Thirteen-year-old Katy was diagnosed with depression yesterday. The main culprit—big surprise—is the pandemic. Katy is like many U.S. teens right now, she is stuck inside doing online school, getting little socialization, rarely leaving her bedroom.
Katy’s email to me reads:
“I’m tired of feeling this sad... My mom told me to message you to see if you had any suggestions for cheering up depressed people my age.”
Well, Katy, I’m glad you contacted me because it sounds to me like you need some major fun right now. And you’re in luck because in many circles I am known as Mister Fun. How fun am I? As I write this, I am drinking something called “panda dung” tea.
I am serious. This looseleaf tea was sent to me by a reader named Sara, from Little Rock. Along with this tea came a magazine clipping explaining that this tea is imported from Asia where it is wildly expensive, usually selling for $3,500 per 50 grams. Which means I am drinking a $75 cup of tea right now.
I called a local tea shop to ask about this tea since, call me paranoid, I was concerned about drinking anything that had been passed through the gastrointestinal system of an exotic mammal.
The tea-shop lady was nice. She said, “Oh, don’t worry, the tea has no actual dung in it, it’s only called that because the tea plants are grown in big piles of panda excrement.”
Yum! Pass the sugar!
So I’m trying to drink this tea with an open mind. And after finishing one mug I can honestly say that, even though I was skeptical at first, panda dung tea tastes exactly like the name sounds.
But getting back to dealing with depression. Something I’ve found that helps is going for walks. I realize this sounds painfully simple and a little idealistic, and maybe it is. But it actually does help.