If depression could speak

If depression could speak it would say hurtful things.
It would tear you down with words. When you tried to interrupt depression it wouldn’t let you because it would overpower the conversation.
Depression would talk to you until it realized what your Achilles’ heel was. Depression’s voice would be low and intimidating.
If you took stock in what depression said you could come up with depression quotes. That’s the thing about depression; it has a sense of grandiosity. It believes that its better than you, but it’s totally not. It overcompensates for its insecurities by standing up taller than you. It talks down to you, making you believe that you are a terrible person. Depression tells you lies about yourself and wants you to believe those lies at face value. Look in the mirror and ask yourself “is depression right? Do these statements have any truth to them?” They don’t, and they probably make you feel angry.

It’s all right to be angry with depression because depression is a thoughtless insensitive entity that pretends to know you. It pokes at your soft vulnerable underbelly and makes you question what is real and true. When you find yourself in the fetal position on your bed crying your face off, remember that depression wants you to do that. Remember that you have hands that make fists and you can fight this seemingly forceful entity.

Depression has vulnerabilities too. Catch it in a lie and call it on that lie. It will cower in the corner of the room and feel the shame that you feel. I promise you that once you start to ignore its deep low voice, you’ll realize that depression is someone else’s problem, not yours. Though I don’t wish depression on anyone, because it’s mean and cruel, someone else will learn to fight the way you have. When it peeks its head out from the corner, tell it to fuck off.

When it peeks its head out from the corner, tell it to fuck off.
I’m sure depression has a lot to add in about your life. It has unhelpful and judgmental unsolicited advice. It wants to tell you that you can’t do things. It tells you to give up. Depression doesn’t give a shit about you. Depression is selfish and it dominates a room. When you try to leave the room depression casts a black cloud with gray smoke.

Yes, depression is intimidating and it makes you feel small and less than. But remember that depression doesn’t really know you. It knows your weaknesses but it doesn’t know your strengths. It looks that you laying on the couch and it points out your flaws but it doesn’t see the beautiful parts of you.

Stop.

Look at depression in the eyes no matter how hard it tries to run away from you and tell it you’re not interested in what it has to say. I wouldn’t bother explaining anything to depression, because it doesn’t give a shit about your feelings.

You have control over whether or not you listen to what depression is telling you. Just because depression wants to tear you down and make you feel paralyzed doesn’t mean you need to obey it. You don’t have to internalize what depression thinks of you, because you are strong, powerful and you know who you are.

Don’t

let

depression

win

this

war.

I want to give my feelings to the feelings store

I have too many feelings. I want to give them to the feelings store. Do you know if the feelings store takes donations? I’m depressed, I’m angry, I’m resentful, I’m frustrated, and a whole bunch of other shit that I can’t remember. That’s the thing, I can’t actually remember a lot of things including how I’m actually feeling. I do know that I have a lot of feelings that I don’t want and I’m searching for a feelings store that I can donate them to. I’m sure there are people who have few feelings due to a feelings deficiency and they could use some extra ones. There are some of us that have a plethora of feelings, and we can donate them to those individuals. It’s important to charitably give things to others in need. Think of the people who want some extra emotions. Perhaps they have repressed their own feelings and they’re looking to feel things on a deeper level.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a feelings store. I know right? I’ve been walking down the street trying to find out, and every time I ask anyone they tell me they’ve never heard of one or worse, they laugh. Dude, it’s not a joke, I hate my feelings right now and I don’t want them. To be fair, I don’t have a receipt for them, because I didn’t buy them. So that kind of sucks balls. But, there has to be a place that I can return them. I can try Target maybe. I’ve never seen a feelings section at Target. I can always find someone in a red shirt and khakis and ask them if they have a feelings section.

It doesn’t hurt to ask right? Stores are constantly adding new sections to them. I’m not sure how long the dollar bins have been there, but there was a day that they were new.

When the feelings section is added to Target, I will be the first to offer them depression, anger, and frustration. I have way too much of those three and I know someone can use them in a productive way. Sometimes anger can be used as extra energy. There’s someone out there who has difficulty getting angry, and I’m ready to unload my extra angry feelings. It’s a match made in heaven. Let’s think about this for a second: how many people out there have a hard time feeling anger? So many of them! I would be doing (as they say in Judaism) a mitzvah. Giving my extra anger to someone who has trouble getting mad is a good thing. What happens to people when they can’t express anger is not fun. They become resentful and sad and I don’t wish that upon anyone.

Extra anger is to be shared, not hidden in a box in the basement. Believe me, I live in the basement right now, and I can’t find a space to store my excess anger. I’ve got too many things I need to get rid of already.

If you’re out there thinking about opening a feelings shop, please be in touch. I have a shitload of feelings to sell you.

diego-jimenez-258120

Depression is a Dick

Penises are great. They do great things. However, there is a colloquial expression where you refer to people who you don’t like as “dicks.” I’m here to tell you that depression is fucking dick. Depression is a dickhead or a dick, depending on how you feel in a given moment. When I call depression a dick, what I’m saying is that I don’t like the way that I feel when I’m depressed. Depression doesn’t care that it’s hurting you, it doesn’t mind that it’s leaving you feeling powerless laying in bed crying angrily, frustrated that you can’t fix yourself; upset that your problems are out of your control. Being afraid to call your therapist because you don’t want to “bother anyone.” You don’t want to speak to your friends because you feel that they “won’t get it” or they’ll “judge you.”

I feel all of those things right now. I don’t want to tell my friends what going on because I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of telling people that I’m down and them feeling like they need to “fix it.” Depression isn’t “fixable.” It’s something that you have to ride out, that I need to ride it out. I’m forgetful, I have virtually no appetite, I don’t want to see people, but I am forcing myself to eat, see my friends, let people know how I’m feeling and help myself. I tell myself every day that I am a good person, I try my best, I do the things that are necessary to live my best life. It’s a battle that I fight frequently. Like now, for example, I am crying and I don’t really know why. I accept that. I am here now, working through my feelings, riding those waves, like that time I felt all my feelings during a panic attack. I figured out how to deal with them, and now I know that I can handle a panic attack. I can work through anything that I experience emotionally.

I worry that my friends will get tired of me feeling depressed. I asked my psychiatrist how long I would be depressed for. He said “four days and 31 hours.” And I laughed because I knew what he was trying to say. “I wish I could tell you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I’m sorry you are suffering, but I promise it’s going to get better.” He’s right about it getting better. In my experience it always gets better, it just takes time. I am doing one thing at a time and being extremely patient with myself. At this point, that’s all I can do.

There are times when I can’t imagine it getting better. There are moments where I’m suffering, crying, trying to find a logical reason why I feel down. There is no logic when it comes to emotions. I am an empath and I want to help my friends feel better, and yet it’s challenging for me to help myself.

More than anything, I am not giving up hope. There is always light at the end of the depression tunnel.

I Hear Me

He can’t hear me but I have a voice and it is powerful, brave and strong and I stopped using it. It’s still in there though. I am beautiful, I am brave, I am tenacious, and I know what I want.

Sometimes I speak into my own microphone and talk to myself. I tell myself how I can make it. I remind myself how much I have endured and why this is an opportunity to grow and change. Some people insist that human beings don’t change. I have learned, I have grown and I will continue to make great strides toward being the best version of me.

I see you standing there and I don’t have the obligation to heal you. I do want to heal me. That’s what I want. It is necessary that I look inside myself and find the hardest strongest piece of me and hang onto it. Both hands tightly wrapped around this crystallized part of me. My eyes closed, praying, locked in meditation. Waiting for the moment when it is safe to open them. I can do this. I can feel those feelings that used to haunt me, terrify me, and now they don’t scare me.

It doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is that I love who I am flaws and all. The truth is that I matter. For a long time I believed that I didn’t. I sat in a corner and I drew on my arms with black marker so that no one could see me. When I stepped out of that corner, there was a door. It led outside and it was bright, warm and welcoming out there. In the distance I noticed a waterfall. Without thinking, just feeling, I walked barefoot and stood underneath that waterfall. The black marker faded and dripped off of my arms. For the first time in a long time my arms were clean. My mind was clear. My mind IS clear. And that is what I was yearning for, and finally it happened.

I am Free

There was a time when I was imprisoned by myself. I could feel my hands on the bars and my heart stuck between them; I was not free. My heart was tangled in ropes. I couldn’t stand up I was doubled over in pain. Stuck to my prison cell I did not know if I would ever get out. The length of my criminal sentence was unclear.  I put myself in this prison and I didn’t allow myself an accurate time of how long I would be in this dirty dank cell. Part of me wanted to leave and part of me didn’t know if it was possible to. My body and my mind hurt. I remember how the sun looked and almost how it tasted.

I longed to chase the sun’s rays and feel the warmth on my back. After some time I grew tired of sitting in the cell and I knew it was time to leave. But I didn’t know how or when or why or who would get me out of there.I grew frustrated with sitting there not knowing when I would go. Wanting, yearning, needing to be with another.

And then…

It dawned on me that I was the “other.” I could save my heart and my mind from this pain.

That is what I did. I reached in and untied the ropes from my heart and it was wretched and awful.

Still, I kept going knowing that one day I would be free; free of this disguise that I had put on my face. The mask hurt to touch, and I wanted to rip it off. This was the day that I did. I dug my nails into that mask and I forced it off my face.

It felt good; like a massage that hurt and was wonderful at the same time.

I broke the bonds and found a chainsaw that I didn’t know existed. I sought my way out of that prison cell and I knew it was time; time to leave this place.

I found the stairs and walked up to them tentatively. The sunlight hit me like a baseball bat. I was grateful to be alive and have my freedom.

What was next? I didn’t and still don’t know. But I do know this: I am alive.


I typically include resources for people who need help at the end of some of my posts. If you need an in-person therapist visit Psychology Today. If you are interested in working with an online therapist

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Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.

Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.

Talking or Not

I feel the urge bubbling up inside my belly. I want to talk about all the things that are on my mind, but I don’t want those things to overpower me. I don’t want to become the things that are bothering me. They are like tiny little demons who want to consume my mind. If they materialize and make it from my stomach through my esophagus and out of my mouth, what will I say? I don’t want to offend anyone, and I’m so good at that. It should be a special skill on a resume at this point. I know that I need to talk to someone and I’m crashing down out of this hot air balloon waiting for it to explode with words in my face. I’ll have to catch those words or else they might find another candidate to bother and thrust my words upon. It’s difficult to see outside of yourself. It’s challenging to find how this will change me, what do I do if I talk? Who is listening to me besides BetterHelp ? Maybe a lot of people are. But it’s not something I can quantify. I can only attest to the fact that I have these feelings and they are connected to words and if I let them outside of myself there is no telling what people will hear and I can’t control any of it.

I’ve been working on my impulsivity when it comes to communication. There are things that I feel like I just need to say. There are conversations that I feel need to be had. And the other person on the end of that theoretical conversation might now be ready to have it. I cannot talk to myself in this particular incidence. I can verbalize how I feel, I can write in a journal, but if I need another person to care about my words, there is no guarantee that this person will care. Recently, I have had to leave a situation alone that I am uncomfortable with and it hurts. I don’t know how to handle that pain. I want to change it, fix it, make it mine again. And I cannot do any of those things because life doesn’t stop for me or you. It keeps moving at a rapid pace and if you stop and keep obsessing about one thing, you will miss a lot of what’s happening outside. You will not be present for the beauty also the tragedies. It’s your choice as to how you handle these complex moments. Sometimes there’s a time to use your words and other times there are opportunities to listen to others.

When you stop and listen, you may be surprised at what you hear. It’s hard for me to listen sometimes, especially when the words conjure up pain within my body and my heart. I don’t want to hurt anymore, but listening and talking can assist in working through that pain. I know what it is to walk through proverbial fire; I’ve done it before and I know I’ll do it again. It’s just a matter of time and words.

Annie Spratt - Unsplash

Annie Spratt – Unsplash

Save Us

I tried to save us.

Several times

Maybe you didn’t know or your hands were over your ears

Perhaps you didn’t want to hear me as we sat on that couch together listening to the therapist.

I didn’t want to hear you speak because I was so focused on telling you what my opinions were on our relationship. I refused to see through your lens. It wasn’t my problem; it was yours. And I wanted to see you as an evil super villain when in reality, you are just a man. You are a man who I still love deeply, despite the fact that your eyes are closed and your heart is broken or tucked away in a box. It’s like I can see you and you can’t see me, and it’s sad and heartbreaking and real.

I’ve always known that you were kind. I’ve seen you be good with animals and children. That made my heart open and swell. It was like we were connected in this unspeakable way and I wanted to crawl inside that soft place. There were glimpses of that vulnerability that you showed me. Sometimes I could see it and other times I didn’t want to believe it was there. You tried so hard to be kind to me, and there were many times when it went unnoticed. All I can say now is that I’m sorry. All I can do is show you that I DO care about you. It’s not that I stopped caring, it’s that I believed that you didn’t want to see me anymore.

Or

Maybe we didn’t want to see each other. The resentment grew and grew to the point where we barely spoke to each other. When we did talk it was talking at one another instead of having a conversation.

So

the other day when I sat in the bathroom of your apartment and you poured your heart out to me, I wanted to listen. I opened myself up to you in a way that I never have, because I wanted you to know that I love you. I will NEVER stop loving you. Despite all the terrible things we’ve sad and done to each other, I will ALWAYS love you and NOTHING can stop that love. It’s strong, passionate, and real and if you can’t see that, I’m sorry; it’s probably because I put those glasses on your. It’s my fault and I will always live with the guilt that I shut you out.

I want to let you in

If I could do anything in this minute it would be to heal the past and have you hold me. There is no amount of tears that will fix what we’ve done to each other. I do know this: I can forgive you, and I hope that one day you will learn to forgive me. All I want is to be inside your heart again and I can’t control that. It makes me crazy, and sad, and I feel foolish that I let you go.

And

if there is a chance

to make it work

I will always be

right here.

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/marriage/how-to-talk-to-your-spouse-about-online-marriage-counseling/

hello

How to Talk to Your Child About Mental Illness

My children (who are nine and six) know that I have anxiety and depression. They don’t know those words, but I explain them in a child-friendly way when I am experiencing symptoms of each of those mental health issues. When I am anxious, I tell the kids “Mommy is feeling nervous right now. She needs to breathe for a moment.” I verbalize my feelings so my kids are not afraid of what’s going on. I think one of the best things you can do when talking to your kids about mental health issues is to be transparent. Transparency is key because children are incredibly perceptive and more than we give them credit for. They see and hear a lot of what we’re up to and that includes our mental health issues.

With depression it is tricky, and we need to be mindful that crying can be alarming to our kids. They may not understand why I am crying. I assure my kids that crying is a part of life. It’s perfectly normal to experience sadness and let it out in the form of tears.  I am tender in the way that I explain depression to my kids. I say things like:

“Mommy is feeling sad right now. It’s okay to cry when you’re sad, and that’s why I’m crying. Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong.”

Children often find the need to comfort us when we are sad, which I believe is okay. But make sure to explain to your kids that they didn’t cause your sadness, it’s simply something that you are dealing with.

Another thing to remember is that when you’re depressed, you need to find external support. Your kids are reacting to your symptoms, and that’s perfectly normal, but you need to engage in self-care. One thing you can do is seek out resources and help for depression, such as  depression chat. There is power in expressing yourself to a community of people who truly understand what you’re going through in a way that children are obviously not equipped for.

Your children care about you, and when you live with clinical depression (or any mental health issue for that matter) they inevitably concerned about your well-being. The best thing you can do is be honest about what you are going through in an age-appropriate way. You don’t need to reveal too much information; just tell them in a concise way what you’re dealing with so that they understand.

I asked my six-year-old this question: “what can I say when I’m crying so that you can understand what’s going on?” She said:

“You can say ‘I’m crying because my friend is going to college’.”

I found this answer informative because she was saying – I want an explanation as to why you’re crying. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I want to honor that request. When I’m tearful, I will try my best to explain to my girl why I’m sad in a way that she can understand. Children can internalize more than you think they can. So, be gentle, be honest and let your kids know that even though you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, anger or any other feeling, that it’s okay. You are going to be okay, and they did not cause this feeling to happen. You have your own feelings and you are managing them as best you can.

circles of feelings

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