Friday, December 5, 2014

Depression is a Real Thing and I struggle with it

drawing of a dust bunny surrounded by clear crystals


I don't often get terribly personal in my posts here, but today I'm going to.  It seems like the universe has converged somehow, and a number of people I respect (both famous and not-so-famous) have been talking about dealing with this kind of thing, and it made me want to add my voice.

Also, I totally understand that this kind of stuff isn't interesting to everybody, so I'll put a cute picture here the rest of it behind a jump cut. Click below if you'd like to continue!


I've never really wrote about this before, because honestly I don't know how to. I don't know how to compress a whole life of experience into something even remotely coherent, so if this in any way devolves into rambling or stream-of-consciousness writing, you have my sincere apologies. I'll do my best to edit it into something that makes sense.

So, I'm 34 years old. I'm a bonafide adult grown-up person with a pretty easy life. I should have my shit together by now, but I feel like I'm permanently stuck in this sort of early-20s struggle to make my life into what I want it to be. But I think I'm getting ahead of myself - let me back up.

The propensity to be depressed is a ghost that's haunted me my whole life. I honestly think a lot of it comes from a bad case of hopeless idealism, mixed with the inability to reconcile "real life" with "imagined perfection". I remember being a little kid and just crying and crying because I realized that no matter what I did or how I wanted it to be, the world was just what it was, and no amount of trying or wishing could change it into what I wanted it to be - and this was in elementary school. It wasn't that I was "down" or "was just sad"...it's always been more like an inability to cope with feelings and realities in a way that most people can. For a really long time I thought that I was just impossible to satisfy, or someone who, no matter how okay things were, could never be happy.  And in a way I think that's probably true - but it's not a matter of me being greedy or picky or having too-high standards. I think it's because, for some reason I can't control, very few things feel "right" in my brain.

For those who have not experienced this particular flavor of mental/emotional malfunction, I'll try to explain what it feels like (for me, at least). I feel like someone else is manning the control panel a lot of the time. As if there's the part of you that knows what you want to do/say/feel - the logical part of you - but another part of you is behind the wheel, and these two parts don't get along.

Imagine sitting on the couch. Okay. You're comfortable, you're okay right now. But then you start to realize that you need to get up. You need to DO something today so that you don't feel like the waste of space that you felt like yesterday, because you pretty much got nothing done. I mean, you worried and fretted about getting stuff done, but you didn't get anything done. Same as the day before. Same as the day before that. So today is the day. You ARE going to be the person you want to be today! So now it's time to get up and do it. Maybe just do one thing. Make lunch first. Something. Get up. Get up. GET UP!!! But something is holding you back - you KNOW this is stupid. You know, 100% that the only way to get things done is to DO THEM, yet someone else has the controls and your body isn't moving. You give up, give in to weird, repetitive fixations (checking email, looking at Twitter, flipping channels, taking naps, playing Candy Crush, whatever) that give you the illusion that you're "doing something", even though all you're doing is spending every ounce of what's left of your low energy reserves worrying, wasting time,  and ensuring that you have even more to feel crappy about tomorrow.  It's like you're guaranteeing yourself failure.

It's stupid.  It's so so stupid, it's the stupidest thing ever in the history of stupid things, and YOU KNOW IT, yet you feel utterly powerless to fix it.

This is what it feels like, a lot, in my world. An endless, relentless cycle of self-sabotage, self-punishment, and self-directed anger.  It has what seems to be the easiest solution in the world (just freaking DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT), but it's impossible. This ability to see the problem, and fix the problem using logic, self-control, and a meaningful self-reward and self-esteem cycle is something that most people do every day without much thought, but it's not something I've ever been good at. I just avoid everything and save it for the time when I'm feeling empowered to do it, but that time never happens, and I just fold inward and hide away even more, as the feelings of guilt and shame turn into feelings of self-loathing and anger.

There are highs and lows. It's not always as extreme as the example above, but there are a lot of times that it totally is. Depression can affect every aspect of your life. It affects my work, my communication, my social life, and most heartbreakingly, my relationships with people I love, and who love me. I know I could make more money if I could get off my ass and get my life together enough to put forth the work and effort required to do so. I know I could have more energy if I went to the gym. I would feel better about myself if I ate three healthy meals a day. I would have more to talk about if I spent more time with friends. I would have a better relationship with my boyfriend if I weren't so disappointing to be around.

I've been medicated for it in the past, though I am currently not prescribed anything (no insurance currently).  I went through a period a few months ago where I was self-medicating with something I found worked (on the short term, anyway) but had undesirable side effects. Also note that I realize that is not good, I do NOT condone it, and have since, for the most part, stopped doing this. Which brings me to the real point of all of this - I am working diligently to lift as much of this emotional burden off of myself (and my loved ones) as I can.

These are the steps I am taking (and, if you are reading this and the above sounds familiar, perhaps we can do these steps together?)

I'm trying to get things done in the mornings. I'm not a morning person AT ALL. Like, I can't even stress how much I hate waking up. My natural inclination is to go to bed between 2 and 3 am (I do my best work around midnight and I absolutely love the quiet of the nighttime), and then sleep until about 9 or 10.  But the problem with this (for me) is that the people around me, in my life, have already been up and working for hours by the time I make my morning coffee, and given my already-fragile state of self-opinion, that fact makes me feel super crappy. Like I'm starting the race late and I'm utterly overwhelmed by the idea of catching up, and I haven't even started yet. As much as getting up early SUCKS SO BAD OMG, I feel that I actually do feel better when I've accomplished a few things before lunchtime. And that satisfying feeling is really, really nice. I sacrifice my night-owl preferences, but it's worth it for what I gain in terms of feeling "okay" with my progress.

I'm getting health insurance next year so that I can go to a doctor, get some bloodwork done, and talk about possible medication solutions. If there is better living through chemistry, I'm all for it.  Living in the US and being self-employed makes health insurance difficult, but this is important and my future is worth it.

I'm planning my work ahead, and writing it down. I bought a cheap student planner and have been writing in it every morning while I'm waking up. I bought myself a pretty fountain pen to use, because I love pens, and it makes me want to write in the planner more.

I'm trying to blog and document my life more. This is the first start to that list. It's hard for me because I'm not a natural documenter, but forcing myself to pay attention to the now, and to the near future, actually seems to help keep my inner noise distracted enough to not take over as much. Keeping mentally busy is something I've found to be really important. I've always been someone who's been "in my head" a lot of the time, and while in good times that just makes me introspective and self-aware, in bad times it can just sort of fester and lead me down emotional paths I don't need to be going.  So I've been trying to fill the quiet with coming up with blog topics, ideas for photos and videos, and some passive input like listening to podcasts and catching up on old TV series on Netflix while I'm sewing or painting.

I'm trying to spend more time talking on the phone with, and visiting, friends, relatives and loved ones. It's very easy to turn inward and focus just on yourself or on one other person (like a significant other), but that's not healthy for you or them. So this forces me to do things like get dressed, drive somewhere, and interact with people. It also makes you a more interesting person when you have multiple incoming sources of conversation and viewpoints. Even if all you want to do is stay at home under a blanket and turn the phone off.

Obviously these are just a start - I have a lot more goals that include health, fitness, career-oriented things, etc., but I'm just focusing on these for right now.

SO, that's some stuff I struggle with all the time. I'm very fortunate to have people in my life who love and support me unconditionally, and I have so much to thank them for, especially in the past few years, through my divorce, and through this latest "rough patch".

If any of this sounds familiar to you, or if you KNOW this is something you deal with, understand that you're not alone. Not alone at all. There are so many people who, diagnosed or not, struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental/emotional issues. It doesn't make you a lazy person, and it doesn't mean you don't have a bright future ahead of you. It just means you might have to find a way that works for you, that isn't the way life works for other people.  It's hard work, and it can be exhausting and deflating.  But I've really found that talking it out with people who you trust is incredibly helpful.  Try to rise above it with one thing today - one thing that gives you power over the beast. Walk outside and buy yourself a cup of coffee. Put on music and doodle/write on paper for 15 minutes. Call a friend. Write a to-do list that consists of ONE thing and DO IT!  If we can get one thing done, that means we can get two things done. And then three, and then four.

I'm not willing to live the rest of my life feeling like I'm losing a race with myself. It's probably going to be an entire lifetime of learning, but it's time to make a change. I'm tired of not feeling up to the task of just living my life.

Thank you for reading. I hope that if anything, it was a positive message of solidarity for those who also deal with these problems. Don't let your mind fool you - you deserve to feel okay with yourself.

love,
Amanda

47 comments:

  1. Most of this sounded familiar to me, thankyou for writing it.

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    1. Of course. I knew there were others out there, and I'm happy if it helped even a little!

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  2. There were parts of this that felt like you were in my head. Thank you for sharing. I know that had to be uncomfortable.

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    1. I'm glad I could offer a familiar position! Sometimes, honestly, it's way more uncomfortable to suffer in silence. Since posting, I've found a lot of people that felt the same way, so that's a comfort!

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  3. Thank you for opening up to us. I know the "sitting on the couch" feeling very well. I'd go through months where I felt simply unable to even move laundry from the washer to the dryer... and don't even ask about folding it! My friends started running 5k races and insisted I joined. I really think it has been the most helpful - I mean, no matter whether you're first or last, you can still say you ran a race, and many of them give you a medal. It's a good feeling to finish something you've been practicing for for weeks. "Training" with friends makes me hold a schedule as well, and not just hole up in my cubicle at work or bed at home. Good luck to you on your journey.

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    1. It's pretty easy to get discouraged, too, when you look around your place and it's a mess, or things need to be done, and you can't find the will to do them. I've been there for sure. I think that's great about the training and races! Honestly I think holding a schedule in and of itself can be a great help! Thank you :)

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  4. I know this is such a hard thing to write about and share, thank you for writing it, it too have these same issues and it really helps hearing others talking about it.

    Robutton.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, and keep working on it! I think it's something that can be overcome, if by your own will, spiritually, visiting a therapist, or a doctor. Best of luck for you - you can do it!

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  5. This is exactly how I feel too. It's good to know you're not alone. But also sad that other people feel bad like this as well.
    And BTW you write really well. Even if it doesn't feel like much to you on an every day basis, your work is always done really well. To me, it looks like you are getting things done, and do them with passion and get beautiful results.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much. I actually really enjoy writing. I never wanted to really do it for a living, but my job lets me exercise those muscles a bit, and it's fun for me. I always say I manage to get things done in spite of myself, ha ha. Which is why I'm trying so hard to get better - I imagine what I could do if I wasn't in such a headspace!

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  6. This has been such a help. I have suffered with a severe Anxiety disorder for 18 years it basically stole those years from me, Im 31 now and in the last 5 years developed depression aswell. Having both is hell and trying to be an artist whilst battling every day just to keep going takes such strength. I admire you and your work so much. Thankyou for writing this.

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    1. I think it's especially hard for people who work in creative fields, because our art is not only an extension of ourselves, it's a part of us. You're outputting from your inner self, in a very real way, every time you create something. And it's hard to find that balance of output and input, especially when you throw depression or anxiety into the mix. Remember to try and see yourself in the way the people who love you do - as someone who really CAN do what they want to do. Just keep at it!

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  7. Thank you for posting this. I also have depression, and can get so overwhelmed, and end up doing nothing, and feeling guilty, and then that downward spiral. I wrote a light-hearted post about it recently. Trying to work it through - the blog helps - it proves to myself that I am doing something. Plus a friend suggested that I go outside at least once a day; that helps, too (and I'm in Ohio too - SAD affects me a lot)

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    1. It's a seriously nasty spiral, isn't it?? I agree with you, the blogging is a really important part of my self-therapy. Not in a "talk myself through things" kind of way, but like you said, it's a documentation of the things you HAVE done. I think it's important to go back and remember things, and social media of all types makes this really easy to do. And oh, this Ohio gloom...I don't think we have had a sunny day for a week, it's so hard to keep motivated!

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  8. I'm with you. I do the same things, often feel the same way. Especially this time of year. Something about the character of the sunlight (when there is any) makes depression and anxiety worse for me. Not to mention having my leg amputated at 38 years old, after 14 years of agony and surgeries, and being mostly confined to bed over the last year and a half.
    Have you every read the blog about depression in Hyperbole And A Half? It is, by far, the very best description I have ever read of how depression feels. I highly recommend it.
    Also, if you are prescribed a medication but can't afford it, very often the manufacturer will have a financial assistance program and you can get it free. It's worth a try.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I hope doing so helps you keep moving forward.

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    1. You've been through a lot - it's totally understandable for you to be dealing with such things! Especially not being able to move around much...it's one thing to have the "invisible hand" not letting you drive the car of your life, but when you're not even able to, my god, it would get to anybody. I love the Hyperbole and a Half blogs - I know she seriously deals with it too, and her comics are so honest and so, so utterly true, ha ha. Thank you for the kind words and suggestions - it helps a lot to know that my online friends have my back!

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  9. I'm tearing up a bit... it's nice to know that someone lives in the same kind of headspace I do... It's a shitty place to be, but it's nice to see that even people I deeply admire (your work is stunning, really) struggle with the same bullshit that I do. Thank you for sharing, it made me feel less alone... and so have the comments.

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    1. It's TOTAL bullshit! I think the worst part about it is that, on so many levels, you KNOW it's bullshit. You know it but for some reason you're completely powerless to fix it, which makes you feel stupid, which just feeds into it over and over again. It's really vile stuff! I think there are actually a whole lot of people who go through this, but just don't talk about it. I mean, you already feel like you're lazy or weak or unmotivated, and that's not really something you want to bring up in public. But we're out there. And I think we can all support each other. Keep going!

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  10. Wow, you know that thing when you see someone else articulating something about themselves and you have that same exact thing but you've never put it into words before? That just happened for me with this:

    "I've always been someone who's been "in my head" a lot of the time, and while in good times that just makes me introspective and self-aware, in bad times it can just sort of fester and lead me down emotional paths I don't need to be going."

    As a fellow early-30s "supposed adult" part of growing up for me has been to draw myself out of my own head. It was a revelation when I realised that part of the reason my relationships were anaemic was because of this tendency. I didn't share anything. I always listen to podcasts when I paint. Being left alone with my own thoughts is seldom conducive to my well-being. I've started gardening this year and this is something I struggle with - I don't want to be listening to anything but the birds so no headphone but of course this means I've nothing to drown out my inner monologue. And don't even get me started on what happens after intense and prolonged social events! Gods, the cacophony!

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    1. Yup. Absolutely - I'm a total quiet-lover too, which is hard! I honestly don't really like to listen to music, or listen to people talk all the time, but when left in the quiet, my mind wanders. Some things I've found help me are listening to audiobooks that I REALLY get into, so that when I'm out in nature, or in otherwise quiet spaces, my mind can go back to the book and think about the story or the characters, rather than the inner voices. I try to fill the quiet voids with *different* inner monologues, too. Like coming up with new blog topics, or thinking about how to solve creative problems. Even something silly like singing to yourself, or making up poems, or drafting emails before you write them, or even a sort of "commentary" on what you're doing (I'm totally guilty of talking to myself, ha). Maybe just try to experiment and see if anything helps! I know we can do this ;)

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  11. Well done. You speak for many, myself included. Take care.

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    1. Thank you - and you take care as well. Don't forget how many of us are out there - we CAN do this!

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  12. Oh, it meant a lot, reading this. It made some things solid and it had the shocking effect of making me realise I'm not alone in my horrible, destructive procrastination. It's not that I'm lazy, or unfocused, because the tasks I put off are things that I really, really want to do. They're dolls I want to finish, that I know I'd enjoy making, but I have to struggle through stupid procrastination rituals before I can begin. I admire you for writing this; it can't have been easy to gather everything up and put it out there. And I completely understand why you refer to it as 'inner noise'. That's how I think of it, too. Thank you for writing this with such honesty and perception.

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    1. Have you ever really thought about why you procrastinate? I've really had to start taking a hard look at the WHY of the things I do. It could be all kinds of things - maybe you're subconsciously afraid that they won't turn out the way you hope, or the idea of the time commitment required feels overwhelming, or that there's just something to it that's making you unsure...it could be all kinds of things. I think in my case, I have a really, really hard time getting started. Once the ball gets rolling down the hill, it can go forever, but getting it to that point can be nearly impossible. Honestly I can't even really say why it's so hard, all I know is that it is. I always call it my "inertia problem", ha ha. Often I find I REALLY put off doing "big" or "important" projects, because they seem overwhelming. Maybe if you could break your projects down into smaller pieces, it would help? I actually like doing things assembly-line style, and almost never just make one thing at a time, because it's easier on my mind to do them in chunks. Like, I'll sculpt 4 faces at one time, just going back and forth on all of them until they are done. But I consider THAT the project. Then getting them ready for paint is another. The painting is its own project. Then picking out fabrics and assembling materials. Each one becomes a smaller project, so it doesn't feel like a huge long thing that is weighing me down! You can seriously break them down into tiny bits, and see if that helps, like "trace pattern pieces" (checkmark!) "cut pattern pieces" (checkmark!).

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  13. So many people suffer with this and so many people are ashamed to admit it. I applaud you for your bravery in writing this post, it is not an easy thing to admit (or live with) I too suffer with depression and on top of it have Agoraphobia mixed in with it. It isn't easy. Thank you for writing this post, I hope you get the help you want/need x x x

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    1. Thank you :) And yeah, it's not exactly a flattering thing to admit. And people that don't deal with it, even if they are not malicious about it, well, you kind of fell stupid telling them about it, because you're always afraid you'll be judged as being lazy or weak. It's hard. I can imagine that without the ability to easily go outside into the world, it would be extra difficult to keep getting some stimulation and input coming in. We've all got different struggles, but they have the same thing in common, which is, they keep us from being the person we really want to be, and that can be so frustrating. BUT, I'm not willing to accept that it has to be that way. Even if it got better by 5%, that's still better! Keep on working at it, remember you're not even remotely alone, and that, at least in my experience, friends and family are often a lot more receptive to talk and listen than I had feared. Hang in there!

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    2. You are so right, things do not have to be this way, I put some small changes in place this year with my Depression/Agoraphobia and saw big changes for the better as an effect of it. You keep moving a teeny bit forward and soon you will be in a better place. It may always 'be there' but you can and will deal with it if you refuse to let it beat you down. Big love to you hun x

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  14. I used to feel that way for most of my life...intensely!! I just deleted a looong post i was about to send because the most important thing i wanted to say to you is..... 'be gentle with yourself'.
    You may be amazed at the changes that happen, i know i was. Things dont have to be complicated or expensive to change your whole life for the better...in time.
    There may be no quick fixes but there ARE some very simple ones. I'm proof of that! (I also found walking a great help and a healthy addiction lol).
    I dont mean any of this to sound patronising...i hope it doesn't. Its just a message from someone who got to the other side and is yelling out across the fog to tell you that the peacefull place you search for DOES exist!! It does...i promise!!

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    1. Not patronizing at all, thank you for sharing that!! It's always good to remember that it IS possible to overcome obstacles. And you are very, very right about the being gentle with yourself part...my boyfriend is always reminding me that if someone said the things about me that I say about me, he'd punch them in the face, ha ha. It's a very good point. None of us are perfect, and I DO truly believe that if you're moving forward - even if it's really slowly - you're still moving toward the right place. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

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  15. ​Hi, Amanda. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing. It's no small achievement to throw something like that into public. :) | FYI. You're a really good writer; I could not help but think that several times while reading your brave post. | You're certainly on the right track to improving things. Action! Act yourself into becoming what you want. The doing is what gets it done. Obviously a healthy foundation is key to this. The goals you have set are an excellent start for strengthening your foundation. | I have had depression all my life. (Eventually anxiety joined the mix. Oh fun!). So I can totally relate to you. | 2013 was a shite year for me. I was even on medication and still sliding into a pool of darkness with no light in sight. But towards the end of 2013 I found hope. Hope is essential. Hope is a powerful light against the darkness. One must have hope. So I found hope again, and even got off medication. Woot! As a result, all of 2014 was a major healing year for me. I was not productive in some things that I thought I would be, but I was not on medication, and not having any depression or anxiety. Yes, there were some spikes (you know how that goes), but I was finally on the side of optimism and positivity, so I had the power to instantly fight the darkness off before it could take root again. That is so important with depression. You cannot let it take hold once you've managed to cast it out. "It loves you and wants to return home, but once it's in, all it does is destroy the house." Heh-heh. | It feels so good to feel good. Hope got me back on track, but it is my daily routine of eating healthy and working out that empowers me to keep depression out. Any time I feel an invasion of depression, I workout! In addition to exercise releasing helpful endorphins it is also a form of productivity. Being productive is a major tool against depression. | I have new and improved goals for next year, because I'm finally ready for the next stage. 2015 will see me out-and-about, more active, and more productive... thus more happy and more armed than ever with the power to keep depression away! :-D Oh yeah, baby, I'm pumped and read. LOL. Which feels awesome. | Sorry for such a long post. I'm a long-time fan of yours, and it's really great and inspiring to know you are taking steps to change and improve your life - to kick depression in the @ss! Heh-heh. "Go girl!" ;) You can do it. Your fans are behind you. Raa! Raa! Raa! | Live in the NOW - this moment. There is no tomorrow; there is only today. All we have is now. | And now I am shutting up! LOL | Peace, blessings, and <3 to you. -M

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  16. Hope it helps?? Are you kidding?? It's like being cold and someone puts a warm blanket over you. It's like being lost and someone stops and says, "it's ok, I know where you are and I'll tell you how I found my way". Thank you thank you Amanda. And to think I was only looking for dolls. mizblue

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  17. Honestly, I think this post was amazing. There are so many people out there who feel the same way, or struggle from similar issues... but no one ever talks about these things. We all just walk around like we're doing fine, and then go home and curl up and want to disappear... but when someone takes a chance and shares how they really feel, it opens the door for others, letting them know they aren't freakishly alone.

    So thank you for sharing. :)

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  18. Thank you for writing this. We need the brave ones to share and then it helps us all to talk about it and realize "it's not just me!" You and everyone else commenting have touched on many things I've dealt with. I truly feel lazy, guilty and beat myself up from time to time thinking I should be further in my art and all the other projects I'd like to do. I'm an introvert, so I feel I've allowed that to be an excuse, or maybe I'm not really understanding myself enough as to what could be the best way for me to work or why I go about things.
    Your work is beautiful and I'm inspired when I see your posts and pictures. You have a true talent and that really shines.

    (A friend who is in the creative field began a blog about his depression and work http://makermistaker.com/ I read his posts and feel empowered to do something. Like wake up early...)

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  19. Just a few days ago I fell in love with your work on instagram.

    This morning, while feeling unmotivated and very much identifying with your feelings in this blog post, I, well, found your blog post--- and I am glad that I did.

    I really needed to read this today. I don't think it was an accident, and I do think my day will go a little more smoothly having absorbed it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

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  20. Thanks for sharing and opening up to us. I think I understand what you're going through, but it does not sound like my depression. I think my depression started when i switched to my brother's high school. At my other school I had finally started talking to friends and had somewhat changed from my shy and quiet self so thrusting myself into a new environment was probably a bad decision. My brother introduced me to his friends and I could talk to my team mates in the sports I joined, but I still was not the same. After high school was when depression really hit me. I had no friends besides my brother whom I was very close with. It wasn't until I had some trouble in the university and switched back to a community college, that I found a old high school friend. That was a connection I needed, something besides family that helped, but still dif not recover from my depression.
    My depression was similar to what you described. I would stay in and not get anything really productive done. I would stay up late and sleep in. People were saying that this needed to change and said I should change, but I didn't care. I kept doing things like this. There were some days that I was somewhat happy and could do a few things, but things were usually monotoned and slow for me.
    I realized through yoga with introspection and self-reflection that there were some issues that needed to be fixed. There were also some things that I needed to overcome personally such as insecurity and being alone. But I think the most profound thing that stuck out as being a problem was my relationship with my Dad. I tried counseling with a psychiatrist and found that it wasn't helping. I had a conversation with my brother about our relationship with our parents that really helped me to figure things out some more and so it took a lot of courage, but I finally got to talk things through with my Dad and I've felt better and been more open to conversation with others. I'm not sure if you have something like this that you need to repair, but I hope this helps and I hope this see that is hope for people in this situation.
    I wanted to point out. Well, it has been more of a personal goal, but I never want to see drugs whether legal or illegal to be used unless absolutely necessary. I know there has been some that pills need to be used to balance hormones and things, but I believe a person can change without this and alterations to themselves. I also wanted to point out that it is not bad for you to sleep in because some times your body knows what's best for you and will take in a few hours of sleep if it needs to recover so do not let that worry you too much.
    I'm glad to hear you are being pro-active and getting out to talk to others and that there is hope for a brighter future. I wish you blessings and keep seeking support when you need it. There will always be people to support you so keep doing what you love most.

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  21. I haven't checked in with your page in awhile, I haven't checked in on much lately. It it simultaneously comforting and terrifying to hear ones' own personal hate spiral being expressed through another's words. This is my life verbatim, taking tentative baby steps toward the future - accepting invitations, engaging new people thinking they may actually like me, getting the bloodwork done, doing rather than planning on doing, trying to convince myself that the future doesn't hold more of the same. It's comforting to know that we don't have to walk that path alone.

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  22. If I could just cross that one thing off the list...realizing that The List is perpetual and that that One Thing is not the solution to problem is a good first step on that journey

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  23. Sorry for my English; I did not write it well. I will use a translator. I have a friend named Amanda, was born when his mother had to get away from an abusive man, despite the years Amanda wanted to see his father. As a teenager had his first crisis, desd then is a person diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (in America, borderline). I met Amanda and I found it very pretty, but then discovered it was a very good friend, since I feel this under my protection, and when I could've helped so I could live in this society so unspiritual. I want to say that depression happens precisely why commented, there is often a gap that is not filled in our hearts, some people lose touch with your soul and live in continuous darkness, my friend Amanda has a stigmatized life; and takes many different medications for many years and has only 38 years.

    I accept your life, but can not let any innocent on this planet left unattended and less a person; Amanda this day not feel like I was missing something, like if one day elephants or polar bears become extinct humans when acting as a robot is very cruel, and for me there is no being sensible expendable in land; Amanda hope to have more light coming years, take fewer drugs as you can see note tender will be happy. Depression in the realm of consciousness does not exist only in the mind, society makes us live in the mind through the personality; I am powerless with all my spirituality to reach Amanda's mind, but his heart always try to arrive, may one day be tune to your spirit of all :)

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  24. I'm so happy I'm not alone!.. Thank you for leading me in the right direction! It's a good feeling to know you're not a weirdo :)

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  25. I always heard that i was lazy, but i knew it couldnt just be that. Thank you so much for writing your thoughts down. I think im ready to talk to someone from now on.

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  26. I know exactly where you sit I'm there sitting right by you.
    I stay up all night i think because some time around 10pm
    the dratted voice that critics at everything finally shuts up.
    its sad when I got up early hoping I can get a full day in doing things.
    so many ideas and I have tons of supplies, but i'm paralyzed .

    I've followed you on and off for years.
    I'd been living in chicago and
    had the missed fortune of not finding you
    when we lived there .

    I love seeing how your dolls have grown
    they have such heart, you can sit and look
    in their eyes and know they'll listen.
    they come from a person of depth I know.

    my journal really isn't x rated
    its marked that way to keep it off the search engines.
    you are welcome to visit my loft
    any time
    I will come here much more often
    to cheer you on


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  27. Mandi (or I guess it's Amanda now), I saw your most recent post on Instagram, which brought me to your blog, which brought me to this post. I know we haven't talked or seen each other in years, but we should. My email is beth at bethsteffel dot com. Send me an email and I'll send you my ph#. We should reconnect. I miss you.

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  28. Reading through this post has just been an incredibly weird and surreal experience.
    You've just laid out my entire life in front of me and it's so comforting to know I'm not alone in the way I feel. As an aspiring (and struggling) artist, the beautiful work that you create and share brings an astounding amount of hope and inspiration to me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences with depression, this has shined a little light into helping me understand the mental illness I'm also struggling with.
    Thank you and I hope you achieve all you wish to achieve.

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  29. Its always refreshing to see people willing to talk about the reality of depression. I know how difficult it can be, especially when you're in a position to censor yourself because of how your web personality can be tied with your business. Not only are you putting yourself out there emotionally, but also financially, and I want to give you mad props for your bravery. Its amazing how the creative fields offer so much healing, understanding and sharing for the pain of human existence. What a joy to now have the internet to be able to express those feelings on a large scale (but without the terrible pain of rejection we fear from being face to face!) Humanity keeps finding solutions.

    Hopefully this doesn't come off as offensive, but I see a lot of similarities with your symptoms as mine, but I am very aware I suffer from PTSD since childhood, as well as attachment disorder where I never had a chance to bond with a parent as most infants do. Even if long ago trauma is not the source of your depression, I would recommend IFS therapy for what you're going through now.

    Your depression isn't necessarily a failure on your part as a successful creative human being, but quite possibly a coping strategy your body utilizes to deal with daily life. And you may hate every aspect of what that depression entails - but its still your body doing the best it can to protect you. The feelings of shame, guilt, frustration and self hatred that arise are all in response to how out of control you feel having your body hijacked by a protector out of your control. But meeting that protector, learning about them and appreciating the good intentions they have for you, even when they're hurting you, gets you one step closer to understanding and loving all of you. And with that comes more acceptance and control.

    We all have felt like we needed to be heard at one time or another and we were completely ignored, leaving us feeling insignificant and vulnerable. But unfortunately we do that to parts of our inner self and don't even realize it. Until we can acknowledge those messages and feelings, our bodies will keep interfering and demanding attention, growing in destructiveness until we have to stop and listen.

    I know it can be a hard journey - I go for days to weeks in a daze only to wake up with what I call emotional pins and needles. I'm constantly fighting a veil over my ability to feel and perceive the world. And choosing to feel, knowing how much it can hurt after being numb for so long is terrifying - especially since I have no memories of ever being 'normal' because the damage done to me was when I was a toddler. But for me its the only way forward. At 32 I finally decide the pain of healing was better than the numbness of what I have called life.

    There's some great info on IFS here - http://www.selfleadership.org/about-internal-family-systems.html Even if you aren't ready for therapy, just reading about how we rearrange our inner selves to deal with hardships can help you on your journey of self acceptance.

    I love that you create flawed anxious creations that people see and love and want to have in their life. If we could all love our own flawed parts in the same way we would certainly have much more joy.

    Thanks again for sharing your story, as well as your art!

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  31. Me gustaría decirte en primer lugar que soy admiradora de tu trabajado y ahora leyendo este post mucho más. Yo también soy artista y también padezco de lo mismo; lo digo así porque realmente reconozco lo difícil y desgastante que es vivir con ella y sentir cada día al despertar que hay que luchar con nosotros mismos para lograr un poco de estabilidad emocional. Es muy duro, pero agradezco que hayas compartido esto tan importante, me hace sentir que alguien entiende o sabe lo que siento. Muchos no entienden que uno no desea sentirse así,es un círculo vicioso del que no se puede salir. Supongo y espero poder también visitar algún especialista en mi país que pueda ayudarme a vivir bien.
    Gracias
    Alexandra

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  32. Adding one`s voice is a good thing. We live as if in the mute movie quite often without being heard once. It is good of you to place your stuff on here and make yourself heard through what you do. http://bigessaywriter.com/blog/how-nature-can-help-you-to-beat-your-depression This article is something a professional writer worked upon and there are many of such talented people. Enjoy reading and hey, thanks for posting!

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