Make That Disco Fries — memoir snippet 2 — a continuation of Serotonin with a side of fries, please. By Tara Lesko

Serotonin with a side of fries, please is available in print and Kindle on Amazon. Thanks for reading. :)

“…When I was somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20, convincing me that a major depressive could function as an educator was as improbable as Charlie Sheen taking the vow of chastity. If anyone implied that a depressed person could handle teaching, I would stare at them like he or she had a giant, pulsating zit ready to burst delusional brain juices. At the time I knew next to nothing about what it means to live with Major Depressive Disorder. In my teens and twenties, I believed anyone living with a great amount of sadness wore a beautiful shroud that couldn’t come off, like Raphaelle Montis’ stone bust of the veiled lady. Depending on lights and shadows, the veil allows people to see the depressed person as they want to see her.

In other words, the diagnosis of depression simply didn’t exist the way it does now. Today, a depressed person doesn’t have to try so hard to hide behind a sheet of organza, theoretically speaking. Today we can’t avoid the reality that a lot of people are at war with their minds. As one of those battlers, I often wonder how it’s possible that a person so wildly disconnected from self-actualization can attempt to help mold and educate the impressionable minds of children.

Well, it’s been well over six years, and I can tell you that it can be done. You might have to fight like hell and it’s going to hurt. But this kind of hurt can be the good kind. Allow me to explain.

Pain, despair, and anxiety can be good for you. But the kind of “good for you” like tuna salad is good for you. Sure, it’s cheap protein, but if you eat it a lot, it’s going to slowly kill you. Actually, it really won’t. All of that mercury poisoning crap is overhyped.

Anyway, there are several reasons why mental anguish and personal hell can be a good thing. The benefits double when you mix mental illness with being a classroom teacher.

I’ve never read Marcel Proust, and I probably never will. But from what I understand from Steve Carell’s character from one of my favorite movies, Little Miss Sunshine, Proust epitomized what it means to be tormented, left-leaning, desperate liberal arts majors. He spent his entire life writing what is arguably the longest book in the world at an incredible 3,200 pages. I’m sorry, but to be able to pull off such a feat, you have to be remarkably brilliant, conscientious, and patient or scarily dejected, lonely, and self-loathing — or a mixture of both…”

Ladies and gentlemen, if the last sentence in the last paragraph isn’t one comprehensive summary of depression and anxiety, I don’t know what is. In reality, that summary applies to being an educator, mentally stable or unstable.

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Writer, teacher, drinker, artist, poet, mental health advocate, hypersomniac, day dreamer, and if I can’t put it in the Instant Pot, it’s not getting cooked.

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Writer, teacher, drinker, artist, poet, mental health advocate, hypersomniac, day dreamer, and if I can’t put it in the Instant Pot, it’s not getting cooked.