No triviality too banal.

Dirtbunny’s Summer Retreat: The Rest of the Story


I’ve been hinting and teasing and sort-of-not-really disclosing about my deal for a long time.  I missed a good chunk of work this summer, but now I’m working again a bit.  The people I work with are a good bunch, but pretty much all of us are introverts, and the environment isn’t exactly glowing with warmth from the fire of mutual affection.  Or maybe it is and I just don’t know it because I have isolated myself so completely.  As there are everwhere, we have one or two people who live for being The One In The Know and are not above making shit up when they know something is going on but known nothing about it.  Today was my first big public day back, the first day when everyone would see me, and a good time to start coming up with a good story to explain Where Dirtbunny Has Been so you could be The One In The Know if that’s your inclination.

Juventus - UdineseSometimes Gigi Buffon finds himself having to explain very basic concepts to his defenders.  This annoys him.  It would annoy me too.

It’s not that I care much about gossip.  You hear garbage floating around, you consider the source, and you move on.  But I wanted to tell my story in my own words, before anyone had much of a chance of coming up with a story for me.  I wanted to define my own identity and I wanted people to know that they have no power to hurt me in this area.  Therefore, today I came out, so to speak, to my coworkers by sending the email quoted later in this post.  I have edited out the names of two people and the name of my office, but otherwise this is it in all its glory, punctuated with a few photos from Juventus’ victories over Chievo Verona, Udinese, and Milan earlier this season, because I love them and I can’t help it.


I’d like to say a bit about where I have been for the last few months.  I had hoped to do this at today’s XXX staff meeting, but that has been cancelled and I need to say this sooner rather than later, so an email will have to do.

Some of you will no doubt be relieved to know that I don’t have ebola.  Others may be concerned or curious but too polite to ask.  I have never considered my medical condition to be a secret and it does not feel right to treat it as a secret now.  So for my sake, to forestall any speculation, and to say it once so everyone gets the same facts at the same time, here goes.

Juventus - UdineseWith Andrea Pirlo injured, Claudio Marchisio is making the most of his opportunity to remind us that he’s a world-class midfielder too.


If you haven’t known me for a long time, you may not be aware that I fight with severe, recurrent episodes of depression, or, more accurately, I lie helplessly on the sofa while depression kicks my ass.  I started showing signs when I was 5 and it has been pretty well established since the time I was 14 or so.

Depression looks like laziness and a lack of motivation from the outside, but Gilligan’s Island marathons and Ben & Jerry’s by the pint are symptoms, not the cause.  It’s fairly well known that depression is characterized by a malfunction of chemical processes in the brain.  Research has recently learned that depression is also associated with measurable physical deficits in the brain that are visible in a pet scan.  I thought for a long time that all I needed to do was try harder to keep it together, but that is simply not how depression works.

Juventus vs Udinese Campionato Italiano di calcio Serie A Tim 2014 2015Paul Pogba is getting better and better.  He’s 21 and he starts for the Italian champions and the French National Team.

Some people develop depression after a childhood trauma.  I got mine from my parents, just like I got my size 11 feet, just like someone else might inherit the breast cancer gene or a tendency toward male-pattern baldness.  It has been better some years than others, but the last 3 years or so have been almost unbearably bad, so I got some good doctors and did what anyone with cancer or tuberculosis or acute kidney disease would have done.  I got treatment.

MilanJuveCarlitosCarlos Tevez should have fallen down like everyone else, but he didn’t and he scored a goal.  He hasn’t had one of his infamous fly-back-to-Argentina tantrums since he came to Turin.

I had myself admitted into the psychiatric department of Georgetown University Hospital and underwent two months of pretty much daily outpatient treatment.  I am not remotely ashamed or self-conscious about this.  It helped me tremendously and I’m glad I went.  It’s fine with me if you want to call it the funny farm, but I prefer “booby hatch,” and I’m open to something even better if you can come up with one.  If it would amuse you to consider me and my attitude going to art therapy, getting out a box of discount crayons, and drawing my feelings, then please enjoy yourself.  Jokes about being brain dead will not offend me.  Wisecracks about me finally finding my way back to the mothership are cool and actually kind of appropriate if you think of me as the Bee Girl in the Blind Melon video.  Have at it.  You should know, however, that it isn’t the depression that makes me a big ole weirdo.  That’s just me and, given what’s not considered weird in this world, I’m OK with it.

Juventus - UdineseStarting Eleven against Udinese featuring left-sided midfielder Roberto Pereyra (first row, far right) on loan from Udinese and the reprehensible Patrice Evra, whom I intend to pretend does not exist for as long as possible.


This is not a happily-ever-after resolution.  I’m not “cured” by any means, but I’ve made some enormous progress in some important areas and I will be easing towards a full time schedule over the next few weeks.  I am VERY open to talking about my experience with anyone who is interested.  Really.  If there is anyone else out there who you think would be interested in any of this (I suppose that’s possible), go ahead and share.

Some of you may know a lot more about depression than me and I haven’t meant to come across as patronizing or some kind of expert.  I’d like to thank those of you who kept in touch while I was out.  You have no idea how meaningful it was to hear that someone cared about me under the circumstances.  Thanks to those of you who donated leave, and thanks to XXX and XXX for protecting my privacy and for making it easy for me to do what needed to be done.

Those of you who are still reading at this point, thank you for listening.

Best Regards, etc.

So there you have it:  Severe, recurrent depression (plus anxiety and social phobia), a 2-month trip to the booby hatch, some awesome fellow Bee Girls and Boys who think I’m pretty cool and who understand what it’s like to be thirsty in your own house for hours and hours and hours because you CANNOT get up and get yourself a drink of water, art therapy (which I really liked by the way–I just wish they had better crayons), the return of football season, and a brand-new imaginary boyfriend who has been patiently waiting for me throughout the whole ADP thing.



As you can see quite clearly here, he fits in comfortably with the Azzurri subversives, Andrea “Andrea Pirlo Is Not Impressed” Pirlo and known troublemaker Claudio Marchisio.  No beard here, so this was pretty soon after his recall to the national team after the evil Marcello Lippi hosed him pretty hard, and look how seamlessly he has eased in with the naughty boys in the back of the class.  ADP had many excellent qualities but he was no subversive.  If Dirtbunny is anything, it’s subversive and if her boyfriend needs to be anything, it’s patient.  Him ‘n’ me are much better suited.

Comments are love, people/person.  Comments are love.


This post powered by a dog who doesn’t need to pee but is pretending that he needs to pee so I will take him outside and he can get a cookie.


2 thoughts on “Dirtbunny’s Summer Retreat: The Rest of the Story

  1. DB, I couldn’t be happier things are going a bit better for you, and I’m glad the decision to get help wasn’t precipitated by a Very Bad Life Event. (I’m also happy you seem to have been able to afford the treatment.) I hope all your co-workers reacted sensibly to your email, though obviously the email was so great that an appropriate reaction would be to sing hosannas, which may not be considered acceptable in your workplace.

    • Thanks, dear. The job is not a warm and open place so what I did was shocking and outrageous but in a good way. It was enormously well-received. I was really surprised. I thought they hated me. I just wanted to get it out there before they could start gossiping about me.

      You’re right about the money. The out-of-pocket bills are just starting to come in and they are ugly. But, I had insurance coverage good enough to let me stay as long as I needed, a job that didn’t give me a hard time about going and made sure I mostly kept getting paid, savings for the rest, etc. I’m extraordinarily fortunate. I knew a guy there for about a week and I really liked him and he really needed to be there and we were connecting nicely and said see ya tomorrow on Thursday and on Friday he was gone because his insurance kicked him out. I wonder about him. I hope he’s OK.