fashion156-photographer-Deborah-Turbeville06

having a party, eh? nope.

“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.
9LLEbG4

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
Depression Lies

Stephen Fry’s smart weather answer to depression

Laugh to keep from crying…

Allie and her depression

Going Public with Depression

Joanna describing a period of depression and a poem she included.

Wild Geese
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

 

(Also, 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You Are Depressed)

13 Comments

  1. I’m glad things are looking up. I’m sure its not easy living with this….but I have the sense you have wonderful friends, hubby and family around…and hopefully you always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. I know I’ve gone through stages where I’ve felt absolutely helpless, that I was lost and afraid because of it, and that’s what I call depression (for me). A time when design school was not going my way (which had never happened to me (it lasted the entire semester before I ended up leaving)) and then seasonal depression+home sickness the beginning of this year. I can’t imagine having it fill up more days than that, having it lurking in the shadows and pouncing on me when I least expect and want it to. Getting out and doing stuff during those periods sounds like a good “stick it to the man” idea, though. I know how lonely and suffocating being by yourself in an apartment can feel (day after day). I wish you well, and hope that you can see through it easier (and easier) with future bouts. xx

    • Haha. It is awesome to stick it to this disease! Thank you for sharing. Those times can feel like they go on forever. And I know you totally get how isolated I am right now. That’s why I love my blog friends! xo

      • P.S. I shared this post with my closest friend; she just told me she started up her anti-depressant medication again…your round-up couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

  3. This is so inspiring! There are varying levels of what each person is able to deal with, and I wonder what that line is between “normal” and “depression” — is it a moving line? A gray area? Do you think now that we’re more connected to the world is it easier to be down about your own life, about what’s going on in the world? Or is it easier to deal with because you don’t feel alone? Since I work from home alone, I know it can be tough to snap myself out of a bad mood some days. Getting out of the house — to run an errand, go to the gym — always helps! Good for you, keep it up! And thank you for your honesty. xo

    • Erika, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I love the questions you asked. I would like to address them further on the blog later, in depth. I would say that the line is moving. We all react to things so differently. It doesn’t matter what the incident, how long you are sad… there shouldn’t be qualifiers. What matters is how a person feels and copes with their own experience. The thing is, with depression, there isn’t always an experience. Sometimes it is just the inability to cope with all the feelings. Ha. That is why this is hard to respond to in the little box! :)
      I think the question you asked about being so connected these days is so interesting. I have to avoid facebook stalking in the middle of the night when I am depressed so I won’t compare myself to others. On the other hand, I can pull things out of thin air to make myself feel worse when I want to.
      Love your comment, E. I will write more soon! xoxo

  4. since i’m not feeling especially motivated due to my depression (and being off meds right now) i’ll promise to get to these eventually. one of my favorite pieces on depression is by comedian rob delany, which can be found here.

  5. You are a BADASS. I don’t get to have coffee with you every morning, but even I can see that you’re growing stronger every day–and it’s so f’ing amazing.

    There aren’t enough words to describe depression, anxiety, feelings really, and I think we continue to have to explain our reactions to ourselves and those around us. I’m still working to understand John’s inner life, and the more I try to, the less often he experiences his depression or anxiety. I don’t think that my empathy has made him better, but my eager desire to understand definitely has.

    So keep on kicking ass, getting out in your fabulous new city and taking such good care of yourself. xoxox

    • Oh, Lena. When will we get to have coffee?! I dream of the day.
      I just know that John is truly lucky to have such a smart, caring, sweet, and intelligent partner. I know that Davids ability to listen, go through things with me, study and research is amazing. It makes us stronger as a couple, and I am sure it will for the two of you.
      Well, I am off to kick some asses. xoxo

  6. Madeline

    Thank you so much for posting this Chelsea!! I know you know that I struggle through the same things, and I really look up to you and how you deal with it and continue to take care of yourself. Your post and the links you posted really spoke to me and made me feel like I could understand myself better and explain it to others better (I showed the picture illustration to Jeff and he said it helped him understand). You are awesome, and we both should be proud of ourselves for being super fabulous, strong women (in a family full of awesome women ;) ). I love you so much, and I miss you!! <3

    • I miss you too, my sweet! I am proud of you. I am glad that you are able to talk to Jeff about it all. You know you can always talk to me. xoxo

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