My Constant Companion

Last Saturday I took my car through the car wash. Afterward I vacuumed and wiped down the interior.

So what?

So that’s the first time I’d done that in several months, even though I’d wanted to.

I’ve wanted to write blog posts. Clean my apartment. Do laundry.

I’ve wanted to feel better.

Depression is insidious in how it impacts me. I want to do so many things, but I just can’t make myself get up and do it. I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do anything. I mostly sit at home and hide from the world with it, my constant companion.

Then along comes a day like Saturday and I overdo it because I can’t be sure when there will be another good day. After cleaning the car I did some shopping, then went home and cleaned my apartment.

I am brutal to myself on the not-so-good days. “Why can’t you do it?” “You’re not depressed; you’re lazy.” And there’s the tried-and-true GOP favorite, “You oughtta just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

My atheism is directly attributed to my depression. After years of praying for relief and finding none, I came to the conclusion that either a) there is no god, or b) there is a god but he doesn’t give a shit about me. I figure either way I’m not out anything.

I’ve lost many friends because of depression. I couldn’t maintain a friendship. I didn’t call. I didn’t accept invitations. I felt bad about it (and still do), but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them the truth.

I don’t talk much about depression because maybe if I don’t talk about it, I can put up enough of a front that you won’t know. I’m ashamed of my depression. And one need only read the comments following the recent spate of suicide articles and opinion pieces to know there are some real assholes in the world. Best keep my Achilles heel to myself.

Yes, after two years of enduring the loss of Malachi, Rumpy, June Buggie and Bubba, changing careers, moving twice, and my dad’s death I think I should be just fine. And I think the world would expect me to be fine too. I must watch too many cop shows.

The funny thing is, I have all the compassion in the world for every other person who suffers with depression, and would bite the head off of anyone who attacks them for having mental illness.

I am working with a therapist and a psychiatrist. I’ve started a new antidepressant that is helping tremendously. I’m engaging in some volunteer work. I’m spending less time on social media and more time with my cats. I go outside into the sunlight, even if only to check the mail.

I am beginning to see the light. Here’s hoping that soon depression will no longer be my constant companion.


37 thoughts on “My Constant Companion

  1. I’m glad you’ve found some solutions. Depression is not just feeling sad or having a bad day–those can often be resolved by pulling one’s self up by one’s bootstraps. Depression needs multifaceted treatment, just like any other disease.

    1. The hardest part was admitting that I was depressed and that this was something I couldn’t kick on my own. Now that I’m feeling some relief, it’s important to talk about so others will know and recognize what’s happening if there’s a next time.

  2. And how about the horrible aspect of feeling like you’re only worth something if you accomplish stuff? When you’re doing ten times more than many “well” people who feel perfectly fine watching tv and doing little else but taking care of themselves.

    You are a blessing to this world just for being. I hope you feel some peace soon.

    1. I had this conversation with my therapist recently. I asked if my not bathing some days or not brushing my teeth before noon was a sign of the severity of my depression and she reminded me that had nothing to do with depression… and that people who aren’t depressed don’t worry about when they shower or brush their teeth.

  3. No one who hasn’t suffered depression knows how bad it is. I particularly love the people who say that I should just myself up and stop being depressed. as if I have control over it. Wishing yo better times.

  4. I am glad you are getting some relief from your medicine and therapy. You should not be ashamed of an illness, this is no different than someone with diabetes, it is something you can’t control. I highly recommend Naomi Judd’s recent book about her depression.

  5. Being kind to yourself is tough, but it’s important. You’re important. Thanks for sharing you with us Jen. I hope you see more sunshine than darkness with your new strategies to tackle depression. Mental health is tough, and even though we’re so far away – we’re thinking of you. x

  6. I’m glad to hear your condition is improving. I’m glad you have the feline cadre to help you through this — and good medical help. It is understandable after all you’ve been through. Take care.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I often feel the same and cannot describe it to others. You have done that. Good luck with your new strategies to cope with this horrible disease. Sending hugs and smiles.

  8. Sorry to hear what you’re going through, but glad you’re doing what you can to resolve it. It’s a serious problem that affects lots of people. Praying for you.

  9. I can relate to this. I am happy you are getting help. I have OCD and depression. It is draining. Loss and grief are total life changers. You have lost a lot, and I have lost a few family members in the last couple of years. It is not so easy to just bounce back from that. I put on my happy face every day for work, but a lot of the time it’s just a mask. I hope the meds work wonders for you!

  10. If you get the right prescription, it will help. But also, something one of my shrinks told me once. He said, “You know, depression is not only the way you feel. It can be habitual. You are depressed because that’s how you expect to feel.” That actually helped me sort through my feelings. To see whether I was really depressed or just being the way I was used to being. That and Celexa. And a good shrink.

  11. you’re on the road to feeling better….just remember not to beat your self up to much when you have a bad day on that front…..its not the end of the world if you do have one.and you do have friends even if we are thousands of miles away! and never feel ashamed of how you feel,xx Rachel

  12. A) There is no God. Not in the way we are led to believe I suspect? You did great to get moving and do the things. I always start with a list. And it’s feels great to cross them from, even if they are to be revisited.
    I know you were not wanting to wash your car after Rumpy passed. I say More Csts! Ate bring love! And it’s ok to be depressed but you still gotta get up pull your Big Girl pants on and get moving…………sounds to me you are doing ok. Keep up the good work. Cheers,H

  13. I know exactly what you mean, on good days you think you can take on the world then a bad day comes along and you beat yourself up with guilt.Try to just ‘live in the day’, it helped me and big hugs, you are not alone.

  14. I think most people have depression at some point in their lives and in this day and age with social media and such incomprehensible levels of discourse and hatred, it’s understandable. Glad you’re seeking help. Remember, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Loving thoughts flowing your way with ear rubs for the kitties.

  15. I am so sorry you’re going through this. I’m a long-time subscriber to your blog, and I really enjoy reading your posts. I also enjoy reading Wil Wheaton’s blog. He is going through some of the same things you are, and I think you might enjoy his blog too. Here’s a link in case you’re interested.

  16. I am sitting in bed right now not wanting or caring to move. But, after reading your blog and all the comments, for today at least, i am going to try. Please know that you are not alone, though it sure feels like it most days. Take xare of yourself.

  17. I have just read your blog. You write very clearly and openly and I really appreciate your honesty. You have had so much to deal with recently and I’m so sorry you have been struggling. You are ‘only human’ though. It’s difficult to be kind to ourselves sometimes when our own (and society’s) expectations are high. I’m sending you love, positive vibes & some virtual hugs, my friend. And i hope you make steady progress on this very difficult journey

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