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Friday, February 15, 2013


I weigh 155 pounds. I'm 5'4" and weigh 155 pounds, and that gives me an unhealthy BMI and means I'm overweight leaning towards obese.

I know this because I hopped on a scale a week ago, entered my numbers into my computer, and... I'm fat. My computer said so.

This led down the slippery slope of depression. Every single meal becomes a battle between the rationale side of me which points out that I'm still nursing, that I have lost weight in the past year, and that I'm eating healthy and going to the gym. This is a transient weight, not a reason for panic. Another part of me gags at the thought of food and wants to curl into a miserable ball and cry for a week straight because I've failed myself.

I've blogged about my depression before. About my self-esteem built on shifting sand, and about my fear of ramen. I hit these points and I stumble, I fall, I get depressed, and the only thing I do for days is keep going.

Getting out of bed is hard.

Getting dressed drives me to tears.

Writing, cooking, gardening... anything that requires focus or emotion is an Everest I can't climb.

And I realized as I was struggling to do anything that I was doing something. Sometimes battling depression is a true battle. I am fighting to stay calm, keep it together, and keep moving. Moment by moment I am choosing to find something good, to find something I love, to just hold on and take that next step.

No one can see this fight.

If anyone stopped by right now I'm sure they'd think I was being lazy. My house is a mess. There are dirty dishes in the sink. I haven't prepped the garden for spring planting. I have a long list of things I haven't done this week.

But I haven't had a nervous breakdown. I haven't stopped eating or worked out six hours a day in an unhealthy drive for unreal perfection. I haven't let the depression win.

Some days that is as good as it's going to get.

Why am I telling you this? I don't really know. It seems fair, in a way. I've blogged about everything else. You know about my kids, my books, my dreams. I've talked about my depression and my struggles with it. You've been wonderful and supportive. And a part of me believes that talking about depression out in the open might help. Maybe (hopefully) you'll never experience depression. But maybe someone you know will, and maybe this will help you understand the hell our own minds can drive us to. This misery of self-doubt and constantly second guessing every choice and never having the strength to believe in yourself.

So when you ask how I'm doing, I'm fine. I'm not losing the fight. I'm not gaining as much ground as I'd like, but I'm still fighting. Some days that's all I do, but it needs to be done.

And one day, hopefully soon, the seasons will change and my stresses will fall off to some degree and I will win the fight and get my life back. Between now and then, thank you for being there.


  1. I completely understand. I have depression too. Mine is mild but chronic. Some days it is all I can do to move. Thanks to the meds, those days are not that often, but they do happen.

  2. My husband fights similar battles; we're lucky he has the knowledge to treat himself naturally (he's a doctor of Oriental Medicine). In the meantime I'll remind you as I remind him: You're a warrior for fighting through the days. I laud you for that.

  3. Depression can be such a strange beast. I tangle with it too. Going on twenty years now. I'm only 30.

    Never overlook the little victories.

    1. The little victories make it worthwhile. Chuck Wendig actually had a post about writing and mentioned "the lady with depression who wrote 1000 words every day this week" and I was like... THAT'S ME! HE'S TALKING ABOUT ME!!!!

      He wasn't. We don't know each other. I still felt special. :)

  4. I've been dealing with depression second hand for 30 years now. My husband suffers from it although he swings in and out of admitting he has it. My daughter suffers from it. The winter blahs aka that seasonal disorder can and often makes it worse.

    I've started suffering from it in the past 5 years but no where close to what they go through. I also seem to be able to pull myself out a lot easier than they can.

    It isn't visible. Unless you know a person so well that you can see their mood swings and know when they are depressed and trying to hide it. Otherwise it simply looks like they are being lazy.

    Surprisingly, or maybe not, my in-laws don't understand severe depression. My husband seems to be the only one who suffered from it, at least until our daughter developed it. They (the in-laws) don't understand why it is so hard for my husband and daughter to do things. When one of them gets depressed they are able to come out of it fairly easily.

    From the viewpoint of the person who tries to help the depressed person, it is the little victories that count. However, it is also something that we have to watch out doesn't bring us down. I think that's what happens to me. My periods of depression usually hit when it seems like nothing is helping the one I love.

    I know that having that support around helps the depressed person but I also know that, in the end, you are the only person who can raise yourself from the depression. I also know that it's easier to see the progress from outside than inside.

    So, take comfort in knowing that the little steps you see are major steps in the eyes of the people who know what you are dealing with. It takes time but eventually you will be able to look back and see that you've traveled a long way.

    You haven't given in. You're still fighting. That makes you special.

    1. Fighting is good. Well... you know what I mean. :)

  5. I've been there too. Heck, I'm there right now (clawing, crawling, heaving my way through the dark). We had a major shock over here when my next door neighbor committed suicide (horrible. and my daughter heard it happen. more horrible) which happened in the same week as a pretty major career setback, and the whole thing sent me tailspinning into my own personal darkness.

    I felt like a failure.
    I felt I had let my neighbor down by not seeing her struggles.
    I felt I had let down my family. That I had let down my editor. And Literature. And America.

    The language of failure is a HUGE one for me, and it's hard to shake. And in this business it is SO EASY to classify ourselves as failures. I am an expert at this. It's damaging, it's soul-crushing and separates us from God's invitation to us to fully participate in joy. (Joy, of course, is different from happiness. It's complicated and nuanced and much more lasting.)

    I'm doing a lot better now than I was last fall (stopped writing, felt utterly demoralized about the book and its prospects, and any other book that I might ever write ever). Every day, I'm a little bit stronger - my eyes see more, my heart feels more, my body feels more like my own. Therapy helps. Yoga helps. Prayer helps. Getting out and walking helps. I took an antidepressant the last time I went through this, but I ended up developing an allergy to it toward the end of my run with it, and I have so many other drug sensitivities that my doctor's reluctant to put me on another one, which FOR SURE slows the process down.

    On the weight thing: for real, give yourself a break. I look at pictures of me when I was nursing my third baby and I was heavy. (I was also depressed then too. Coincidence?) It went away later. Your body is producing nature's most perfect food and your baby doesn't care two figs what your waistline is. If you were bigger or smaller your children would love you exactly the same. You are the face of love for them. You are Love's perfect face. And don't forget it.

    Hugs to you. You're not alone. You are part of a family of millions, and we love you very much.

  6. I'm right there with you. It's so bad right now, in fact, I've had to force myself to come over and comment.

    1. *hugs* You never need to comment just to say hi. I see you everywhere and you know I'm here with an ear to chew if you ever need it.