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A Mr. Rogers Type Solution to Depression (and Everything Else)

Nicholas — Okay, I’m a little depressed over Husband Bob’s ongoing health misadventures. Even though I know he’s not in mortal danger, any more than we all are, I still find myself a little low. And today I had a thought that helps. For me it’s at least a partial solution to depression, inspired by seeing the movie about famed and beloved children’s show guy Mr. Rogers.

I grew up at the wrong time to have followed the show myself; and not having children, I didn’t take in any second-hand Mr. Rogers. But now that I’ve seen It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and the documentary on his life, I see that he should have had a Nobel Peace Prize.

The line of his, repeated so often, that I’ve turned to my own use is what he said to child after child, “I like you just the way you are.”

I’ve decided to take this approach to my experience of today: “Day, I like you just the way you are.”

Not fighting the bit of depression.

Not berating myself for failure to be buoyed by all that’s going right.

Not pushing myself to “get things done.”

Usually my goal for any moment is to either: feel good and have fun or at least do something useful. Maybe a bit of depression is useful? I don’t know, hard for me to believe.

Anyway, I’m not holding myself to that standard just now, instead just hanging out. (Reflexive thought: I should be totally joyous that I’m able to hang out and not have to be a coal miner or work three low-wage jobs. I’m putting aside the reflexive self-berating thought.)

Day, I like you just the way you are!

It’s helping, my simple solution to depression.

So is writing this.

More later,




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  • January 11, 2020 at 10:57 pm Reply

    Good post, good message – A real challenge to maintain this attitude – the Buddhists might call it Acceptance., and Tara Brach applies radical acceptance to one’s self. I’d thought the documentary we saw was in black & white, so I wonder if this is the same movie – perhaps only the archival bits were in black and white.
    The Tom Hanks version was pretty good, especially for anyone fiercely hanging on to understandable anger at a parent. The true life story of such surprising and positive change in the writer Hanks portrayed brought tears to my eyes several times.

    But I loved the documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and it’s available on DVD and Netflix for anyone curious about the real Mr Rogers. we can’t be anyone else than who we are, and it would be a Great challenge for anyone simply to do their best to be as forgiving and accepting as Fred Rogers actually was. There were good reasons why little chidren loved him and his show, and why many of those adult children still love him and his ways.

    I hope the Practice will be useful to you, and I’m reminded of how i’d also like to be more like Mr Rogers – he’s one of my heros.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 11, 2020 at 11:03 pm Reply

      Far better that you be Doctor Bob!

  • kenju
    January 12, 2020 at 2:14 am Reply

    My children and I loved Mr. Rogers and his “I like you just the way you are” is something we should all hear and abide by everyday. Another is to be grateful everyday for our blessings…..which leads to more blessings. Mr. Rogers was certainly a blessing to us all. I am looking forward to seeing the documentary.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 12, 2020 at 4:50 am Reply

      I’m also now a member of the Church of Mr. Rogers, kenju. And I haven’t watched children’s shows since the days of Howdy Doody and Pinky Lee.

      • kenju
        January 14, 2020 at 2:23 am Reply

        I actually miss seeing them, and Sesame Street, too. I could never get my grandchildren interested in them enough to watch with any regularity. More’s the pity!

        • Peggy Payne
          January 14, 2020 at 2:32 am Reply

          Aren’t they available on-line somewhere, kenju? On Netflix? They shouldn’t be lost!

  • Robert Braxton
    January 12, 2020 at 4:20 pm Reply

    Next movie we saw this week with friends: Just Mercy (Brian Stephens) – death row innocents, much weeping.

    • Peggy Payne
      January 12, 2020 at 5:55 pm Reply

      Not sure I want to brave that one, Bob. I just started reading The Forever War that starts with in Afghanistan and goes through through the Iraq War. So horrifying that I quit after ten pages full of images that I may never get out of my mind. It would be bolder of me to read it, but I don’t see that it would do anyone any good.

    • Ron Perkinson
      January 13, 2020 at 2:05 am Reply

      Peggy-Most of your thoughts mirror mine until recently . In my profession I needed to be careful in expressing my thoughts lest I alienate clients, or potential clients. I retired in June of 2018. I don’t mean to suggest I was a recluse. You would know better. I believe the liberation from pleasing people has been a liberating event. I now say what I’m thinking without worrying with how it’s received. With that, I try not to breach societal norms or cause hurt to innocent people. This seems to relieve the frustration of holding my tongue when I wanted to speak. I think this is a stress reliever and on some basis an antidote to depression. But maybe that’s just me. To be fair, there are people who think I have abused this concept. Frankly, I don’t give a……. Supply your own favorite ending to that thought.

      • Peggy Payne
        January 13, 2020 at 3:07 am Reply

        I would be most pleased to hear your disagreements here, RonPerk! No need to hold back, quite the reverse.

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