I used to work as a Food Developer for Western Canada’s largest poultry processor. I developed some great and tasty crispy fried chicken products not for the faint of heart. I was an encyclopedia when it came to poultry and I could list out a million things you can create with chicken, just like how Bubba in the movie Forrest Gump did with shrimp….“you can bbq it, boil it, braise it, deep fry it…and there’s chicken cutlettes, popcorn chicken, fried chicken, chicken cordon bleu, teriyaki chicken, chicken cacciatore, chicken souvlaki…you can pretty much make anything with chicken! I tell ya’ what…you get a chicken farm and we be partners…just you and me, fifty-fifty…”
The director of Sales in the company was quite an eccentric and brilliant man. He could recite his sales numbers like Dustin Hoffman could recite phone numbers in the movie Rainman. He also had such a unique sense of humor that only a mother could appreciate. One of his notable traits was his use of idioms and unique ways of looking at things. When a project was too daunting, he’d say something like, “it’s like straightening the deckchairs on the Titanic!”
When I presented him with an exceptional prototype of a chicken recipe, he would describe it like this: “You know that’s really good! That’s really sexy…”
At the time I thought his adjective was misused and out right fucked up. As years went by, I occasionally thought about it. I began to realize that how he used the word ‘sexy’ to describe chicken was simply a way to make something that was plain and ordinary into something more attractive, lively and desired.
Although having depression isn’t sexy, the topic of depression is everywhere…it’s in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, etc), news, websites, schools are starting to talk more about it, documentaries and even athletes and celebrities are openly sharing about their experiences with depression. You would have to be living in a basement somewhere if you aren’t involved in discussions about depression these days. It’s yesterday’s news if you think that talking about depression with your family over dinner is weird or scary. It IS sexy to talk about depression. It’s not a fad. It’s the real norm that society is slowly but surely embracing for the right reasons and before we know it, we will no longer need ‘to be brave’ to talk about depression.
Awareness and education also makes us less fearful of people who battle depression and replaces that fear with compassion. I recently attended a 6 week community workshop on how we can reduce the stigma in depression and one of the key takeaways was that we need to normalize it.
I talk about my depression with my son from time to time. I talk about it with my friends and colleagues when there’s an opportunity to. I talk about it with my boss and sometimes with people I just met. I’ll make an appointment to see my counsellor Guillermo when I need to talk even more. I’ll talk about days when I’m feeling blue and wondering, “is this as good as life gets?”
Not very surprisingly, I’ve never been judged by any of them. I get an attentive ear, compassion and I always feel much better afterwards.
Not very long ago, I couldn’t do all this. I was uneducated about depression and I blamed my girlfriend at the time for having it. And little did I realize that I also suffered from depression. I shut down, buried myself in the darkest parts inside my head and I felt the consequences of it all in the form of anger, resentment and loneliness. There’s a number of things that helped me break that silent barrier (which I’ll get into in later blogs). But today, I just want to emphasize that if society did not begin to normalize depression the way it has in recent years, it would be an even bigger challenge for me to go through it and seek support.
Although you may not use ‘sexy’ to describe the topic of depression, I still believe I had some real sexy chicken recipes…“there’s chicken tandoori, chicken nuggets, rotisserie chicken, chicken and waffles…”