BRICK ROUSE: How LEGOs Cured My Depression




Sometimes you have to get back to basics.



For the last few years, I’ve found myself in a very deep depression. I’m not going to go into details about why, as almost everyone is as familiar with the Big D as an old friend, so my particular trek down that slippery slope is unimportant. What I will share is what effects it has had on me. I’ve been a lifelong insomniac (hence one of the reasons for my blog name), so not getting enough sleep ain’t no thang for me. However, once depression had set in, I went from sleeping around 5-6 hours per night to only sleeping 3 hours at a time with huge gaps in between. Again, sleep and I have always been adversaries, so I wasn’t concerned. This didn't seem all that abnormal.


What wasn’t normal was my growing attitude problem and shortness with people. Through some research, I’d later find out that a lack of sleep can make you literally mental, and I was displaying signs of losing it. Fearing that I was allowing myself to become a giant battering ram, I turned to “herbal” remedies to help me get to sleep and stay asleep. The temporary relief I’d get from being able to finally turn off and go to bed was soon interrupted by the need to keep doing so, all the while my sleep times were shortening. Three hours turned to 1.5, which eventually turned to a paltry 45 minutes. I cannot begin to tell you where this kind of chaotic pattern left me, but it wasn’t pretty.


The first sign of bad things was a high blood pressure systolic reading of 227 aka walking death. My job wasn’t making things any easier, as I worked with an amazing jackass that loved to make me angry. I quit for my sanity, but ending up taking well over a full year (not without some bull) before I was able to make money consistently again. Not being a good provider ate at my soul, deepening the depression further. Soon, my constant jumping in and out of bed was giving my wife her own sleeping problems, so I moved to the couch in the living room for over a year. The loss of her presence next to me as well as the guilt of interrupting her with my insomnia was wrecking me further. My drug use crept into my daytime life, causing me to “hit the porch” pretty much every hour in an attempt to keep from bursting at the seams, all the while only accomplishing what amounts to being The Little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dyke. My wife, in a desperate attempt to give me some kind of happiness, insisted I buy one of these:



Knowing that I was a big kid at heart and a major Star Wars fan, she was definitely looking in the right direction. Thoroughly steeped in my rut still, I didn’t even put it together, regulating that duty to my daughter. Once she was done, however, it was soon apparent that this little collection of bricks had my attention. I just couldn’t stop messing with it. Soon I found myself looking for another. Wait, they have an AT-AT?? You don’t understand… I wanted an AT-AT so bad when I was growing up, and this little version was just too much for me to resist. Best believe I grabbed it and assembled it immediately. I drove my daughter crazy flicking missiles at her, as she threatened to end my fun with a swift chop to the bricks. My mini snow walker went wherever I was in the house. I couldn’t stop looking at the dang thing, marveling at the articulation and details.




“You want more?” my wife asked with a sly grin.


You damn right I wanted more. Before long I had a fleet of LEGO Star Wars goodness all around the living room. I kept looking at the individual minifigures, noticing how amazing they looked with their detachable helmets and soldier uniforms. A Wookie! He has a gunship! The droids ride other droids! I was hooked and, without realizing it, feeling a lot better. Before long, the pursuit of new ones and the appreciation of the ones I had already had (as my wife eloquently put it) merged my adult self with my inner child. I had regained a gleefulness I hadn’t experienced since those days of dumping bricks by the pile in the middle of the floor in that Philly brownstone with my brother so many decades before. I… was smiling again. Huh. I was taking care of myself again. I stopped those porch trips completely, not feeling the need for a smoke to get to sleep anymore either. I found a job all of the sudden that was perfect for my schedule, which didn’t seem like pure luck at all. I lost a gang of weight and started fitting my clothes again. My energy was revived, where before I could barely muster enough motivation to bother cooking dinner. I starting writing again after a several month hiatus, finding inspiration practically every day. Finally, I returned to the person fully responsible for my recover, my wife, and joined her in our bed. That mattress never felt better against me, as I manage to get those crappy 3-4 hours again like the good ol’ insomniac I used to be.



Feeling down? A box ‘o bricks might do the trick.


Do you also have an appreciation for the power of LEGOs?
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