The air is frigid. My lungs are cold. The sun is gone. I got depression.
Michigan winters hit hard, and there’s no worse time than the beginning of February to remind you that your vitamin D stores dried up weeks ago and your body is currently running on daydreams and delusions.
You haven’t had real sleep since the semester started. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, but that’s because there wasn’t enough light to cast one. The nutrient-bleached food on campus has sucked the marrow from your bones. You’re tired.
Fear not, friends, most of us are in the same boat, and I’ve found just the solution to our mental exhaustion. We must band together in this time of need and do the only thing we know how to do.
We must give each other high fives to cure our depression.
Any time you see a friend of yours looking down after a hard day of dried-up dopamine, give them five. See a person looking down at their economics textbook with their pupils dilated and their nostrils flaring? Give them five up top. See someone release a guttural scream as they bolt out of their fluid dynamics test that they forgot about? Give them five as they streak by you. Spot a classmate trying to lift a textbook heavy enough to be registered as a lethal weapon with a look in their eyes that says, “I can feel myself developing scoliosis”? Give them a crisp high five.
Will the spread of high fives solve anything? Almost certainly not. It’s still practically the middle of winter and slapping a stranger’s open hand will probably only result in awkward eye contact and an uncomfortable silence. But the small amount of dopamine that comes from the human interaction is about as potent as heroin at this point of the semester, so you take the good with the bad.
I understand that giving high fives is hard work, and people have different levels of comfort with interacting with strangers. This is extremely understandable, especially if you are in “social interaction energy debt” like most of your peers.
If that sounds like you, try practicing at home first. Walk up to your roommate and explain that you are desperate for good brain juices and require that they put their hand in the air so you may smack it. If they don’t look at you like you’re an alien, put in some hand-slapping practice — I recommend about 50 high fives a day to get the perfect contact down.
When you feel comfortable enough to take your skills out into the real world, find someone who looks comfortable with you approaching them. Give them a crisp high five and just wait for those good brain juices to fill your mind with happiness.
After a hard day of classes or a long shift at work, try giving a friend a nice high five. There is no chance it will bring the sun back, or make your grade better, or make you less tired. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a nice little interaction with another human being who is just as depressed as you are, and you can bond over the fact that you’re both tired and wish you were in Florida.