Monday, April 21, 2014

Depression Lies


I took on a lot at once. School, a new relationship, a few new outdoor sports and hobbies, and as always, the constant urge to reinvent myself to be better, better, better.

This urge comes thanks to my own particular genetic makeup and my childhood combined. If I can be better, I can be more lovable. If I can be more lovable, I won't be alone. That is the drive that almost constantly steers me toward improvement and overdoing it.

I recently went to the Portland Tedx Talks for the second time and the side effect I left with again was the feeling of not good enough. Those people who spoke onstage were wonderful and inspiring and yet my takeaway is I'm not good enough and I'd better start working on improving since I have such a long way to go. I'm not brave enough, or strong enough, or smart enough or passionate enough.

Along with all the not good enoughing myself and everything else I've taken on in my life, I decided to try reducing (very slowly) my anti-depressant dose (not my smartest decision in recent times!) I'd been at 25 mg for a few weeks when I hit a wall. Everything seemed hopeless, irritability was sky high and everything felt personal and hurtful. Overwhelm was the word and the emotion that kept slamming around in my brain. I've had to put on the breaks and go back to basics. Back up to 50 mg, and eventually maybe 100 again. More alone time to recharge, more exercise, more self-care, and much less self improvement.

How could I forget for one second how much Dave's death leveled me? How could I lose sight of how much rebuilding takes out of me? How intense it is, just on its own? How could I think that I could be the way I used to be when the way I used to be is extinct? I feel robbed. I hate that I'm this delicate, vulnerable, exhausted, overwhelmed person now. I fear I'll never be able to be a mom or be a healthy partner for my guy. How could I possibly handle all of that?

I'm guessing that after a few weeks at a higher dose of meds I'll begin to feel more capable and less overwhelmed and hopeless. I'm also guessing that the lack of serotonin in my brain is the reason for my thoughts of my own hopelessness and not a reflection of the truth.

 I'm trying to reach back in my memory for times when I felt more balanced to access those thoughts too. The thoughts I have in a depression are usually terrible lies and not to be trusted. They feel so true, though. They make giving up seem so reasonable and sensible.

Hopelessness and apathy are easy to lean into. Hope and joy are so hard to access. I'm looking forward to the days when they are easier to find. They'll be back. I know that.


  1. What a powerful piece of writing! Thank you for sharing this - I think you will reach many of us who have had these thoughts and/or loved someone who had depression. You are strong and inspiring and most definitely more than good enough! I hope you can see that again soon.

  2. Oh Cassie, once again you write my thoughts! I call this my wish/need to be superwoman, and it has never, and probably will never serve me well, but it is still my default. How many times have I taken on too much? How many times have I wanted to decrease my meds, and for what? They work, they do what they are supposed to - why the need to take them away from myself? He is hoping you will feel better soon, and judge yourself as you would judge others, instead of so harshly.

  3. "How could I think that I could be the way I used to be when the way I used to be is extinct?"

    This is me, striving to have it all the way it used to be, but knowing in my heart that life is gone. Doesn't mean that this life can't have a bit of joy....someday... but most days I don't even care about this life anymore, I still want the old one back. The attempt to make this one resemble the old just isn't worth the effort. Round and round I go, up and down on a daily basis. Hope and joy, yes, they are so elusive these days.

  4. Cathy, your comments echo my own. My life, as I knew it, died with my husband in 2011. I'm existing day to day without my soul mate; the love of my life. We were together from the day we met until the night he died beside me. Where is the warmth of our love that I felt in his arms? Where is the joy of his lips touching mine? Where is the warm glow that we shared after making love? My reality is lying awake in an empty bed with my memories.

  5. Hang in there. I so agree - Rebuilding is extraordinarily difficult. I, too have the self improvement gene along with its 'I'm not good enough' fuel. I need to assure myself time and time again that I don't have to be any particular version of myself to qualify for the love I need now that my husband can now longer supply it. When my grief cleared - seven years on - I found myself still bleeding from an earlier grief of an unhappy childhood. So I'm engaged in yet another healing - working on it, anyway. Good wishes, and much heart to you, Cathy.

  6. Your pointing out "Depression LIES"! Is so much at the heart of what I am dealing with. A self-important man once rebuffed my asking him for a date by saying: "Look at yourself! How can you NOT think of yourself as a loser? How dare you think I would go out with you"?! And I have been wrestling with that question ever since. If there are meds that can make me feel like a winner when- according to objective criteria like weight and salary- I am actually NOT...? I get really confused about reality and how to act, and how to spend my money wisely. So glad you have a handle on this and thanks for sharing.