Hello, my name is Dana and I am a Depressionista. I’m also a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer and shopaholic. On a perfect day, I have a perfect life and I remind myself over and over how very lucky I am. On a bad day, as great as my life is, I am completely overwhelmed and even though I’m so, so lucky, depression gets the best of me. My brain tells me I don’t want to be here. That I want to escape the suburban life — get it? I’m a Suburban Escapist!

THE SUBURBAN ESCAPIST

Depressionista — (n) One who is depressed, but by God, she is fabulous!

I’m a Suburban Escapist because I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which means my depression is tied to the weather; my mood plummets every fall and stays low until spring. On bad days, I hibernate under my duvet, I go to bed at 8:30 p.m., I stop calling the people I love because my brain tells me they don’t want to hear from me when I’m down. I’m also much more likely to burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Sometimes staying positive is hard work but I take care of my mind every single day. I take antidepressants and Omega-3s, I exercise, I do yoga, I meditate…and if that doesn’t work, well, then I escape the suburbs however I can.

Seasonal Affective Disorder — noun

Depression that tends to recur chiefly during the late fall and winter and is associated with shorter hours of daylight — abbreviation SAD

— Merriam Webster dictionary
My goal is to make every day feel like summer.

HOW I ESCAPE THE SUBURBS 

Travel

Sometimes I can be a Suburban Escapist by escaping the cold Canadian winters whenever I can. Sometimes my escapes are just little road trips and sometimes I’m lucky enough to head to a beach, where the sun is warm and my SAD is better. I come back stronger and ready to face the remaining cold months, content in the knowledge that summer is closer than it was yesterday. Sunshiny Canadian summers are the ultimate balm for my achy heart and I spend the warm months building up my good memory cache with trips to the cottage and family road trips.

Style

Sometimes I can’t just leave the country to escape my depression (so unfair, right?). Money can’t buy happiness but shopping for pretty, colourful things is one of my go-to mood boosters. It may sound trite but getting out and looking at beautiful things on a cold, gloomy day is exponentially better for my mood than staying home and hiding under my duvet. Last year, during a particularly bad bout of SAD, I became a suburban escapist by discovering the whimsical world of Lilly Pulitzer fashion and spent way too much money updating my wardrobe with bright colours and tropical prints. It’s hard to feel truly awful when you look like a tropical cocktail. I love my Lilly so much, I decided to integrate that same sense of fun into my home decor. Bye-bye beige, hello flamingos!   

Dana’s Dirty Book Club

What do I do when I can’t travel or shop? The Suburban Escapist disappears into the pages of a dirty book. I make no secret of the fact that my favourite books are equal parts sexy, funny and well written but I guess not everyone is so open about their smutty cravings. I tried to start a Dirty Book Club in Oakville but it never really took off. Apparently, people are eager to ask me for suggestions in private but they’re less willing to discuss the juicy parts in public. I’m not ready to stop talking about dirty books all together though; so I’ll just talk about them here. By myself.