A couple of weeks ago, I saw the following comic strip in a Buzzfeed article titled “21 Comics That Capture the Frustrations of Depression“:
There were many comics on that list to which I could relate all too well, but this one particularly hit me hard. And before I knew it, tears were flowing down my cheeks.
Look, I’ve been down this road before. Lord knows I’ve devoted a crapload of kilobytes on my computer’s hard drive, as well as valuable internet space, writing about my struggles with depression. I was even afraid to write about it here — on my own freakin’ personal blog — in fear that someone will invariably react with an “AGAIN? I thought we’ve been through this…over and over.”
And I’M SICK OF IT TOO. I wish I could just take a magic pill and feel better. To BE HAPPY, once and for all. I hate myself for not being able to feel joy, for wanting to feel anything aside from sadness and despair and frustration.
I hate myself for not being able to focus on the good things in life — because isn’t that what NORMAL people do? — and only continuing to get sucked into a deep vortex of hopelessness.
Most of all, I hate being a burden to my loved ones. Because depression, by nature, is a selfish disease. Because, in attempting to help myself feel better (or, sometimes, just wallowing in sadness), it causes my focus to turn inward, consuming precious time and energy I could instead be devoting to my family and friends.
Because they don’t deserve this.
It’s always hardest in the mornings, because the act of getting out of bed is just SO. DAMN. HARD. But I force myself to do so, because I have people who depend on me. And I always feel tremendous guilt for feeling this way, because this shit should just come naturally without any resentment.
And what the hell do I have to be so sad about? I know that I have the right to be unhappy, but once again the guilt sets in when I think about all the other people in the world who have it so much worse than I do. And sometimes, the things that set me off make ME want to slap myself upside the head.
The girls make a huge mess in the living room. ‘NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY TO MAKE THINGS GOOD AND RIGHT, SOMEONE OR SOMETHING MESSES IT UP AGAIN.’
I forget to buy eggs from the grocery store. ‘DINNER IS RUINED. MY ENTIRE FAMILY WILL HATE ME. I HAVE RUINED MY LIFE, AND THEIR LIVES.’
The government is shut down. ‘EVEN OUR GOVERNMENT IS IN RUINS. THERE IS NO HOPE FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE.’
I hate interacting with others, whether in real life or virtually, through emails, texts, or social networks, because acting normal is so exhausting. I resent others for being able to feel happy, for having the ability to go about their lives without crumbling into a ball of despair.
I want to shout to everyone, “HOW is everyone still smiling and LIVING? Doesn’t anyone else SEE how HORRIBLE everything is?!??”
Other times, I get angry. “You’re feeling sad because your loved one is in the hospital? Well I BURNT MY TOAST THIS MORNING AND I CAN’T STOP CRYING ABOUT IT.” Even just writing that sounds utterly ridiculous and asinine. But that’s how I feel, and I still get sad thinking about that poor, charred, wasted piece of bread.
And I’m afraid to talk to anyone about it because they will undoubtedly say things like, “Why haven’t you come to me sooner? What can I do to help?” and the thing is, they can’t help. Then I will feel bad that they aren’t able to help, for having burdened them with something over which they have no control.
Besides, like I said above, I am SO sick of talking about it.
I hate myself more and more each time I feel that familiar rush of tears gathering behind my eyes. I don’t want to live anymore. Not that I want to commit suicide per se, but that I want to cease to exist. I wish I had never existed, and I just know that the world would have been a better, brighter place — even if just by a little — if I had never been born.
My deepest, darkest wish for the past couple of months has been to go to sleep and never wake up. That I will just disappear into thin air and the world will magically readjust itself into the one where I had never existed. Painless, quick, and no burden at all to my loved ones.
But I’m still here. Or at least, I’m trying to hang on to what little hope I have left. As Allie of Hyperbole and a Half said:
Nobody can guarantee that it’s going to be okay, but — and I don’t know if this will be comforting to anyone else — the possibility exists that there’s a piece of corn on a floor somewhere that will make you just as confused about why you are laughing as you have ever been about why you are depressed. And even if everything still seems like hopeless bullshit, maybe it’s just pointless bullshit or weird bullshit or possibly not even bullshit.
I don’t know.
But when you’re concerned that the miserable, boring wasteland in front of you might stretch all the way into forever, not knowing feels strangely hope-like.
I know I need help.
And I hope you’ll bear with me as I embark on this journey…again. As I await my own piece of corn.
Jenny, I am lifting you up in prayer this morning. Having never experienced the throes of depression, I am awed by your candor and courage sharing your feelings with us. I wish I had a concrete, tangible solution for you, but I really have no clue. All I can offer are my prayers, a virtual hug, and the encouragement Matthew 19:26 gives us: With God, anything is possible. Hang onto Him, and it’ll all be ok. <3
Trust me, most people who appear to be happy are also faking it. Or on pills. Or delusional. Or bland. The harder someone tries to appear normal and happy, the more sh*t he/she’s trying to hide.
this gave me goosebumps, you described my hellish black hole of depression so well. i still struggle at times with the low self-esteem, but found that stopping the trigger, before the black hole pulls me in, engulfs me, and doesn’t let go, that — i’m in control — not the black hole where i continually beat myself up with hatred of myself, kicking myself into a cycle that never ends. i used to think i was so isolated being depressed and none of my friends could understand. i’d hover around the black hole, peering into the darkness before the pull, if only i could stand up and stop the pull. i realized what my triggers were and had to change – easier said than done – if getting off the sofa was a battle, imagine standing up to yourself after beating yourself up (like Smeagol). i was never suicidal, but used to pray continuously for God to take me since i was so miserable ‘living’ while hating life, it’s been almost 10 years since i last wished that. i’m now see God had plans for me and thank him everyday for not listening. be comforted in knowing YOU ARE NOT ALONE. depression is an on-going battle, i’m constantly doing self-maintenance and always aware of triggers, you have to be the strongest cheerleader for yourself.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” jer 29:11
Those of us who go through it too are often glad to read about it again, no matter how many times we’ve read about it or you (or anyone else) has written about it already. I’m sorry you’re here again. I know my own situation would have become much more dire if I didn’t know other people went through the same thing, and it really is helpful to read other people with the exact same thoughts. For me, I always describe it as a feeling of not belonging–like you say, I don’t *want* to not be here, but it feels like there’s a constant voice just whispering, “You don’t belong, you’ve never belonged, there’s no place here for you.” Sometimes it’s angry, and sometimes it’s gentle. Those are the times when I’m happy, and it comes along like a grown-up talking to a little kid, with understanding in its voice, saying, “Yes, I know you like this, but it’s just not for you. I’m sorry, that’s just how it has to be.” I have recently come out of a couple of years’ worth of indecision and anxiety on the matter and given in to my doctor’s requests to go on medication. I think it’s helping, or at least so far, it’s helping the good times be better to balance out the bad times. I’m still in the first couple weeks of starting it, so I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks, it helps the bad times not be so bad. And as much as the people who love me saw how terrible it was and promised to help me get help, it’s just not something that other people know how to do. I can’t get it for you, as much as I’d love to promise that I would, but I still hope that you have one of those I-know-how-rare moments of clarity where you’re able to prioritize making yourself better over all the things that make us think we shouldn’t try, and that you’re able to do one thing towards getting help. Make a single phone call, or mention one bad feeling to your doctor, or go online and look at the names of therapists in your area. Even that one thing can begin to put the right ball in motion, and can be a thing you can do when you can’t bring yourself to really do anything because you feel like you don’t deserve to get better.
I know that, for me, hearing how much other people disagree with how I feel about myself somehow just makes it worse, so I’ll just say that we out here are behind you on this. Maybe sometimes you don’t have to feel quite so alone.
Big, big hugs. And I’ll be sending up big prayers too. I don’t even know you in real life, but I wish that you could see you the way we, your readers, do. I think you are amazingly courageous for sharing. I think there is never a “too many” times to hear about something that millions of people are affected by. The world would not be better off if you weren’t here. Reading your blog is one of the things I look forward to when I see a new post in my feedly. I hope you get the help you need. Please, please get the help you need.
Just writing to echo what others have said. Daily struggle for many of us.
Been there. Praying! You are not alone.
Talking about it is a good thing especially so those that are going through it see others who struggle too. For me, these posts help me understand what it’s like and for that I thank you. I wish I could give you a gigantic hug, you area beautiful girl Jenny. You really have a light inside you that is loveable and addictive. You don’t ever have to be normal when we talk, because nobody is! And you are never a burden, I have unlimited hugs and love for you. Xoxo
Long time reader but this is my first comment. Just know that you are not alone! Sending positive thoughts your way.
Did you see the Kevin Breel video?
You are not alone. There are many many people feeling similar to how you feel. No one is perfect, no one has it together all the time. I’ve hit bottom blackness more times than I can describe. Take care of yourself. You do matter and people would notice and care if you didn’t exist. Please take care of yourself and find a way out. I am rooting for you and wish you peace.
Jenny, I’ve been following your blog for a while now, especially your old posts on pregnancy and parenting. You are the only blog that I consistently read. We are so similar in many ways. I guess what I am trying to say is if you are impacting Internet strangers like myself I can only imagine how much you mean to your love ones. Don’t despair, tomorrow is another day to try again! Hugs.
I always learn so much from you. Someone close to me is dealing with depression and it has been so very difficult for her.
I am also a long time reader and first time commenter. I just wanted to reach out from safe confines of internet-anonymity to give you virtual support. You are the only mommy blog I consistently follow because you are so real and brave in your honesty. Your girls will be so proud of you when they are older and realize how much you went through and how you try every day to overcome your struggles.
Sending prayers and hugs your way.
Thinking of you.
Jenny, hang in there, thinking of you! To the extent it’s of any solace, i thought this dooce post might help explain what could be going on and make you feel not quite so alone. Apparently it’s all to blame on the autumnal equinox!
Hadn’t replied yet because I’ve always had a fear of saying the wrong thing, but I wanted to let you know that I am by no means frustrated or disappointed to hear you are dealing with depression again, but sympathetic and concerned. I don’t know whether I’ve ever been truly depressed, but I know I’ve gotten so frustrated with myself and my emotions as I’ve been grieving my mom these last couple months, and even have done things as dumb as apologize to my husband for breaking into tears for “no good reason” again, as if I needed some sort of better excuse than “my mom just died”. It sucks to feel at the mercy of your emotions, especially the dark ones – they get in the way of trying to live your life, trying to be a mother and a wife and a person. Anyway, I don’t know whether that was ACTUALLY helpful at all, but just to say that I am in the dark now too and I’ll be praying for you.
You are stronger than you know. Wishing you and your family all the best.
I just started reading your blog, drawn in by the parenting posts. I’m a new mom. Yes, I’ve had some wonderful moments and love my baby sooo much. But it’s also been hard, much harder than I thought it would be. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a parent. What’s worse, is that everyone seems to LOVE being a parent, and no one talks about the challenges. Maybe their lying or trying to fake it…I don’t know. Anyways, I really love how open and honest you are about your life. You make me feel normal for feeling the things I feel. I hope you’re able to lift yourself out of this dark hole of depression. You’ve been able to overcome it in the past, and I’m sure you can do it again. Just remember that “this too shall pass”. It’s something I have to tell my self a lot these days. Please, seek help, reach out, force yourself to do activities with your family, or just activities that you’ve previously enjoyed…what’s worked for you in the past? I’m rooting for you, I know you can conquer this.
I don’t think anyone could begrudge your talking about a journey that affects you (and a lot of us) so deeply. Also, I read this recently and thought you might want to read it: http://mattfraction.com/post/63999786236/sorry-to-put-this-on-you-but-i-have-an-honest-question
Jenny, so sorry that you are hurting. Thinking of you. I too think Allie’s description is spot on… I know you will find your piece of corn!! xoxo
It’s funny because I do the same thing. When I get depressed as I often do… I’m so sick of it myself that I actually stop talking to people about it. I am so embarrassed that I even feel the way I do most of the time, mainly because everyone else seems sooooo happy. And when I finally meet someone who says they are depressed and try to connect with them… Somehow their depression disappears! And I am often left feeling depressed again because they somehow managed to get better while I am still stuck in my abyss. Either they were never depressed to begin with or they were and got over it or faked it because they too were embarrased by it I will never know. Someone once said it’s the “friction of fiction” …. However you feel you know you got your ET (emotional twin) to hash anything out, because I’ll admit I’m a good faker at my life… I’m saying a prayer every 2mins undermybreath, of you really knew. Huuuggssss
First time commenting on this site, I actually ended up here through your review of your Panasonic thermo hot pot. It was a helpful review, by the way, so thank you. 🙂
I can really relate to everything you’ve written. I was depressed for a huge chunk of my life (I’m 28 now), and felt like just by being depressed I was burdening everyone else. Silly things like dropping food would set me off, just like you. I wanted to write a comment to tell you that there really is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not always a train. I know there are comments here that state “everyone secretly feels that way” and I promise you it’s not true.
I don’t know if you have a therapist right now, and let’s face it, I can’t pretend to know much about you. I can relate to how you feel so, so much though and I wanted to write to you as someone who made it through. I don’t know if it will help, but things that helped me a lot was CBT therapy along with learning about the constant and subtle stream of negative self-talk that went through my head constantly with all of its little cognitive distortions. I also had to learn how to set healthy boundaries and get away from being in a codependent mindset. I felt so guilty and like I was a drain on everyone, and if I could just be perfect it would be okay… but then something small would go wrong and I’d fall apart and want to die. I held myself to standards that I didn’t apply to others. And in the end I realized that the “perfect” standard that had been set for me was out of reach on purpose.
I think you’ve written in another post about how you don’t want to blame your parents, but in my case my parents were a contributing factor to me not understanding what personal boundaries were and how to stay away from codependency and taking on other people’s “stuff.” My mother has borderline personality disorder and it was kind of a nightmare. It doesn’t mean she’s evil, it just means I had to untangle myself from the dysfunction and get healthy myself once I became an adult. I think that since we all come from different backgrounds each person’s depression is very unique in its source whether it’s situational or chemical.
I don’t know if it will help, but here:
I know that this is kind of a weird post, but I’m submitting it in the small chance it helps you. I want you to know that I’m rooting for you very much. You deserve that piece of corn. 🙂
Jenny, wondering if you’ve considered nutrition along with therapy? I’ve found the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be very interesting and useful. I stumbled on the book while researching for dyslexia and A.D.D. The author, a British doctor, claims to have cured her son’s autism and patients’ various physical and mental maladies through nutrition–NOT a quick fix. She explains the seemingly hereditary aspects, the chemistry and anatomy and physiology of our digestive systems and how our brains (thinking, feeling, capacity for self-control, clarity, rationality, etc.) can be adversely affected as a result of unhealthy gut bacteria. “Good” bacteria help in proper digestion and absorption. “Bad” bacteria produce toxins and contribute to undigested food molecules entering our blood (possibly triggering allergic reactions or even mental disorders). There’s a whole lot more; this is simply a VERY abbreviated synopsis of what stood out to me. For the long-term challenges with depression that you’ve described, please look into this. You can purchase the book on the internet; I got a copy through my library. It’s a small investment of money and time that could save your life. Blessings to you, peace and grace from the God Who loves you and desires your good health in every area of life.
I ‘love’ reading this. Not because I love that you feel so bad, quite the opposite! No, ti’s because it sucks that our society looks down on people that don’t always act the norm. I did the, well, not the same but I wrote down my ‘adventure’, My depression. It really helped knowing that people now know what goes on behind the smile. They don’t expect me to feel bad because i’m a very open, enthousiastic person. Most of the time, that’s just a front to keep up appearances.
I don’t mean to spam or anything, but I would like to share the link to my story, if that’s okay?
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Don’t worry about what your readers think. Those who mean well, will not be ‘angry’ because of the post and those who are? Screw them! It takes a lot of courage to share this with the world, trust me, I know. Maybe not the same situation but I definitely can understand the hesitation about sharing. I’m so sorry you feel like this.
I wish you all the best! X