Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ZINE REVIEW: The DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfucking Sad

Adam Gnade [Pioneers Press]

Writer Adam Gnade offers us a guide for how he deals with what he calls "The Big Motherfucking Sad" aka depression.

As soon as I opened up Adam's fight guide, I instantly recognized something in myself. In the book's introduction, Adam tell us that he dreams of dissecting his life—listing how tired or sick he felt on a certain day, what foods he ate and how he felt when he got up in the morning—all in an effort to detect the patterns of his life. Three years ago, I started to keep a journal for these very same reasons. I was inspired at the time by Jesse Reklaw's daily comics journal, Ten Thousand Things to Do. I kept a daily record of what I ate, drank and the basics of what went down that particular day and what my mood was (good, bad, pissed, bummed). I wanted to see if I could recognize patterns. Was I depressed because I drank too much that particular week or did I drink because I was depressed? Did slipping into a lazy junk food diet cause my depression or did I turn to these comfort foods as a result of it? I am not someone who suffers from clinical depression, but I get bummed out like everyone else and if being in mental pain is comparable to being in physical pain, then it's important to know the cause of the affliction so that it can be corrected.

Gnade doesn't deal with the root causes of the Big Motherfucking Sad, recognizing that they vary by individual, but he does offer tips to school depression's ass. With suggestions (commands, really) on how to not let the buggers get you down. There's a "Guide to Not Freaking Out All the Time," advice on how to deal with the critics and the haters and other assorted maxims you can use to pump yourself up when you're feeling deflated. That's the purpose of this book, which undoubtedly provided the same comfort to its author.

This zine is not a cure-all for anything, it's just a tool you can use to help you continue to kick ass on a daily basis. A few months ago I stopped keeping my daily journal. Not out of laziness, but after three years I became pretty adept at recognizing the patterns I had been recording. When you know what's coming you can prepare yourself for it. So if you suffer from chronic depression, seasonal depression or stress-related sadness, you would do well to have this pocket-sized pep talk close by. Don't let it creep up on you and don't let the bastards get you downChris Auman []

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