issue #147 - the mental one
My name is Hitha, and I’ve been managing depression since I was 13 years old.
I have a number of mitigation measures that have helped me manage it for the past 25 years - therapy, being extremely strict about certain lifestyle choices, and medication when needed. While these have helped me keep my depressive episodes to a minimum, they do still surface from time to time. And last week, one crashed over me like an aggressive tidal wave.
I’m not alone in dealing with this, and I now have a list of comforting rituals to try the next time it happens (and it will happen). I share this because it is frighteningly common, and yet we don’t talk nearly enough about it.
I made it through the “lie in bed for as long as possible and as often as possible” phase, and am nearly through the “nonstop crafting and movie marathoning” one. Part of me wants to rush through the rest of the process so I’m ready for a busy September, and part of me struggles to finish writing a paragraph of this newsletter without getting distracted or depleted.
“But what do you have to be depressed about?”
I know that I shouldn’t be depressed, given how much privilege I have and that my needs are exceeded on every front. And the people I love the most in the world have asked me this question out of concern and love and to help solve what they think is a singular problem or need.
Of course I shouldn’t be depressed, or anxious, when I have everything I could possibly need and want. But my brain fails to process that message, and its sensitive neurochemistry will cause me to spiral and fall with little notice. My privilege affords me the time and resources to help heal from it, and grateful is too weak a word to sum how I feel about that.
I don’t write this for head pats or sympathy, but to continue the conversation that mental health is as vital to our well being as our physical health. That it can happen to anyone and to normalize a wider conversation about it. That just because someone “looks fine”, they may not be fine (and that’s another conversation that includes disabilities and chronic disease).
I have depression. It does not define me, though my brain tricks me into thinking it does on occasion. I’m feeling better than I did a week ago, but I’m not completely okay - and that’s okay.
Because I will be okay. And so will you.
What I Read This Week
I had a bookish-themed newsletter planned for this week complete with a ton of book reviews - I’ll share them all in the next issue.
What Everyone Read This Week
Vactionland by Meg Mitchell More- I recently finished Meg Mitchell Moore's Vacationland and absolutely devoured it. Set in an old beach house in Maine, the story weaves between POVS between the family members old and young as they all grapple with their life changes and interwoven stories. I'm a huge Meg Mitchell Moore fan and this book did not disappoint!
The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris- I am fascinated by this children's book (which would be a perfect gift for any kid, at any age), The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane. In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, people soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped! Words like acorn, adder, bluebell, and dandelion! A decade later, MacFarlane set out to create a "spell book," chock full of stories, voices, and art to summon these 40 words back into existence. A book which can be shared by young and older, The Lost Words is about nature, re-wilding ourselves, and the magic of language.
Husband Material by Alexis Hall- This book is genuinely laugh out loud funny. I listed to this as an audiobook and I definitely got some looks as I laughed while walking my dogs. Everything and everyone you loved about Boyfriend is back! 5 stars, no notes!!!
Top #5SmartReads Of This + Last Week
Are You Sure You’re Not Guilty of the ‘Millennial Pause’? (The Atlantic)
Founder Amy Nelson Was Madly Pulling a Pandemic Pivot When... the FBI Showed Up at Her Door With Guns, Seized Her Money, and Told her Husband he was the Target of a Criminal Investigation (Entrepreneur)
Why Our Milestone FOMO Is Worse Than Ever (Refinery 29)
The rest of this week’s reads + last week’s (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
Are you watching Indian Matchmaking?
I just started it!
How do you like you Oura ring?
It’s helped me listen to my body more and adjust my schedule and workouts and breaks based on my readiness and sleep scores, it predicts my period better than anything else, and it even predicted that I had COVID before my positive test by 8 hours. It’s really amazing, but if you’re the type of person who gets overly competitive with yourself and needing to achieve optimal scores every day on every metric, it might do more harm than good!
Tips for when you’re overstimulated :(
At home or when I’m in a private place, I immediately get on the ground into viparita karani (legs against the wall) and play a calming playlist or a Superhuman meditation for that pose to give my mind a breather.
If i’m in a public place, I hide out in the bathroom or go outside and do a few rounds of 4-7-8 breathing to calm myself down and find my focus.
Doing a brain dump journaling session can also really help - I just use the Notes App on my phone or computer most of the time.
What were those Bose headphones you love for flights?
These are the newer version of my very old Bose headphones (the AirPods Max gave me a really bad headache) and these are so comfortable. They’re an investment, but worth it for me!
What was your favorite toy as a child?
I don’t remember what it was called but it was this white mat you’d hang on the ack of a door and a flashy thing that would leave on outline of your pose after the flash - a prequel of the OG iPod commercials.
That thing was awesome.
If you were a dragon rider, what would your dragon be named? Ex: Drogan, Caraxes, Balerion…
Gaali (it’s “wind” in Telugu)
What’s your average daily screen time amount?
The limit does not exist!
Favorite snack food and why?
Chips and salsa is unequivocally perfect and honestly it’s my preferred way to get in my Beeya Wellness seeds every day.
Who’s your favorite Disney Villain?
Maleficient was truly misunderstood, Hades as well, and I absolutely love the DCOM Descendants for showing a new side to heroes and villains.
But if I’m picking it out, here’s what I go for:
spicy salmon with crunch
cucumber and avocado
sweet potato tempura
spicy yellowtail with scallion
First date with your husband! Love to hear about love <3
So we met at the 2009 NetIP Conference and basically spent the whole weekend together and I visited him in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks later, where we went to a Thai restaurant and that was our first official date but we were already firmly together by that point.
If you could take the ACOTAR men out on dates, where would you go/what would you do?
Ohhhhhhh this is fun!
Azriel- an escape room
Cassian- going to an axe throwing bar
Rhy- literally an all day or night walk and talk a la before Sunrise/Sunset
Tamlin- bungee jumping (but cutting his bungee)
Fav comfort food your mama makes?
This list is so freaking long but here we go:
Bangala dhumpalu vepadu (spicy potato fry)
Uppu vaamu annam (white rice hand mixed)
Her homemade pizza
Pappu (dal- my mom’s is the best)
Upma made with vermicelli rice noodles (I also like Padma Lakshmi’s upma recipe, though I make it with quinoa)
Hair salon recs in NYC?
Mark Ryan Salon!
Have a great week.