The Sound of the Darkness

Depression is a wily motherfucker. She’ll use whatever she sees to gouge me right in the soul, to suck the life out of me and make me too tired to fight her.

She sees the overflowing laundry hamper and says, “My God, if you can’t even keep up with the laundry, what good are you?”

She looks at the kids’ empty beds and tells me, “You can make all the excuses you want, but they left because you’re a lousy mother and a sad excuse for a human being.”

Depression watches me say “no” to Carter and when he gets angry, depression says, “Eventually, he’ll reject you too. Just make him the damn sandwich (or drive him to his friend’s house, or buy him a toy, or let him have another cookie) if you want to keep him.”

Depression looks in the refrigerator with me and says, “Why bother looking for something healthy? No matter what you do today, eventually you’ll eat a box of cookies and you’ll be fat and unhealthy forever.”

She sees me looking around the house, trying to decide if I should clean the kitchen or vacuum the living room, and tells me, “You think anything you do will make a difference? You’re a slob and everybody knows it. You might as well give up.”

Depression hears the kind things that people say to me and answers, “Oh, please, they don’t even know you. If they really knew you, they would never be so nice.”

She hammers away at me, pounding on the inside of my skull, until I might as well be stapled to the couch. My eyelids are heavy and my patience is short.

I act in ways that depression tells me to act.

I don’t eat healthy foods because I don’t deserve to eat in ways that make me feel good.

Because I don’t deserve to feel good.

I don’t wear pretty clothes or blow dry my hair because who is going to look at me? If I don’t try to look nice, at least I haven’t wasted my effort on something useless.

I want to believe that I am enough. I want to do something different than this. I want to live my whole life, not this tiny sliver I have allowed myself, but I don’t know how to begin.

I don’t know how to have faith that any change I make will be more than just this moment, this day, this week.

I am so, so tired. Tired of myself and tired of the constant struggle.

Tired, so tired, of the noise inside my skull, this relentless heckling that is so much meaner than any real person I have ever met.

Although, much as I am meaner to myself than any other person has ever been, I am very good at surrounding myself with people who are more willing to judge me than to love me.

Medicine helps some; therapy has helped a little. There comes a point, though, at which nothing can help me if I don’t believe that change is possible.

I sort of believe that change is possible, but I don’t know how to start believing it where it matters, down in my guts.

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54 thoughts on “The Sound of the Darkness”

  1. Your guts suck if they don’t know how special you are. I realize that is WAY too corny so I will shift gears.

    I want you on my side in any future knife fight just because you kick ass.

  2. See that sun shining thru the trees in your image? That’s us, out here somewhere waiting for you to emerge. Get meds. Get better meds. Take care of yourself, cuz your families need you. And new readers like me are only beginning to get to know you. Look at that sunshine and get thru the trees.

  3. It feels like you’re burning sometimes, I think, and no one else around you really knows how that feels because there isn’t a real reason, there’s just the fire. And they judge you and you judge yourself because you can’t figure out how to explain it.

    You can get through this. We love you. We don’t judge.

  4. Even on the darkest of days a little light shines through. You will always have us loyal readers by your side. I have come to the decision that no matter how it looks on the surface everybody’s life sucks in some way, shape or form. It all depends on how much you let it suck you down with it. Maybe we can climb out of the suckiness together? I know I have a big climb ahead of me towards that little light.

    1. I think that’s part of why writing about it helps so much – because people are always saying, “Me, too!” Finding that I’m not alone is a huge help.

      Yes, we’ll climb together. Tiny bits at a time at first.

  5. Adrienne

    I agree with those other commenters up there. Meds may not be working. Start small. Do one thing and then wait an hour and do one more thing. Act as if.

    You need to recharge because your family loves you and needs you.

    I am thinking of you and I care.

    that is all

  6. That’s how I’ve been feeling! I haven’t worked out why but I decided to set myself a Beat The Blues challenge and it seems to be working 😀
    I hope you can try and focus on the positives and start to feel better soon 🙂

    1. I’m going to start with tiny steps. Actually, I already started with all this writing. NEXT is tiny steps – cleaning something, or eating a good meal, just a small thing here and a small thing there.

      Here’s to feeling better soon for both of us!

  7. Depression hears the kind things that people say to me and answers, “Oh, please, they don’t even know you. If they really knew you, they would never be so nice.”

    Depression is a lying bitch. She lies like a door to door floor cleaner salesman.

    Lies lies lies. And Depression thinks I don’t know you enough to be nice? Depression is also fucking stupid. And Depression doesn’t know ME at all.

    I am way, way, way, way smarter than Depression.

    So screw her.

  8. I know Depression and she is a lying bitch. She is every high school bully I ever dealt with, plus that wonderful magnification we can only achieve with the magic of low self esteem.
    That does not change the fact that she is a LIAR! You can beat that bitch one moment, one task, one step at a time. But you can’t do it alone. You need your doctor, and the pharmacist. You may need to try a few different meds before you find the one that works, but trust me, the right one is worth its weight in whatever is more valuable than gold.
    Depression has it all wrong when she says we don’t know you. You have been so brave and open with us, almost daring us to judge, but we’re still here. I’ll never judge, but only love. I’ve had enough judgment passed on me that I know the damage it does. But healing can happen. Take my hand & we’ll do it one step at a time.
    And when you get up the guts to move to Canada, I’m right here.

    1. Oh, my God, you’re so right. I HAVE been daring you all to judge me.

      I’m just sitting here, waiting for it.

      Thank you, Shawna. And yes, little steps. A bit at a time.

  9. Oh, there’s nothing I can say that is really going to pull you out of this hole, is there?

    (Those are scary words to type. Please do not be mad.)

    Everything I say, depression can head off.

    The good news is: you are stronger than depression. You are, you really are. It’s just a long fight to see that. Keep fighting.

    1. No, no, not mad in the least. I know that depression is a stubborn bitch, always working to prove herself right and everyone else wrong. Thankfully, she’s backed off some this evening and I can see and hear you – the real you, not the fake you that depression wants me to see.

      Thank you.

  10. I wrote a long something something and finally got to this:

    The last line of your post:

    “I sort of believe that change is possible, but I don’t know how to start believing it where it matters, down in my guts.”

    In my experience, change comes with practice. Practice is imperfect because we are practicing something, we are not experts at it.

    Forgiveness, banishing that inner bully (and believe me, I had a doozy!) is like any other life skill …

    and when we are not taught these life skills when we are kids, we have to learn them, and practice them to make them authentic. This may/may not include mentors/counselors, it may/may not include mood-altering drugs to ease the stress, it may/may not involve recalling memories to understand what experiences taught us when we were too young or too vulnerable or too surprised to cope with them the first time.

    But mostly it takes practice. It takes accepting that we fall, and getting up again, and practicing.

    If you don’t mind me saying … I’m

    1. Yes, inner bullies. I think I believed every nasty thing anyone has ever said or done to me and started doing it to myself.

      Practice, yes. I doubt my ability to keep practicing over the long haul, but I DID practice some today, so I’m trying not to worry about the other.

      Now, if I don’t mind your saying…what? Because I’m sure I don’t mind, but I AM very curious!

      1. Oh, I’m laughing my ass off at myself. I write so much in the comments section, that I really could write in a blog … I have an unmaintained one in part because I’m too busy to edit my writing and I won’t post much without edits because, well, obviously? But then I love to comment, to appreciate what people are experiencing, to encourage …

        So sometimes I write these long, drawn-out THINGS … and then I take them and store them in my blog because they become less about your writing and more about, well, me … ish. Though I think I’m always trying to relate …

        That last little bit was this (I think … when I went to see the cuttings, they were pretty smattered):
        Just an experiment for you … it might be too out there, but it is worth a try.

        What if you hugged the depression? Is it possible that the depression is a coping mechanism you use for the tough hand you’ve been given to work your way through? Even when my kids are in their worst temper tantrum, howling and screaming, I say, um, do you need a hug? And they do. They are not less angry at the situation after, but they are also not quite as distressed. We still have tonnes of work to do, but we’ve stopped for just that minute to address the stress of being upset.

        A long time ago I was a bulimic kid. In my twenties, when I could get away from the noise of my family home and the selfishness therein, I mustered enough energy to work on my big big issues. And the one thing that I still fall back on is the kindness factor. Every time I fall down, when I want to cry, when I want to stop. Even if I don’t believe I am worthy (and even when I don’t want to hug my angry kid, too, when that voice inside of me says I don’t think they are worthy) I hug me and forgive.

        When one is an addict, and my bulimia was very much an addict issue, one walks a certain fine line afterward … I choose every day to practice being okay with what I do and who I am so that I don’t fall back on the depression and the angst. Does it come? Yep. But I look at what is wrong, and address it. With myself, with others, with openness and an expectation that I will care for me. And I believe it is reasonably easy because I am well practiced.


        Ahem. Sorry you asked?

        But you know, what you said … sorry, this time I gotta quote again:

        “Practice, yes. I doubt my ability to keep practicing over the long haul, but I DID practice some today, so I’m trying not to worry about the other.”

        my favourite psychologist from way back there in the late ’80s would have laughed her ass off if I said that, in the loveliest of ways because here’s what could be thought of as your ‘magical thinking’ about how ‘incapable’ you are: YOU PRACTICED. Nothing else matters because this is the moment. And tomorrow? Will you practice? Who CARES!!! Because you can care about tomorrow, tomorrow. (And besides. You will. Trust me. You will.)

        Okay. You asked, right?

  11. oh friend of mine…depression is such a wily asshole. it gets in our head and makes us feel so SO much less than we are. I know this feeling. It is constantly there telling me how I am going to fail and let people down and how I am ugly and fat and no one will love me…and it sounds like whining to people who don’t know….because we CAN’T just cheer up. We CAN’T just believe in ourselves.

    I know people grow weary of telling me I am good. But I can’t…CANNOT…get enough of it. It’s like the ammunition against that bitch depression up there in my head.

    Every time someone tells me something positive, it’s like I can say “BOOM, depression.”

    Because when I try to tell myself I am worth anything? Depression calls ME the liar…the naive idiot.


    You? are wonderful. you are good. you are one of my best friends. really.

    fuck depression.

    1. Damn, Katie, now I’m crying again.

      Depression is a huge fucking liar, and how is it so easy for me to see that she’s lying to YOU, that there’s no way you’re anything other than a wonderful, intelligent, kind, generous person, but so hard for me to see that for myself?

      Thank you, Katie. Thank you so much. I count you among my dearest friends, too. I’ll tell you you’re wonderful anytime because I understand that need, and because you ARE.

  12. i hear this loud and clear.

    know that you aren’t alone, and you will feel better.

    just don’t give up.

    sometimes we need people to remind us that we ARE all the good things we don’t think we are.

    so here’s me telling you that you are. and i don’t even know you. but i feel like you know me.

    what a great post. thank you.

    <3 andrea

  13. Why does depression suck so many of us into its grip? It sucks and the only people who get it are the people who have been there. I can tell you a quote that I read in one of my Zoloft e-newsletters. It’s a buddhist saying and this simple phrase has kept me going so often.

    “If we are pointed in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.”

    1. Yeah, I hate that so many of us struggle with this. It’s a terrible illness, and all that much more terrible for it’s commonness.

      Love that saying. Thank you!

  14. My cousin was in a very similar situation to yours. Her daughter has EB, a skin disorder that causes blistering, peeling, etc. There’s no way I can explain it adequately, let’s just say that my cousin’s daughter, after numerous surgeries, has no fingers, can barely walk, needs frequent transfusions, has had life-threatening infections, and receives daily bandage changes (often painful) that take 2 hours at a time. She’s 13 and has had EB from birth.

    My cousin, after many years of putting her daughter first and bearing the weight of her daughter’s suffering and medical care, fell into the pit of dark depression last year. She had so many of the same struggles you do – battles with the health care system, falling out with family over her daughter’s treatment options, etc.

    What she finally did was check herself into a mental hospital. She was reluctant to do so, given the stigma attached (and also feared that family members would use it as ammo in the battle over her daughter’s care). But she had no other way out – she was that low.

    After staying in the hospital for several weeks, she emerged a different person. During that time, they were able to tweak her meds until they found the right type/dosage, get her counseling, etc. and today she would tell you that although it was hard, it was the best thing she’s ever done.

    Your posts are sounding more and more like cries for help, and on the other side of the computer, we can’t really help you. Can you get help like my cousin did? Because even though you are strong (and so is my cousin), this isn’t something that you can overcome alone.

    1. Oh, Lori, thank you! These posts are cries for help, yes, but only in the sense that I need to write these things down, and it helps to know that other people have heard me.

      Someday, maybe, if I am very brave, I will share my experiences of psychiatric hospitalization. I don’t need that right now, but if I did, my husband would help me make that happen.

  15. What a bitch. She actually told you all those things about yourself? Did you know that the ones who take us down, make us feel the worst about ourselves and lie to us are the ones that know we are better than they are? Safe to say you are better than that lying jerk and she knows it! She’s scared of what is inside of you just waiting to get out. She knows you will win and give her the middle finger while you are laughing, but until then she is going to keep lying to you. Stop listening. Know her game and call her on it once and for all!

    1. Thank you so much. You’re so right; one of the things depression does is make me feel like I have no power. When I’m well, I’m a very powerful person. That bitch is hiding my power from me.

      Imma find my power!

  16. Hey, you.

    Guess what?

    Today? You wrote this post.

    And then you hit “Publish.”

    If that is the only thing about which you feel joy today?

    That’s enough.

    That you are gathering words and sharing your thoughts?

    I think you may be in a better place than you know.

    Just keep gathering words and sharing thoughts.

    And not hiding.

    Stay here.

    We are here for you.

  17. Wow. I have heard every one of those things in my head. Every one of them. That hit waaaay close to home.

    And she is a bitch.

    Fuck her.

    Can I be honest? That’s what we do here, right? I am in awe of you. I am in awe of all that you manage and you are still here, being honest, and still fighting. Truly? I am amazed by you and your strength…even tho it may not seem like it from your end. Amazed.

    1. Oh, my dear, thank you. It doesn’t feel like that from my end, but hearing it from you? That helps.

      Yes, she’s a bitch. Let’s all fuck her up together!

  18. I just want to give you a huge strong hug. I’ve been there and I wish that someday I would know that Depression’s spindly fingers won’t grasp my soul again. I hope you feel better and if you need to talk let me know.

  19. Oh dear, have I ever been there, staring that dark, bitchy seductress in the eye. Depression is not just my enemy. It is part of me– always will be. So I HEAR YA SISTER. What works for me is to acknowledge it, which you’ve done, and then run screaming toward relationships–toward the people I love. Depression likes a loner. Don’t be one. Breathe. Put yourself back in this moment. Get by someone you love, quick quick. Then breathe again. Eventually this works. I’ve written about depression on my blog to. Hop over if you think it will help to read how someone else copes. For me it is to move toward the people I love and to stay, breath by breath in the present moment. You are here, right now. You are not 5 mintues ago when you felt like shit. You are current, in a new moment, with a blank state. You are now.

    1. Damn, woman, you have got yourself some wisdom there! She IS a seductress. Much as I hate her, she is also, somehow, safe.

      I love that – run screaming toward relationships. Thank you.

  20. Yep, it sucks. Sucks isn’t even a strong enough word. The words you used are better.

    Having other people tell you that you are GOOD doesn’t help. In my experience, being told that you are STRONG doesn’t help either.

    What I will offer is this: there is a way out, and you do have what it takes to find that way. Even if it’s a small step and even if it takes a while to take the next one, there IS a way. And you can find that way. And you don’t even need to do it for anyone else – your family, your son, no one. You get to choose to do it just for you.

    1. Thank you. It’s hard to imagine gaining the perspective that I am taking care of me, for me, when I’m stuck in all this guilt about the people I love.

      But you’re right; no one needs me to be well as much as *I* need me to be well.

      Thank you.

  21. At least you are brave enough to talk about it. And you are NOT alone. My relationship with depression is linear, genetic and present everyday.

    Stay strong for those of us who aren’t…

  22. This post hit really hit home and brought tears to my eyes.

    I have the same voice speaking to me. Many of my issues differ from yours, but it is the same voice. It’s exhausting.

    You are not alone.

    Your posts are thought-provoking and profound. Thank you for never hiding from what is real.

  23. “I want to believe that I am enough.”

    Me too, me too. This is often at the core of my fear and sadness when I’m feeling my worst. That I am not enough.
    And, also, that I am too much.

  24. How could I have missed this?

    Yes, depression.

    I always say, even if you were in my head, and heard those thoughts, you still wouldn’t get it.

    Because you’d just hear words…and it’s the tone depression says it in.

    It’s her tone.

    She’s evil. Plain, evil: and really thinks I”m worth nothing, and good at nothing.

    My own worst enemy.

  25. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you were spying in my head and writing down my thoughts and feelings. My guts and I are waiting too. You’re incredibly brave…

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