This morning I went to therapy for the first time in about six years.
The other day I was about to part ways with a friend when she said, “Let me know if you need anything.” I said I would and she looked me right in the eye and said she didn’t believe me.
“I think one of the reasons we’re friends is that we’re both really self-sufficient,” she said, “and kind of stubborn about that.”
I amended my statement–I said I’d try–and then I got on the subway.
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along…
I was in high school when that sunscreen song came out. You know, the Baz Luhrmann song that was actually a Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich but still got falsely attributed to a commencement speech that Kurt Vonnegut didn’t actually give at MIT?
Yeah, that one.
I’ve been thinking about it lately, as I’ve waded through working and living in a college town during commencement season, having never really left my alma mater. I hear snippets here and there of the bleak economic forecast for graduates, the speakers urging all those fresh young faces to buckle down and weather the storm.
But I think if I were speaking to a group of graduates–even better, if I were speaking to myself three years ago–I wouldn’t say anything about the economy, or hard work, or even sunscreen.
I would say You are not alone. And even if you are, you’re still in good company.
So as a proud member of the underemployed, and as someone who just generally likes making a little extra cash, I often participate in surveys, studies, and focus groups. At one point I had a pretty regular gig doing vision studies through a research hospital and I felt like they were secretly training me for the CIA–one of the studies tapped into the massive funding available from Homeland Security by having participants look for weapons in luggage x-rays. (Conclusion: the less common weapons are in said x-rays, the less likely a screener is to notice a weapon when it’s there.)
Anyway, many of these require some kind of pre-screening to determine eligibility. For market research this often involves making sure you don’t work for an ad agency. Other studies are looking for very specific participants–say, dog owners who’ve bought several kinds of kibble over the past few months.
Aside from the standard demographic questions, many screening surveys ask about medical history.
And this is where I almost always lie.
A recent post over at Dooce (1000+ comments!) has gotten me thinking, yet again, about depression. One of the things I love about Dooce is that she talks openly about her own depression in the hopes that talking about it might snowball into lots of people talking and the whole damn thing not being accompanied by such silence and social stigma. But while her post is all about taking medication, mine is about willfully avoiding it. Read the rest of this entry »