Just Depression

I’m not going to pretend to fully understand depression. I’ve written about it a little bit before. I know that it’s something that was always lurking in the shadows, something that, for years, I chose to ignore. For years, I chose to be happy while also being fully aware that depression was a mere step away, something that I could fall into too easily if I wasn’t careful. I knew that people with OCD frequently have depression. I knew that chronic pain often ended up paired with depression. I knew, on some level, that I’d always have to deal with it, but I believed that I could continue, indefinitely, to hold it off.

Every time it crept closer and tried to get a foothold, I refused to let it, and I was always really proud of myself for that. There was so much I couldn’t control—OCD, the constant physical pain, etc.—and being able to control depression felt really good.

But last summer, I lost ground to depression for the first time. I had a couple of really hard months and spent all of my time sleeping. But I was able to pull myself out of it and though that was the end of it.

Ever since, though, it has gotten harder to avoid it. That fall was my first semester of graduate school, and it was really rough. I struggled to keep up with everything. That October, my boyfriend (of 6 years) and I broke up, and I hit the lowest point of my adult life. The pain seemed unbearable and the hole I’d fallen into insurmountable.

I sat in that place for a few months, but eventually made my way out of the hole. In the meantime, OCD and anxiety were becoming increasingly easier to deal with. And when I realized I’d survived the trauma of my life being torn apart, I began to feel a lot better—stronger, more capable.

And I still feel strong sometimes. Intellectually, I know that I can survive all of the low points. I have learned that I’m made of tougher stuff than I realized before.

But I wasn’t able to fully get away from depression this time. Even though I got to a really positive place a few months ago, I’m still depressed. Some days are fine, but some days are really bad. Sometimes the bad is for no reason. Sometimes things that I feel shouldn’t faze me do so much more.

It’s been another really difficult summer, and the people who were my crutches before when I needed it aren’t around anymore, which has only contributed to the difficulty. I miss these people a lot. A whole, whole lot. I don’t know how to navigate this space without them.

Sad was never a super frequent emotion for me. I’ve never been a crier, not even as a little kid. I’ve always brushed that stuff off quickly and moved on. I’m used to happy and angry; I can work with those. Both allow me to get things done. Both motivate forward motion.

I’m trying to learn how just to be sad and be okay with it and keep pushing forward, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m trying to get used to crying. How do you stay awake when your entire body wants to sleep 16 hours a day? How do you maintain a healthy diet when every meal is an exercise in force feeding for lack of appetite? How do you function?

12 thoughts on “Just Depression

  1. Hi Elly,

    I understand where you’re coming from, I really do. I spent the majority of last year and up until early summer this year in a state of flux of being “depressed” due to going through a divorce, along with battling my OCD – funny enough, like you seem to have stated, OCD and anxiety seems to drop slightly when depressed. I’d like to find out as to why.

    Anyway, back onto what I was going to say, you shouldn’t have to live with being sad. Your breakup and what not would have knocked your self-esteem big time, it did with me, it does with a lot of people and is somewhat understandable.

    All you need to do is work on “thriving”, and that’s the point of my comment: I have been reading a book (and seeing their specialists alongside it) and I have to say, it is incredible. I highly recommend it, it has done wonders for me and my self-esteem and general day-to-day thriving in life. I am certain it will do wonders for you.

    http://amzn.to/1dyfPX7 It’s written by Rob Kelly, he knows his stuff.

    1. Thank you! I’ll see if I can find a copy of that book.

      And I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. Shortly after I posted this, I got caught up with grad school once again.

      The good news is that I’ve been working with a therapist since August, and I’m getting a better handle on depression. I’m feeling better. I’m happy sometimes. Still definitely struggling with depression, but it feels like it’s a little better—most of the time, anyway.

  2. I have learned that being depressed is no little thing – and just about everyone knows someone who is on meds. Being open about it really helps, but those moments when you are alone will continue to be hard. Fighting demons all day every day is no way to live. I’ve been on Zoloft for years now, at one time just for my OCD – now for depression – and I have to say that the days of being depressed are in the rearview mirror. Better living through pharmaceuticals. 😉 Chin up.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I know how helpful medication can be for sure. I wouldn’t have overcome OCD without Prozac. But the thought of returning to medication right after getting off of it was hard. Luckily, I’m managing pretty well with behavior therapy these days.

  3. Well i think, if You would really a depression that you wouldn`t write about it. I think you just sad and tired, but not depressed. The hard time will finally go away. But how fast? It`s up to you.

    1. Excuse me? People write about depression all the time. Who are you to tell me I’m not depressed? I know how I feel, and my therapist would also disagree with you. I don’t think you understand how harmful your words are. I hope you don’t tell other people what they are or aren’t feeling.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been going through such a tough season in life. I have Tourette’s, OCD tendencies, and lots of anxiety. I’ve wondered before if depression is something I’ll ever struggle with. I’ve even wondered sometimes if I deal with it now. It’s so much like some of my anxiety that it’s hard to tell. I don’t have a surefire answer to get rid of your depression here and now, but I can share my two greatest weapons that work against my anxiety (especially the kind that borders on depression) and anxiety attacks: Prayer and exercise. With prayer, I don’t mean just a generic prayer. I mean the kind where I tell God exactly how I’m feeling, whether I’m angry, sad, or simply scared. It helps so much just to know I was able to tell it to the One who can truly understand what I’m feeling. As far as exercise goes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the gym feeling stressed and sad over different aspects of my life. Forty minutes (even twenty) of aerobics and strength exercises does something magical for me. My problems aren’t gone, but I feel stronger, more fit to face them. I pray you can move through this part of your life. Props to you for sharing what many people are afraid to.


    1. The spectrum of mental illness is weird. Sometimes it’s hard for me to separate OCD from anxiety from depression. There are so many places where they blur together.

      I’ve been told by so many doctors that exercise will help my anxiety and depression, and I know they know what they’re talking about, but I HATE exercising. I’ve tried many times to get in the habit of it, but I always fails. Maybe one of these days, it’ll finally stick.

  5. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and it’s awesome. I’ve been suffering from OCD for as long as I can remember without being diagnosed. Now it feels great to know that I am not alone. I’ve just started my own blog and plan to document all my experiences.

    I’ve a question, I keep ruminating about religious and philosophical ideas and I have this belief growing inside me day by day that until i can sort them out in my head, I’ll never be able to focus on my academics. My grades have started dropping because of this. Do you think I’ve these thoughts because of OCD?

    1. I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you! I got caught up with school and have been neglecting my blog.

      Those thoughts could be related. If you’re obsessing about something, there’s the possibility that it’s OCD. I can’t say for sure one way or another, but it’s something to consider.

      How have you been since you posted this? Any better? (I hope so!)

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