Since my last big post about depression garnered such great feedback, I thought it would be good to talk about it some more. Specifically, I want to address how much of a shift there is from the way I feel over the fall/winter to how I feel in the summertime, and what my depression looks like from my husband, Andy’s, perspective.
This wasn’t easy for either of us- there were plenty of tears and pauses (from both of us) and some apologies and interjections (from me). But writing posts like this one is my way of working through these issues: it is important for Andy and I to discuss how my mental health affects him and our marriage. Moreover, it isn’t easy to find personal accounts of what depression does to a marriage (or any relationship).
I’m hoping that some of you can take away something important from this conversation.
Me: Before we met, had you ever been close to someone with depression before?
Andy: Not close, no. Mainly at Omega [the community we lived and worked at], was where it first entered into my awareness: people with emotional issues, people ‘going off their meds.’ You could see someone that you interact with daily sort of fading away from you. There could be erratic behavior, nonsensical, paranoia, etc. I’m trying to think of someone [back home] in the UK, but no one comes to mind. So yes, Omega was my first interaction with people with depression, or mental health issues.
Me: What’s the most difficult part of my depression for you?
A: Ah, there’s a question. I’d say…dealing with my frustration, and what it on occasion brings up in me. Initially, dealing with my own emotional reaction to your depression was the hardest for me. It raises feelings of anger, inadequacy, compassion, and it’s all conflicting. But the anger was more in our early years, before I really had a grasp or any sort of real understanding of what you were going through.
Me: Can you describe a typical day for us, when I’m at my lowest?
A: School is one of the few things that got you out of the house at times over the winter. It seems without that sort of outside commitment…other times, there’d be no reason to get up, and it still happens a couple of times with school days, where you wouldn’t go. But it’s interesting seeing how you got up out of bed and you went- and frankly sometimes I was surprised, and worried for how you’d feel, being in this state and not feeling comfortable around so many people.
Sometimes it feels like a caregiver situation. I don’t feel there are typical days, it’s very much a day-by-day thing. You have your distractions like a show of the month or some computer game you get obsessed with, and that seems to be what keeps you focused. You tend to be distant, far away, it’s hard to interact sometimes. I find myself censoring, not being myself in effect, and that can cause internal friction and there’s no legitimate outlet for that frustration.
When you were at school, I felt that was alone time for me as well. It got you out, and it also gave me my space that I needed: to be more relaxed, play the music a little louder, etc. You mentioned it’s important for us to get more space from each other, and your school days are like mini pockets of that for me.
Me: Have you seen any improvement or change in my wintertime depressions over the six years we’ve known each other?
A: Yes, I don’t think in the past you would have done the school thing. That’s definitely an encouraging sign of improvement, but my feeling is that yes, there is a physiological aspect, a time of the year thing that is consistent. I do get the feeling that you expect it, it seems mentally that you’re just expecting the worst and then ‘Oh here we go again’, totally surrendering to it. Part of me was wondering if having a sense of stability with us being married nearly two years now, with having someone by your side regularly, would make some sort of positive impact…and I guess I could say that there’s some disappointment and sadness there, to still see you get so down.
Me: What’s the biggest difference you see in me now compared to over the winter?
A: More animated, more get up and go– rather than being, I don’t know…a combination of passive and distant. Whereas now, you’re not distant: you’re sparky, energetic. Now you’re more lively, active, passionate. [Over the winter]you spend more time in bed. It’s like this placeholder. You could say that in winter, you’re hibernating in some way.
Me: What are 3 feelings that you experience, related to my depression?
A: It’s a daily balance between love and compassion and wanting to understand, and at the same time finding myself frustrated, feeling that whatever I do is futile, and I do feel isolated, just like you do, I suppose.
Me: How can I make it easier for you?
A: I don’t know how you can make it easy- if you are on your medication, take it regularly, because there have been periods where you haven’t. I consciously didn’t get involved with that as much, it just seems invasive to be asking you. Eat regularly, try to get out more, definitely exercise. Keep regular routines- maybe we could have more of a structure for specific days of the week. Get out of the house more- it’s too easy to get stuck in our safe little bubbles.
I feel when you are in those low places, you’re not your own best friend, you’re the person you beat up on. If there’s some way of maintaining a more positive attitude, just realizing it’s the time of year when you get depressed and try not to get lost in the negativity. I’m not saying ‘Be happy!’…but don’t go totally adrift. Sometimes you feel so far away.
Me: What’s the best thing you can do to take care of yourself when I’m in a depressive episode?
A: Well, it seems like it would be a luxury to go away for a few days [something I suggested to him recently]. I could probably get outside more, be a bit more physically active. Having some sort of routine would be good because the days tend to blend together. I suppose I could talk to someone- one good thing is we both should make closer friends locally, rather than relying on our long-distance friendships. But it doesn’t come totally easy for me either, making new friends, unless you’re forced into proximity at a job, or at Omega.
Part of me feels like it doesn’t seem particlarly fair for me to go out and have a good time when you’re holed up here, feeling sad. So it is a strange little dance.
Me: I’ve often wondered in those low moments how you could possibly think you got a good deal in marrying me. What makes living with a depressed spouse worth it for you?
A: You see yourself as being all consumed with this- I see you as someone who suffers from depression. It’s a part of you, it’s part of what makes up your character. This is just part of the everyday to and fro of married life. Yes, it can be frustrating and test one’s patience, but people do that anyway all the time. To me it’s just part of the package. You’re Wifey! We love one another and want to spend time with each other- I guess I hope I can help you in your depression and not add to it.
…Part of the fun of sharing your life with someone is just the small everyday habits we share, the figures of speech, the funny moments, someone to snuggle in bed with. We have this commitment to each other. With a marriage, you have to work on these things.
Me: One last question. How would you describe summer-non-depressed Christy?
A: Outgoing, fun activities. Engaging, tender interactions. Spontaneity. Anything’s possible.
Thank you, Andy. I love you, I love us, so much.
Thank you! this is an eye opener to the other side. You are blessed that you both are willing to work through this together. Opening the dialogue between each other and then on top of it sharing with others is benefits you and others as well. Thank you for being brave and putting it out there. Bless you both, you are a lovely couple and an inspiration.
I appreciate your words, Amy. Thank you <3
Thank you for your sharing and willingness to allow us to know you through this writing. I know putting this together reflects so much about who you are as a beautiful person, and who you and Andy are together. Your openness has touched me deeply, brought a tear to my eye, and been a blessing to read.
I know it will help any one reading it, to understand and perhaps to cope with their own depression as well. You are a blessed, and loved!
Thanks Mom. I’ve been overwhelmed at the feedback so far- it is helping people! (Still scary though)
I have no words. There isn’t anything I could say that would fully encompass what I feel for you, my sister, and how brave I think you are. I love you. And I love Andy for his openness and compassion. I love you guys xo
Being brave is scary! I love you too 🙂
This post is incredible for a number of reasons. I’ve been on both sides of depression, but to hear it from two other people is both interesting and comforting. That said, thank you (two) so much for having the courage to post this! I realize that can’t have been easy. Oh, and I love the last picture. Very sweet. 🙂
I’m sorry to hear you’ve been on both sides of it, Liv, but glad that this post spoke to you. It certainly wasn’t- and still isn’t- easy. Trying to move past the discomfort though!
I keep going back to this post to look at the photos. You look like a wonderfully connected unit – and you both certainly write like one. Very brave post. I find that my anxiety runs through me worse in the winters. I think I live somewhat near you – near enough to have those dreadfully long winters. Not that mental illness is always directly impacted by seasons, but it is related.
You’re so sweet, Tamara! I wasn’t even sure about putting photos in, but of course I can never resist- especially because I love these shots of us, too (Andy took them all!).
Mental illness, seasons, and geography certainly are related for me. Funny, it’s the anxiety that’s been worse for me in the summer, and the depression is what takes over in the winter.
Have you ever tried meds? Or what is your opinion on meds/therapy?
Hi Kiernan, yes I have a long history with both medication and therapy. They work for me, most of the time, but everyone’s circumstances are different. Good luck to you!
So tender and sweet – and wonderfully honest – for both of you to post this! I’m well impressed and can feel the love all the way down here in NC!
Thank you for your lovely comments, Nicole!
What an beautifully honest and open post Christy. Living with depression can feel so overwhelming at times. I really love the pictures of the two of you though. You can clearly see the love in your faces! I especially love the last picture!
Kristen recently posted…Things that annoy me
Writing this certainly wasn’t easy, but I appreciate yours and everyone else’s comments so much, Kristen. Thanks, I love the last picture too 🙂
This was a great post. You are both very brave for being so open about something so private and painful. I’m gonna have Jordan read this. I think he would like to hear your hubby’s perspective and gain some insight in dealing with my/our issues with depression. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Jenny- I’m glad you could take away something from this, although I wish you guys didn’t have depression issues, too.
What a warm and inspiring way to see two people I knew once upon a lifetime. I greatly appreciate all that went into this post and I am honored to meet you both, as if for the first time.
Mima (Omega ’04-’08)
Mima! I remember how you have the most beautiful smile. Thank you for your sweet comment!
What a beautiful couple. All of your pictures just look so joyful that it’s hard to imagine you depressed, but I guess we can never really know a person’s inner struggles by what they look like on the outside. I thought this post was very poignent and honest. Found you via SITS
Hi Melissa, thank you so much for coming to check out Sweet and Savoring! It’s easy to find lots of pictures to choose from when your husband is a photographer- and none of these were taken in the winter, big difference there. I’m not typically feeling joyful or photogenic in the cold months! Thank you for the compliments <3
I have Bipolar Disorder and go through episodes of depression. My down times are during the winter months as well. I think interviewing your husband about your disease was a wonderfully brilliant idea and I think I’m going to borrow it and interview my husband about my bipolar and how it affects him and our life together. Followed you from SITS.
Vicki M. Taylor recently posted…Is it Dementia or Aging? – Humorous Post
Hi Vicki, I appreciate you coming over to S&S. Bipolar runs in my family, so there’s always been that ‘watch out for certain symptoms’ from my doctors over the years. Please feel free to borrow my interviewing idea!
I hope you’re well- and I just realized that I have Your Writing Coach bookmarked- I love it! Small world 🙂
Hi, you might like this blog I added as my website. I write a lot about having Bipolar and how I use my faith to get me through. Have a wonderful day. I hope you are enjoying your SITS day.
Thank you for sharing such an open and honest conversation. You’re helping so many people through this!
You’re welcome, Liz! It’s been tough (I didn’t consider such an emotional aftermath + massive feedback. wow!), but I’m happy that so many people have come forward saying how much this has helped them 🙂
You look so cute in that anniversary picture! I love this interview. Your husband is seriously so sweet. You are so honest and brave for posting this. Just from reading this I can tell just how much your husband loves you! Thanks for sharing! Very touching post! 🙂
Thanks, Katherine! Andy is the sweetest, I got pretty lucky there 🙂
I read this when you posted on FB and reread it again today. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s a brave act to share something so personal, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Its obvious that you and your husband has such a strong connection.
It wasn’t easy- thanks for the validation, Kristina. Andy and I joke a lot and don’t often have these serious talks, but when we do, it strengthens our connection for sure.
Bravo you two. You are an inspiration with your honesty and clear love for each other. And your extreme cuteness!! is but a side note. Depression is a struggle many families face. Your ‘talking’ about it might encourage others to share and find support. Personally, I hope so. xo Libby
Ha ha, thanks for the compliment, Libby! Yes, depression is a struggle I’ve gotten used to dealing with for quite some time. I hope this helps others to have this kind of conversation, as well! XO.
Christy recently posted…Friday Gratitude: What a Wonderful Response to Tuesday’s Post!
This is a touching post. I think your husband’s honesty is refreshing to see and the whole thing was an eye opener to read!
Glad you liked it, Kate! I’ve gotten over the initial shock of ‘oh my god what did I put out there’, especially seeing how many people are gaining insight & validation from this. Thank you for your comment 🙂
Beautiful! Please thank you husband for me for taking the time and having the willingness to open his heart and share his side. It matters.
I’m so glad you’re working together on this. I glad you have someone who’s taken the time to understand. And I’m glad you see how it impacts him.
Thanks for sharing.
misssrobin recently posted…Turning to God
You’re welcome! I’ve been reading these comments aloud to Andy as they come in, and we’re both blown away- and humbled- by the response. I realize I’m incredibly blessed to have a partner who tries to understand and always supports me.
Thank you both for this. My husband suffers from depression and your questions and responses are to right on. It’s very helpful to see that other couples are having this same difficulty that is so rarely talked about. I really appreciate your willingness to share, just reading this has been a real comfort. You guys are great.
I hear you, Cat. How depression affects a marriage isn’t talked about enough, and that’s partly why I wanted to do this post. I’m so glad this had a positive effect for you 🙂
This post is incredibly honest and open, I am so impressed with your bravery in sharing something so private with all of us. First, your relationship gives me so much faith in humanity–you and your husband are inspiring and seem to fit together like puzzle pieces. It warms my heart to look through the pictures you’ve posted of the two of you. Second, this post really gives me some perspective on what my friends dealing with depression are feeling and how I can be more supportive to them. Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank *you*, Rachel! Andy and I certainly aren’t perfect, but I do love your puzzle comparison 🙂 Glad you like our pictures and could gain some perspective for helping friends- yay!
As I’m reading your blog for the first time, the song “She’s Only happy in the Sun” by Ben Harper comes on from a 1047 track playlist. I think the lyrics are poignant in that happiness is not something that is simply achieved and owned like car.
Happiness comes and goes like the sun in the sky. It can be blocked by clouds, disappear into the horizon, or simply not shine as bright because of the winter season.
I feel the important thing to remember is we are not alone in the darkness. God and the people who love us will always be with us. It is in the sharing of that love that we can be freed from any darkness.
Here are the lyrics
I know you may not want to see me
On your way down from the clouds
Would you hear me if I told you
That my heart is with you now
She’s only happy in the sun
She’s only happy in the sun
Did you find what you were after
The pain and the laughter brought you to your knees
But if the sun sets you free
Sets you free
You’ll be free indeed
She’s only happy in the sun
She’s only happy in the sun
Every time I hear you laughing
Hear you laughing
It makes me cry
Like a story of life
Is hello goodbye
She’s only happy in the sun
She’s only happy in the sun
She’s only happy in the sun
She’s only happy in the sun
Funny, as I’m writing this response the song “Under the Sun” by Sugar Ray came on too.
Okay, Anthony, now I’m listening to that song just because you wrote out the lyrics 🙂 You’re right, we’re not alone. Thank you for reading and always being someone I could count on. xoxo
This post just gripped me. I don’t know how to explain it, I feel them in my gut, and in my heart. I had never read for your post on Depression, I think I found you sometime after you wrote it. This is amazing and brave and true and important.
I think it just guts me because I am married too. I think of how much my husband got the brunt of it. Truth be told, it was only for him that I finally sought medical treatment. Because I wanted him to be happy.
Your husband is a good man. This is love in it’s truest form. Thank you for sharing this. I needed this.
Stevie recently posted…Five Words You Need to Know
Oh, Stevie. That’s it, we were meant to find each other and be touched and comforted by each other’s words. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the validation. Seeking treatment is one of the most difficult parts of depression- I’ve had to start over many times- I hope *you* want you to be happy, too. (but isn’t it amazing how another person can drive us to take that step, of seeking treatment?)
I read your comment out loud to Andy, who happens to be a supreme expert at brushing off compliments. But you’re right, he is a good man 🙂
[…] a bit of mouthful, isn’t it? It all applies, trust me. Tuesday’s Depression Part Two post was unbelievably difficult for Andy and I to put together. It was tough hearing Andy’s […]
Wow, this is amazing, touching, and I am actually getting emotional right now. I’m saving this… saving this to keep, for me and for my boyfriend… as a reminder.
I’m not sure if I suffer from seasonal depression but I might (but I also think I can suffer from regular depression, too… I think it just is likelier to get worse when the sun goes away). It was so touching for me to read this from the perspective of someone else looking in. And the part where he said it’s just a part of you really got me. Others are so willing to accept us, but why not ourselves?
He also had such interesting insight regarding trying to combat the depression… instead of trying to be happy, just trying to be. Going with it. I think I’m like you in that I get a lot of plans together to try to help me to not slip into that place… I think it’s a balance. Of… just accepting it, but not necessarily wallowing in it. Of doing things that are self-loving and self-nurturing, but not trying to overly-compensate or need to feel HAPPY!!!
This is soooooooo great. I’m so glad we found each other!
Erika recently posted…The 90 Day Transformation Project
Oh, Erika, how I wish I’d told you how much I appreciate this comment when you actually left it! Just ‘going with it’ is one of the toughest parts of being depressed for me. It’s like ‘self indulgence’ if I just let myself be, and I can’t help beating myself up. I’m hoping that you’re doing well right now and I want you to know that every post you write is so inspiring to me xoxoxo.
Depression is very difficult to talk about especially with someone who doesn’t understand it or hasn’t felt it before. I have dealt with depression most of my adult life and taken meds off and on. I feel kinda guilty because when I met my husband I was very happy and definitely not depressed. In 2009 after I re-injured my back and never healed from it, depression reared its ugly head again. The pain was the trigger this time for me. When we got married, I was still functional and could do almost anything I wanted to. Today not so much. 🙁 I am like you I could stay home forever but thankfully my kids and my commitment to church keeps me going.
Injury or illness usually triggers depression for me, too. I often wondered in the beginning of my relationship if we were doomed because he just had no idea where I was coming from- thankfully now, we’ve been around each long enough that he is unbelievably understanding. Although I agree, it is hard not to feel guilty sometimes. Thanks for your comment, Christy!
This is a really fascinating perspective coming from the spouse. Appreciate you sharing very much.
Thank you for your words, Sarah. Glad you liked it!
Wow, this was a great eye opener for me and that is great that your husband is so open with his feelings about your depression. Thank you for sharing your soul and emotions with your readers!
I wouldn’t be able to share if I didn’t have my readers, so thank you, Michelle!
I can identify with a lot of what your husband says here – my husband (also an Andy) has periods when he’s struggling and blames himself for everything, and it’s hard. It’s hard to stay positive and not add get cross sometimes… but definitely worth the effort. Keep strong both of you x
Rachel recently posted…An Assortment of Veggie Squash Recipes
It’s *so* hard to stay positive sometimes. Glad you stopped by, Rachel, and hope things are going all right for you and your husband right now.
Christy, amazing read. I was drawn into both sides of this and I think you and your husband are good together…Blessings to you every day as you continue to go forward
Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry recently posted…Last I Checked This Wasn’t A Diner
Thank you so much, Lynda. Comments like this feel like a big warm hug. xo
Someone dear to me fights this battle. I would agree with the advice to regularly take the medicine and try to exercise, eat and sleep well. Although sleep can be a battle. Having a supportive, loving spouse is such a blessing! Happy SITS!
I agree, Seana- I can’t stand those nights when it’s nearly impossible to fall asleep. And man, somehow starting an exercise routine is SO hard, but starting is the hardest part, and there’s such a great reward! Thank you for your comment!
This: “You see yourself as being all consumed with this- I see you as someone who suffers from depression. It’s a part of you, it’s part of what makes up your character.”
I’m fairly certain that my husband has depression also. He won’t seek treatment and he won’t talk about it, but I know it’s there. I wish we could talk about it and I wish I could use your husband’s words to describe it to him.
Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted…Fire Safety in the Snow
It’s almost impossible to see myself the way Andy sees me in that quote. For yours and your husband’s sake I hope you can eventually talk about depression together, but I understand how much of a struggle it is. Hugs to you!
Wow- I suffer from the same type of depression. It came rearing it’s ugly head after the birth of all three of my children. I fought medication, I tried therapy, combined with exercise etc- and still struggled. But I finally went on meds and it has been life changing. One day I asked my dr if I should try to gone off- she said do you feel good I said yes- she said than why would you. I still struggle during winter- getting out is key. I started training for my first marathon that was in March- it forced me to run in the winter- get out sun shining on my face- makes a huge difference. Loved your blog- your honesty – think you for sharing your story so candidly.
Wow, I appreciate you sharing your experience, too, Deana! I struggle all the time, and I’m on medication, too. Running seems to be the thing. I have yet to start and keep doing it for several months, but I know if I’ve started running before, I can do it again. Exercise makes the biggest difference of any non-prescription depression hack.
Thank you visiting and for your comment!
Tearing up – such a beautiful love……thank you so much for sharing.
Jen recently posted…The Consequences of Purchasing Cheap Meat
Oh my goodness, thank you Jen! I’m so happy this post has been able to touch so many people.
Thank you for sharing this, it is such a wonderful look into the life of a married couple living with depression. Having the open communication that you two have makes all the difference in the world. My mom has struggled with depression my whole life. In the past few years she started using the full spectrum lights in the winter and they’ve made a huge difference in her mental health during that time.
I love the pictures in this post!
Angela Gilmore recently posted…Guest Posting – 5 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Gig
Thank you for such a sweet compliment, Angela. We certainly aren’t perfect- that clear communication isn’t there all the time, and like Andy said above, it leads to friction between us. It’s a constant practice, like any relationship.
Not sure why I haven’t gotten a full-spectrum light yet, but thank you for the motivation!
This is a great perspective to hear. We don’t often talk about how depression affects loved ones. Heck, we don’t talk about depression enough. Thanks for sharing!
We certainly don’t and you’re welcome, Jennifer!
This is so incredibly thoughtful. I know that my depression affects my husband because I see the effect my daughter’s depression has on me. Its not easy being the “stable one.” I so commend you for sharing this.
Ann recently posted…Our Secret – Living With A Depressed Teenager
I just read your post about your daughter, Ann, and it was so brave of her, and you, to share her story. I self harmed when I was a teenager, as well, and didn’t know how to properly ask for help- I wish I had had a friend like your daughter sixteen years ago! Sending love and thoughts of wellness to you and your family.
Thank you for your comment.
[…] Depression Feels Like This Part 2: A Conversation with My Husband […]
I understand completely what you go through in the Winter. I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder and Winter is very difficult for me. I have the same symptoms of being distant, not wanting to do anything, sleep all the time. I eat a lot of junk because I crave it in the Winter and I have a tendency to be self-destructive during my depressed times. I usually take Wellbutrin, which works great, but during my two pregnancies, I didn’t take anything…it was rough. Thanks so much for sharing your story and helping others to understand what Seasonal depression is really like!
BTW hope your SITS day was great!
Bonnie @ Love, Marriage and Sex recently posted…Finding Freedom in Forgiveness
Sounds like we’re a lot alike! Wellbutrin has been my ‘favorite’ medication as well. And the junk food, ha! I just polished off a bag of onion and garlic potato chips! Thank you, as well, for sharing the bit about your pregnancies. I’m always curious how women with depression deal when they become pregnant/have children. It seems so scary to contemplate being ‘untethered’ by going off the medication, you know?
Thankfully, spring is closer than ever! I actually saw two rabbits in the yard today 🙂
Hi, paying you a visit by way of The SITS Girls! Very honest and gripping. Depression was a plague that ruined and destroyed the marriage of a member of my family because her husband, who would get depressed, never quite dealt with it the right way, even though he was a doctor. Isn’t that ironic? I’m glad you are trying to deal with it and that your husband is willing to help you. I wish you the best!
Clotilde/Craftybegonia recently posted…Tasty Cauli-croquettes
Appreciate you visiting, Clotilde! (And you have a lovely name as well) Unfortunately, I can understand how depression can ruin marriages and relationships. It’s a constant struggle, but all we can do is try, and stay committed to a.)keeping ourselves healthy and b.)maintaining those relationships that are important to us.
Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing a very personal side of depression. I loved that you showed it through a spouse’s eyes. I often wonder what creates depression and what sustains it. I also wonder what helps others get out of their “funk.” There are days where you get up and get out of bed in the winter–what makes that different from other days? If you stopped listening to your thoughts so much and just did something in spite of them, does that help? Does depression become “embedded” physiologically in your brain (as neuronal ruts) the more you experience it–so that it’s harder to get rid of it the longer you suffer from it? I think about these things–and more–because there are so many people who suffer from depression (and I love psychology!). And by the way, these questions aren’t meant as judgments nor are they suggestions– I am curious about how the human mind works and how it might become more effective for better living. I wish you the best of luck taming this beast. I think you have some good support in your husband and in the medication when it gets too bad. Thank you for allowing us into your world. I think you’re really brave sharing this with your readers. And I definitely think you’ll help someone else who is going through the same thing not to feel so alone or to feel like they aren’t normal.
I’ve been thinking about your comment a lot, Nicole. Your questions don’t sound like judgments- I appreciate your curiosity. I would love to know what creates depression! The second part of that- what sustains it? Depression is a condition that sustains itself. For me, it’s about the negative thought patterns, the lack of motivation, the loss of interest in mostly anything, the feelings of blankness. All of this feeds itself and snowballs until I can barely see through the pile up, and after awhile, don’t really care anyway.
What makes some days different from others? Excellent question! I have no idea. When I think about that from a rational standpoint, it might be that I stay up too late one night and therefore got a terrible night of sleep. Sleep is one of those basic things that really affects mental health if it’s out of whack. It could be too much time indoors, or out of touch with friends, or it could be nothing. I’ll wake up and feel off- I’ll realize eventually that the veil is back, and wonder if I should fight it or just let myself feel what I’m feeling. It certainly doesn’t help to berate myself for having significantly less energy or lower mood. And on those days, it’s almost like I’m *not* listening to my thoughts- I’m ignoring them, and ignoring everything else. I numb out, I go blank, I retreat inside.
And yes, absolutely yes, depression becomes embedded and it is exponentially harder to recover from it the longer you suffer from it. Consequently, it also takes longer to stabilize on medications the longer you are off them, due to lapses in treatment or any number of reasons. Depression has a way of coming in and declaring itself, so it sort of takes over your identity- in my experience, anyway. I’ve struggled a lot with knowing what the ‘real me’ is and what thoughts and feelings stem from the depression. Is it all the same? Does it matter? I’m not sure. Sometimes I think I just get more frustrated trying to understand or make sense of it, and the last 2+ years have been more about acceptance than anything else for me.
One last thing- travel. Travel gets me out of my funk (even if sometimes I have still been down while traveling)- it inspires me and reinvigorates me like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Right now I’m planning some smaller getaways, since I can’t afford a major trip.
I appreciate your comment so much, and I do hope I’ve helped others by sharing all of this. Certainly everyone’s feedback has helped me!
I love this. Andy sounds like the perfect man for you, very understanding and compassionate. My boyfriend still doesn’t know how to handle my depression, nor do I know if he ever will. I remain hopeful, but it is hard when you feel alone in your depression.
I agree- feeling alone is the worst. Maybe point your boyfriend toward some resources? There’s a book called When Someone You Love Is Depressed- http://www.amazon.com/When-Someone-You-Love-Depressed/dp/0684834073/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394170071&sr=1-1&keywords=when+a+loved+one+is+depressed I have it and we’ve both read it. It’s pretty good, but I’m interested in checking out all the books in the ‘related’ section, too. Understanding doesn’t come right off the bat, it takes awhile, for sure!
Best wishes to you, Ashlee.
Loved the honesty in this post! I have someone close to me who also suffers from depression.. You want nothing more than to make that person feel better. It very interesting to hear the honesty in your husbands answers. Best wishes to you and your husband
Thank you Camille! I feel terrible when close friends are going through a tough time, because I feel like I should have all the expert answers due to my own struggles. That feeling of helplessness is so awful, but we all experience depression/anxiety/tough times in our own unique ways.