Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, just when you think depression2.jpgyou’ve licked the hateful demons who lurk inside your head, just when you think you just might be coming into your own and shedding those self-esteem issues – your brain starts to rebel.

“Wait just a doggone second, here” it says.  “I think you’re feeling a little too good, a little too cocky, a little too self-assured.  Tell you what – I’m going to serve you up a healthy dose of self-loathing and self-hate, make you question everything you do for awhile, and knock you down a few pegs.”

And it works.  It works every time.  I begin to revisit every little interaction I’ve had over the past few weeks – evalulating and second-guessing myself.  Eventually I’ve convinced myself that I’m a horrible misfit.  That I’m socially inept and just plain weird.  That having normal conversations about normal things with normal people will never be possible for me.  That I lack the skill for simple chitchat that other people take for granted.  That I will never feel comfortable in groups larger than 3 or 4 and will fail miserably when I try.

This is my depression; my lifelong sidekick.  Medication creates a barrier, but the sadness eventually finds a way through the hairline cracks of the wall of confidence I’ve been able to erect, brick by brick, action by action, day by day.  Its power to blacken every thought is insidious, stealthy.  It subtly creeps in, a few thoughts at a time, and is not satisfied until my self-loathing is complete.  If not for my medication, the sadness becomes a yawning black chasm of despair that whispers things to me.  Things like “you’re no good to anyone here, your life is a burden to others, the world would be better off without you.”  Self-annhilation begins as a comforting fantasy, then a metamorphizes into a plan. 

The voice continues to whisper its taunts and its encouragements to give in, give up.

That is the way it used to be.  The sadness and the blackness would have its way with me and I would fall into the yawning black chasm and lose myself, almost unable to crawl back into the light. 

But today I take my pill.  Today I dress myself.  Today I get into my car and drive myself to a dark movie theater where I can sit and lose myself in a story.  Today I turn on some music – a new Richard Thompson CD and find pleasure in the sound of the guitars and the voice and the lyrics of a song.

(red hair, black leather, my favorite color scheme)

Today I write out my thoughts and feelings, and take solace in finding the words to create the sentences that tell my story.   Today I read the words that others have written about themselves and find refuge there.   Today I might not be completely engaged with the ones I love, but I also have no plans to leave them forever. 

Today I will make it.  Today I will cope – and the next day and the next and the next…

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35 Responses to “Gloom, despair, and agony on me”


  1. 1 pradapixie July 29, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    This is a great piece of writing about the power of depression. Very gentle end evocative. Even though depression is shit.
    Not that I know personally, except my dad had it and I spend my life working with people who have it.

    But what I do understand is getting through the day and the next, and the one after, when I have been in the middle of a grief reaction. and I’ve had more than my share of those!

    And self loathing isn’t just a gift of depression I get to go there too.
    I wish you positive and content thoughts.
    pxx

  2. 2 Simonne July 30, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Wow, OB, this is powerful stuff. You’re amazing you know. You write such incredible humour and then slam this down on the table. And I’m so glad you did. All the more credit to you – to your courage, your humour, your heart, your ability to communicate like you do, your honesty, your humility. And this is why we love you so. And this is why we keep coming back here. Thank you for making it today, because your energy has changed and evloved mine. Thank for for making it tomorrow for the same reason. Without you, I am different. For the blessing of you, I thank the Universe.
    Much love to you, powerful Goddess.

  3. 3 Deb July 30, 2007 at 5:21 am

    I hear you on the depression. I’m new to therapy, and it helps, but I’m still not completely convinced that I’ll ever shake free of depression. It has been with me, waiting, for so long that I can’t imagine a me without it.

    And that could be part of the problem. I picked my therapist because she has a “mindfulness” focus, and when I read Pema Chodron or Thich Nhat Hahn it really resonates with me. I figured that approach would fit with the way my mind works, and I was right about that. So part of what my therapist tells me is that I have to see myself a certain way in order to be that way. If I can’t see myself as being free from depression, I won’t be. I’m not sure I have the imagination for this hurdle…

    I really just want to say two things: first is that “weird” is what attracts me to people. society might tell us that we should strive to be a certain way, but are *you* any more attracted to the banal than those you attract are?

    Second is the whole issue of normal. utah phillips, an obscure folk singer, has this story where he’s describing the frustration his daughter has with him. “Dad, why can’t you be NORMAL?” and his daughter’s godmother, a radical herself, says “He is normal. You meant to say AVERAGE.”

    And you know? I am not sure average is something we really want to reach for. 😉

    For me, I like you because you’re not average and because you’re interesting (and smart and funny and warm and nice and … ). Weird is good. If you’re only comfortable in small groups of people, so be it. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you aspired to be a politician. And though I’d vote for you for sure, I’d miss your blogging, so I am glad that it doesn’t seem to be on your list of “things to do.”

    *hugs* I know the darkness and the weight of depression, but I also know that we pull out of it, as hard as it is to believe when we’re in the middle of it. There will be easy lightness again. Just keep on keeping on.

  4. 4 Graffiti July 30, 2007 at 5:37 am

    I found that a very well written piece. A sort of biopic telling a true story in a most cogent manner.

    You say: “This is my depression; my lifelong sidekick.”

    Interesting way of viewing it – as a sidekick

    Graffiti

  5. 5 V- July 30, 2007 at 5:57 am

    A battle I know all too well. My struggle has been determined a chemical imbalance but my thought processes is still a very large part of my recovery. In the past when depression would creep over me, fuck that it doesn’t creep; it hits you out of the blue like a two ton semi-truck. I would succumb to the negative self talk. I would look for reasons to validate my depression. When you look for negative, it’s pretty easy to find. I would sink deeper and deeper into the darkness. My strength to fight the battle would disappear with each self loathing thought.

    It sounds like you are taking all the right steps. I would encourage you to choose your thoughts during those times very carefully. Our thoughts, our “self-talk” can pull us out or dig us in deeper. I know that when I’m battling my depressions I don’t “feel” like a goddess, I don’t feel beautiful, or smart or loved. It’s easy to let my feelings dictate my thoughts, but I have learned to consciously turn that around. Positive affirmations and thoughts will eventually dictate your feelings.

    Thank you for sharing your struggle. It’s a hard battle to share because when we are in it, it’s just too overwhelming. When we are out of it, we just want to distance ourselves from it and not look back.

    Accept all the love and power that your wonderful friends are sending your way. We lean on each other and strengthen each other. You’re a strong women and an inspiration. Your uniqueness is one of your strengths – embrace it. I love you!

  6. 6 karen July 30, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Prada/Simonne/Deb/Graffiti: OK guys, now you made me cry. But not tears of pain or sorrow, but tears of gratitude and contentment. I don’t know if I can adequately say how much your words mean to me this morning, but from the bottom of my heart – thank you all. This is a place where I can come and “slam it down on the table” (thanks Simonne – nicely said) and know that people won’t turn away or say something like “smile and you’ll feel better!” (although that’s perfectly true in a way). I almost didn’t post this, but I am who I am and this is definitely part of who I am. Deb – neither one of us is “just average” are we? I had a feeling you were a kindred soul when I first read your writing. Prada – grief is as hard to wade through as depression, isn’t it? And yes, self-loathing is a “gift” we all get to share! Gaffiti – Thanks for your nice words this morning. Simonne – what can I say? You’re a golden light that shines on everything and everyone you touch. Thanks for letting me bask in it every day.

  7. 7 karen July 30, 2007 at 6:16 am

    V – I’ve found that with medication, I can “let” myself feel the negative feelings and explore them with at least a tiny bit of objectiveness. Examining the things I don’t like about myself is a good exercise in changing behavior and becoming a better person. But it’s a scary place to be and a dangerous place to stay for very long. You’re right, we’d rather feel good about ourselves and generally I do. But it’s like I have to be careful about it and not feel prideful or something. Hard to explain, but I think you get it in a way that doesn’t need a lot of explanation. I’m glad you and I are so close – even if we weren’t 1st cousins, I’d want you for my friend. Thanks, sweetie.

  8. 8 poseidonsmuse July 30, 2007 at 8:41 am

    OB – Some days, I wish I wasn’t 2 hours (even 12 hours) lagging in time (because I feel as though I need to be part of these conversations when they are occurring). When I read your post this morning , I felt like I needed to give you a giant hug…so here it is…(Damn, I wish I had checked everyone’s blogs before retiring to sleep last night)…

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUG))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    I’m giving out alot of these (hugs) lately…Therapeutic for me and my loved ones. So here’s the thing OB. I too, know exactly how you are feeling. Believe it or not, little miss Bubbly over here (PM) has suffered from depression in the past. Some days, I believe it’s like being an alcoholic, or smoker and I ask myself (“Will I always be near that edge?”, “Will I ever be able to completely escape that part of myself?”). Well, I actually went to bed thinking about that last night (strange, given the nature of your post). I consider it one of my scars…just another mark on my skin that makes me a Warrior. I’m beginning to cherish those scars – they are part of who I am…I don’t think I would ever want them “removed”…nor would I allow someone to mask them for me….

    You OB, are a Warrior too. You are not weird because you interact and think differently than others (Enigmas are COOL people!). You are a strongly intuitive, observant and sensitive being. When you start to feel balanced and happy and energized, you begin to punish yourself because you couldn’t possibly deserve to be happy. These are THOUGHTS (and just because they are “ours”, it doesn’t make them good – they can be just as Toxic as some of the worst relationships that we have had…). So, sometimes, our thoughts make us our own worst enemies. I am glad to hear that your medication can help (good neurochemicals…better thoughts…). You are worthy, intelligent, loveable and courageous (and we LOVE you!!!!!!)…Keep shining…

    So, my dear Warrior friend, when you find yourself dipping into these negative thoughts more often than not (or when you find them crashing over you in waves) – please ensure that you try to do something that takes your mind off of them (I know. You know these things – but I care and I need to cluck like a mother hen from time to time!)….listen to music, write (and share, like you did — *Thank You* for sharing too by the way), laugh, take your dog for a walk, give Ken a hug. I know. It’s not easy, I’ve been there too.

    For me, I suffered from years of self doubt, punishment and anger from a dysfunctional relationship with a sensitive, and abusive alcoholic parent (that I have since pushed away but still love – dearly). As difficult as it was, I found myself letting go of all of that baggage (took a VERY long time and I am still working on this). I had to strip away necrotic pieces of myself before I could heal – dipping into *deeply* depressive and anorectic of bouts of self-loathing from time to time. Needless to say – my relationship with this parent is stunted, but my relationship with myself has grown tremendously.

    What brought me “around?” Hmmmm…I guess that’s such a relative term, isn’t it?…Years of self-rehab and the love, companionship of compassionate people ;). I allowed myself to appreciate my strengths and weaknesses. When those seething feelings of negativity slide into my brain, I play some really uplifting music in order to lift myself out of my funk. At these times, I truly try to seek the positive when I’m feeling less than approachable and chipper (us intuitive types need to find strength in that). Our blogging community has really helped me to open up too (and being the very distrustful and quiet type that I am — this has been HUGE for me!). [Thanks for being there…]…

    Love and Hugs OB. Here’s another big hug (((((((((HUG)))))))))). Your Goddesses “Have Your Back” so to speak…Time to don your battle gear my friend (we’re all, right behind you, every step of the way!).

  9. 9 karen July 30, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Muse – Thanks, my love. I’m glad you shared some of your personal story with us today – it seems we all have those battle scars. And yes, they ARE somewhat treasured scars, aren’t they. I believe Simonne wrote a post not too long ago about being grateful for the things that have challenged us or hurt us in the past, and that is so true. Deep suicidal thoughts are unhealthy, yet without thoroughly exploring that option – thinking about the pain it would cause so many people, and thinking about how I would never know al the wonderful things the future might hold for me – I leave part of myself unexamined. If you will, an It’s a Wonderful Life moment. Today I walked into a very negative scene at work – everybody hiding their heads and being generally anxious about one of the manager’s moods – and did something positive. I walked into his office, greeted him with a hearty “Good morning! How was your vacation? Did you have a good time! Did the kids have fun?” and basically saved myself from his negativity. I called that “admiring his chains” in reference to the poem you posted that I loved so much. I think about that one a lot, and he actually shared some of his vacation stuff with me without any negativity whatsoever.

    This blogging community has given me that gift. The gift of being positive. Today is a good day because i did something good for me and for someone else. Today is a good day because I felt brave enough to share part of my hidden self with others, and found your open arms and love. Today I’m smiling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  10. 10 RubyShooZ July 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    That’s what it’s all about ——- exploring ourselves, our options and seeing what’s wrong, acknowledging it and going from there. Everyone here has said it in their own way – doing something positive – both for you and for others. Sometimes pasting that smile on our face and sharing it with others can make all the difference.

    I know you’re going to get through this – so many of us have and you can too. You can draw on our strengths.

    We love you, no matter what.

    We all need that strength at times and you’ve shared yours with us many a time.

    Peace, love and understanding!~

  11. 11 poseidonsmuse July 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Wow…I am ever so honoured and humbled to be in the presence of such strong and graceful Goddesses….Love, Peace and Understanding to all of you…

  12. 12 observantbystander July 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Ruby – thanks sweetie. You are such a source of strength and grace to all of us. And yes you are right – this will pass. I’m hanging in there!

  13. 13 poseidonsmuse July 30, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    OB – [This is me, tapping on your chains again…]. I checked out Richard Thompson’s cd “Sweet Warrior” (my, how appropriate!!!) on iTunes and really enjoy his sound (Needle and Thread is quite nice)…if Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton ever morphed atomies, Richard Thompson would be the result…Thanks for that. Hope you had a great day…Love and Light…

  14. 14 observantbystander July 30, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Isn’t his voice delicious? Very deep and strange and haunting. He used to sing with Fairport Convention back back the good ‘ol 1960’s. I’m so glad you liked it! We have quite similar tastes in music it seems. The day went as well as a Monday could go. Best interaction of the day:

    Me: I have a papercut on my lip.
    Ken: I thought I told you to start eating food and to leave the paper alone.

  15. 15 Bella July 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve had it since I was about 13. I knew it because I’d try to confide in my best friend and she could not relate to how I was feeling at all. I have many bad days and thank the good lord they pass. I just try to tell myself that “it too shall pass”. I wish I could write about it like you did here; you spelled it out so well! This blogging is very theraputic, maybe I couldn’t put it into words but YOU did and it made me feel really good to know there is someone out there in this world who feels the same at times, that brings me some peace. I hope you feel better soon and remember, you are not alone! Thanks for the well written words!

  16. 16 writerchick July 30, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Hey OB,
    Yes, I know this dance very well. And how utterly cool and honest of you to write it all out for the world to see and read and absorb.

    I think that we don’t realize that most of us feel this way – sometimes often. And though we’re not all coffee klaching over the backyard fence, we’re with you, honey. All the way.

    You do good everyday – I know you do and I don’t need proof of it either. Your humor, your wit, your ability to give me a laugh or something to think about make a difference.

    Love,
    Annie

  17. 17 poseidonsmuse July 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Beautiful comment Annie….

    OB…I can see the carnival headlines now…”Come Meet OB, the World’s First, Amazingly Observant and Witty, Human Paper Shredder…!” Oh dear! How did you manage to slice your lip with a piece of paper hun? Sounds like something I would do! Too funny. Hugs Sister.

    ps. I’d be the quirky one in the cage next to you wearing striped tights and nerd glasses – “PM, The World’s Geekiest Show-Girl!”…coming soon to a carnival near you…

  18. 18 observantbystander July 31, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Bella/WC: Yes, there’s a real difference between transitory sadness and falling down the black hole. It gives me a feeling of peace to know I could put into words what so many of us feel. Here’s hoping for more good days than bad for all of us! I’m awed every day by the bonds we share in our writing. This is truly a commnity of talented and caring people and I’m glad we’re in it together.

    Muse: Paper cut is from licking envelopes. I need to start using the tube of envelope glue, but the damn oral fixation just takes over! Ha! I thought you’d like that (I know you). Hey, we’d make a great team in the Carnival of Nerds. Now THAT’s a movie Fellini should have made.

  19. 19 Bill Howdle July 31, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Dear OB
    I both thank you and congratulate you for having the strength to share this. I to can relate to so much of what you have stated so well. I dived head first into a pool of depression so deep that I actually attempted what today would be considered the unthinkable.
    I can share nothing that would compare to the wise words contained in all of the comments above. Just know that through your writings I have come to respect and admire you greatly. I know the world is a little bit better because you are in it.
    You deserve your place in the “Goddess Club”
    Bill

  20. 20 Simonne July 31, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Muse, thanks for sharing some of your story here, what a remarkable woman you are. All of the Goddesses have shared here, it’s wonderful. I’m not surprised that so many of us have/are experiencing depression. Lightworkers generally do – it’s part of feeling in such a hurry to get done what we are here to do – or, worse still, knowing inituitively that we are here for an important purpose, but still not knowing what that is. I suffered from panic attacks until I worked out my life purpose. And now I feel so empowered to be helping others work out theirs. I did a 2 hour healing/coaching session with a 17 year old girl today who’s struggling to work out her life path. So many of us share these feelings and it’s so important to give them a voice.
    Goddesess, your voices are all so unique and powerful. I am humbled to be in your light.

  21. 21 poseidonsmuse July 31, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Simonne – Thanks (and we can certainly thank OB for sharing her story, thus allowing everyone else to connect with her…).

    That is a very interesting observation that you made (re: finding purpose). I was thinking that yesterday too (during our discussions) – I do believe that Light workers are more sensitive and prone to depression too. I was thinking about my “filter” analogy from the other day – I think depression is just another form/manifestation of energy blockage…Keep inspiring Simonne…

    Hope you’re doing well today OB – just dropped by to send you some love and hugs….

  22. 22 observantbystander July 31, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Bill – thanks for sharing with us today. I love having some more male energy here (I truly love you guys. It’s true!) Having the strength to pull out of the hole is very difficult, isn’t it, so I applaud your strength and ability to see the other side, which enables you to be with us today. You’ve made our lives just that much fuller, having you in it. The one thing that shocked me back to my senses was something I read that said “you don’t know what will happen tomorrow to make your life better, or to enrich it in a way you never thought possible.” I hung on to that for dear life. And now, 2 years later, I’m here and I’m grateful to be here and feel surrounded by more like-minded individuals than I ever thought possible. Amazing! Anyway Bill – you’re always welcome in my little corner of the world and just to think, you’re surrounded by goddesses to boot!

  23. 23 observantbystander July 31, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Simonne/Muse – I do think that people who have an abundance of thoughts running through their heads (as writers and artists often do), suffer through extreme highs and lows. The highs are the pinnacles of creativity and the lows leave us sapped. Fortunately, I find that the routine of workaday work is something I can focus on, which gives me a feeling of accomplishment. The creativity’s pretty low this week though. Thanks goddesses. I’ve been pretty thankful for your words this week!

  24. 24 Grace July 31, 2007 at 11:32 am

    DAMN! How did I miss this one???

    Everyone has already given such amazing wisdom, encouragement and support. I can only add my voice to theirs by saying, YOU are an amazingly beautiful WARRIOR Goddess! I bow in reverence to the Spirit of Divine Go(o)d in you. You are loved so very much.

    The Wounded Healer…..I am your soul sister, as are so many here.

    xoxoxox

  25. 25 abarclay12 July 31, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I was really moved by your post. It’s interesting how depression really is a “sidekick” because on the one hand, it’s trusty and true. You know that dance. And in some cases it might fuel introspection that has a creative outlet. But on the other hand, it’s a horrible sidekick to have. It’s nasty and defeating and powerful.

  26. 26 observantbystander July 31, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Grace: Thanks girlfriend. You and I have so much in common it’s scary.

    Abarday: Some of the best comedic talents are horrible depressives (Jim Carrey just to name one off the bat). You sound like you know it well, my friend, which would not surprise me given your impressive talents at humerous writing. Thanks for coming by today!

  27. 27 V- July 31, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    27 comments! Holy cow. I just wanted to see it hit 28. 🙂

  28. 30 observantbystander August 1, 2007 at 5:36 am

    Wow, only 583 more to go to match my spam comments!

    31

  29. 32 Grace August 1, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    That was the age of my ex-husband when I married him. I was 40.

    Let’s hear it for older women, younger men!

    33!

  30. 33 observantbystander August 1, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Grace! Woot! on the older women/younger man thing. I once dated a guy 3 years younger, but that’s nuttin’ compared to yours.

  31. 34 Laurie Anne August 10, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    With all these posts, there’s not much left to say…but what I find profound and comforting is that other people–other very talented people–feel these same self-doubts and low, lows.

    I often feel so alone when those blues hit….so alone.

    oh, NO. 34.

    I hear you, Laurie. It’s comforting to know we’re in very good company at least!


  1. 1 Depression: the tiger in the dark « unrelenting ambiguity Trackback on July 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm

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