No. Watching Ellen DeGeneres cannot cure depression. If it were that simple, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of depression and suicide in this country. No miracle cures–– depression is hard to shake–– but one day of watching Ellen DeGeneres more hopeful.
I’ve been in a hole for a few months now, but I really took a nosedive on Mother’s Day. So cliché. It’s not really about Mother’s Day, but that booby trap of a holiday, which I find a bit of a let down every year, didn’t help. I’d been slipping into this hole for a few months. It all started with a twenty-year old broken tailbone, which felt like a ruptured disc, but meant to weeks of pain, no bike riding, and losing the workout edge I’d worked so hard for. It started with old memories, buried and hard to process. It got worse with rainy days and insecurities. It led to some days when I didn’t feel safe in my thoughts, and some more when I just wanted to hide. Things piled up and there I was, in the dark sticky place I’m now struggling to get out of.
I don’t want to be around people much. Me, the person everyone thinks is an extrovert. People make me anxious right now. The grocery store makes my skin crawl. Running into people I know makes me cry, or want to hide. I don’t want to get dressed, when everything makes me feel fat. I don’t want to answer the phone, because I don’t feel like chatting. I want to work out and regain some of my fitness, but things hurt, or my motivation fails me. It’s a big hole with steep sides.
So today, after a long weekend of way too many social things, straining my ability to feel solid, I took a day to just sit on the sofa and watch Ellen DeGeneres episodes. I love Ellen; I always have. I thought her 90’s show Ellen, was quirky and wonderful. Her irreverent sweetness was always up-lifting. When she came out as a gay person, I thought it was so brave and inspiring. If Ellen could stand there in front of so many haters and still smile, then shouldn’t we all be able to step up and own our power?
Again, if it were this easy, I wouldn’t be spending a day on the sofa. Who else to turn to, if you are stuck on a sofa? Every week, I Tweet positivity at #ThinkBigSundayWithMarsha, and stress the message: we should all be kind. Ellen ends every show with “Be kind to one another.” It’s a true and important message. Ellen and I are twinsies that way. Ellen loves to play pranks; anyone who knows me, knows I’m a born prankster. Ellen loves to dance; I have a sign in my kitchen that announces “This Kitchen is For Dancing.” I dance a lot. Ellen is tender-hearted, I’m a bleeding heart. We’re both goofballs; ask my kids. Twinsies.
Ellen laughs a lot when folks are faced with her crazy pranks. For someone who ends every show with “Be kind to one another,” it bears noting that sometimes the pranks and her laughing don’t really seem kind. One celebrity guest, who was the victim of her ever-popular someone-jumping-from-the-end-table-prank jumped from his seat, then looked at the audience and Ellen and replied (very seriously) “It’s not funny.” He’s got a point. It isn’t funny to scare/prank folks and laugh, but again, twinsies… because I laughed so hard. My kids and husband have gotten annoyed with me for years, for laughing at their moments of distress. Have a bee chasing you? I might wet my pants. When folks drop through the floor, in Ellen’s game “Know Or Go,” I laughed and laughed, even though I know it’s not exactly fun for them. The game “Epic or Fail” is definitely a collective making fun of some poor fool, doing something very foolish. Again, there’s a slightly mean edge to all of these pranks and games. It’s a lot of laughing at someone else’s expense, but I did laugh. And I need to laugh right now. It makes my twin, Ellen, laugh too.
It’s not all pranks. The enormously generous and inspiring things that Ellen does for so many people, gave me a much better reason to cry all day. I saw an entire graduating class of an under-served school in Brooklyn, New York receive four year full scholarships to college (blew me away!); a family whose son has had cancer get all of their medical debt paid; an incredibly dynamic young girl from Australia get her dream to go see Vegas, and then cover the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. She’s given money to families who are working hard but struggling; to folks who are dedicated to helping kids in underprivileged communities; and to regular guests who are just lucky enough to be in her audience. Watching it for a day was nothing short of deeply moving and inspiring.
Today I spent an entire day on my sofa, watching episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was a sunny day, and lots of people would argue I should have been outside doing something, but this is what I needed. It didn’t pull me out of this hole, but it felt safe, restorative, and positive. Her edgy, dry humor feels like home to me–– reminiscent of the humor in my Boston roots. Her billion-watt smile and playful attitude speak to me. I was charmed by the children on the Season 14 recap of cute kids (if you need a few minutes of feel good, watch this!). I laughed at the season 14 Funniest Moments. I enjoyed the interviews, games, give-aways, dancing and the sincerity that Ellen exudes. The heartwarming philanthropy alone is worth tuning in for (my husband calls her Ellen DeGENEROUS). The dose of Andy Cohen in the day was a shotski-kinkyboots-dollup bonus–– being a major fan of him and his shenanigans. Ellen DeGeneres can’t cure depression, but her brand of authenticity, fun and kindness, brightened the dark today. Right now, that’s something worth a few hours of missed sunshine.
Also read: I’ve been here before; I’ll work my way out. At least this time I’m (mostly) keeping better company! The same friend and the same sushi date are still worth a million dollars. Check out this post.
Did you read my last post? Grab some tissues, it’s a biggie. Or, if you’re one those bloggers/readers who doesn’t like bloggers who share everything, skip it. You’re in the wrong place.
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