By Doug Westberg
Key Themes: Mental Health, Depression, Poetry, Humour
My writing (poetry, songs, humor) draws heavily and unflinchingly on my experiences with depression as well as other topics (including recovery from child abuse and Catholicism—but I repeat myself). Depressed Guy’s Book Of Wisdom began when I decided to try my hand at writing a humor book. I already employ a great deal of sharply satirical humor in my lyrics and poetry. My battle with depression seemed like good fodder and a relatively original angle. The end result is a unique collection of personal anecdotes, gags, twisted sayings, lyrics, poems, and quotations. The punchline being of primary importance, the anecdotes may be completely true or largely nonsense, but are always rooted in personal experience. My intent is to use humor and irony to explore my experiences, exercise my perspective, and focus a spotlight on the difficulties and unfair perceptions of dealing with and recovering from depression. Most importantly, I hope it will lighten for a moment the hearts and the burdens of all who read it.
About the Author
Doug Westberg is a musician, composer, recording artist, author, poet, and Scrabble® junkie. He graduated cum laude from Phillips Andover Academy. After dropping out of college in 1976 because of depression and alcoholism, in 1995, at the age of 40, he completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Marylhurst University in Oregon. He has composed major classical and liturgical works, was a church music director and organist for 12 years, has directed musical theater, given organ concerts, been a piano bar entertainer, and recorded 2 CDs of jazz-rock songs. His poetry, which has appeared in a number of journals, is collected in the volume The Caterpillar, also published by Chipmunka.
Westberg has spent a lifetime battling depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and the repercussions of a violent childhood. Severe mental illness has run up and down both sides of his children’s family tree. Born in 1953, he has been in therapy most of his life. Thanks to a community-based program, he has remained free of alcohol since 1977. After 12 years of marriage and four children, Westberg separated from his wife in 1994 because of both of their psychological problems, was immediately sued for divorce, lost his marriage, his home, and his children, and then mere months later was awarded sole custody of his 3 daughters, who were then 5, 7, and 10. The staggering changes in circumstances and indeed his basic life paradigm brought his lifelong depression to a crisis. He was hospitalized for several months and has been in therapy and on medication for depression and anxiety for the last 14 years.
While struggling with mental illness as a victim and parent and husband, he has served for many years in non-profit institutions as a program director, computer systems manager, and development professional, most recently for 10 years with the L’Arche Nehalem community for folks with (and without) developmental disability--and he is proud to have raised four beautiful, independent-minded, activist, service-oriented children. He lives in the Pacific Northwest United States with his partner Carol (his kids’ “significant mother”), where he plays music and blogs on mental health topics. His web site is www.dougwestberg.com .
Depression is like standing on a pitcher’s mound in front of 40,000 people,
shaking off signs again and again for eternity, as the crowd gets angrier and
angrier, because the catcher doesn’t have any fingers.
Try to picture this: I used to stand in front of a candy display in agony for
upwards of 45 minutes because I couldn’t decide whether to get a Three
Musketeers® or a Clark® bar. Because I knew as soon as I paid for the Clark
bar I’d regret not having gotten the Three Musketeers, and vice versa.
Eventually I found a solution. If I managed to narrow it down to two choices,
I’d call it good and get both of them. I’ve lost three teeth but I’m happier.
GAGS & HANDCUFFS
Before they recognized Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as a disease, there
was something called OLP, a kind of old-fashioned OCD. You have to wash
your hands eight times before you put on a record.
DEPRESSED GUY’S ALMANAC
Don’t sweat the small stuff. There’s no such thing.
I will arise and go now. W.B. Yeats
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 23 March, 2012.