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How Do You Get Out of a Funk?

Updated on May 29, 2013
Finding your place in the universe is important
Finding your place in the universe is important | Source

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Do you get depressed? I know I do.

There are times when your awareness of everything that is going on from the stupidest triviality to geopolitical world events just makes you sad and despondent. There was this time from September 12th, 2001 to January 20th, 2009 that I just was in a crappy mood. I had very real reasons for being in this mood. My job was quite oppressive. I had a terrible forty mile commute to New York City. I had trouble sleeping. And my neighbors were parking in our parking space.

There was something else, but I’m sure I’ll think of it later.

My wife would regularly tell me of my negative attitude and I needed to do something about it. I did not want to turn to drugs. I knew that eating to feel better was not the right solution. There just didn’t seem to be anything that would lift my mood.

Then I stumbled upon it.

I vaguely recalled an old co-worker telling me about the BBC series, Jeeves and Wooster starring Hugh Laurie and Steven Fry. I bought one of the seasons on DVD and it was hilarious. What’s more, I felt better. I felt so good that I bought the rest of the seasons.

Jeeves and Wooster were based on the stories written by P.G. Wodehouse about Bertie Wooster and his amazingly brilliant butler, Jeeves. Wooster is a rich wastrel who is at the mercy of his aunts and his close friends at the Drones Club (full of wastrels). He lives by two simple rules (known as The Wooster Code): He will always go out of his way to help a chum and he will never wrong a woman; should she actually propose to him, he must accept.

Essentially, every Jeeves and Wooster story is one where Bertie gets himself into an impossibly hilarious problems and it’s up to Jeeves to get him out. The books are fantastic and the Fry and Laurie version of the show is a masterpiece.

More importantly, no matter how many times I watch the show, I always feel better. It’s better than Prozac.

I offer my humble recommendations for shows or books almost guaranteed to make you feel better.

Sir Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry Pratchett | Source

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series

Within the last few years the BBC has made television adaptations of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld stories. While I usually go for the audio books, the adaptations are serviceable. Ideally, it’s good to read the books.

The premise of the series is that there is a world that is set on a spinning disk on the back of four giant elephants on the back of a colossal turtle, swimming through space. The physical world runs on magic, not science. The main characters are witches, wizards, guardsmen, and a host of other characters.

Pratchett’s writing style and observations regarding the way mundane things in life work is a piece of genius. And when you find that Death is an interactive character in the series it only makes it funnier.

Terry Pratchett has written thirty-nine Discworld novels and the fortieth is due later this year. All of the stories are a great cure for depression.

Father Ted

Father Ted was an Irish sitcom about three priests punished to stay at a rectory on Craggy Island in Ireland. The series protagonist is Father Ted Crilly, whose misadventures in priesthood (usually caused by his fellow dim witted priest Dougal MaGuire or by the perpetually drunk and demented senior priest, Father Jack Hackett).

My description of the show does not do it justice. All I can really tell you is that it is funny in a classical demented tradition with off the wall humor that is hard to equal.

Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams | Source

All the Works of Douglas Adams

Whether you’ve read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or the Dirk Gently novels, you have to agree that the late Douglas Adams was ahead of his time.

Adams, who passed away in May of 2001, was a talented writer and wit who wrote not only comedies based in science fiction but was a naturalist as well. His Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series which started as a radio comedy became a cultural icon and made “Don’t Panic!” a cultural lexicon.

Although he is best known for his HGttG, his book, Last Chance to See, was a semiserious look at some of the animals that are on the endangered species list. He traveled the world to catch on film these creatures before the die out.

I recommend any of Adams’ fiction or non-fiction works to anyone looking for a clever laugh.

Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti | Source

Fela Kuti

While I love watching television and movies, it only accounts for one way of getting your soul replenished. A while back one of my managers turned me onto the African/Carribean music of Fela Kuti.

Wow.

It is such a smooth work of just cool awesomeness when you mainline this music into your skull. The percussion of strings and horns brought with that perfect Caribbean rhythm and that raw African sound drills into your mind. The monotonous beating of those drums is something you can get yourself lost in when you need to either focus or just lose yourself in the music.

I find that the music is a great meditative device. This is because most of the time people find themselves depressed when their minds keep going over the same problems over and over.

If you’re looking to sample some Fela Kuti, you can check out some of his tunes on YouTube or buy a good sampling of his music with The Best of Fela Kuti.

What makes you feel best when you're depressed?

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Final Words

I hate depression. It’s just tiring.

When depression pokes around with its ugly head, it becomes almost impossible to concentrate on anything let alone enjoy what you already have. And that’s the funny thing about depression and stress, whether it’s real or imagined, it will affect you just the same.

So, what do we do?

You need to take yourself out of the equation. If you have real stress and depression, you need to understand the severity of it or if there’s anything you can do about the problems you currently have. If you can take care of your problems and if you’re physically and mentally able to deal with them, you should do so. If you have the resources but your head is a mess, you need to take yourself out of the situation.

Continue working when you can think again. The answer may come to you when you relax and think of nothing.

I say this because my mother is a notorious worrier. She worries about everyone. And if you have the strength and inclinations and do worry about people, you may think it’s your lot in life to do this. I disagree, though. While it does show a certain amount of compassion to be concerned with the lives of others, you will make yourself crazy thinking about these things. After this weekend, she looked tired from shouldering the problems of other people.

She’s not a young woman.

If you’re in similar circumstances, you need to take time out and find that sacred space of your own to rejuvenate yourself. Some people do this through meditation, others do it through exercise, and others like me do it through a combination of escapism and laughter. What I can tell you about that is that it works for me… at least for a few hours.

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    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 4 years ago

      Great article with many interesting options. Thank you.

    • SM OBrien profile image

      Sharon OBrien 4 years ago

      Yes, Rock nj, I totally agree! Vitamin D is the one vitamin we are all deficient in since the advent of sunscreen and fears of the sun and skin cancer. I'm not saying we should all sunbathe, but ten to fifteen minutes of sun a day (especially important in the winter!) is a good idea. Our ancestors spent much of their lives in the sun and did just fine. And, vitamin D is the one vitamin (along with the B vitamins especially for vegans) that we should be supplementing. Also, a diet that includes green leafy veggies (especially broccoli) is good for elevating the mood.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Another natural cure for depression, and especially the wintertime Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) , is taking high amounts of Vitamin D supplements (like several thousand IUs). I have been taking several thousand IUs of Vitamin D for the past two years to ward off flus and colds and it appears to be working compared to the horrible winter I had before taking Vitamin D supplements. It has made a marked improvement in my mood during those long cold winter days.

    • cperuzzi profile image
      Author

      Christopher Peruzzi 4 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      Rock_NJ - Yup, I agree completely. Serious clinical depression should be treated. Sure, try some other stuff before medication (like exercise for increased serotonin levels) but, if that doesn't work get some Xanax.

      Meanwhile, there are just bad days.

      You come home, you pick up a bat, and look for the first person who can send you into a psychotic rage. Or, you just feel rotten, and rather than get out the Kleenex and cry all night, you find your secret fix.

      As I said, mine is the Fry and Laurie version of Jeeves and Wooster by Wodehouse. I don't know why it works, but it does every stinking time. My belief is that I just want to have a Jeeves that can make my life better and my problems go away. In that respect, he does just that.

    • SM OBrien profile image

      Sharon OBrien 4 years ago

      I find that meditating and being in Nature helps pull me out of the darkness of depression. And I don't just mean "the Blues". When I was diagnosed with severe depression, Prozac made me worse. A whole lot worse. It was the type of depression where getting out of bed is a massive effort, and just the slightest decision is more than one can bare. What saved me and pulled me back from the abyss was a consistent meditation practice and getting out into Nature. There is something about feeling the connection to Nature, and the healing energy of the natural world, that always restores my spirit and helps get me back on track. That, and elimination of processed foods...Honestly, it is a hard fight back from Depression, but there is much I learned from the process.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Good advice. I usually listen to music when I am feeling blue and focus on the fact that "this too shall pass". Nothing last forever, including periods of depression. Of course there's normal run-of-the-mill depression and then there's major depression, which may require medication to correct. If an episode of depression lasts for more than a few weeks and really starts interfering with one's life, it's time to consultant a medical professional.