Depression (Photo credit: Gingertail)

I don’t need a book or lecture to remind me that depression is a physical illness, and not something that is just made up in my head or a weakness on my part.   I don’t choose to battle this demon over and over again.  I know exactly what has caused this latest bout, but I won’t get into it on this blog because I really don’t want to pull anyone else from my personal life into something so public.  But even though I have come miles from where I was three years ago, just a mild cruelty from another person can cause me to spiral.

I am fighting back as best I can, but again I know this is biological in nature because I can actually feel it deep in the core of my being.  Depression feels like a physical ache, a dullness, almost like a heavy suit made of lead that the universe forces me to wear and walk around in.  Depression isn’t just feeling sad, it is the inability to feel joy.  It affects everything I do, everything I see and everyone I interact with on a daily basis..  I have difficulty concentrating, I lose my appetite and have trouble falling asleep, mixed in with the dark moods are bouts of anxiety that arise seemingly out of nowhere.  The constant battle of highs and lows is like riding the world’s most unpleasant roller coaster.  Sometimes looking at pictures of friend’s babies on facebook, or seeing a loving couple walking down the street will reduce me to tears.  The subway tends to bring on bouts of sadness.  I don’t know if it is something about the stillness, the anticipation of getting home, or that I have to sit and deal with my brain but I tend to fall down the rabbit hole on long late-night trips.  Or maybe it is that while sitting there I have a tendency to notice everyone around me, and little things remind me of what I lost.  I honestly don’t know, but those long late night commutes will cause all sorts of negative thoughts to swirl in my head.

But I fight back with every tool in my arsenal.  I write, I do all the cognitive behavior therapy techniques I know to dissipate the dark clouds that want to engulf me.  I silence the what if, what if, what if narratives that play out like a bad repeated record.

What if I was still married?

What if I was working more?

What if that last date had worked out?

What if I wasn’t so damn broke?

I know these things aren’t rational and I there is no point in dwelling on anything that is hypothetical but the thoughts linger nonetheless.  I know I am not alone and that there are millions of others out there who fight with this monster.  For some of us we have been at war with it our whole lives, maybe its is partly genetic, or from whatever traumas we have endured but we still have to fight a mental illness on top of our every day obstacles.

I write this piece with no answers, no quips or nifty conclusions at the end.  I write this for release as it tends to inexplicably help me when I do it.  Maybe one day the medical community will develop medication that actually works without so many side-effects.  One day doctors will find the biological mechanism that causes depression, and the stigma towards patients who suffer from it will disappear.

I have to remind myself how far I have come, and how much better I will be in the future.  To my fellow suffers of this disease I say…hang in there.  Whatever is troubling you shall pass, and you will survive it.    Avoid the temptation to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and try to not fall into the trap of  self-destructive behavior.  We are all loved and cherished by many, never forget that.  We will get better…we are just battling a disease that doesn’t have an easy way out.

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8 comments on “Depression is such a bitch…

  1. James

    I am a divorcing Dad and can relate 100%. Sleep problems, anxiety, etc. had various boughts of depression periodically and the one feeling I’ll add to your already comprehensive list is this powerful feeling of loneliness, even when in a room full of friends.

    As you said, this too shall pass.

    Good luck. You’re not alone.

  2. healingthe3s

    Keep pushing on Juliet. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel. ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle helped me a lot. I know this may sound crazy… but try a mini-trampoline for 15 mins a day, broken down into 5 min sections if you need to. It’s the best exercise for the Lymphatic system but more importantly… it’s hard not to giggle when your on a trampoline 🙂 We are here to remind you how wonderful you are and the world is a better place because you are in it.

  3. Nicole

    Your title made me smile and laugh so thank you! I say it all the time because it’s so true and there’s often nothing we can do about it. Keep pushing through and good luck!

  4. Julie Bickerstaff

    Sorry Juliet. 1 year into tgt, and right there with you.

    Keep fighting. Keep moving. I don’t know if it gets better, but I’m hpoing time heals and helps

  5. StraightForward

    I remember those days post-divorce from my own gay husband. Thought they would never end. But they did…and they do.

  6. Anders

    Juliet, you seem to be a hard working person and in a reasonable world that should make it possible for you to get a job that at least pays the bills. That way you could pursue you writing career in your free time given that you had energy left when you come home. I know that you also are a stage performer but I guess that compensation is sporadic from that line of work. Maybe finding gainful employment has been as a discouraging experience as finding a new relationship. Do you care to write about that part of the experience of being a New Yorker ? I’m sure a lot of people can relate. I also want to express my appreciation of your blog, and as you can see from other comments, we your readers, have a genuine appreciation for you as we have learned about your life through this blog. Thank you, and all the best to you.

    1. julietjeske

      Well I haven’t had a regular job in nearly 10 years. I make my living doing random comedy/variety acts around NYC, working as an extra, and as a face painter at kids parties.

      I tried to get a “real” job about a year and half ago. I re-learned the computer software, and got my typing skills up. I registered at about 10 employment agencies and only got interviews with three, and only because someone referred me. Nowadays a person has to interview for even temp jobs…I scored very highly on the computer and typing tests at the agencies…the number of interviews I got for work was exactly ONE…and I couldn’t even make that interview because I was already booked on another job painting faces. I got ZERO interviews and ZERO leads. The job market is dismal right now, and because my work history is crazy I have very little hope of work like that without going back to school for some type of advanced degree or training. I have a BA but it is in theater and is basically useless.

      People have told me that in the past, and they really don’t understand my situation. I had numerous friends help me re-write my resume, and it did little help. So many people are looking for work, and they don’t have my strange work history…so no dice.

  7. Pingback: Why Enabling Depression is Impossible. | julietjeske

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