People often talk wistfully about the rapid passing of time. “If only you could hit pause on life,” they sigh, as if “pausing” were but a magical notion. But the depressed know pause is possible, and we achieve it. We pull our boats out of the water, ensuring that even as the river of time continues to roll along, we’ll make no real progress.


Life can feel like a never-ending game of tag. To that I say: Let this book be your base. Catch your breath here, friend. 

Think of this book as your pause button. Make yourself at home inside its pages. Rest assured, I won’t try to push anything on you—no probing questions or helpful exercises. 

I definitely won’t try to cure you. Why? Because I’m still pretty depressed myself, and “trying” isn’t exactly one of my hobbies at the moment. I’ll just keep you company for a little while. Nothing more, nothing less. No false promises of a life free of depression here—you can count on that.

No pressure or appeals to buck up, and not a single skyward tug on a bootstrap. Again, I’m just here to keep you company while you waste away in the prison cell of your mood. I’m like that guard who provided Saddam Hussein with Doritos during the days leading up to Hussein’s execution.

Think of it this way: while most books on depression try to help you win the war, this one is merely a cigarette in the trenches. Truthfully, with your feet blistering and boots wet, you are not in a place to combat your mood anyway. So you can sit there and continue to shit yourself or you can accept a bit of comfort from a fellow soldier.

Go ahead and take this hit of nicotine. Make yourself cozy. The war on your mood disorder can wait. 

Reprinted from How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows. Copyright ©2016 by Jacqueline Novak. Published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

© 2017, 2018, 2019 Jacqueline Novak