“Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self — to the mediating intellect — as to verge close to being beyond description.” – David Foster Wallace
I’ve been in a sinkhole of depression the last two weeks. Sad and worried, my brain has been filled with fog. Today the veil over my brain started lifting. I can tell that I am stronger now because when it hits, I know that I can ride it out. Well, 75% of the time I can remember that I shouldn’t give up and that it won’t last forever. I can tell how different I am now because in the middle of this bout I still went to one dinner with David and his co-workers, two events to document for Sassy City Girl, one fabulous class at The Pantry, and I wrote emails to friends and family. That. Is. Incredible. Seriously. For me, that is incredible. I love that I called Michelle when I just thought I couldn’t possibly get dressed for dinner and she said “so what”. So what? She reminded me that I moved to a new city, that I have been trying new things. That I have been cooking and exercising. That me two years ago, would never have picked up the phone in the first place. Fuck it. And after she said all that to me, I knew I could do it. Yes. All the energy I put into a three hour outing left me recovering for days, but I went. I know, I know. I am so bad-ass. Depression lies, and I knew it. And I was on it’s ass like a Shadowhunter (yes, I am engrossed in yet another young adult series).
I have spent years trying to explain depression and anxiety to people who want to understand it. Actually, I have spent a significant amount of time trying to explain it to people who think they understand. Sometimes I have to explain it again to myself, when I start to believe my own hate talk or the misconceptions people have about mental illness. There are words I often turn to- desperate, overwhelmed, hopeless, sad, tired… a tiredness that seeps into your soul. Then there are those little things I tell people when look look at me with concern in their eyes- a bad day, a low time, the hole. I came out about my depression over here, and have talked about it in depth here, here and oh yeah, here. It is important to me. It is important to hear from other people. It makes me feel less alone, more understanding. Here are some of my favorite internet reads about depression. I am not going to talk about it everyday, but ya’ll, can we just take a moment in case there are any hearts our there that need comforting.
David recently emailed me something he found on Reddit. I had to think about it for a few days. Is this accurate? Is this too narrow of a description? Eventually I decided that I really like this drawing and explanation. On depressed days I can’t deal with any feelings. I can’t deal with being happy, I can’t deal with being angry. There is no “space” left to think that there might be an end to this sadness, anger, anxiety. This still doesn’t capture everything. For example.
Anything Jenny Lawson writes, says, tweets about depression, self-harm, illness or anxiety. She is the bomb dot com and I love her. Oh, she is also super into taxidermy. So, obviously that helps. These posts should get you started, but don’t forget to read her everyday hilarity:
The Fight Goes On
One Day I Will Be Normal
Stephen Fry’s smart weather answer to depression
Laugh to keep from crying…
Joanna describing a period of depression and a poem she included.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
–Mary Oliver, Dream Work