The Cruel Thief Named Depression

depression-thief-of-days-summat2thinkon-wordpress-comHonesty time once again. I’m battling with telling the truth again. Kicking depression in the arse, albeit in a weakened haze, again. Lack of comedy post again. Did it ever start though? Don’t answer that.

Bear with me if this post seems disjointed. The fact that it was written is a major feat of will these days.

The thief named Depression is robbing me of my ability to write, my motivation, concentration, and so many other aspects of my life.

It’s a long(ish) post so now’s the time to grab a cuppa, cake, or any other form of food naughtiness and get yourself seated. Please stick with me. Every word was tricky to find. I hope you read them all. *Whistles and bimbles around, waiting for you to get comfy and hopes you’re still out there*

I want to update you, and to write the hell out of this thing after the support you showed with my initial post detailing how the monster, Depression, had sneaked back into my life (see The Enemy Strikes Back).

On the first draft of this post, I typed as fast as I could, first thing in the morning, in the hope that Depression would sleep a little longer and I could write without him taking over. I felt like I was working against the clock on ‘Countdown’ (boring Brit quiz show, don’t bother looking it up).

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Countdown can, however, be used right here to provide some comic relief…

I have been editing this post many times since. Note to self: writing when straight out of bed and depressed entails coming up with a whole new language no amount of careful editing or spell checking is ever going to recognise.

Depression steals from me every time it crashes into my life.

This time, because I’m fairly new to this writing business, I’ve discovered that he really does not want me to write. It brings me joy so that must be scratched off the list.

Depression does not like it when you enjoy things or are passionate about them. It gets in the way of his party pooping plans.

It’s been devastating to not be able to write much. I get the irony that I’m writing this but the process has been laboured and long.

Somehow it’s easier, when I feel more lucid, to write personal pieces such as this or a journal entry. I’m trying to write when I feel up to it. At the moment that’s only in the form of letting the feelings out.

Apologies this is not a witty, writing-centred post. I know you’d possibly rather read one of those but I just don’t have it in me at the moment to do that. I’m working on it.

Thankfully in ‘well world’ I am an organiser extraordinaire and had some posts already written. I am coming to the end of those now and I’m panicking. I either put this post out there and risk your boredom, or I stop posting  and potentially lose support as people may think I’ve ceased blogging.

Depression just keeps on stealing from me.

It has no prejudices. It attacks in times of bad and good. My life was in the best place it’s ever been. I got married in February and started writing in earnest, in March. I was ready for this exciting new phase of my life. Then Depression came along, scratching at the edges, clawing at my mind, until he finally went in there for the Big Takeover.

The first draft of my novel thankfully was finished before the storm hit. I tried to work on a second draft but my creative ability was stolen from me. I couldn’t concentrate and working on a novel about a person’s experiences of depression wasn’t as helpful as I thought it would be.

On the bright side (because I’m forcing myself to grab back anything I can from this git) I now have plenty of extra material for my novel. So there’s a thing…

Depression jealously stashes away my hopes and dreams.

That snide voice whispers in my ear that the future isn’t for people like me. He wants me to lie down with him as he leeches out my living essence. He tells me that my life is worth nothing and I am of no consequence.

Sometimes I feel like I’m holding on to my life by my fingernails. I don’t want to inflict pain upon my loved ones. More than that, I keep going for my amazing husband.

Depression has also stolen from from my husband.

His wife is not the same person she was. A shadow has temporarily replaced her. He has been through a depressive episode with me before. A testament to his fortitude and love is that this happened a few months after we met. This man stuck with me through a year’s worth of depression agony. I knew then that he was a keeper.

He knows me outside of depression and thankfully he thought I was worth it enough to marry me. He digs through the black haze every day now, mining for the pieces of the real me underneath the depression self that gets frustrated, cannot communicate, turns away from him, and disintegrates in front of his eyes.

Depression tussles with my husband’s strength. I know he seeks his own support but it breaks my heart to watch this man hurting so much for me, for us.

When I’m usually the one that supports him, it hurts that I cannot do it effectively now. I just don’t have it in me. It’s tearing me apart that I cannot soothe and love his pain away. I feel useless against this third aspect in our marriage; the Black Dog that pushed its way between us but we vow will not tear us apart.

Depression loves the introduction of heavy duty meds in my life, because the initial side effects replace the real me with a practically comatose version.

blkdogThis is where Depression stretches out on a sun lounger, sips a few cocktails of the afore mentioned meds, and takes perverse delight in watching the drugged up show.

Note: this isn’t the case for everyone. Antidepressants affect different people in different ways.

Much as I hate relying on pills to be stable, the drugs DO work for me (eventually). In the state that I’ve been in, I’d take hundreds every day if it means that eventually I’ll start to feel better. That said, it’s trial and error and that’s been tough.

I was recently put on a heavy duty drug regime that thankfully has been reduced. I spent days walking around like a zombie when I wasn’t actually sleeping the day away. If you were writing an apocalyptic novel, I would have been your muse.

Depression doesn’t just want your mind, it takes your body too.

I am always surprised by how one minute I’m functioning fairly normally and the next even brushing my teeth feels like a Herculean task.

Sometimes I listen when my body and mind scream ‘Enough!’Sometimes I’m a cockwomble and I push through, only to need a nap to get over the sheer effort of washing my hair. It would be bloody funny if it wasn’t so painfully true.

I am also fighting back against the loneliness and the feeling of being forgotten that Depression constantly taunts me with.

Depression has robbed me of friends.

I know this sounds dramatic and to some, possibly the ‘friends’ who fell by the wayside and are reading this, it would sound like I’m not taking responsibility.

I never use depression as an excuse for my coherent, carefully chosen actions. I do, however, try to be easier upon myself in that depression steals my ability to keep up communication with people, to empathise, and to reach out. When you feel worthless and overrun by negativity, you feel you have nothing to offer to the outside world.

I’m not going to lie because I’ve told the ugly truth so far. I feel let down by people who I thought would contact me or just show that they cared. I know it’s awkward. I know we all feel weird knowing what to say when someone is ill. I understand that mental illness is a scary and unknown area for some.

All I want is for someone to say, ‘I don’t know the right words but I care and I acknowledge you’. It is more than enough to know that someone made an effort to show that I’m not forgotten. I often feel invisible.

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Depression has stolen friends from me. I told them lies about why I couldn’t make the social events. I’m scared to write this because I’m finally telling the truth. I think they knew already anyway. My lies got more and more unbelievable as depression strengthened and I’d run out of valid excuses.

I could have told them the truth, but in my defence I tried that at the beginning, and it didn’t wash. Sure, people often offer support in the early stages, but many fade away either because they don’t know how to deal with it, or through apathy that Lisa is having ‘another depressive episode’.

It was too hard to explain that I couldn’t hold my head up and look them in the eye anymore, let alone feign happiness and be chatty. I tried to explain this but the sympathy wore out. Depression rendered me a bore.

I’m more upset than angry. I have found that I’m receiving more messages of support and care from people I don’t know via this blog and my Facebook page than I do from supposed friends.

Maybe it’s easier for a stranger to comment because they’re not invested in any kind of relationship with me, but it’s hard to understand why people you’ve known for years, supported through their bad times, and enjoyed life with, cannot even say ‘Hi’. That would be enough for me. I’d know that they haven’t turned away from me and added to the shame I already feel.

I hold on tighter to the friends and family that support and love me because of this. I will never be able to express how much they mean to me.

I’m scared that Depression has stolen my ability to read.

I have loved reading since the moment I could pick up a book. In previous times of depression, reading saved me. I could go somewhere else, away from my messed up mind and be transported to to other places where depression did not exist.

I’m hoping that when the horse killer strength meds die down, I will be able to read and concentrate more.

I wept the other night for the potential death of reading. This may sound foolish to some, but books and reading define me. I was an English teacher, I have an MA in Literature, and I am now a writer. My life feels like it has come to a halt whilst I cannot read.

I will try every day to read. I will choose flipping ‘Peter and Jane’ books if that is all I can cope with right now. I cannot lose this.

Depression is a cruel thief but…

  • He cannot take away the steadfast love of my husband.
  • He is not having my currently clumsy words.
  • He will not pickpocket my reading ability.
  • He will not take the love of genuine friends, family and supporters.
  • He will not steal this blog away from me.
  • He most certainly is not having my life.

Life may have altered but hope is still here whilst love, writing and reading remain.

EDITED 10/08/2016: Please do not use this post or threads I engage in on social media to sell products or services that you claim or even believe will treat or cure depression. I respect that most of you are well-intentioned and caring people. This is not intended to cause offence. However, I’ve had some people on social media trying to sell me dubious herbs and making claims to possessing medical qualifications they clearly don’t have. 

I have a responsibility to others who have depression to ask that these comments are not made in future. I respect every person’s right to choose. However, depression is a mental illness that is a living misery. It can also lead to suicidal thoughts or the act itself.

Medical intervention should ALWAYS be the first step. Speak to your doctor and take their advice for your treatment.

My husband is a doctor and, through him, I know how this checking up on medical credentials and the value of certain products work. Not everyone has that luxury.

Genuine thanks to those making helpful suggestions. This is not intended to cause offence.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer and blogger. When not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, the cat, and the Husband. Not particularly in that order.

45 comments on “The Cruel Thief Named Depression

  1. Dear Lisa, all I can say to you is I think you are amazing. To be able to write something like this, when you are struggling so badly, is astonishing and you should be proud of yourself. Like you say, you won’t let depression take your blog or your writing away from you. I hope you know deep down inside that the reading and writing you love so much will still be there waiting for you when you resurface, and it’s amazing that you can still grab pieces when you can. Thinking of you xx

    1. Thanks so much Chantelle. Without reading and writing, where would we be? If anything good has come out of this it has made me realise that writing is my passion and not a hobby. I wouldn’t hurt so much when I cannot do it otherwise.

      Thank you for such lovely words and your continued support. xx

  2. I admire you so much for not only continuing to fight through this, but for having the courage to share what you’re going through. Your words are far from clumsy – they’re beautiful and brave and will help other people going through similar things, who can’t find the words. Big hugs and so much respect to you. xx

    1. Thanks Kim. I hope that they do help others. I may not have much fight in me but hopefully the words will stand alone and do their thing. You’ve become a great support, encouragement and friend. Thanks so much for it. xx

  3. Coffee (Douwe Egberts), cake and giggly, occasionally stinky, baby entertainment? I promise conversation is only optional. I don’t have a blanket fort but Mikey will happily share his playpen and we can put a blanket on top of that. x

    1. Thanks so much Pam. That gives me something to aim for when I’m more ‘with it’. I’d happily share a blanket fort with Mikey, and you of course! Thanks for reaching out to me. It means a lot right now. xx

  4. Sending hugs, Lisa. I think sometimes those on the other side don’t realise a hi and a hug makes a difference. We feel we want to solve the problem and it’s frustrating knowing we can’t, and difficult to know what to say. Hoping things improve soon xx

    1. Having been on the other side in supporting people with depression, I know what you mean. As you say, hi is great and shows I’m not invisible.
      Thanks for your good wishes and for commenting. xx

  5. As an aspiring writer and blogger I should probably have some fancy words to write here to express what I am currently feeling about this post but for goodness sake I have no words so here is a comment just to let you know that you are awesome and that I cannot believe I only just found this blog. I am sending you so much support and a hug and really think things improve soon, I know exactly how you feel and I promise I am fighting this thieving asshole with you. Much love xx

    1. Thanks for commenting and reaching out as a fellow fighter against this thief. I’m all out of fancy words too so I’ll just simply say, thanks for the compassion and showing me I’m not alone in this. I’m off to check out your blog right now! x

  6. It is really hard to be depressed. What helped me before was to force myself to read God’s promises and just continually think positive and walk, walk, walk..stand up and walk..because the more I stayed in one place, the more I got depressed. =)

  7. I understand all of what you describe here and you explain depression with such clarity. Depression does all of those things but you are obviously a fighter and I am proud of you for putting the truth out there. I’ve lost many people over the years due to depression but, in the end, I found much more supportive friends who choose to be there for me even at my worst. I’m so glad you have your husband. I know how you feel regarding his pain, I feel the same about my husband but they love us anyway. You will get through this. You will find your passions again. I hear you and I am here for you. <3

    1. Hello dear friend and fellow fighter. What more can be said? You understand the darkness. You know the fight. You know that battles CAN be won. Thank goodness for incredible husband’s and genuine friends. I count you in that. Thanks for continuing to show me in your blog that writing against this monster is the very best of weapons. x

  8. This was painful to read because I understand how you feel. I spent most of my life in depression. I have found that the right supplements help a LOT and now I wish everybody would give it a legitimate chance. Message me if you want more info. Either way, may you be freed from the grips of depression.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting and being supportive I’m pleased you’ve found a way out of depression. I know the meds will start working from past experiences. I wish you a healthy depression-free future.

  9. I really love this. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, and have been in a horrible depressive slump for two years now. I’m slowly climbing out of it, but its so rough, especially knowing that eventually it will come around again. It’s always so encouraging to read the words of others who share the same struggle.

    1. It’s great to hear from you and engage with someone who knows how this is. Much as I wish you didn’t, of course. I’ve had depression on and off for 20 years and I know the fear of waiting for it to return. It’s tough. I’m with you in spirit my fellow fighter.

  10. I’m so glad you have your blogging community to remind you that you are a brilliant writer, and that you are creative, intelligent, funny (not this post tho haha), and very much cared for. Now remember that as you concentrate on getting better. It sounds like your confidence has taken a bashing by this thieving monster, so now is the time to build it up, one step at a time. Author blogging is about connecting, if you ask me, not necessarily writing the writerly type posts we think we should be writing. Of course, the writerly posts are good too, but we’ll hang in there until you have some more. Cuz we blogging buddies 🙂 Take care of your self. No blame, no shame. Take your time. But don’t leave us without your voice xxx

    1. Thanks my amazing, supportive friend! Words are my friends and writers are becoming good friends too. You are a prime example!
      Thanks for the advice about how to go forward with blogging. You’ve helped me to see this in a new light. Really helpful.
      You’re amazing and you inspire me with your voice and your fight. xx

  11. I am so sorry you are going through this terrible thing- recently I went off medication for social anxiety, and since I have been much more anxious and a mild depression as well. It is the most frustrating thing ever to have to rely on meds, or feel like you have to…but you are so right, both anxiety and depression are theives! Even on vacations this summer I did not feel myself. I go back to therapy this friday…. I have also pushed friends away. Blogging definitely helps and reading posts like this make me feel not alone.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with me. It really helps. I’m rooting for you. You’re amazing just for writing this comment and showing solidarity. I know how tiring it is. I hope you recover quickly and therapy goes well for you. I find it helpful. Take care. x

  12. Hey Lisa, sorry to hear you are feeling like this. We are working with a Hypnotherapist on Type the Hype, I don’t know if you’d like to give that a try but please let us know if you do! I have been trying the recordings and they are so relaxing 🙂 x

  13. Absolutely love this piece. My daughter suffers from this illness and It is not only a thief, but a liar as well. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much. I am genuinely sorry to hear that your daughter goes through this too as I know how heartbreaking it is to see a loved one suffering with it. Depression is most certainly a liar. That’s why we need to combating it with the truth. Thank you for commenting.

  14. I struggle with depression. Every single point you make, I can relate to. I don’t talk about it on my blog or to many really but those who do know are as much a victim of it as I am.

    Depression steals from me every time it crashes into my life.

    I love this line. As well as ‘stolen from my husband’.

    Thank you for such a profound and honest piece.

    1. Thanks Amy for your honesty in commenting and sharing here. It helps knowing others in similar circumstances understand what you don’t feel you can make clear to those who haven’t been there. Not that I feel I fully understand it myself and I probably never will.
      I never thought I would write about depression in this blog as it’s a writing blog. The thing is, I decided that depression can be combated by writing and therefore that’s what I’ve attempted to do. There are some amazing depression and mental health related blogs out there that I certainly wouldn’t try to compete with!
      Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting. I wish you all the very best you can grasp with your struggle.

  15. Sending hugs and an open invitation to a virtual blanket fort any time you need it. I have friends who suffer from depression, and have been through dark periods myself. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to help, but I try to be there for them.

    1. Thanks Heather. We could build our own magical kingdom in that blanket fort! Imagine the stories we could tell.

      Thanks for your continued care and support.

    1. I am with you in spirit. I know this is tough. I am hoping you will win this fight and are supported as you do so. Fighting is so tiring. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.

    1. Apologies I didn’t reply sooner. For some reason this went to my spam folder! I’ve commented on the Day 5 post on your blog. Thanks so much for reading my post.

      1. Thank you so much for responding, I’m trying to fight this. But as of right now I had 3 1/2 weeks of happiness and joy, just went through and tried fighting four days of depression, and now I guess I’m manic, I’ve been up all night frantically reading ideas to get this depression over with, and I can’t find anything other than I’m already doing, so I kept searching..

  16. It’s crazy how we can open up online but it’s too hard to admit to mental health issues is real life. I know that so many people struggle but there’s such a terrible stigma about depression. I’ve been so low that I can barely function but I hate even telling my family about it. x

    1. I totally agree with you. When I posted this I was more worried about people I knew reading it than strangers. After twenty years of this on and off, I still have a way to go but then so do some people’s attitudes towards mental illness. Thank you for having the courage to share and comment here. I hope you’re doing okay.

    1. Hi Emily. I’ve just read your article and it was so brave and honest. I am so pleased that you have found writing has helped you as a form of therapy. I’ve written a piece about ‘Writing as Therapy’ on here. I am struggling with writing beyond this blog but I know that it gives me a purpose and helps me to feel I can still make a mark in the world somehow.

      Thank you so much for commenting and directing me towards your post.

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