When the Chips Are Down

At the beginning of May I started re-reading the entire Harry Potter series. It’s okay, I reasoned, I’m sick and don’t have the energy to do anything else. Plus, my friend and I are writing a YA novel and reading seven books by J.K. Rowling could be described as “research.” After two weeks, my illness had passed. Yet I kept reading.

I noticed I was feeling even more tired than usual. Somehow, without meaning to, I upped my chocolate and string cheese intake. I stopped being very productive. Instead of writing I watched TV shows that were barely tolerable (Um . . . Starter Wife, anyone?). Still, I was going to the gym regularly. I helped plan Zoey’s end of the year party. I went to meetings at school for various committees. I’m fine–just doing too much, I told myself.  I started napping more. Some days I barely moved from the couch unless I had to.

One day Zoey and I were driving under a blissfully blue sky, windows down and belting out “I Like to Move It” at the top of our lungs. I got one of those brief glimmers of myself from the outside. Me watching me.  I could see I was going through the motions of life while my mind silently counted off the minutes until it was late enough to go to bed.  (For future reference, this time seems to be 8 p.m.) I really should have known then what was going on. But I ignored it, like I had all my other tells.

Last week I started re-reading the Twilight series. And, really, there was nothing to do at that point except hang my head and admit what I had been ignoring for a long time. I was starting to slide into a depression. I hit every single one of my tells: re-reading Harry Potter, eating more, sleeping more, not writing, not enjoying car dancing. (I frickin’ LOVE car dancing.) And, of course, Twilight. (Sigh.) I really wish I did something cooler that re-read Twilight and swoon after Edward. But no. The humiliation of depression runs deep.

I guess I should cut myself a little slack because this usually doesn’t happen to me this time of year. Late fall? Hell yes. I suit up. I expect to battle depression.  But in the middle of June? Come on! The sun is shining! The flowers are blooming! I can wear flip flops every day! But depression isn’t fair.

So, I’m suiting up. I’m in good company. Other people  are struggling right now, too. It sucks. For us and for the people who love us. Or even only kind of like us. I’m doing all the things I know I need to do to feel better. One thing I promised myself I will always do is write about depression. Maybe this isn’t the kind of blog post you expect or want to read. But I do it because it makes other people who suffer from depression feel less alone. If it can help just one more person stay suited up for one more day, one more hour, one more minute, then it’s worth it.

If you suffer from depression, what is something you wish people knew about it? If you love someone who suffers from depression what do you wish people knew about your role as care taker/friend/partner to someone who is depressed?

(I was going to put a picture of Edward Cullen with his shirt off RIGHT HERE. Because, well, if you’re going to look at a brooding vampire he might as well only be half dressed. But wordpress is broken and won’t let me. I blame the depression.)



12 thoughts on “When the Chips Are Down

  1. ErinM

    Sing it, my sister in depression. You are strong to recognize it and to write about it. You will always have the twins’ understanding and support!

    1. joslyne Post author

      Solidarity, sister!!! Sorry you guys have to go through this too . . . but it makes for good company. 🙂

  2. Craig Yager

    In the late 1960’s before recognition of depression had gone public and before, as shoulder-to-shoulder comrades we “appreciated” it for the common foe many of us fight, I just thought I was totally screwed up. Suicide was the most available option at that time.

    Thanks to my wonderful wife and friend since 1969, I stayed alive long enough to hear and understand just how many of us there are battling this black dog (as Abe called his).

    We all choose what works — “Because wine!” — or a different diet or morning walks, noon walks, moon walks, Chinese woks — whatever. A combination of anxiety meds and anti-depressants, along with regular maintenance counseling, lots of exercise, and reminders to myself that I WILL still find myself at times upping the chocolate and string cheese intake — that’s what works for me. I feel present and alive and able to keep my feet moving vaguely in the right direction until, voila! the light somehow shifts and my eyes see again the wonder around us, the wonder of Zozo and Skylar and Jeremy, the wonder of this life, this breath.

    Thanks, my friend, for your wonderful blog. I look forward to each installment of your chronicles of chaos, etc. Your words make a difference in my world.

    1. joslyne Post author

      And this comment just made a huge difference to my world. You’ve written beautifully about something so painful. Thanks for sharing. The sharing helps. 🙂

  3. Sandee Decker

    Jos, I am so proud of you recognizing it AND writing about it so others can and will feel better. I love you oodles!!

  4. Julie

    I just phoned my doctor yesterday and asked him to up my antidepressant medication – like you, this summer depression caught me by surprise. You are awesome to write about this, and you are just awesome period!! Thanks for being brave enough to share your journey, all of it, the good and the bad, and everything in between!

  5. Kimbell

    This is has been my experience too as we move into summer. Glad to know I’m not the only one. Sing it, say it, feel it.

    1. joslyne Post author

      Well, it’s good to have good company. Although I’d much rather we were all at a chocolate buffet or something . . . May we both move into the light soon. Thanks for commenting.


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