Bravo! Let’s Get Real…


Hi, my name is Tales From the Motherland, and I’m addicted to reality.  Please don’t call me out for using the classic “meeting” hello; trust me, there will be plenty of opportunities to judge here. Those of you who are clever enough, or who have the same problem addiction challenge, may already know where this is headed. Into the gutter. And down.

image: Bravo.com

image: Bravo.com

I’ve been spending way too much time watching reality shows on the Bravo channel. Ok, take a second and groan; I get it. A few months ago, I would have been judging and groaning at me too. But that was before I took a header off the edge and wound up in some dark spaces. Interesting what a little Depression will bring your way. In my case, it came loaded with Real Housewives living in all kinds of places, Hairdressers running amok, Real Estate agents (also in a few places) selling crazy ass big houses, and on a few occasions… Ok, I told you there would be plenty to judge; here it is: a few Kardashians. I blush, even as I type this. But the road to recovery is paved with confessions, and countless, small prayers.

For a few months  nearly a year a while, my sofa has been a lot more comfortable than say… going outside. Seeing people. Shopping. Doing almost anything other than being on my sofa, with my TV or computer.  The walls came in around me. The rain became one more reason to just stay seated. The sun became one more reason to stay on the couch. Fall, inter, spring… almost anything was an excuse to hide. If it weren’t for a very good friend and some great sushi, I might not have gone out that one day a week either. It’s good to have someone in your corner who: sees the problem; doesn’t judge; supports without enabling, and who cares enough to stay the course. I’m lucky. It’s a big bonus if your sponsor friends are willing to overlook your addiction when you don’t feel like sharing, laugh with you when you’re dying to talk about the latest reality scandal, or occasionally pretend you’re not actually talking about vapid people, as if you really know them. It’s not easy for friends and family to stick by you when you’re struggling; it’s hard to watch, and hard to help. People tend to feel helpless, uncomfortable, impatient, or just tired of the downward trend, and that makes avoiding someone like me pretty damned tempting. That also makes the support from others that much more priceless to me, in the midst of the struggle.

Yeah, this  is seriously what my friends and I look like.  image: Bravo.com

Yeah, this is seriously what my friends and I look like. image: Bravo.com

And so I fell into a rabbit hole of vacuous TV as a means of escape.  For a very long time, I was super critical of the very shows I’m now hooked on. And I am hooked. I know it’s all crap. It is. Major caca crap. Some of it’s entertaining, or interesting, in ways that I can at least defend… a little. Frankly, I’ve enjoyed watching really big houses (or apartments in NYC) marketed and sold, enjoyed watching how it’s done. It’s fun to see how style is determined and marketed, even if I live in Gap jeans and comfy shirts most of the time. Some of those “Real” housewives crack me up, even if Little Man mocks them endlessly. “Seriously Mom? They aren’t even housewives… except that they’re married and live in houses.” Or, “Ewww, is that really her face?” Bahaha! They crack me up, even if I have to hide the fact that I watch them, from almost everyone else. I didn’t get stupid, just depressed. I know these people are crass, obnoxious, materialistic, plastic… all the things I detest in real people. But the thing is, these Real people were a wonderful distraction from my own real stuff. Their stuff seemed so much more… entertaining.

image: bits.blogs.nytimes.com

image: bits.blogs.nytimes.com

A few months ago I would not have known who Tabitha was (or why she Takes Over). I had heard of Zoe, but didn’t know she was all that and like, well like, oh my gawd, she was like so cray cray about style, or that so many famous people were like so cray cray for her. I had no idea who Brad Brad was, or what his World looked like. Ok, I still don’t, but I do know it’s there. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know what a Kardashian was, but I can honestly say that in all these years, I’d never watched one— let alone one in New York and one in Miami. I sure hadn’t seen Honey Boo Boo (not on Bravo), and only watched it once… in my own defense. Once was disturbing enough. There’s some “Shrinks” on Bravo, who actually have some good advice, but I only saw a few of those. My real one was much more helpful. There’s a lot of fashion and a lot of real estate, and a lot of Real Housewives, that aren’t real on Bravo. There’s quite a bit of cooking as well. I didn’t feel like cooking much during this time, but some days it was nice to see what else I could be eating, if I wanted to cook.  Watching cooking, kind of counted for cooking, in my altered universe.  I wanted to eat, that never held me back. However, Hot Tamales, Nutty Bits, and Ritz crackers get old, when you eat a lot of them. A lot a lot. In my altered Reality world people like Bethany live forEver After, and lots of people can cook with any six ingredients in their frige.

Real TV—Reality, has kept me from totally losing it. That may be a sad state of affairs for lots of you, and it would have been for me a year ago, but when you’re already sad, when things look really bleak, you find distraction wherever you find it. For me, it’s been Bravo… for countless, mindless hours. These Real people have been my sweet spot, even if it was the lesser of two not really sweet spots. Facing depression each day, or watching other people who I could kind of feel above. When you’re down, you just want to feel up… even if up is only above some pretty questionable downs. I was fully aware, that it wasn’t a good thing, but honestly it was better than some of what was going on in my head.

image: securehealth12.blogspot.com

image: securehealth12.blogspot.com

Let me be very clear here: I’m not making light of depression. In fact, lightness has been distinctly missing, for me, over the past year+.  I’ve always been able to get up and move forward, but there I was stuck on a sofa, watching what I’d always called crap, for nine months or so.  Stuck in a dark corner of my own design. Issues were really big, but they just got bigger, and the best solution at the time, seemed to be avoidance and isolation. If I ignore it, it will go away, I reasoned. If I sit here alone, I don’t have to look at any of this. If I watch TV I won’t feel the pain. What I discovered however, was that isolation begets more depression. Avoidance doesn’t make it go away. Piles get higher; issues stack up; and as you spiral down, it’s just that much harder to get up and rally. Making appointments involves committing to going somewhere. Errands seem more challenging when you’re down, because they involve going out and running into people. People want to chat. Chatting sucks when you just want to be back on your sofa. It’s that much more challenging, if people have always seen you as a consummate chatter, a very social person, a jokster and performer. People expected that of me, but I just wasn’t up for my usual song and dance.

image: shortcircuitkids.com

image: shortcircuitkids.com

I’m using the past tense, because I think— I hope, the worst has passed. I’ve turned a corner… in a positive sense… versus, say, going round the bend.  It’s hard work, frankly. I hate to pull the age card, but it probably applies here. Age certainly doesn’t help, except in the sense that I get it; I’ve been able to sit with my feet in the fire and breath, knowing that sometimes you just have to do that. You just have to get through it. You can bounce back. But, I don’t bounce as high, and it hurts my knees when I do bounce. The issues seem bigger, as we get older: Kids grow up and leave; parents get sick and die; marriage can be challenging in the face of big life changes; and, personal health stuff is harder to swallow, when I’ve always Energizer Bunnied my way through things. But going and going and going, just isn’t what I do—as well, anymore.

So, I’ve let Bravo, and Hot Tamales, and some good friends keep me going.

I’ve allowed myself the time to just wallow and whine and cry and crawl… slowly back up. I’ve appreciated the countless kindnesses from expected (or hoped for) and highly unexpected sources. To friends near and far, who have been there: I am eternally grateful. To Smart Guy, Little Man, Middle Man and my Principessa, I have appreciated your patience, love and support— even when you weren’t sure what you were looking at. It was a loving gift each time Little Man threw a jab at the plastic people I was watching, instead of throwing a jab at me. Each smile from Middle Man lights my way. My girl has sent me countless hugs and sweetnesses, often without even knowing how much they meant. Smart Guy stayed the course. Hard work for both of us, but an investment worth protecting. My dogs have overlooked my surly moods and my glum faces, and have cuddles and wagged and leaped with joy, whenever I walk in the room. They’ve let me cry into their furry hearts more than once. It’s hard to not appreciate that kind of love and loyalty.

And then there are the unexpected sources of light… the amazing blogging community, who unwittingly supported me, unaware that I was truly hanging on for life some days. You’ve emailed me, you’ve followed and liked and shared me. I don’t say that facetiously. I say it with humility and love. I have only met 2 of you in person, and yet so many of you have made me laugh, have applauded my efforts, thanked me for touching on something you connect with, and have pointed out things I needed to see. Your honesty, humor and kindness has been a beacon some days. None of that was something I foresaw when I started this whole blogging gig, but talk about perks!

image: masterpiece-beth.com

image: masterpiece-beth.com

So, now it’s a continued climb up. It’s some very good days, for a blessssed change, with some days when I just retire to my sofa and take some extra breaths. It really is baby steps, when you hit bottom. And in case I’ve sugar coated at all: I hit fucking bottom. Bottom. I never want to be there again bottom. So, I’m in recovery. I’m putting it out there and making this one bold confession as part of my commitment to me. I’m thanking all of the people who supported, and I’m moving on. Moving slowly, but moving on. And as for my posse of Real friends, well, recovery takes time. I’m spending less time with them and more time with real people. Who love me. Bravo for that!

Share your thoughts; please leave a comment.

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About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Awareness, Blog, Blogging, Can't sleep, Daily Observations, Honest observations on many things, how blogs work, Humor, Life, Musings, My world, Parenting, Personal change, Tales From the Motherland, TV, Women, Women's issues, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Bravo! Let’s Get Real…

  1. I should be surprised by your confession, but I am not. Since you told me how old you are, I can say I was close to that age myself when I went through the worst depression of my life. My doctor (and shrink) put me on antidepressants for over a year to help pull me back from the abyss, if you know what I mean.
    All of that just to say I empathize, I support you, and I love the courage you demonstrate each time you open yourself to your followers and friends, some of whom you do not even know. Just know there is more love and support out here in the world than you realize, and we all want you to find your inner peace. – Mike

    Like

    • Thanks Mike. You have been a wonderful friend and I appreciate all the support and kindness you’ve shared. Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Given your amazing life choices and adventures, it gives me more hope. 🙂 Thanks for that. I know that there is much more good than bad out there. There have been some distinctly painful moments in all this, but so many good lessons as well. Thanks for being there! Big bear hug.

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  2. Patti Winker says:

    I am sorry to hear of your struggle with depression, but am also glad to hear you are climbing up and out of that rabbit hole. I certainly understand, as I have had my bouts with depression throughout my life.

    I don’t see anything in what you said as making fun of depression. On the contrary – you shed some much needed light on the REAL story of depression. And, yeah, watching reality television, or any television 24/7, is a distraction from depression. And, dang it, it works.

    For me, it’s cooking shows. I watch them a lot anyway, but when I’m sinking into depression, a good dose of the cooking shows where somebody’s yelling at somebody else is an awesome mood leveler. (Restaurant Impossible and Restaurant Stakeout do the trick for me.)

    Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your story. Keep up the good work. And, yes, a bit of bizarre humor is always an excellent healer. 😉

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    • Thanks Patti! I really appreciate your insight. It’s really helped to hear what others have been through. As a trained professional, I knew the signs, I got it… but I was lost none the less. I’m glad I had some good support, helping me just take care of myself: however that looks. Thanks for the support. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. So glad you’re on the way out of the funk and that tv helped. Thanks for sharing what many experience and few feel comfortable enough to express. Here’s hoping being with the “real” people that know and love you will continue to help improve your state of mind. xoxo

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  4. meagan mac says:

    Ok. That’s it. Dawn, let’s get something scheduled. I’m so bad about plan-making. I’m one of those horrible people that waits for others to set things in motion. But seriously, we should do something. You can come visit my at my messy pit of a house. We could write our butts off…drink lots of caffeine. I mean, you could watch your shows, if you want. But I don’t have cable. Maybe that would be okay?

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  5. The Waiting says:

    I’m so glad you’re finding your way out of the rabbit hole and that TV helped a little. The thing about these escapes is that they are just that – escapes. I think as long as we see them as such, they aren’t harming anyone. Just don’t buy any of those Kardashians’ clothing line 😉

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    • I couldn’t wear the Kardashian stuff if I wanted to… and I was never depressed enough to want to! 😉 I’m a pretty bohemian, classics kind of girl and I don’t see that changing. Admittedly, pajamas felt awfully good for a while there. Thanks Emily. It’s been so fun getting to know you better… Love your writing; love your attitude, and enjoy sharing with you. Thanks for the support.

      Like

  6. Susan says:

    I stumbled across your blog the other day, “Dear Mother” -great stuff. I, too have made it through the darkest time of my life. Close to three years of life on the sofa. I have little to no recall of programs watched. I was not married to a smart guy, in fact his lies and his affair contributed to the craziness that was my life. I am doing well, good family, good therapy, good God. I salute you and celebrate your recovery. Thank you for sharing. I am now a follower. Know that you are wished well.

    Like

    • Thanks so much Susan. I totally understand how this can go on, and on. I feel like I’m working my way out of it, but it’s no easy task. And, it’s not a done deal yet. Thanks for following my blog, and for supporting my writing. It’s what keeps me going some days… it means a lot to me that it means anything to others. Much appreciated.

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  7. Cathy Ulrich says:

    I’m so glad you have made the commitment to climb, Dawn. And I’m glad the Kardashians helped in the process. I have a confession to make here – I have never seen them on T.V., just heard about them. How lame is that?
    But seriously, you are an amazing writer and a gifted woman who deserves all the best. I see that for you. And if you have those challenging days, then let ’em come, breathe ’em in and move on to better days.
    Thank you for inviting us into your world so that we can support you.

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  8. sara says:

    What is a Kardashian? Seriously Dawn…oh dammit, i wanted to rouse on you for not letting us know before now, but what the hell, i am sure if you could have you would have. So instead, I am packing a box with rainbows and hugs, sun shining on dew drops and a little sliver of Australian sky, all wrapped up in love paper and sending it to you on the ether xxx. Be well!

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  9. Adam S says:

    Ah, a topic I know all to well. Not Bravo, the other thing. It just fucking blows some days. No point in mincing words or sugar coating. It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Not because I feel good about your suffering, but because all of us clowns are experiencing the same thing, which makes it feel slightly normal. I’m all up in my head and I bet you are too. We’re smart people. That’s what smart people do. Focus your energy outward. That’s my philosophy, anyways. Chin up, yo. 😉

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  10. Valery says:

    Scary. Very few of us, if any, are prepared to navigate the minefields of depression. I loved your “hello” intro., it was perfect, and seemed so appropriate.

    Personally, I don’t understand why our society trains us in reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, yet falls short in training for the machinery that’s required to process those three “r’s”. Seems to me, there are basic operating and maintenance manuals for all of the inanimate machines we use, from toasters to tablets and “smart”phones, etc. Where is the basic manual for the most complicated machine we use: the miraculous human brain?

    Picture a classroom of kindergarten kids, who are practising letter sounds, basic addition, and how to name the basic emotions. Would it be easier for these kids to talk about their feelings openly and without any shame? If they continued to learn about mental health and wellness throughout the years, would they be more able to recognize basic signs and symptoms in the people around them – without judging them? No doubt. I remember taking a class in basic psychology as an elective. In high school. Nothing was offered earlier, and by high school everybody has already been exposed to common cliches, stigmas and stereotypes.

    Oh, what a topic you’ve broached. Bravo. I am once again in awe of your courage and commitment. Maybe someday when you’re braced for a doozey, I’ll share my abyss(es) with you. Love you! ❤

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  11. Le Clown says:

    Dawn,
    Got you. And how much more closer could our posts get this week? Sometimes, there isn’t anything else to do but to let it pass, and the way you need it to pass, at your own pace, with your own methods. But you know that. Other times, reaching out is good. And you know how to reach me, even if it’s just a 3-word email, to vent, to say hi, to touch base. Much love and calm to you, Dawn.
    Le Clown

    Like

    • Thanks Le Clown. You’ve been a wonderful support and sounding board when I’ve needed it, and I’ve really appreciated that. Yes, I’m not sure we could have been much closer in our approaches this week… I posted last Thursday and then took off for a writing retreat, in the most beautiful of places… listening to blue birds, watching the wind on the high desert alpine and mountains, and laughing with friends… I’m moving through this. Some days, I just sit with that coffee, and a Real Housewife or two. (don’t judge- we agree in theory). Thanks! d

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  12. My heart is totally with you, and I’m so glad you’re on your way up. If you ever want to meet, say, at that Starbucks you had a photo of not too long ago; the one by the bay, just holler. I’m not too far south of you, and I head up to the big city fairly often. But you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t drink coffee- never developed a taste for it. I love tea, however.

    I’m not a big fan of most of the Housewives shows, but I love Tabatha. And it cracks me up that she doesn’t like to hug. Who doesn’t like a hug? And over on TLC, I love Theresa, the Long Island Medium. Cheers and kudos for getting Real.

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  13. Oh, My Lady, I hear you. I have been there too. When it’s just too much trouble to put two words together. When the idea of seeing people in person can set off a downward spiral–or in my case, panic attacks. I’m glad you have so many good people around you–people who love you will wait and be supportive and love you until you’re ready to start the upward climb.

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    • Thanks Madame. I really appreciate all the kind words and support you’ve offered. Meant a lot when you invited me to contribute to Outlier. It was a wonderful boost. 🙂 It’s really helpful to have such a great blogging community, where I find others who experience similar things, and are so supportive. Thanks Weebs.

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  14. You and I are soooo much alike, Dawn. We’re even in the same pattern/cycle of “fucking bottom depression” and slowly coming out of it. My addiction is the same as yours – Bravo has, er, I mean, HAD, become my best friend. It’s so easy to hang out with the realtors, housewives and shrinks, isn’t it? (I love that one gay shrink that just got married – he’s so kind. I want to jump through the TV and hug him.) Anywhooo – I love you for putting it all out there and for being so cool in the process and so easy to love. (I think I use the word “love” with regard to all of your posts, don’t I?) You are such a find, a blessing and a soul sister. You can bet your sweet fanny I’ll be out there, soon. I promise. xoxox

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    • I suppose when you hit bottom, admitting to a Bravo addiction is the small stuff… right? It has served it’s purpose. It’s where I run, for the time being. Not the worst thing I could do! Or you either. Hang in there Lisa. It’s been a shit storm of a year for you, and you are entitled to as much recovery as you need. When you do come, we’ll compare favorite Real people, drink some grapefruit cocktails, and laugh. A lot. xo

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