I’m re-discovering food.
Most people with serious depression stop eating when they’re ill, but I have the fattening version. I turn into a fun mashup stereotype of ‘gay man eating his feelings with ice cream’ and ‘batchelor surrounded by pizza’. Neither of these are stereotypes I aspire to but here we are.
Toast, too. Lots and lots of toast. My depression look is tumbledown bed hair and unsexy stubble, ice-cream stained joggers and a chin covered in crumbs, slouched on a sinking sofa; the scene framed by empty pizza boxes and dirty plates. ‘WHY have you been single for so long!’ say people who, generally, have not known me for very long.
The depression is lifting – although thanks to my inherent laziness my bad bed head and unsexy stubble remains. But at last the depression is lifting, and the other day I had a salad. A salad!
People get down on salad; head honcho big macho culture sneers on it as not proper food, just rabbit food, no meat, no substance. I had been eating toast and chocolate and artery-clogging pizza for months and then I had a salad and BOOM.
OK I admit I was also getting a bit hypomanic but still – BOOM.
The crunch and the zest, the colours, never mind the flavours – sharp, sweet, bitter. Salad can tang – like a struck tuning fork – tannnnnnng.
The other day I had a salad and it struck a million joyful notes in my mouth and I remembered – food! Food! Colourful, textured, flavoured, riotous food!
I hate the whole ‘food is medicine’ bullshit, and I hate it with a vitriol which can only be achieved by someone who once loved it very, very much. Food is food. Medicine is medicine.
And I hate the whole ‘are you eating properly?’ advice doled out to the depressed. I haven’t brushed my teeth in three days and haven’t opened the curtains in five, Mike, but sure I’m making sure to get my five a day. Are you fucking kidding me?
I’ve got to concede tho that mainlining sugar and fat probably didn’t help. And the riot of nutrients and fibre which I’m now getting – that’s got to count for something, doesn’t it?
But besides all that, depression is slop, is goo, is flaccid and grey; it draws the colour from life, the crunch, and the tang. Now the darkness is lifting – for a little while, at least – and life is back. Food is back. It’s glorious.