Depression is a Bitch

The Dark Days

I am going to come right out and admit something: I am having a hard time. Yesterday was the worst bout of depression I’ve had in a while. Today is a little better, but not much. It has been coming on for a while now, like cold symptoms developing into cholera or similar, but raged in full force this weekend. My body actually aches, as if I had the flu (I don’t have the flu). That terrible commercial is right in one respect – depression hurts.

When people ask me “Well, why are you depressed? There must be a reason,” I want to punch them in the genitals, because that’s the worst thing I can think of doing to a person who doesn’t get it. Instead, I say “there is no reason,” because it’s true. Depression isn’t a rational A + B = C formula. It’s more like that f-ing quadratic equation, except imagine



where “x” is a black cloud about to swallow you whole like a nebulous sci-fi monster and “a” wants to eat your baby, starting with its toes. “C”? “C” is a racist great-uncle who gives you noogies and wedgies even though you’re 30. Then, you have to do math and show your work.

No, it doesn’t make sense. A switch in my brain is broken.

I even broke out the big guns to deal with it, to coax it back into its cage like a lion tamer with a broken stool and a disintegrating leather whip. I went out into the garden and worked a bit with the rose bushes in all their voluptuous springtime glory, pulling the weeds that seem to be the same damn ones I pulled last month. The only thing stopping me from crying while I did this was knowing how unpleasant it is to wipe tears off your face when your hands are covered in dirt and dead bugs.

I took a bubble bath to soothe the aching muscles. I ate a ridiculously nutritious meal. I watched 30 Rock, a silly show that requires no emotional commitment from me and hardly any brain power, seeing as they’re all re-runs. I picked up my pen and journaled. I thought about sitting down to write, then remembered my commitment to being kind to myself and gave myself a break. Not every spare second can be filled with work; my self-worth is not determined by my output (I reminded myself).

Sometimes these things help, but sometimes they don’t. This time they didn’t. I didn’t want to go to work today, because I am not good at hiding these moods. I picked myself up enough to get dressed and come in though, because my bills aren’t going to pay themselves. If mama don’t work, mama don’t eat.

I have a lot for which to be thankful. I also have big things about my life that I hate. Neither of these facts have any bearing on how I’m feeling, except that now the negatives are magnified and I have to force them away for the time being. I’ve learned that even thinking about the negative is useless when I’m in the middle of an episode; it becomes unproductive wallowing. So I don’t go there. I just try to ingest as much joy as possible.

I’m responsible with my medication, but it isn’t 100% effective, it just keeps every day from being like today. I have access to counseling if it continues. This is fortunate, as this hasn’t always been the case. At one time, suicide hotlines were the only help available to people like me, the uninsured living below the poverty line. Thank God I don’t have to let it get that bad anymore.

An internet acquaintance wrote a piece on depression that’s been circulating the web lately, and I’ve read it twice so far this weekend, like a castaway clinging to a life raft. If you have depression or know anyone who has depression, you should read it. It has a lot more practical advice for coping than I could possibly give right now.

I probably shouldn’t post when I’m feeling like this, but I also know that if someone out there reading this can relate, feel less alone and maybe get help, then these bad days won’t be for nothing.

For everyone else, sorry for such heavy stuff on a Monday. An APRIL 15th Monday, no less. The universe really threw a curve ball there, huh?


  • Vernita

    You should post about this, you should do anything and everything you can to get through it. Makes me think of what Jenny Lawson and so many others say at these times, ‘depression lies’. Hang on

  • Julie DeNeen

    I’m sorry, that is so awful that feeling…and I know it all too well. Hang in there – and don’t feel bad about writing it all out. it’s good…for you, for people who might need to know they aren’t alone.


  • Christine Organ

    I am sorry. Very sorry. I know that there is nothing that I could possible say that could help so just know that I am thinking of you, sending you good wishes and lots of prayers. Who knows why these things happen to some people, why some days are better or worse than others. Don’t overthink or overanalyze or question. Just know that there are good wishes and positive energy being sent your way.

  • Rodney C. Davis

    I think you’re superwoman… or something… just to be able to get out of bed, much less get out the house and make it to work.

    For what it’s worth, whatever you do, just keep writing. It’s good to put something out there that many can relate to when most can’t. But here’s the other thing. Even though it won’t heal you to write, you can bet your ass you’ll write some of your best stuff when you’re this way. Might as well capitalize on depression’s one bright spot. Who knows? It may help you pay the bills one day.

    I think there’s enough fodder right here in this blog that has a better than average chance, with a little tweaking, to do well commercially.

  • Heather

    Well, for what it’s worth- you manage to make this day into a beautifully written piece. I know you don’t want any unsolicited advice, but I am quite the same way with anxiety. I swear- it’s so hard to break the habit of the ‘what-ifs?’

  • Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom

    It’s good that you’re writing about it. And there are many of us who can relate.
    I certainly can. Keep ingesting whatever joy you can. Do what makes you feel better and keep writing. Get it all out. I know it’s so hard to do even the smallest things, but you got up, went to work and you wrote this powerful piece. You’re made of strong stuff.

  • Lesley

    Thank you for posting this. Thank you for blogging when you feel terrible, and for recognizing the pathology of depression–that it comes from a disease which you have no more choice over having than someone with a different chronic illness. Thank for being kind to yourself and for taking good care of my friend, even on days when all that means is going through the motions. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for staying here. Thank you for telling other people what you go through, because there will be people who read this and feel validated and accepted. You are so brave. I wish I could give you a medal for all of the reasons above.

  • Amie

    Thanks for posting this. My old friend depression has been picking away at me little by little over the last few months but I’ve kept my head above the water. I lost some ground yesterday though. Then I came to this post through Twitter. I know I’m not alone but reading your words and identifying with them so much gives me some strength. Depression really just sucks doesn’t it?! Hang in there, and I will too.

  • Terrye

    I really and truly hope that you are doing better today. I used to suffer from horrible depression like that. Thank goodness it’s been a very long time since I’ve had to deal with a low that bad. I wish I had some answers for you. Keep up with what you’re doing, you seem to be soldiering through it, you can make it. I think the hardest part is remembering that eventually, the tide will turn again, and those rose bushes will be even more lovely; dead bugs and all.

  • Maggie

    This is perfect and true and painful. Thanks for being so honest, really helped me feel like I’m not going through it alone. Also had some great coping tips so thank you for those as well. Love and strength. x

  • S.J. Faerlind

    Thanks for having the courage to post this Natalie. Soooooo many people suffer from this problem and it’s always a good thing to know we’re not alone when we have our bad days, whatever the cause of them.

  • Suzanne

    I wanted to respond to this post the other day Natalie, but I was having a day similar to yours. So instead, I picked a fight with my husband over something stupid. Depression doesn’t make sense (though your formula is probably the closest I’ve ever seen!) and it does hurt and it isn’t a matter of simply pulling up your socks, or whatever other cliché you want to insert.

    But talking about it seems to deflate it a little, at least for me. So I hope it helped you. And I hope you’ll talk about it again if you need to. Clearly your post resonated with a lot of people. That’s important too.

  • Ericamos

    I’m so sorry that you were feeling so down. Depression can get the best of us, and I am thankful that you were so open and shared with us how you were feeling, ’cause I think there are a ton of us that can relate. Also, thanks for sharing the 21 tips…definitely something I’m going to keep bookmarked. Hope you’re feeling better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: