Today is the first day in a long time that I’ve been depressed. I mean really really depressed. Like didn’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed depressed. And then when I did get out of bed, not-wanting-to-do-anything depressed.

So I stayed home. I stayed home and drank a cup of coffee while reading email. Then I took a long walk. Something I haven’t done for a while: take a long walk by myself. I put on the happy song play list so that it might help lift my mood. The moving and the sun helped, but I don’t think the music did.

But when I got home after the walk I was depressed again. I don’t really know why. Something takes over my mind and I wonder what is the point? What is the point of trying to make ThinkHouse successful? What is the point of publishing Under the Gum Tree? What is the point of trying to start a nonfiction storytelling series? What is the point of writing on my blog and trying to build an audience for my work?

Thankfully that train of thought never progresses to: what is the point of being alive?

The eyes feel groggy. Like they don’t want to be open, let alone stay open. Why do they feel groggy all the time? Even when I get enough sleep? It is a weight on the eyelids that I can’t seem to get rid of. Splash cold water. Still there. Drink coffee. Still there. Rest them for a few minuetes. Still there.

How do I make them feel awake when I need them to be awake and alert?

Sometimes I know I feel down because the house is a mess. It’s not quite depression, but a lack of calm. I know that when the house is clean and in order I feel more calm. So when I got home from the walk today, I went down the street to Ace Hardware to get some dish soap because we were out and I hadn’t done dishes for three days.

I did the dishes, but that didn’t help me feel better. I felt worse because I broke a wine glass. And when I’m depressed, I accidentally break things.

I started wondering if maybe I am depressed in the mornings and have a hard time getting out of bed because our bedroom is so dark. If maybe I need the sunlight coming in to help me wake up and feel cheery about the day. How do I know if that will make a difference or not? Maybe I should ask Jeremy to open the blinds when he gets up?

Maybe we should just sleep with the blinds open? But sometimes the moon is too bright at night or there is a street light that shines in and makes it hard for us to go to sleep. Oh well, maybe we should just try it. Even when the eyes are still groggy, being in the sun does help me feel more awake. So maybe the sunlight thing would do the trick. Our friends James and Monica live in New York, where they have an apartment between tall buildings that doesn’t get any natural light. So they use an alarm clock that is a light that imitates the sun rising when it goes off. Maybe something like that would help me?

I called the therapist today. I had been seeing a therapist last year, but she left her practice in December. She referred me to a new therapist, but I haven’t been going since December because I wanted to take a break. I wasn’t sure the therapy was helping. I didn’t like poking at the emotions twice a month and having two really shitty emotional days every month. So I was thinking about taking a break anyway. Plus I wasn’t sure that my therapist was the right match for me. I started feeling like a lot of her advice was repetitive and I wasn’t sure how much I was getting out of hearing the same thing over and over. So when she left her practice, I took the opportunity to break from therapy for a few months.

But now that I have been feeling so groggy and tired all the time, I started thinking that maybe I should go back to therapy. And today was kind of the cincher. I didn’t let me self cry yet, but I feel like I want to. Why? I don’t even know why? Maybe after I finish writing this I will go lay down in bed and cry for a little while. I haven’t had one of these kind of days for months. There was a time, about a year and a half ago, where I would spend most of my day in bed or crying, or both.

But, like I said, I haven’t had a day like that for months. What triggers it? Boredom? Dissatisfaction? Anxiety? Loneliness? How can I know? It just comes on all of a sudden?

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17 thoughts on “what it’s like to live with depressive tendencies

  1. Hey Janna– if this helps at all… I read your blogs because you seem to be doing so much and you are so successful and I love all your projects– Thinkhouse, and Under the Gum Tree…. you inspire me, and I really am quite envious of all the interesting and creative things you seem to be able to do… it’s almost exhausting sometimes, and I wonder how you have the time and energy and motivation to do so much. I have my own projects and goals and timelines set out before me, but sometimes when I see where you are and where I am I wonder if I’ll ever make it, if I’ll ever get to the point that you are at….self-started, thinking out of the box, publishing your own lit journal. I don’t know if that makes you feel any better but you should know that on days that I feel down and out and discouraged, I read your blog. Or Under the Gum Tree. I can’t pretend to know what triggers your down days or what the solution is… but you inspire me. For what it’s worth. Feel better, pretty girl 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment, Julie. I appreciate your positive perspective and encouragement. Everything’s relative, huh? And it’s incredibly rewarding to know that at least one person out there finds my work inspiring! That’s exactly why I write to begin with, and even when I’m writing about my own depression I’m hoping that at least one person will find solace in knowing that someone else shares her struggle. So thanks for sharing…

  2. The honesty and rawness in your writing is a gift. Depression can be so hard! We should chat about therapy sometime. I’m always interested in exploring different kinds of therapy, the process of choosing a therapist, what therapy works for who and when, avoiding mediocre therapists….

    1. Yes! I would love to have that conversation. One thing I really wanted to get out of therapy was some practical tools: what can I do for myself in the immediate moments when all I want to do is cry? Or not get out of bed? Or whatever…I’m not sure that I’ve found any useful tools yet. For me, though, a lot of my best “therapy” is writing.

  3. Dear Janna, I just discovered your e-book today, it was as if you had written it for me personally. I hope that this doesn’t only apply to women, and you don’t want to keep this just for women. If so, I don’t care, I’ll sneek in anyway, lol. Seriously though janna, I hear your down spirit in the words you’ve written and I I too understand the feeling of not wanting to begin the day you don’t feel like participating in at all. Depression is an insidious disease that tricks us into lying to ourselves and gives us incredible rational excuses that make it ok to hide from what we fear or dread rather than Just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other and like we used to say in the telemarketing biz “Fake it until you make it!” I lied to myself and used that crutch of legitimate sounding excuses toavoid just about every opportunity that came into my life for years. Now when i’m down, I refuse to admit I’m down even to myself. I put as real a smile on my face as i can muster and start to try to find ways to focus on others. Helping others will not allow depression for long. It takes so much and gives back so much more in the rewards and smiles of those who appreciate your help that its almost a high that no depression can beat down. I love what you do and am a little jealous of your success, because you remind me of all the things I wanted to do but never started. You have started and thats the hardest part. have you considered that perhaps as the newness has worn off of some of your projects and the day to day begins to settle in and the mundane starts to replace the excitement and challenge of getting a project off the ground, that maybe the doubts and the questioning the relevance is just your yearning for a newer and better idea to nurture to life. Some us are greatest at starting. Others are strongest taking established projects and managing them through the day to day, and making sure employees and vendors are happy. I don’t know you well enough to say for certain, but it’s something to think about anyway. I personally, got a renewed fire in my belly just reading the ebook and that caused me to want to know more about you and to see that you are a woman worthy of following and I shall. Keep on doing it girl you are an inspiration to a lot of us. You will definitly hear from me again . Mike

    1. I’m honored. Thank you for your words. It means so much, because a big part of why I write in the first place is to help others, like you’re talking about. If my honesty and vulnerability can help someone — man or woman! — that makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…even when I’m down. I’ve been struggling again this week, dealing with a difficult conflict, and the thing I keep hearing from others is that I’m honest and they appreciate my honesty. Even just remembering that people have said that to me is humbling. So I keep writing, as honestly as I can.

  4. Hi Janna,

    I saw your post on Facebook, then came here to read your blog. After reading your post, I wanted to tell you that I often feel the same way. I get so down on myself for not being motivated or being able to find some glimmer of inspiration to get me past the worst of my days. There are days when I just feel like ‘what’s the point?’ as well, but I have not gone down the road of ‘what’s the point in being alive’ in a long time, thankfully. My kids, although grown, keep me from going down that road.

    It’s really hard to be in business for yourself and suffer from depression at the same time. There are so many expectations and pressures that we place upon ourselves and perceive from others. It’s hard to explain to those who don’t understand depression. I actually found a few close friends/colleagues whom I trust explicitly and have had to ask them to call clients now and again to let them know I’m not flaking out, but I just need a day or so off. This has helped tremendously! I have a great support system and I can rely on them to help me out…and even when I really need the help to meet deadlines.

    Btw, if you ever want to grab a coffee or tea, I’m moving downtown this weekend. I’d love to get together. 🙂 ~Michelle

    1. Thanks for the comment, Michelle! The more I write about depression, the more I learn how there are more people who struggle with it than we would probably think. So I keep writing about it! My take is that the more we share our experiences, the more we can help each other. I would love to meet up for coffee or something any time! Welcome to Downtown!

      1. Hi Janna,

        I wanted to say hello to you at the Tweetup, but every time I was about to get up and come say hello, I either couldn’t find you or someone would come up and start chatting. So, let’s make a date to catch up one-on-one.

        Yes, the more I learn about myself, my own struggles with depression and ADD, the better I think I’ll be able to help myself.

        Thanks for the welcome. I love my new place!! I’m having a housewarming coming up, so I’d love to see you and your hubby.

        ~Michelle

  5. My Dear Sweet Janna, I feel some closeness to this subject because I have been an active observer, helper and support person and motivator to Scott. He has been dealing with it almost 3/4 years. I can not say what brings it on and not knowing any of the issues in your life that may provoke it I will share what I have learned. Depression is anger turned inward. I’m sure you are aware. I see Scott avoid the anger and feel like it just feeds depression. Find your tools, write them down, and commit to doing them when the depression arises. Along with your tool kit include a list of friends who will also commit to talking with you at the time. But the best thing that I have seen shift the energy is laughter. Find your laughter and use it. Depression is an energy. It doesn’t own you , it is just moving through you. Can you feel that? It is not who you are. You are much more than that. I love you and support your space to feel depressed and find your way through it. <3 A Jen

    1. Aunt Jen, thanks for the love, support and encouragement. Yes, I’m definitely working one building up tools. And wrote about that is a post that published today. One of my tools is definitely writing, so thank you for responding. It means so much to me.

  6. Janna,
    Ben there, done that. You describe the feeling so well. I used to characterize it as my Sartrean moments– . Once depression gets into your head, it changes your brain chemistry. Therapy helps, yes, and psychotropic meds. You can no more alter your brain chemistry by willing it than a diabetic can will her body to produce insulin. See an MD, not a PhD or an MFT. Depression is an illness; we need to respect that.

    1. Thanks, Jane. Depression is definitely an illness. I’m trying to learn how to manage it as naturally as possible, which I know may not work for most people. For me though, I feel better knowing that I’m actively participating in my own healing. If that makes sense…

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