. You can have great days and have depression. It’s a disease that you manage. Like diabetes or high blood pressure. You can have good days and bad days.

We could also just sincerely ask each other how are you? Actually listen. Not just listening for turn to talk.

Maybe this year your trick or treat bucket will be filled with coffee cards. Invite someone to ”socially distant” coffee. Be present. Leave your phone tucked away. Remember the power of the PSL.

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