Comedic and sobering, The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe, host of the podcast of the same name, imparts what living with depression looks like.
Depression has tried to kill Moe (Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth) since he was 12. Tricked by an "If I Could Just mentality," he believed achieving goals would bring happiness. It didn't. Dream jobs--writing for NPR, hosting Weekend America, launching American Public Media's Wits--fueled stress, strengthening the disorder's grip on his psyche. Soon, suicide seemed a logical answer. However, after his brother who struggled with addiction died by suicide, Moe knew he could never damage his family that way: "I would have to walk the earth... no secret ticket out."
Moe's journey exemplifies the trying path to help for those with depression. It "isn't a mood," he demonstrates; it erases self-worth and emotions, it makes connecting with people seem impossible, it "builds a protective carapace out of [the] worst habits." Convinced their problem is unsolvable, "saddies" avoid therapy. Depression becomes part of their identity, sometimes with deadly consequences. If more people talked about mental illness, Moe argues, more people would improve.
Podcast quotes about battling depression from celebrities like NPR's Peter Sagal, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, John Green, Mara Wilson and Wil Wheaton augment Moe's message that no one must face depression alone. His jokes ("You get all the pizza in the world but pizza will taste like lettuce") land with an accuracy that validates his promise: "getting help... feels like floating." Phenomenally reassuring, The Hilarious World of Depression is a rallying cry for mental health advocacy. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer