1. Usually, after every Florida game, Blatant Homerism appeared in this space. It was usually numbered, usually a random collection of thoughts about Florida football, and usually written by the skin of my teeth on Monday morning in between a thousand other things. It varied a lot in content. One time it featured nothing but stories about me shitting myself, because that was preferable to discussing a loss. It was a minor feature, but a regular one.
2. This past season it didn't appear here. This was, unlike a lot of decisions on EDSBS, a deliberate thing. Sometime around July, when I was in Myanmar, it came back. It came back slow and just followed me around like a wet dog and no amount of travel or listening to Earth Wind and Fire would shake it. In retrospect, it was overdue. For most of my life, starting at around age 12 and returning every five or six years or so, I'd get the sustained feeling that all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep and not let stupid words come out of my mouth or my fingers. The last cycle hit around 2010, around the birth of my first son. I was way, way overdue.
3. I'm very lucky in that. Depression can be and is a lot, lot worse for other people. Most of the time I work through it. At worst I'm like myself, but on power-saving mode: dimmer, slower, and without the full range of normal features. Some people can't drag themselves out of bed, much less type or work or be a part of their family. I still get a lot of the prime features, though. Nothing tastes as good as it should, nothing that comes out of your mouth feels like something said by a real, caring human. Words feel like they turn to ash in your mouth, and die on the screen. You live as an imitation of yourself, like the American version of a much better English show. You feel like you are reading the Cliff's Notes to your own life, and not one written by a particularly gifted author.
4. So if I didn't write about Florida football at all this fall, it's not because Florida football is to depressing to write about. It's because I was too depressed to write about something I enjoy, and didn't want to fuck up whatever they were doing with my stupid-ass self. For the record, they were great, and so much better than anyone thought they could be even after Will Grier got suspended for beefcaking his way into non-slim jeans with workout supplements. That even includes the last three blowouts at the hands of much better teams. Even then, they were great and tried hard and and not writing about them made it so much easier to just relax, laugh, and enjoy watching a coaching staff juggle moving parts for as long as they could until they dropped on the floor with the Grier suspension and subsequent collapse. They didn't deserve someone writing about them through the film of their own regularly scheduled appointment with an overcast brain.
5. The receivers could catch and do stuff, at least when someone was throwing to them! Kelvin Taylor ran for a thousand yards despite playing with four linemen on the field, or at least what felt like four linemen on the field at a time. The defense was magnificent at times. The Tennessee game remains one of the funniest finales to a long series of extremely cruel and satisfying endings to games in that series, and that is saying something. Treon Harris will at least be memorable for throwing not just bad passes, but egregiously terrible passes possessed of their own weird physics. He is the Helixsnake highlight video of quarterbacks, and he tries real, real hard. For that I thank him.
6. We scored two points in a game! That was neat! We lost badly to a Jim Harbaugh team, which more than any other loss is a defeat full of hearty vitamins and old-fashioned Midwestern virtue. Losing to Michigan in bowl games is a tradition at this point, and that is what this sport is all about, isn't it?
7. I got mad about something last week, which is the sign something in your brain is at least considering turning on the lights. First you get extremely sad, and then very, very angry and agitated, and then I realize the lights are on. I'm not one of those people who believe you can lifehack it away. Even with medication and therapy, you're just going to lose a marginal patch of your life, of something you can't get back, ever. I'm sure some really wonderful things happened this season, but it's hard to realize that when your brain loses the entire concept of wonderful for months at a stretch.
But that's done, and I want you to be clinical about this, if this is you. You might need therapy, you might need a good psychiatrist, or you might need to stop doing a lot of the things that got you into this. You might just need to sit with it, and make allowances other places in your life. You might need to lower your expectations for a while. You might have zero choice about lowering those expectations. You might need to let the people around you know about all of that, if only for your own well-being.
(For the record: I don't want this to turn into a horrendous, overly sentimental examination of it, because talking about depression on the internet is sentimental and self-centered enough, especially for the people around you. It's a problem to be solved, and any other approach gives it way too much credit. Your results may vary, but mine are the only ones I can talk about with any authority.)
You might need to drive through the desert in a car by yourself in a landscape that looks as empty as you feel. I did that last week. Somewhere west of Phoenix an F-16 out of Luke Air Force base ripped through the sky over me. He was flying low, so low I thought he was five hundred feet off the ground at most, and clearly laughing his ass off watching every car on I-10 shudder like terrified beetles at the sound of his engine. I got mad at him for a second for being in a flying death car when I couldn't, and for scaring the shit out of me while I was having a pleasantly numb drive through the desert, and then I got mad because I was mad.
That's quite a feeling: to be angry after not being angry or much of anything for a while. It's a lot like drinking again after a long layoff, and just as potent. I should have pulled over and enjoyed it. I could have: there's so much nothing along I-10 in the Sonoran desert that you could, and without a highway patrolman pulling over to wonder about just what you're doing alone on the side of the road in Arizona.
There was a guy in a white Lamborghini Huracan going 100 mph in front of me, though, and I really, really wanted to see if I could keep up with him for a while. I couldn't, of course. He was driving a $250,000 rocket skate, and I was not, and pretty soon he slipped through a microscopic gap between tractor trailers and blipped out over the horizon. I still tried, though.