Occasional Bouts of Irrational Depression

I’ve always taken a fairly gothic view of life.  When we were little, my sister would be all “Puppies! And unicorns! And rainbows!!!”  And I’d be all “Death.”

It should be no surprise then, that I am occasionally depressed.  I’ve had the therapy.  I’ve tried the herbs.  That went so spectacularly badly that I’m not gonna try the drugs, thank you.

The Reiki’s been a huge help.  Massive.  To the point where I thought I’d beat it for good.

So I was a little surprised when it finally dawned on me the other day that it’s not actually the heat. OR the humidity.  Nope.  It’s my old friend depression, slowing my steps and making me tired beyond all reason.

It’s not really that bothersome anymore.  I’m really, really lucky.  My run-ins are minor.  And fairly manageable.   But they do make it difficult to form sustained, coherent thought.  Or, once formed to get them down in writing.  Like, in a blog post.

There’s no reason for this latest bout.  No one’s died. I haven’t lost my job.  Exciting things are happening.  Life is great.  But still I am depressed.

It will pass.

I know a lot of you understand this.

I read your blogs.  I see your comments.  I am not alone in this struggle.  And neither are you.

Sometimes we need to take a break.  To cut ourselves some slack.  To rest.

And to admit that this time, the beast wins the round.

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41 Responses to Occasional Bouts of Irrational Depression

  1. sandy says:

    For me, depression is like a migraine. If I catch it early enough, I can prevent a full-on attack with the right combination of self-care. Just the right amount of isolation from the world (no internet news for sure), enough sleep, but not too much, enough food, light, air, time and space to heal, and I’ll be back to ‘myself’ soon.

    Sometimes it’s a struggle not to lose one’s sense of humour. I’ve got a little plaque thingy that sits in a little easel on a shelf in my hutch. It reads, “Cheer Up – the Worst is yet to come!” If it catches my eye a couple times in a week, and I’m not seeing the humour in that statement, I know it’s time to start the self-care. I haven’t had to use medication in years, but I don’t rule it out, because it has helped in the past when things got ‘out of hand’.

    Best wishes my friend, fellow intuitive and general all-round sensitive person. Sending happy thoughts your way, today and always. 🙂

    • Barb says:

      Thanks Sandy.

      I really like the image of depression being like a migraine – there are things we can do to head it off sometimes, which is empowering. And then on those occasions when all that doesn’t work, at least we’ll know we did our best…

      Once I learned to manage my migraines, I was much more relaxed about them because I knew that for everyone that hit, I’d avoided a whole bunch of others. Using that approach to depression could definitely work!

  2. Margaret says:

    thank you.

  3. Karen says:

    I love you. This is just one of the reasons why. You’re so freakin’ REAL.

  4. Patti Winker says:

    Are we sisters?

    I have been meaning to write a blog for weeks about my on-going struggle with depression. But… I just can’t seem to get out from under my fog of depression to write it. This deserves a “WTF?”… yes?

    And the worse thing is, what the hell do I have to be depressed about?!

    I am enjoying my freedom – time, financial, health, strength – I LOVE life!
    So…
    Why do I want to go back to bed two hours after I get up?
    Why do I have to force myself to leave the house?
    Why do I have to force myself to take a shower?
    Why can’t I write a blog post?

    I KNOW that exercise helps, but I have to practically drag myself outside to do anything physical. The weird thing is as soon as I start moving (biking, lifting weights, walking) I feel WONDERFUL!

    I, too, have gone down the drug route. It doesn’t really work for me.

    Here’s the thing that most people don’t know about depression:
    No one would ever describe me as a depressed person. I don’t appear depressed. I’m upbeat, optimistic, positive, fun, and love to be around the people I love. I’m NOT PRETENDING to be these things. I just ALSO want to spend the day in bed.

    That’s the thing about depression. It doesn’t totally hide the person we are – we hide the depression.

    Thanks, Barb, for this personal glimpse into what you’re going through right now. I know that it will change; up down up down up down… and for no apparent reason!

    That’s the frustrating truth.

    Please know someone out there understands absolutely.

    Take care,
    Patti

    • Tweekala74 says:

      Hi Patti
      I am a new, but big fan of Barb’s and I valued very much her honesty but I just wanted to say your comment on her latest post made so much sense to me and your words encapsulated what I’ve been struggling to put into words for myself. I feel so much like you’ve described, I love my life and all it’s filled with but yet I too could happily zone out on my laptop for hours on end, or sleep or think, or avoid dealing with certain things, it’s like I’m in a fog. No-one around me would have a clue I don’t think as I am always upbeat and seemingly engaged with life and friends etc.

      As you say, it’s not a facade it’s just ‘both / and’.

      Take care everybody, thank goodness for the internet connecting us all with other like-minded kind souls x

      • Patti Winker says:

        Oh my Lord – Thank you for your lovely support Tweekala. It is so uplifting to have your understanding and empathy. And, yes, isn’t Barb a breath of fresh air and isn’t this a beautiful place to meet?

        Thanks again. And take care.

        • Tweekala74 says:

          You’re most welcome Patti, what a wonderful collection of people Barb has surrounding her. Hooray for the internet and the connection-with-kindreds it brings! x

    • Barb says:

      Thanks for this Patti. And, um, you just need to cut and paste and you’ve got your blog post…

      • Patti Winker says:

        Good heavens, Barb… you are absolutely right! See how rough we can make our own life and how someone with insight can smooth it out?

        You are a peach! Thanks again for your wonderfully open and honest look into depression – the way it REALLY is, not the TV version.

        Take care.
        😀

  5. Val says:

    Well, being the stubborn, independent, never-give-up sort that I am, it was hard to admit this year that maybe I was thinking about not being alive a little too much. Not that I even had the energy or motivation to actually do anything to move that line of thinking along….. So I got me a ‘special doc’ who told me to take some time off work. I told him I needed a week at work to prepare for this. (Students and parents would likely not wait for me to come back for their report cards.)

    The first week was spent FINISHING the report cards, the second walking in circles trying to figure out what I should be doing. (What needed to be done was productive paper organizing because a major thing contributing to this issue now was the feeling of being overwhelmed by my clutter and disorganization – mainly paper.) I just couldn’t get started, even though I was feeling a tad better.

    I guess God didn’t figure I was moving fast enough, so He thought He’d help out – BAM, I ended up in the hospital having a big twisty cyst, and the ovary it was growing on, removed. Now I HAD to sit, and for a long time. My sister moved every scrap of paper into the spare room next to the filing cabinet, set up shelves onwhich I could sort, and I sat there for 3 weeks doing just that.

    I went back to work 8 weeks after I left feeling much better and able to handle my munchkins with a much better attitude.

    Oh yeah – all of those OTHER times in my life that I struggled to get through, well they all make sense now!

  6. Rich says:

    When I first read this, I kept wondering if you realize that you are a perfect example of a kind of intelligence the world is just starting to notice: it’s called the existentialist. Your depression is likely a result of a lifetime of being misunderstood. You empathize with the world’s problems, but you go one step further and live and breathe the vast questions life has to offer when most of us stop and go for another coffee. I am an elementary school teacher and I am very pleased to see that the existentialist is now listed and recognized as one of the nine intelligences. I see young existentialist buds growing in my class, and I am learning how to help them grow and share their intelligence in meaningful ways. I’m not saying this is ‘the’ answer for you, but certainly food for thought. I also believe the subconsciousness is working 24/7, especially for some people, and thus the moods can fall prey to the brain’s super-functioning. Good luck with your depression, but your honesty is truly refreshing.

  7. There was no need to close your eyes to hit ‘publish’ though I completely get why you did. Sending hugs and everything I’ve got your way – complete with unicorns in dark purple eyeshadow and ribbons with tiny skulls on, braided through their manes (you know, goth ones).
    I love you, Barb.
    xox

  8. Douglass says:

    You love and you are loved, Barb. No beast can conquer that, though that old black eyed dog does keep trying.

  9. Karen H says:

    Thank you Barb again for a wonderful heartfelt post.

    I so get it and all the comments that follow. Yes sometimes you just half to stop and only concentrate on breathing. Sometimes you can keep all of this hidden and sometimes not.

    I tell myself this too shall pass.

    Thinking of you.

  10. Erik says:

    Hi Barb – I don’t think I’ve ever experienced true depression, but I certainly know what melancholia can be like. As you’ve probably gathered from these responses (and life experience) it’s probably more common than most people think. Bravo to you for sharing and being so true to yourself!

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  12. Kim says:

    This is why I love you so dearly. Always learning, always growing, always real…smooches!

  13. Chris says:

    Thanks for the post, Barb. Just so you know, the puppies, unicorns and rainbows were sometimes my fight to ward off depression. Like physical health, I think I have to fight for mental health. Except when I “give myself permission” to feel low. Thinking of you. Love you much!

    • Barb says:

      Love you too, Chris!

      You fought so well to ward off your own depression that most of the time you kept mine at bay as well and for that I will always be grateful.

  14. Macy says:

    Hi Barb – I came on to leave a comment to let you know that you’re not alone!, but got beat to it by all your other readers!
    Best wishes!

  15. Barb says:

    There’s always room here for you, Macy! Glad to see you out and about.

  16. Krista Moore says:

    Barb, thank you!! I suffer from depression as well, hence my long winded posts about feeling adequate enough to go to the market. I have been taking meds for a couple of years now, and for me, thankfully the help “level” the playing field a little. It’s not the perfect solution but it is one that works for me. However, I still struggle, want to stay in bed or hide from the world. With 5 girls, 4 who are at home, hiding from the world isn’t an option, I want to explore. I really don’t want to miss their little lives so I push forward. Somedays better than others, but alas we move forward. Today I am learning again to take time for Krista, to force on what’s really important to ME, and leave the rest behind. The things that are important to me are myself, my family and those I love and respect. Detaching from the other things definitely makes each day a little lighter to get through.
    I am thrilled you are in my world today, your blog makes me smile a little brighter!!

  17. Barb says:

    Thanks so much Krista! This club we’re in is a lot bigger than I think we realize. It’s good to know how many other people understand.

  18. Keri says:

    What an immense relief to know not just one other person gets it, but many do. Depression is not being sad or too self-involved or needing a hobby. It’s a tidal wave, and all you can do is try to outrun it…if you can’t, just wait until you resurface and make your way back to the shore.

  19. Barb says:

    Absolutely, Keri. Thank you.

  20. Greg says:

    I’m feeling irrationally depressed, and although I’m having a tough time getting sunny, reading your post to the style of a beat poet really improved my day.

  21. Laser says:

    This was nice.

  22. Laser says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emptiness

    I find the eastern philosophies to be by far the most insightful and useful. Just the reading alone can you send you into fits of hysterical laughter!

    Can almost make you bipolar. Or at least short-lived feeling of depression dissipated and voila! Energy and happiness! 🙂

    The beauty of life.

  23. ken says:

    i understand what you mean, i have a great life, and am always on top of things. 3 wonderful kids and great wife. im always the guy outgoing, ready to help anyone, and i am very active running marathons. i am generallly up beat, but every now and again, not too often at all i get a day that just doesent make sense. when this day hits it seems i have no energy, im not living up to my role as a husband, father, i have things to do ill never get done, and as much as i love my life i feel like it all suck and no matter what i do i just cant seem to get out of it. i think it mostly happens when i am behind on things and get overwhelmed. these episodes only last normally about a day or so,but they are absolutely horrible and i completely dread them. but when they are gone i look back and think ” what the heck”. it only happens maybe a few times a year , but it just sucks spending a day contimplating if you are really a good person, what i am doing wrong, thinking what is wrong with me why am i so syupid and lazy. feel like i am neglecting my kids wife, duties at home. i really hate these days and wish i could just make them go away. rational thought goes out the window, and even the most miniscule tasks seem insumountable. sometimes it helps just to pack up the kids and do an unexpectid hike or something if i can find the will to do it, i wonder if it is my brains way of yelling at me and telling me to stop and slow down, your overloaded. anyways not sure if it is good to say but it kind of helps to see that im not the only one dealing with this i have my whole life. perhaps i should look at revisiting my councilor on this, a great councilor can always seem to put things into perspective with this crazy world we have built that we havent yet evolved to emotionally handle

  24. Barb says:

    Thanks for this Ken.

    I hope you do go back to your counselor – it’s always good to have as much backup as you can get when “those” days come round.

    Take care.

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