“The easiest way and the most comfortable way for me to address anything real is to make jokes about it.”
Back in October comedian Gary Gulman released a vulnerable and inspiring HBO special called The Great Depresh where he discussed his lifelong struggles with depression. Critics and fans alike applauded Gulman for being so open and honest about what depression looks like and how it has changed his life.
Gulman recently sat down with People magazine to discuss how the special has affected his life and how he treats his chronic depression.
“The easiest way and the most comfortable way for me to address anything real is to make jokes about it,” the comedian explained.
“Depresh” is a cutesy nickname that Gulman gave depression to make it easier to digest for those who have never battled the mental health disorder. For Gulman, it’s all about starting a conversation about mental illness in an effort to end the stigma surrounding it.
“I had called it that to sort of lighten the impact of the illness,” Gulman said. “I mean, I either consciously or subconsciously figured out that people would feel more comfortable if you were immediately making fun of it.”
Gulman feels as though using his voice to normalize the disorder that affects more than 300 million people globally.
“I got such a reward for opening up about this,” the 49-year-old told People. “I thought that this was a great way to sort of redeem the experience and exact some revenge on the time lost and that it was actually a way to, I guess, make the two-and-a-half years that I had suffered not be just useless.”
Though Gulman has lived with depression since his childhood, the disorder hit him hardest in 2015 when he was placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
“By the time I did go in, there was no question that that’s where I belonged. I wasn’t functioning on any level.”
Sleep changes are one of the most common symptoms of depression. During his lowpoint with the disorder, he was sleeping 18 or 19 hours a day and when he wasn’t sleeping, he was experieincing anxiety and suicidal ideation.
His Darkest Moments
“I was spending every moment I was awake — which was sometimes only like five or six hours a day — … in pain from anxiety and also just contemplating painless suicides and ruminating on mistakes and regrets,” he detailed.
Electroconvulsive therapy, meds, talk therapy and support from loved ones, Gulman was able to make it through his darkest days to tell his tale.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.