“Take a Pill and Chill, Hill”

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – March 24, 2005

I heard on CBC television the other day about a new experimental therapy for people suffering from severe depression.

It involves embedding a chip in the C25 region of the brain. The chip interacts with electrodes and a pacemaker implanted under the collarbone somehow. With this therapy, a reported four patients out of six noted significant improvements in their mental outlook, a blessing that went on beyond six months. But critics are wondering if this was just a fluke.

Sometimes I like to think I too can dig deep into my brain with a sharp object and help alleviate some depression. Ideally, my invention would involve a stainless steel turkey baster that I would jam through my skull to suck out a part of my grey matter.

Sounds like a lobotomy, but with my technique, upon removing the gouging tool, I would have the extra bonus of a mini tunnel, or portal if you will, from scalp surface to brain into which I could pour some fine Rosemount Shiraz or Barq’s. Sort of like mainlining but my liquid happiness will instead be channelled into the brain rather than the vein.

A far cry from legitimate medical practice, my solution probably won’t take off. But I wouldn’t doubt if in some faraway land during a faraway time something similar to my head-gouging-with-baster idea was the in thing. You’ll have to write in and let me know. The latest deep brain treatment described on CBC, though, dates back to the late 1990s when it was used to treat tremors in people with Parkinson’s disease. It sounds a lot
safer than my version.

But there are a few other things I know for a fact that can help with foul moods and an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I was forced to investigate them when an on-line reader, months back, told me to go take some Prozac. And with another reader telling me recently to “Take a pill and chill, Hill” – which in itself had a therapeutic effect of making me laugh uncontrollably, thank you.

A lot of Shotgun articles have been about some serious issues. So, in case I’ve depressed you all, I’ve come up with a quick-pick list of things to make us all feel a little lighter as we move into our Easter long weekend.

1. The Bee Gees’ Greatest Hits. Whenever I need a really good laugh about heartache I put on this CD. The Bee Gees’ high-pitched voices are a laugh and the ways it inspires you to move your body will be far more embarrassing than the one-night-stand you just had. And if you find yourself obsessing about the girl the week after, toss your worries to the air and laugh at your frivolousness through classic Bee Gees songs like “Jive Talkin’,” “I Started a Joke,” or “Tragedy.” Ah, love. It can suck ass.

2. Plato Not Prozac, by Dr. Lou Marinoff. Salon.com describes Dr. Marinoff as a guitar-playing City College of New York philosophy professor-cum-therapist. His book makes philosophy accessible and shows you how to use it to solve everyday problems. Plato Not Prozac is self-healing therapy that uses a 2,500-year-old tradition in philosophy to solve work, relationship and family issues. Instead of looking at getting fired from a psychoanalytic perspective-i.e., Reg fired me because deep down I wanted to sleep with my mother-step back and reflect on the concept of “change.” This book will help you re-jig your focus and encourage you to deflect some of the heat off yourself and onto the cosmos instead.

3. The Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. Here’s another great book. You can get it on tape. It looks at universal archetypes and Greek mythology to explain what it is we’re enduring day-to-day. Campbell describes the journey of the Hero relative to our own life’s stages-growing up, independence, maturity, marriage and kids, retirement, then old age. Hearing about how the Hero has to journey without food or water and suffer incredible odds, beasts and diseases to reach his/her goal should make you feel a little better about having to tackle that term paper.

4. Reinventing Your Life, by Jeffrey E. Young, PhD., and Janet S. Klosko, PhD. This book is about “lifetraps”-shitty little patterns you espoused as a kid to survive the shrapnel that hit as part of growing up. Whether you’re suffering now from an emotional deprivation cycle, dependence or entitlement lifetrap, this book will show you how to extract all that crap from your head and sort it into neat piles. Screw Dr. Phil, Young and Klosko will teach you how to, for once, obliterate the negative forces that are tampering with your happiness today. No crock.

5. Three’s Company. Whether it’s a sexually frustrated Mrs. Roper or the penniless roommate trio of Jack Tripper, Janet and Chrissy you relate to, this feel-good television series that debuted in 1977 will bring you back to a simpler time of brown bellbottom corduroys

– Sylvie Hill