When Depressed, Fix It!

Picture of desk chair legs, one of which is taped.

What do desk chair legs have to do with depression?

Good question.

When I was young, I used to go to my parents when I felt down or depressed. My mother had a way with words that would express her attitude exactly: “Well! fix it!” It didn’t take me long to stop going to her for help.

But, I did learn how to fix things. It was a talent I got from my father. I grew up loving to fix things. It was fixing things that got me a job developing software. I loved finding and fixing problems.

I fixed my kid’s broken toys. I fixed cars. I fixed houses. I tried fixing relationships but failed until I realized I had to fix myself. Sometimes, the problem is not the one you are working on, it is inside you, not outside. To some extent, my mother was right. If you are depressed, you need to fix it. You can get help figuring out what the problem is and ways to fix it, but the fixing is on you.

Over the years, I learned how to recognize oncoming depression early and take measures to head it off. If not, the fix becomes much harder.

So how does a chair enter into fixing depression? If you look closely at the chair legs, you will see one of them has black tape on it. That black tape holds the black plastic covering over the leg ends from coming off.

I purchased this chair at Office Supply around 2017. Shortly after, I was sitting with my left leg on the chair leg – as I do often. It’s a position my back doctor tells me I shouldn’t do. That day, I moved my foot and that black plastic part broke off. I could have called Office Supply and probably got them to replace it, or not. But I didn’t. It was too much of a hassle to do so. So I stuck it back on with some silicon and a few weeks later it fell off again.

For the next five years, I would put it back on and it would fall off. I finally gave up and put the black plastic thing someplace special which means I may not ever find it again.

Then I moved my office and the black plastic thing appeared from nowhere. I was in a mood that day. A downsizing mood. Throwing things away. Getting rid of old memories. The black plastic thing sat near me for days.

I was also dealing with chronic back pain then. The kind that lasts for 12 months and kicks your optimism to the curb. It was so bad, that surgery was necessary to correct it and I was a few weeks away from having a surgeon fix me.

Until surgery, I was limited. I gave up pickleball. I could not hand mow. I could not weed wack. I could not make love without lots of pain. I got depressed. Very depressed. I saw the black plastic thing and thought: “Fuck it! Why am I hanging on to this piece of shit?”

Then it dawned on me that there was more than one way to fix a black plastic thing. I got out a screwdriver, did this, then that, found a longer screw, made a mistake, and then fixed my mistake. I then found some black electrical tape – that is almost as good as duct tape. I spent about 20 minutes fixing this.

When I was done, I stood back and thought, why didn’t I just tape it instead of all the shenanigans with screws and screwdrivers?

I fixed it twice. But no matter, it was going to stay fixed this time. I felt great!

I had taken a small thing, a small step, a small fix and it turned around my bad feelings totally. I felt like I still had it. I could still fix things. In fact, I could fix things twice! This little task did wonders for my self-esteem. Just doing what I loved to do best made my day.

So, obviously, one can conclude, that when depressed, fix it!

Besides, my mother said so.