One day I will be normal. (Updated)

Warning:  This is utterly unlike me and if it’s the first time you’ve come here you should skip this whole post and go read this one about how the GPS lady is trying to murder me.  I just needed to get this off my chest tonight for me and for everyone else who suffers from this.  I’ll be back to normal tomorrow, I promise.

I don’t usually write serious posts.  When I feel myself sink into a depression Victor makes me stay away from the computer, protecting me from myself.  He’s right to do it because I’m not well, not rational.  I get bouts of depression and anxiety attacks the way other people get summer colds.  The depression is easy enough to explain.  “I’m in the hole” is my typical way of describing it.  People who don’t know depression think it’s a metaphor and technically it is, but it’s more than that.  When I get into a true, chemical depression my sight actually changes.  I get tunnel-vision and things get all dark around the edges, like I’m stuck in a hole and can only see a telescopic view of the world around me.  I lose my peripheral vision and within a day the depression starts.  It used to scare me how dark it would get.  I worried that one day the world would go dark forever.  But secretly, I was a little relieved that there was a physical symptom to this disorder that feels like something you should be able to fix in yourself.  But you can’t…just like you can’t cure yourself from being blind just by willing yourself to see.  The depression is difficult but I’m lucky in that it never lasts long.  It seldom lasts more than a week and I only have major episodes a few times a year.  I live through it, knowing that any day the darkness will dissipate and I’ll crawl out of the hole, with no memory of what caused the episode.  The anxiety disorder is more difficult, mainly because it’s so unpredictable.  One moment I’m perfectly fine and the next I feel a wave of nausea, then panic.  Then I can’t catch my breath and I know I’m about to lose control and all I want to do is escape.  Except that the one thing I can’t escape from is the very thing I want to run away from…me.  And inevitably it’s in a crowded restaurant or during a dinner party or in another State, miles from any kind of sanctuary.

I feel it build up, like a lion caught my chest, clawing its way out of my throat.  I try to hold it back but my dinner-mates can sense something has changed, and they look at me furtively, worried.  I’m obvious. I want to crawl under the table to hide until it passes but that’s not something you can explain away at a dinner party.  I feel dizzy and suspect I’ll faint or get hysterical.  This is the worst part because I don’t even know what it will be like this time.  “I’m sick,” I mutter to my dinner-mates, unable to say anything else without hyperventilating.  I rush out of the restaurant, smiling weakly at the people staring at me.  They try to be understanding.  They don’t understand.  I run outside to escape the worried eyes of people who love me, people who are afraid of me, strangers who wonder what’s wrong with me.  I vainly hope they’ll assume I’m just drunk but I know that they know.  Every wild-eyed glance of mine screams “MENTAL ILLNESS”.  Later someone will find me outside the restaurant, huddled in a ball, their cool hand on my feverish back, trying to comfort me.  They ask if I’m okay, more gently if they know my history.  I nod and try to smile apologetically and roll my eyes at myself in mock-derision so I won’t have to talk.  They assume it’s because I’m embarrassed and I let them assume that because it’s easier, and also because I am embarrassed.  But it’s not the reason why I don’t talk.  I keep my mouth closed tightly because I don’t know if I could stop myself from screaming if I opened my mouth.  My hands ache from the fists I hadn’t realized I’d clenched.  My body shouts to run.  Every nerve is alive and on fire.  If I get to my drugs in time I can cut off the worst parts…the shaking involuntarily, the feeling of being shocked with an electrical current, the horrible knowledge that the world is going to end and no one knows it but me.  If I don’t get to the drugs in time, they do nothing and I’m a limp rag for days afterward.

I know other people who are like me.  They take the same drugs as me.  They try all the therapies.  They are brilliant and amazing and forever broken.  I’m lucky that although my husband doesn’t understand it, he tries to understand, telling me to “Relax. There’s absolutely nothing to panic about”.  I smile gratefully at him and pretend that’s all I needed to hear and that this is just a silly phase that will pass one day.  I know there’s nothing to panic about.  And that’s exactly what makes it so much worse.

I wonder how long it will take before he gives up on me.

I wonder how long it will take before I do.

********************

UPDATED: It’s been 4 days since I wrote this post and I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support by people who left comments or who emailed me when their stories were too personal to share in a comment.  I’ve realized two things in the past few days…first of all, that I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have such amazing people who care, and also that this blog totally breeds crazy people. Either that or mental illness is a hell of a lot more common than I ever suspected.  Either way?  Thank you. And that’s not just a thank you from me.  It’s a thank you from all of the other people who read your comments and thought “I’m not alone.  I guess I never was.”   There were so many comments that spoke to me, made me laugh or cry or think, but I can’t choose just one as comment of the day so instead I’m going to just say thank you, for letting me be me even when I’m not myself at all.  You will never know the difference you make.

There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen

588 thoughts on “One day I will be normal. (Updated)

Read comments below or add one.

  1. My husband of 17 years has been through similar episodes and will be on medication for life. I haven’t given up on him and I won’t let him give up on himself. From what you’ve written about Victor, I suspect that he won’t be giving up on you. For what it’s worth, my heart goes out to you.

  2. I don’t get the depression, but you’ve described my anxiety attacks perfectly. That feeling in the pit of my stomach as my heart starts to race and I can’t breathe for wanting to scream. It’s not easy.
    .-= Veronica´s last blog ..Chasing Butterflies. =-.

  3. I’m sure you’re being flooded with well wishers at this point so I’ll skip over the obvious (that I wish you were feeling better) and get to the point. Victor has more of my sympathy and envy than you could possibly imagine.

    Most men I’ve ever know, myself especially, only *wish* we could find a woman as perfectly flawed as what you have shown of yourself to the world – THIS POST INCLUDING. That said, I will now resume my normal spider stabbing activities.

  4. Don’t give up on yourself. My panic and depression attacks are not as severe, so I can only imagine how horrible that must be because I know how terrible mine are. Do you know that by you talking about it, you are helping so many of us? Those of us who aren’t brave enough to come forward and talk about it. Hugs to you.
    .-= Sarah (@scunning)´s last blog ..Saturday Snarkfest =-.

  5. Don’t. He won’t. You won’t.

    Thank you for being so brave, even if you prefer to think of this post as an uncharacteristic blip. I and probably many others need to read this, to know other seemingly together people have bouts of being absolutely frayed on the inside. All we can do is hang on and wait for the light, and you’ve just written a glimmer. Thank you.
    .-= shriek house´s last blog ..these pages must show =-.

  6. I just recently discovered your site (as in this weekend), and I can’t stop reading it (as in I read every advice column entry you have ever posted in one sitting). You are hilarious! I love your writing style and personality! Although this isn’t your typical post, I appreciate it’s honesty. Thanks for taking the time to write openly. You are certainly not alone. Thanks!

  7. Oh God Jenny, please PLEASE don’t take this post down.
    You are loved by so many and probably a good percentage of those so many need to read things like this. The reason is twofold:
    a) they are ‘like you’ and need a clever, delightful, beautiful and fun woman such as yourself to relate to or
    b) they know someone ‘like you’ and will get a glimpse of understanding through these words.

    I think you are gorgeous in about ten-dozen ways and what you’ve written here only reinforces that notion in me. Love and love and love.

  8. I think you should leave this post up–when you see all the comments you get, telling you how funy and talented you are, it might help someday down the road when you need it most.

  9. I can’t tell you how many of these “serious” posts I have written with pen and paper…woke up the next morning and tore them to shreds. Anxiety and panic is the worst because even YOU think it’s ridiculous but ya just can’t make it stop. My family can be chewing their food at the table and I become overwhelmed by the amplified sound and it literally brings me to tears. And then I feel totally stupid.

    I wonder the same things. My hubby has been with me for 13 years and seems to be getting along fine, learning how to “deal” with me. As for me, I will just continue to deal because for me, it’s better than the alternative.

    I would tell you “It’s gonna be okay”, or “It will be better someday” but I think we both know that’s not realistic. I will tell you that I get it and wish you the best.

    Many Kind Regards,
    Erin

  10. You’re amazing. I love you. We all love you. I wish there were something I could say. I don’t know what anyone can say. But I wish you didn’t have to go through any of it. And I hope it passes soon.
    .-= Trish´s last blog ..My apologies =-.

  11. Sometimes I think that the most brilliant and the most creative among us are more susceptible to problems like this. It seems that whatever it is inside us manifests itself as creativity and brilliance when turned outward, and panic and depression when turned inward.

    I know my post isn’t particularly helpful, but I wanted to post to let you know that you are heard, and appreciated.

  12. Oh Jenny. I don’t know you but I know THIS. “There’s nothing to freak out about, your life is good, why can’t you just be happy?” I get that a lot. The feeling of choking on your words because they might not come out as words so much as screaming or crying or hyperventilating. Yeah I get that a lot too. I don’t talk about my feelings, like, ever, and I totally understand the urge to delete this later. Or delete it now, or just not hit post. Just know I feel you and I would totally tell you that if we ever met, only I’d probably do something totally inappropriate like pass out in awe or chest bump you to show I FEEL YOU or something.
    .-= Just A Girl´s last blog ..Just Got Paid, It’s Friday Night! =-.

  13. You basically described me. So, don’t delete your blog. As the Vigilantes of Love song goes, “Vincent, he picked up the blade, and put it to his ear.” Sad song. Yet, psychologically, we are challenged by these chemical reactions in our bodies that elude therapy and medications.

    And, we erupt with creativity when these challenges subside. You are meant to be this way. I know I am.

    Moon
    .-= Cataract Moon´s last blog ..My Yom Kippur–Buddhist Style =-.

  14. Sending love to you, sweet Jenny.

    You are brave for sharing this. So many people feel like you do but feel like they are the only one.

    I love that you can be the funny kook that you are and yet, share the other side as well. You are a light to many.

    xoxo
    .-= Angella´s last blog ..Oh, Happiness =-.

  15. Jenny-

    Let go of the word normal. No one is. It’s an imaginary standard that we all want to achieve, but that no one actually has. It’s like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You can spend all your time looking for that damn gold, or you can enjoy the rainbow instead. Enjoy your life, give up on normal.

    I’ve taken some form of anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication for about 8 years. My husband, who is a doctor, also doesn’t understand. He worked his way out of his depression without medication. And that’s great, but it’s not what worked for me. I feel guilty whenever I pop a pill (Klonopin, FTW!), but he doesn’t get it. What I try to remember is that he doesn’t need to understand me to love me. Victor loves you for you. For who your are. In fact, I suspect he loves you for the fact that you’re not “normal.” You’re something amazing. And you don’t have to be happy or even functioning every moment of every day.

    You just have to be you.

  16. Wow. My husband has suffered from depression and I found it very difficult to understand and deal with and I know that’s not the right or correct thing to do, but you feel how you feel. Thank you so much for putting this out there. It helps me, the person on the other end understand so much more. He sounds like a good guy, so I’m guessing he won’t be giving up you anytime soon x
    .-= Bern´s last blog ..SO LONG, FAREWELL, GOOD RIDDANCE =-.

  17. Never been quite that deep in, but have danced around the edges of those experiences.

    You are a powerful force in this world Ms. Bloggess. Hope you are already feeling the love flowin’ through the cyberwaves.
    .-= lastrealfool´s last blog ..Distance =-.

  18. Probably you should leave this post up, I know people that could relate and would feel relieved to not feel alone.

    I don’t experience the anxiety, but I’m sure I can relate it to certain areas where I’m not in control of what’s happening in my own body!

  19. I could write a book and I hope I don’t, but what I know is that anxiety is such a bitch. I can handle it so much less better than the hole, for the reasons you stated here so much more articulately than I can. I call the physical symptoms power surges, because that’s what they feel like in my arms and out of the bottoms of my feet (that sounds crazy to me, I don’t usually write it down.)

    With regard to your last sentence, I hope that he does not and I sincerely hope that you do not. It’s the ultimate unfunny joke that the brilliant and amazing and (what feels like) forever broken like you have some of the most desolate roads to walk at times. I could say any number of trite things in response to this but I know nothing fixes it except some kind of grace in the moment to moment of it happening, mostly from other people who care and who get it, and that moment at the end when it finally lifts and there’s an opening into a clear, better stretch of road. It should go without saying that I hope this happens again soon. (And I hope you don’t delete this. We can handle it. And yeah, I’ll speak for the universal “them,” whether they like it or not.)
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..Now’s the Time the Time is Now =-.

  20. Jenny,
    I hope you feel better soon. It is hard, I know. But lots of people love you just the way you are. Thank you for making me laugh. I think you are terrific.
    Best,
    C

  21. From someone else who has been there: thank you. I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. for years, as has my mother. You said it all so truthfully and eloquently. You touched on every emotion and insecurity that comes along with the panic and depression. Your openness is something I truly appreciate. As an online diarist/blogger for many years, it’s sometimes very scary to be so open online. I hope that you DON’T delete this post in the morning…but if you do, I understand why, 100%.
    .-= MeredithElaine´s last blog ..Tales from the Bar (this could be a series) =-.

  22. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. And so sorry that you feel like you have to put up this wall of strength to make up for this one small “flaw” of yours. But it’s seeing posts like these every now and then, and seeing that you ARE indeed human that make you so great.

    I love your blog.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, and keep your chin up.
    You make millions of people all over the world crack up by sharing your sense of humor and the twisted, hilarious way you see the world.

    Mad support and respect from this bitch.
    .-= Cheri´s last blog ..VIDEO: September ’09 Favorites =-.

  23. Not as much of the anxiety with me (but enough to embarrass my wife at times), but plenty of the other thing. Yep, a “hole” is a good way to put it. Because of my proclivity to falling in those holes, I’ve lived as long as I have thanks to modern medicine.

    the media who sometimes go on about anti-depressants being over prescribed- If it means one less person going through the hell of depression by making them “so easy” to get, then so be it, godammit.
    .-= Terry´s last blog ..Warning- I have terrible penmanship. =-.

  24. *huggles and snuggles* I don’t have it that bad, but I do deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Disorder. I totally get the anxiety attack, mine start out small, then I worry and worry at it some more and my worrying making it worse, so the anxiety gets worse. Kind of snow balls on me. Mine usually stem from my PPD, though. Worrying something is going to happen to my family. Nothing specific, but enough to get me started.
    My husband hasn’t given up on me yet. Men are sometimes hardier than we give them credit for being. And don’t give up on yourself either *huggles*
    .-= Earth_Mommy´s last blog ..Chicken Update =-.

  25. (((Hugs))) It’s okay to talk about it.

    I read your blog every time you update it. You make me laugh until I cry. But this… This touched my heart to the point where I NEEDED to post a comment. Just so you know, your fans care about you. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t stick around and read. It’s okay to go all emo sometimes. It happens.

  26. I have no words other than thank you. Thank you for putting this out there, for being brave enough to talk about it because it helps. It helps everyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness to know that other people out there get it and that we’re not alone. Please don’t pull it down. It’s a powerful post.

    Huge hugs to you.
    .-= Major Bedhead´s last blog ..Wrath =-.

  27. You know what? We love you. Flaws and all.

    You are a beautiful, brilliant, loving, charming, giving woman with a rapier wit and a ramrod in your back, though you don’t know it. It’s definitely there, though – it has to be for you to have so beautifully shared with us your personal terror and pain. It’s WAY stronger and WAY bigger than this thing…and your beauty, brilliance, love, charm and generosity are infinitely more precious to those who know and love you than you could imagine.

    Just think of the flaws as “flavor crystals” in the rare and sought after delicacy that is Jenny. Ain’t nobody pushing away from your table – not even you, kiddo. 🙂

    (And yes, I am aware that I don’t know you IRL. But, I’m nuts too. And very, very intuitive. 😉 )

    xoxo
    .-= Ri´s last blog ..Austin City Limits Fest ‘Green With Envy’ Shuffle =-.

  28. Victor won’t give up on you. And you shouldn’t give up on yourself, either. Hell, I don’t show up to parties that my FRIENDS throw because of anxiety attacks. And they’re my FRIENDS. Or if my husband tries to plan something nice for us and I’ll just freak out and we can’t go. He’s gotten used to it and just gives me time to deal with it or he let’s me skip attending whatever function it may be. But he’s so happy when I can. And that gives me hope that I can do it again at some time in the future.
    .-= Pop and Ice´s last blog ..LadyStyx Be Afraid. Be VERY Afraid. =-.

  29. I know you didn’t right this post for reponses. It poured out of you. I have those as well. But here is my response anyway.my wife and I love you. Your readers love you. I hope when things start tunneling in, you can take some tiny comfort in that.
    .-= Bryan´s last blog ..My ex-wife had to “jump me off” =-.

  30. Please don’t delete that. Thanks for letting us into your world. It doesn’t take away from the laughter we usually get here. I hope sharing helps you.

  31. I don’t suffer from depression but I still want to thank you for posting this. It is powerful, evocative, and helps us understand those around us a little more.

    I love your funny words, but it’s your truth, your depth, that truly moves me. Thank you be sharing this part of yourself with us. We all stand with you. Though it might feel like it at the time, you are never in that hole alone.

  32. All I long to hear is a strong voice telling me with reassurance that I do not have, that it will be alright. I don’t need a timeline I need a lifeline.
    There will be no giving up on anyone because there are too many people who understand and because you haven’t given up yet, I suspect that you, like me, do not have the capability to declare defeat.
    .-= AmyAnne´s last blog ..Phone Sex Anyone? Not Here Apparently. =-.

  33. Oh my lovely blogess. You have so skillfully described both the depression I battle and the panic attacks I also have. You, my sister in this agony called mental illness, are gifted that you can express yourself and your pain so elequently. I have giggled, laughed and cringed at your blog posts for over a year now, but this is the first time I’ve responded. I am you.

  34. I’ll join you in the fog. Of course since it’s a completely solitary thing, you won’t see me here.

    Still, wishing you peace, friend. Hang in there until it comes. It pretty much usually always does.

    I think.

    (I know, i’m a regular Chicken Soup for the Dark Night of the Soul. It’s a gift.)

  35. You are a beacon in a sometimes very dark world, even when you can’t see it (and maybe especially then, even).

    Wrapping my thoughts around you like arms…
    .-= Miss B´s last blog ..Fall =-.

  36. Please don;t delete this because you just described my life. And as you know it’s comforting to know someone else goes around all day feeling as crazy as you do. As overstimulated. As afraid of losing control & never getting it back. Crippled with fear or bursting with happiness-so little in between. You have made me laugh over the last few months. Today even-with douche canoe. But this is by far your most memorable post.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Boobies-Flash ’em =-.

  37. Jenny-

    As the others have said-don’t take it down.

    Those of us who know need to hear that we’re not alone. One of the reasons I loved (and still love) heavy metal is that it tells me that IT IS OK TO BE ANGRY-that I’m not the only one who is utterly bewildered.

    When your brain is torturing you, just know we’re all here pulling for you, whatever that is worth.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..And another thing… =-.

  38. We’re all broken. By allowing others to see our brokeness, we sometimes give them a certain amount of freedom from the shame associated with it. The creative mind seems to feel everything more intensely. Hang in there. This too shall pass.
    .-= katdish´s last blog ..Letting Go =-.

  39. Giving Up’s not an option, Jenny. Take Giving Up off the table. I know that doing so just makes it worse, and feels like cutting off an escape route that might come in desperately handy one day, but it’s like one of those doors in the Winchester Mystery House that just leads to a blank wall.

    I get cluster headaches (originally known as “suicide headaches”). Blinding, disabling super-migraines that afflict .01% of the population. They come every year — once or twice a day for a month or six weeks, and can last up to five hours. There’s medication that can reduce the effect, but like yours, it has to be taken in time, or it’s useless. So for a month or more out of every year I live in constant fear of the pain, or with the pain. Can’t talk, can’t lie down, can only pace and weep and drive my fingernails into my hands. And I wonder sometimes how my wife puts up with having something inhuman in her house and her life for so long; but when they pass, I realize the look on her face isn’t fear or impatience or disgust (all the things I’M feeling), but a sympathy and a sorrow that can’t be expressed, because there aren’t any words. She knows she can’t understand what it’s like (as I’m sure Victor probably knows), but she understands what it makes me do. She understands that I’d be different if I could, and even though when I’m in a cluster I can’t remember what it’s like to feel normal, or in control, that’s the job she’s taken on. She remembers who I am, and why she loves me, even when I can’t.

    To the people on the outside of our pain, who care about us, we’re never the monsters we feel like on the inside.
    .-= Scott C.´s last blog ..Defend Pretend Whore Hannah Giles! =-.

  40. You have no idea how much I completely and utterly understand every word, every sentence, every portrayed emotion. The roller coaster from HELL that comes with that anxiety attack. The crippling anxiety that comes at the most inopportune times. When you’re convinced you’re over them, they’re gone forever, you can be normal(ish). But then, SMACK! One really good one bitch slaps you so hard you’re down for the count and could care less about trying to get back up this time. This time it sucks SO bad there’s nothing in the world that can save you from the dark scary hole that is you. The kicker, you’re fully aware of it all. If we could literally black out when the anxiety, depression, and in my case angry non-violent rage, set in, maybe it’d be just that much easier to cope with. Ugh. I’m right there, I’m waving from the other side of the hole, right this very minute.

    I am having an “Oh shit! I’m not the only crazy bitch!” moment reading this post. If you need to, read my (three) posts from just this week. Maybe, just maybe they can help, the teeny tiniest bit. Maybe.
    .-= Jess´s last blog ..It’s laundry day. =-.

  41. My husband suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and depression. For years we didn’t understand what was happening to him, and a hundred times I almost gave up. Finally, I told him to seek help or we couldn’t live together anymore. After diagnosis and medication, he’s like a different man. The kids stopped looking at him like he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. We just celebrated our 25th Anniversary.

    I know depression affects different people different ways. Some artist can’t perform while on medication because it kills their creativity. Others manage to live a normal life.

    Thank you for your honesty. I’m sure it helps us understand you all the more.
    .-= Chumplet´s last blog ..Busy September in Chumplet Land =-.

  42. “brilliant and amazing and forever broken” describes perfectly…. how close brilliance and insanity are intertwined. People admire you for what they see as beautiful, amazing, and untamed, while you just admire them for being normal.

    At least that’s how I feel. And I’m terrified of anyone finding out and lumping me with ‘them’. I’m not depression, I’m a person. And so are you.

  43. “They try to be understanding. They don’t understand.”
    And that is exactly why things like this need to be written, read, and shared. Thank you, for saying what some can’t, and what some others need to hear. Cheers.
    .-= Joey´s last blog ..The Nightman Cometh =-.

  44. Heya. If another stranger’s opinion counts, I see enough worth in you that I’ll be sticking around despite whether you think you’re worth it. I just wish there was something I could do that could make a dent for you.

    *HUG*
    .-= Della´s last blog ..Winner!! =-.

  45. No, I don’t know, but this goes a long way to explaining it better. Just because I don’t fully understand does not mean I don’t love you or don’t want you to feel better and for this to go away for you. ((hugs)) because I don’t know what else to say. (But at least I’m admitting that, right?)
    .-= Headless Mom´s last blog ..Happy Birthday to Just Breathe =-.

  46. We’re part of the wild and lonely ones, your right we are brilliant and amazing and forever broken, life becomes even more volatile than it already is. there are drugs and therapies that are supposed to help but its only a matter of time, until the next depressive episode, until the next panic attack, until the next bout of depressive realism.
    Hang in there Jenny, I think that these are the reasons we can appreciate the times in between there are moments of beauty and peace. We are lucky in that we can love and cherish those moments more than the general populace, the moron inferno. We are a breed unto ourselves. The Wild and Lonely Ones.

  47. i’ve begun to suspect that there are actually more people that understand depression and anxiety than those of us who experience them once realized and it’s posts like this that help bring us *all* closer together. thanks for being who you are and allowing us to be a part of it.

  48. God, Jenny. I’ve been in that hole so many times. Just this week said to a few close friends who I know would notice such things: “If I stop getting out of bed, that’s bad. If I seem to be crying all the time, that’s bad.” ‘Bad’ meaning: I’m tipping over into scary territory, that point where sadness becomes a gaping black hole of utter despair, so do something. I’ve felt myself teetering on that edge for so many months now. I don’t know what will finally cause me to tip over, but I feel the danger. The tangible heaviness bearing down. I feel myself slipping.

    I say all of this to tell you: I know, I know.

    The drugs… yeah. I’ve always said that the most they can do, at least for me, is keep me from going under entirely. I’d be dead without the drugs. But it’s no solution. The drugs will never solve the problem… of what I am. I guess that’s the crux of it right? That this is just who and what we are — broken. And, like you said, it’s not a brokenness that is fixable, curable. The best I’ve ever felt i cold expect was to be able to stitch myself back together and somehow manage to hold the darkness at bay a while… until it inevitably rushes forward and kicks my ass again.

    I’m not being helpful. This isn’t about me.

    Jenny, you are brilliant. You have a billion people here, AND there, who won’t let you give up on you. You are loved. You are adored. You are deserving. Let those around you hold you up when you can’t do it alone. I’m one of thousands who would gladly lend my shoulder, my ear, my empathy and understand. You have an army at your side who’ll help you fight for you. Hold on and don’t let go. xoxo
    .-= Sweetney´s last blog ..Tiocfaidh ár lá =-.

  49. Please do not take this post down. It was so honest and really hit home for me.
    Plus, I have posted the link on my FB account, because I have several friends that NEED to read it to, to help them with their depression/anxiety or to help the ones that love them that need this eloquent description.
    It really helps to know we are not alone, because it truly does feel that way some times.
    .-= Bunnie´s last blog ..Little Girl =-.

  50. You just helped me understand what somebody I love goes through. I hope I will be more useful to them now, thank you.

  51. Hi hon. I’m pretty sure that you know that I understand you — that I “get” you — as much as is possible.
    My problem is that “the hole” for me eats me alive, spiraling down, down, down, until there is no light to be seen.
    My anxiety has always been low-level and was nearly constant for fifteen years. I may be kidding myself that it’s no longer constant. Hard to say.
    So I would not even GO to the dinner because of the hole, therefore never needing to flee from the anxiety. Make sense?

    I think you are dear, and sweet, and REAL, and kinder to others than you are to yourself. I get that, too. I’ve worked on shutting up that inner editor bitch, and more than not, it works.

    Sending you hugs and some buspar.

    xoxoxo
    .-= VDog´s last blog ..Serenity Now Sunday: Confessions =-.

  52. There is a scientifically validated stress reduction technique that has been used on individuals with HUGE success that have similar panic and anxiety disorders. Transcendental Meditation. Numerous studies. Quick and life altering results. I urge you to have a look at the impressive website. There is no reason that you should continue to suffer.

    I wish you all the best.
    Adrienne
    .-= Durgagirl´s last blog ..THE GRANNY DIARIES =-.

  53. Actually, this post is exactly why I love blogging. Never have I had more hope for my future. You give me hope Jenny, because there are days when I think about having to fight the anxiety and the OCD every fucking day for the rest of my life. I’m 21 and I’m on meds. I hate when the panic sets in, and I have to play the same song over and over and over, curled up on my bed, hoping I fall asleep before I lose it. I’m forever broken too. Sometimes it sucks, and sometimes its easier to manage. But it’s nice to know I’m not alone. So thank you for posting this Jenny.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..We’re More Alike Than Different =-.

  54. You only feel that Victor will give up–or you yourself will give up–when you’re in the bottom of the well. When you’re level, you’ll remember that he won’t do that, and you shouldn’t do that. I’m not a doctor, but I encourage you to find one who can balance chemical and counseling remedies to help you through these bouts. Remember, they’re just bouts–terrible troughs in high seas–and they don’t represent the whole of your mental health. But when you’re in the trough, you can’t see beyond the waves breaking over your head, and you think the trough is your whole life. It’s not. You don’t know me from Adam, but seriously, if you are feeling this bad in the future, please twitter or email me so I can remind you how hilarious and only slightly left of normal you are. You are not broken. Really.
    .-= pjwaldron´s last blog ..Uriah Q. Muttonchop on Advancements & Breakthroughs in the Great Scientific Endeavor =-.

  55. Also, for what it’s worth, i don’t think you’re broken. You’re just different. You’re more sensitive to the world’s input, and that’s an awful lot of data, a great deal of it very, very bad. Maybe it’s everyone else in the world who’s broken, because they *aren’t* open to all that data. The trade-off is greater creativity. Sometimes I’m not sure it’s worth it, but there it is. And I think there are more of us out there than we’ve been led to believe. So we aren’t abnormal or broken. We’re just not the same. And we understand maybe a little more.
    .-= katie´s last blog ..scribblegurl: @yohanik way. and i’m convinced he’s afraid of girls. =-.

  56. omg, please leave this post up. You are doing so many people so much good–and I’m not just talking depressives and anxiety types. What you demonstrate here is that smart people have real life-impacting problems. That may seem obvious to us, but for most folks, it’s a revelation. If we were all more open about this stuff, it would start a revolution. . . .

    love.
    .-= feralchick´s last blog ..feralchick: Not sure which, but something is seriously wrong or seriously right when one’s predominant food craving is roasted buckwheat. . . . =-.

  57. I beg you not to delete this and I’ve never blogger begged before. So incredibly articulated… tunnel vision and most perfect: “brilliant and amazing and forever broken” and all the thoughts and creativity in your usual hilarity are also consequences of seeing and feeling the world so deeply. Anyway- this piece is not unlike you as you warned. It’s excellent.

  58. I call it “dropping my basket,” like some Southern lady with a euphemism. I like to think of Emily Dickinson, Hemingway, Samuel Johnson. Sometimes when it happens I wish I could put myself away, how easy it would be to just let go and let myself drop in to it completely.
    I let others believe it makes me eccentric when I know it makes me broken.
    (Instead I take medicine and hold on.)
    “Would you eat a cookie every day if it would make you better?” my dad once asked, and of course I said I would. So I take a peach pill every day and pretend it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal without raisins because I have never liked raisins.
    I pretend that I am normal because that’s supposed to make me feel better.
    Hugs to you, from one to another.
    xo.
    .-= Susannah´s last blog ..Lamb Lule =-.

  59. Everything you’ve written about this shows me you have support from your inner circle (aka Victor). Otherwise I would be more concerned. I say this coming from a place where I know that anxiety. The nausea, the onset of dizzy disorientation, of begging to escape from you, of begging whatever it is to get off your chest and let you breathe. You are lucky you are not with someone who mocks you when this happens, but supports you. And this time, I think it’s fine that he let you near the computer. Please don’t delete this. Funny, even hilarious people, are not always funny. Nobody is.
    BUT:
    If I use humor to liberally apply to all that is out of my control in my life, then my life is therefore hilarious.
    .-= gwendomama´s last blog ..I Barely Flinched (and then I had to giggle, because this is what my life has become) =-.

  60. Jenny, if it were me qat your dinner table, I’d hold you close and tell you I was there until the shaking passed. Wanna sit at my table for BlogHer next year? Heh. But honestly, I hate that you have to deal with this, but love what you have made of it. Remember when I wrote about my crazy mom and you were so happy to read it? Leave this up for the person who needs it. They will love you all the more for it. Big hug even if you’re feeling better – love from kp.
    .-= kittenpie´s last blog ..How Long Will This Be Going On? =-.

  61. Jenny,

    Your way with words is truly astonishing. You make me laugh every day. Know that my thoughts go out to you. Hugs to you!!!

  62. {{{{{{{{{{{{{Jenny}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    You are perfectly flawed, just like every other human being. Unfortunately the very thing that makes us brilliant can also make us nuts. I’m so sorry it is causing you such pain. Hang in there and know that you are loved by so many.
    .-= zenmomma´s last blog ..So what’s your day been like? =-.

  63. First and foremost….don’t worry about being “normal”, it’s overrated. 🙂

    While I don’t suffer chronic depression (at least I don’t think I do…), when I fall into it, the one thing that keeps me going, that keeps me from overdosing, from doing a swan dive off a building, from driving over a cliff, is looking for and finding just ONE thing I can look forward to. One thing. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be waiting to see that Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr., or getting my hair done. It can be ANYTHING. Whatever it is, it has to be something that is outside of *me*, something I can put an anchor on and just hold on to until the darkness passes. It’s worked for me, and that’s all I can say.

    Finally–don’t nuke this post. Your depression and what you do with it, is part of you. As awful and sickening as it feels, it is what makes you *you*. You wouldn’t be the hilarious and charming person you are, if you didn’t have this “hole” to deal with on a regular basis.

    To nuke the post, is to nuke part of you. Don’t nuke part of you. You’d end up looking kind of crispy and weird.

  64. Jenny, please don’t delete this post. Many of us have demons inside us. None of us will admit to it. It makes us more imperfect that we already know we are so we pretend, we hide, we marginalize it, we manage. You will go trough it this time and the next time. Keep this post up, if not for you then for others who share your torment. xoxoxo
    .-= Joanna´s last blog ..jtrzpis: RT @Greeblemonkey The New Golden Rules of Twitter from @waynesutton http://bit.ly/4FS3T =-.

  65. Jenny,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a week now and you’ve made me laugh so hard and marvel at how hilarious and brilliant you are. In posting this, you’ve truly earned my respect. Thank you for describing something so personal- I dated someone who could not find these words to tell me and I vainly struggled to “fix” the problems, fix him. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him, I just didn’t get it- how things could seem wrong even when everything was right.

    For the first time, I have a slight grasp on that, so please, for everyone out here that struggles to find the words, or explain that they could just use support and not a quick fix, leave this post up. Even if it is uncharacteristic of you. You’re readers love all your facets- even your “crazy” ones.

    Christine
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Daily Dish: Magazines want you to overreact =-.

  66. Quoting zenmomma: “the very thing that makes us brilliant can also make us nuts.” This is the utter unvarnished and unromantized truth. Every gifted comedian has a very dark side. I don’t consider myself gifted, but I laugh a lot. Jenny, you are truly gifted. That you will share the dark side makes you . . . something that can be purchased only at specialty outlets or Trader Joe’s? Nah, it makes you precious. Thank you.
    .-= feralchick´s last blog ..feralchick: Not sure which, but something is seriously wrong or seriously right when one’s predominant food craving is roasted buckwheat. . . . =-.

  67. I think you’re a fantastic person (one of my favorite!) and this is not something that you should blame on yourself (easier said than done I know). Don’t let this thing diminish what a brilliant person you are in your own eyes. I can’t pretend to know what it feels like, but I can tell you you’re not alone. You have a large audience that adores you, don’t be afraid to share this. If you need us, we’ll come running. Don’t ever give up.

  68. I know EXACTLY how that feels. You described it so perfectly and I hope it will help those who don’t suffer like we do “get it” even just a little. It’s not our choice, it’s not for attention, it’s the way we are wired and it sucks ass.

    Hang in there chickadee, you are not alone even though it sure as hell feels like it sometimes.

    Hugs,
    Kate

  69. Please don’t take this post down. It’s true, it’s you, good and the bad. The Internet loves you, and we won’t give up on you.

    I have walked in those heavy shoes.

  70. Don’t take it down, Jenny.

    Please, please don’t take it down.

    Every side of you is worth sharing, and this post is where you opened up your mouth, unafraid of what would come out and not a single one of us is backing away.

    Tons of love to you.

    Lotus
    .-= Sarcastic Mom´s last blog ..Weekly Winners, Sept 27 – Oct 3 =-.

  71. I can sympathize. I don’t have anxiety attacks, but I deal with the same depression a couple of times every year. Every time it lasts a week or two. I’ve never noticed the vision thing, but I’ll pay attention next time. I have no affirmations, no words to make you feel better. It sucks every time. I wouldn’t call it suffering, because I don’t feel that the word fully describes it. I’ve never been able to explain it, but I know it’s horrible. When it happens to me, my whole attitude changes. I get angry about the most senseless things, my body hurts in ways that it shouldn’t, it’s just all sorts of terrible. You can take refuge in at least one thing. At least you can admit your “Mental Illness.” There are so many people out there that go through the same thing but won’t admit that something is wrong. It takes a lot more guts to admit something like that than it does to deny it for whatever faulty reasoning one can come up with. So good luck over the next few weeks.

    By the way, you are nowhere near the worst blogger ever. You are the only blog that I follow on a regular basis, because you are funny as hell.

  72. You pretty much described my depressions and panic attacks to a tee. I have recently learned that an “agitated depression” is like with all the symptoms of clinical depression and then panic symptoms on top of them, and maybe a little hypomanic for flavor. My latest med is the mood stabilizer Lamictal. It kept me really really normal for 5 months, and then a panic attack slipped through.

  73. This is beautiful and perfect, and I love that this is you too. I love that this is the same person I read every day who makes me laugh my fucking face off. I am like you. I take the same drugs as you. I am (brilliant and amazing and) forever broken. But there is nothing wrong with broken. All the best people are broken. You can’t be an interesting person and not be broken somehow anyway. Broken is perfect.
    .-= Alicia @ bethsix´s last blog ..Weekly WrapUp: October 4, 2009 =-.

  74. I know I’m nobody to you, but I will be pissed if you take this down. You have nothing to apologize for. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You have nothing to mock yourself about. You have every right to scream. I’m so glad you have drugs that help you. I hope you can always get to them in time so you can avoid the feeling of simultaneously burning and drowning.

    You’re not broken. I think broken is when people are experiencing this, yet are in denial about what’s going on and refuse to seek help. You are the epitome of accepting who you are…anxiety, depression, meds, and all. I hope the only change you ever make is telling this monster to fuck off.

    Your best posts are the ones where you show your vulnerable side, whether it’s about your love for Hailey and learning to close your eyes more often or about how this depression just grips you and won’t let go. I hope it lets go.

  75. Wow. I was crying halfway through because you summed up my “blackness” so beautifully. I know it’s different for everyone, but your experience sounds so much like mine. And I honestly can’t understand my husband’s patience, and too worry that any day now will be THE day when enough is enough. God, I wish I had that choice. The choice to just leave it and myself all behind. I feel like a freak, like I’m living two lives–one that most everyone on the outside sees, and one that I endure inside my body. Because like you, it’s not just in my head. I have physical manifestations of my illness that effect my entire body. And I’ve seen SOOO many doctors, that I just don’t know what to do anymore. I know my triggers. I always have two specific pills with me, and I feel like a failure because I simply cannot do or live the same way that others do. I have two kids and we have an au-pair so that I can be around them without going into panic attacks. I can only be around them for certain lengths at a time before I need a “time-out” and retreat to someplace quiet or safe. My mother abandoned my brothers and I at a young age and ever since that time I swore I would always be there for my children. That I would spend time with them, and love them, and be around when they needed me. Having to need someone around so that I can be around them? Yeah, it kills me. I feel like a total failure.

    I understand the ball. I understand the need to flee. Gosh, I just understand. I’m an accomplished person and have a lot to be proud of in my life. But most of the time all I feel is shame. I’m a professional violinst, professional dancer, writer, mother, and wife. And yet somehow I let my sickness define who I am so much of the time.

    I know this must have been incredibly difficult to write, but thank you for doing so. Whenever I find another “kindred soul in hell” I am reminded that I am not alone, and that you can be amazing (you) and battle with mental disorders.

    You’re great. What strength you have to be so open with your fight. It helps us all.

  76. I love your funny. I love you much, much more for the honesty. You are amazing and talented and an absolute joy, and while I don’t know this particular burden firsthand I know the courage it took to write about it.

    I read something once: you are only as sick as your secrets. I like to think that in telling, in writing it for other people to see, it loses its power over you, just a bit. And you’re helping so many people who deal with the same problems.

    *fist bump*

  77. As someone else who also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and depression…I understand. And like you, I welcome the depression almost with open arms and a smile- it is familiar to me, I know the symptoms, and I know it will go away. It’s like a sad old familiar friend, that depression.

    The panic attacks, though, they’re something else. You knocked the breath out of me when you said, “I know there’s nothing to panic about. And that’s exactly what makes it so much worse.” because that IS it in a nutshell. My panic attacks happen, there is nothing I can do to make them NOT happen, and I have no idea when they WILL happen. Panic attacks aren’t any sort of friend, and that’s what makes them suck so hard.
    .-= Chloe´s last blog ..Happy Anniversary (& A Giveaway!) =-.

  78. You are SO not alone in this. I’ve completely been there. I could have written this post. Sometimes my anxiety is triggered by something, like flying or a news article…but sometimes it just sneaks up on me with no explanation at all. Thank God for Xanax because if I didn’t have it, there are days that I swear I wouldn’t make it. That is the absolute worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I can’t even tell you how much I could have written those words myself…just not so artfully. I also wonder if my husband may give up on me or get sick of it all.

    This summer, I had to be packed up and sent to stay with my mom for a month and my daughter was sent to stay with some of our family for 2 1/2 weeks while I “recovered” because I basically had a complete breakdown and felt like I was in a black hole. Just remember…we are the lucky ones. Yes, we suffer from this, but our lives are filled with people that love us and want to see us happy and well. Some people are in this battle all on their own.

    I also wanted to comment on your peripheral vision thing. Is that just from the anxiety or something? I’m asking because I have Intracranial Hypertension and that is one of my biggest symptoms…tunnel vision, loss of peripheral vision…amongst other things.

    Take care.

    ? Antoinette
    http://innermedley.blogspot.com
    .-= Antoinette´s last blog ..Cuddle-worthy or Barftastic? You be the judge… =-.

  79. Thank you for posting this – you rock so hard. I have fought to keep the depression demons down my entire life, and baring my soul the way you just did scares the bejesus out of me. I am so sorry you are hurting. Bravo to you for writing about it. And bravo to Victor for loving you unconditionally.

  80. I’ve only experienced once a panic attack as major as what you describe.

    It was at a viewing for my then fiances, now husbands, grandmother. I’d never liked funerals, the dead bodies meaning nothing to me compared to the souls that housed them. My parents always kept me at the back away from the coffin, but this time they weren’t there, this time everyone was right by the body, and I hated it. I began to tunnel, huddling into my own body, hoping it would swallow itself up and take my mind with it and away from this rigid, cold flesh. I hardly heard a word, and my fiance knew I wasn’t well, so he was able to get me out as soon as it was ‘appropriate’. I began to shake, and the farther we got from the body the worse it became until I was finally in full psuedo seizure mode. My whole body flushed, I couldn’t speak, I was in danger of breaking bones and it took hours and a shot of something that didn’t work to try to relax my muscles and calm me down. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning after almost 12 of them shaking, my muscles tired themselves out, and I lay there in that hospital room, staring at the wall, unseeing.

    And thats when I broke.

    I had to quit my job as a tour guide because at times, I could barely finish my sentence and I’d race to a place to hide. I had to drop out of college because my mind began racing and I couldn’t concentrate and my grades plummeted. I’d had mild depression before, but after that night it took over me. I became irrational, hateful, and so so sad. I began cutting, taking medications to sleep for the days I couldn’t and then sleeping for days afterward. I just made it through my wedding with prescription bummed from a friend. It got so bad I was admitted into acute psychiatric care three times in as many months.

    After being diagnosed with Bipolar and given a slew of medications, it only got worse. As it turns out, I’m freaking ADHD, with maybe a touch of Bipolar. The depression has gotten better, as has the concentration, though the meds wear off halfway through the day or sometimes don’t work at all. But I’ve since developed a social phobia, from the shit my friends who dumped me, my parents, even my coworkers and bosses put me through, telling me I’m being dramatic, stupid, this illness doesn’t exist. I can’t work and I get shaky at the thought of going back to school, though I miss it. I write my stories and blog and stay in my home for days at a time. I only go out for something to eat if I absolutely want to or have to, and then it takes me hours to get up the nerve.

    I know what you go through, even if its just a very small piece of it. People love you (us…) when we say or do funny shit, but when it comes to the dark stuff, the painful stuff, the normal ones just don’t know. And they never will understand our fears, because sometimes we don’t either. I see the hurt and confusion in my husbands eyes when I get bad, when I want him to hold me one moment only to get disgusted with myself the next and shove him away. But he tries, so hard, the most patient man I’ve ever known. I wonder, just as you do, when he’ll give up on me, when I’ll go through completely with the half-assed attempts of giving up on myself.

    And even knowing others who go through what we do, we all go through it differently, and so we’ll never, truly and completely, understand what each of us goes through. But at least we know we aren’t entirely alone.
    .-= Brittany Landgrebe´s last blog ..NaNoWriMo – I Will Pwn or be Pwned =-.

  81. Wow. I’ve never heard anyone describe what it’s like and really felt like they understood. Thank you for this post. One of the worst parts about the panic attacks is the isolation. Knowing that people want to understand is a good feeling, but the loneliness of not being able to connect with them about it is horrible.

    When people find out, my favorite is this gem: “Maybe it’s all in your head.”

    Gee, thanks Einstein. Next time I’ll just make it stop then.

  82. “I nod and try to smile apologetically and roll my eyes at myself in mock-derision so I won’t have to talk. ”
    I haven’t read any of the other posts. I don’t think that I will. I have been right there, too. Hang on. I did drugs, talk therapy, xanax – it has gotten better – hang on.
    My worst was driving. I’d constantly want to veer to the shoulder – sure at any time I would just fly off the road. If I wasn’t in the car and it hit when I was on foot – I was sure that gravity was going to fail me and I was going to fly off the planet.
    My longest panic attack was 8 hours, of pacing and indecision. I wanted to go to the hospital but couldn’t get in a car and was sure it wasn’t bad enough to warrant an ambulance ride. I walked in and out of the house for 8 hours, 8 fucking hours of uncontrolled vacillation until my adrenals slowed down enough that I could sit in the car for the 20 minute drive to the ER, rocking and shaking. SURE I WAS GOING TO DIE. I didn’t, they gave me something akin to Spanish Fly (no shit) and I went home and slept.
    That was almost 20 years ago. Knocking on wood. It’s been a long time since I’ve even had a hint of something like that coming on again. I hope one day you can say the same. Hugs and good thoughts sent your way.

  83. Jenny, when the time is right, you will visit this page and be reminded that many, many people are pulling for you. Some of us have dealt with anxiety and depression, and some have not, but all will have been touched by your candor and the vivid descriptions within your writing. It’s impossible to read this and not have been affected. Know that even while you’re struggling, your words have helped others. I hope it passes soon…
    .-= Melody´s last blog ..Nags Head Sea Oats =-.

  84. I always hoped for normal, like it would be something that would erase all of the times that I had to run, that I wanted to die, that I just shut the fuck down.

    It hasn’t happened yet. But I have to say that a fucking ton of people who are pretty amazing have also not given up on me. I have friends and a loved one who love the shit out of me, who refuse to let me believe that I don’t matter because I’m broken. And even when I want to give up on me, because the anxiety for me is worse than the depression, too, they won’t let me.

    For whatever reason, it seems like people with anxiety manage to find the people who love us including the parts of us that are broken.

    I’m broken, more than a little. But I’m still me broken. And there seem to be some people who love that girl, fractures and all. i think you have those people, too.
    .-= Krista Lin´s last blog ..Learning new patterns =-.

  85. I won’t even try to compare myself to you except to say that I have my times when I’m depressed for no reason and I can’t bring myself out for days as well and I often wonder if my boyfriend will ever give up on me, too. I don’t know exactly what you’re feeling and I wouldn’t pretend to know, but I do know how it feels to not be sure if that one person will stick around through all the crazy, to wonder if they can take it and not give up on you. I only wanted you to know that, if it makes you feel better at all, it’s good to me to know that I’m not the only one who wonders about those kinds of things. And you’re extremely brave to deal with everything the way you do. I admire you for making people laugh despite your own pain.

    You’re pretty much amazing. 🙂
    .-= Mistress of Snark´s last blog ..I’m almost positive that if I got Brad Pitt in on this action, the fleas would flee on their own. No one wants anything but a loving caress from Brad. =-.

  86. Thank you, thank you and thank you for writing this. I know you’ve heard me talk about my rabbit hole and the struggle to get out and sometimes the struggle is impossible. Other times I’m lucky enough to claw my way to the top and inhale the fresh air around the edges of the hole and let the light fall over me and drench me.

    I can’t even begin to give voice to the near-paralyzing panic attacks that leaving the house causes, and how having to interact with other people makes my skin crawl with a sinking dread that is utterly impossible to describe. However, somehow you’ve managed to do just that.

    You’ve reached out to me on Twitter before and maybe you’ll never know how much I appreciate that. But I’m letting you know now that I appreciate seeing this other, raw, side of you. It makes me feel a little less like a freak and a little more hopeful that I’ll find my way back to “normal.” I hope, on my journey, that our paths cross.
    .-= Audrey at Barking Mad´s last blog ..Quote of the Day – Some People Never Learn =-.

  87. I’ve been fighting with my own depression and anxiety for several weeks now–I have major crying spells, can’t make myself get up to get such basic things as food sometimes, and have to take xanax to stop shaking sometimes. It should pass in a few weeks for me–this is the worst I’ve been in years–but I SO much appreciate people like you who are willing to put it out there and share your struggles with the world. It reminds those of us who sit in our offices, alone, fighting our own brain, that we are not actually alone. There have been so many times that your posts make me laugh when very little else does. Thank you for that. And thank you for sharing. I hope you don’t delete this post, because to me it is actually quite positive–you keep fighting. Sometimes that’s all you can do. So keep at it, Jenny.

  88. This serious post was beautiful. You spoke such truth and connected with the lives of others, including mine.
    You’re not alone, and you let us know that we are not alone.
    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.
    You are wonderful 🙂
    .-= inspirEd23´s last blog ..This is me. =-.

  89. I’m not going to try to sway you either way to keep or delete this post because I know that during my struggle with mental illness, the last thing I wanted to hear was advice from someone. However, I did want to comment and thank you for all your writing. All of it.
    .-= Brent´s last blog .. =-.

  90. Ug! I just wrote the longest comment only to have it be erased…
    The gist: THANK YOU for writing so honestly. I too have had trouble with depression and it is one of those things that people just don’t “get” unless they’ve been there. But posts like this really help! The honesty helps! Knowing that people that are super cool and brilliant don’t always feel super cool makes me feel more connected. THank you for this post and also for the other thousand that have made me laugh till I cried. You really offer the world a lot.

  91. to my fellow sister in the dark fog: hang tight, just a little longer. i understand completely how you feel, no, i don’t i guess. i understand completely how I feel in the same situation and it’s suck-o central.

    i love you and am sending happy kitten filled thoughts to texas right now.

    xo

    allison
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..let’s clear a few things up. =-.

  92. I don’t understand. Thank you for stating that. But that doesn’t change the fact that I want to. My sister has been wrestling with a mental illness for years and sometimes I’d like to switch places with her so I don’t have to be the douche that says the stupid stuff (like you mention). Usually I just do the even more douchy thing of just saying nothing. Or trying to be “normal” and do “normal” stuff. But that feels a lot like ignoring the elephant in the room (for the record, I’d also like to switch places so *she* doesn’t have to deal with it – I’m not THAT big a douche).

    I don’t understand. Is it enough to accept? (It doesn’t feel like enough, so I keep doing the douchy stuff. She humours me.) If it is enough to accept, it is enough that YOU accept? That is, maybe one thing you could control is releasing your concern for what others think. See? I’m totally proving I don’t have a hot clue. I’m sorry.
    .-= harmzie´s last blog ..You say it’s your birfday… =-.

  93. Thank you for sharing. I wish I could say it gets better, but it doesn’t. Just stick with your intuition and your gut and do what is best for you when you have an episode. Your loved ones won’t leave you. Even if you decide that you aren’t worth it anymore, the people who care about you won’t let that be an option.

    Keep your meds near you and within reach at all times, and know that you are not alone in your battle.

    Thank you for letting so many others know that they are not abnormal.
    .-= Houstonblogger´s last blog ..Guest Blogger, Mitch Cohen on First Saturday Arts Market!!! =-.

  94. (Do you even read down this far?)
    Please don’t delete this entry, it’s fantastic. Who said you had to be straight comedy, anyway? Seriously, this genuinely helped me understand people with depression. Thanks.

  95. me too. mine’s heavier on the depression hole and lighter on the anxiety than you describe, but yeah, that. I’m in kind of awe that you kick so much ass while having the same kind of crazies I have

  96. Harmzie ~ I think everyone is different and your sister is lucky to have someone who cares enough to give her what she needs. Personally I need people to treat me like I’m normal even when it’s happening. Acknowledging that they know I’m broken but that they’re okay with it and don’t see it as a something frightening is the best gift I’ve ever been given by people who’ve witnessed the attacks. I mainly feel bad that they have to see it so anything you can do to make her feel less self-conscious about it is huge.

    Thank you. And thank you to everyone who shared with me tonight. I feel so much less alone.

    Thank you.

  97. Thank you for writing this.

    You are not alone… and because of your sharing, your eloquence, and your strength… and your ability to put yourself out there and share yourself with the world through your blog, I know that I am not alone either.

    And it’s okay that neither of us are “normal”.

    xoxoxox

  98. Please don’t delete it! Please, please! Thank you for being just as honest as you are charming and funny. I understand awful. I’m so sorry it’s awful for you.
    .-= Heidi´s last blog ..Prediction =-.

  99. You are not alone…I know that doesn’t help but hopefully you find strength in that. Hang on it will pass and Victor will be there to guide you home after all he is your GPS. You are brave to bare your soul, but don’t ever be embarrassed cause we all have issues and no one is here to judge. Hugs to you and happy Monday!

  100. Wow… that was powerful. I’m one of those ‘everyone else who suffers from this’ and those last two lines really hit home with me. I feel the same way – I’m normal most of the time, but for when I’m not I always wonder how many more times I can do this to the people I love before they leave.

    Keep hanging in through the tough times to get to the best ones.
    .-= Kaylin´s last blog ..SLIS Roundup – Week 5 =-.

  101. I think your reactions make a lot of sense. It’s hard to feel bad, and it’s hard to figure out how to include, disclude or hide aching or anxious feelings during interactions with other people. There’s a rough process of negotiation: what do I show? What’s fair to call attention to? What can I quarantine and hide? Where can I assume the fetal position?

    That said, I think the existence of these processes of negotiation is actually heartening. It means that people are bigger, better than they may sometimes appear. People are processing and strategizing at the bus stop, while wiping their fingers across their lips, after laughing too loudly. Acknowledging that provides a good way to empathize and care about all these fools around you, because you can assume that something meaningful is happening with them, even if it is something small, even if it’s something melodramatic and indulgent, even if it’s only internal and hidden.

    These secret lives are something that many people have in common. I’m impressed and hopeful about that. I think it means that we don’t have to (and probably can’t) understand someone in order to care deeply and meaningfully about them. In fact, the act of accepting some level of ignorance, of incomprehensibility, can allow for respect, interest, and affection.

  102. I love your blog, and I truly do believe that you are a beautiful person. Even more so for sharing this. I’ve suffered from depression on and off as far back as I can remember, it’s not easy and there’s nothing so horrifying as feeling helpless to control your own emotions, your own body. Perhaps the only thing that can rival it is realizing that some part of you will always be a little bit broken.

    Once again, you’re not alone.
    .-= Kaylynn´s last blog ..Requiem of the Tide =-.

  103. There’s no guarantee that this won’t break your relationship…but there’s no guarantee on ANYTHING. And the fact that he is trying, in his way, to understand and help shows that he LOVES YOU. And some things just can’t be really understood unless you’ve gone through them – like pregnancy. And yet our husbands stand with us and offer their support and strength and beingness, even though they have no real concept of what is going on.

    And while I’ve never been clinically depressed, I spent much of my childhood wishing my parents had had an abortion. I didn’t just want to die, I didn’t even want to exist. I’m 27 years old now, and I’ve spent 33% of my life on AWESOME. But that doesn’t change the fact that 66% of my life was spent in the dark.

    I take great comfort knowing that the older I get, the smaller that number will be.

    Yes, you are going through a majorly rough period and, yes, it can even effect your marriage. But the longer you are married, the greater the percentage of badassicalness versus the deep tunnel! You’re dynamic and silly and funny and crazy. And yes, you have this dark thing that eats you from the inside out. But you also have what millions of people spend their entire lives searching for.

    Your beloved and your voice.

    P.S. {HUG}{HUG}{HUG}{HUG} You’re beautiful!
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..The Magic of Having Your Own Transformers =-.

  104. Jenny, it is so good that you put this up. It always makes people feel better when we open up about our imperfections and problems. Everyone has their own pile of crap to deal with in this life. You are not alone and now others know that they aren’t alone either. And you are awesome!
    .-= Donna ´s last blog ..Memories =-.

  105. Babe. You are as normal as anyone else. These things are not things that make you less than. You are a beautiful, normal, functioning person. I promise. You are.
    .-= flutter´s last blog ..Forgiveness =-.

  106. Just want to let you know that what you have described is very real. Im an unmedicated manic depressant who’s often on a self righteous or self loathing (but more often financial) path of self destruction. Taking anything (for me) does more harm than good- whether its Zyprexa, lithium, birth control, or anti depressants- but everyone knows whats best for them and approaches it differently. What matters is that you have found someone who understands this. Someone who understands you- who understands the nature of your beast and +1. If he’s with you now and loves you none-the-less for it, tries even if he doesn’t REALLY understand, and is there to stick it out with ya- you have nothing to worry about. Doubting this and giving into the distrust and paranoia only leads to the realization of your biggest fear.

    But on a lighter note- you give people like me hope. Im 22, have dated 20+ guys, and was just given up on by my best friend and the only man I have ever been with longer than 8 months who attempted to play the game and understand. Maybe I’ll find one who has enough room in his heart for 2 like you =). Thanks for putting this out there.
    Ps. your one tough bitch. keep it up.
    ~Katie
    .-= katie M.´s last blog ..Vforveggicide: got to be so you didn’t careif you were leaving or lovingoh, what you wereand what you were becoming-[and oh the mangled mess you are] =-.

  107. usually i try to be all witty when i leave a comment on your blog because i want you to be my friend.

    in a totally NOT irl way.

    there is no such thing as normal, there is only individual beauty.

    each day i move closer to not being ashamed of dealing with a mental illness. i also wonder if the day will ever come that i will be able to share this without feeling as though i’ve just shown someone my third nipple.

    whatever.

    i had no idea, and was in disgusting denial, to the fact that i was living with depression and anxiety for years.

    years.

    now i embrace the nausea, dizziness, irritability, inability to settle, the squeeze of panic surrounding my chest, wanting to run anywhere i can be alone, holding in screams, trying to calm the shakes, jumping out of my skin at the sound of a pin drop…i could go on and on…i embrace it because there is no other choice. so i deal as best i can.

    so you are never going to be alone. you are much too loved.

    plus, your breasts are made of awesome.

    andrea…medicated since 2008…and beyond.
    .-= andy´s last blog ..today is a good day for love and happy shit because there is way too much evil around us and that freaks me out. so go lick someone you love. =-.

  108. No one is giving up on anyone in this house, young lady. /”mom mode”

    It’s a struggle; I hope this one passes quickly. Take care of yourself. (um, I guess I actually can’t turn off the mom mode anymore…)

  109. Oh my God. My depression is not exactly the same but the anxiety I experience on a regular basis is very very similar to what you described. The build-up, the shortness of breath, the nausea, the need to flee (and the fact that I can’t escape myself), the muscle tension. I don’t take medication for it yet but I actually have an appointment tomorrow to talk to someone about that.
    I don’t have any encouraging words but thank you for posting this. There is something validating about hearing someone else talk about their crap and realizing it’s the same crap you go through.
    .-= seven´s last blog ..ohmyseven: @Gexe Say hello to my brother for me. 🙂 =-.

  110. I had my first panic attack ever during sex with my ex-husband ( should have told me everything right there! ) and I swore someone had died, then that someone had broken in and on and on it went with the most horrible horrifying make-you-scream-out-from-your-soul things my evil treacherous mind could come up with. When I have them now, I want to scream sounds I didn’t know my body could make. I want to projectile vomit the likes of which would make the girl from Exorcist envious. My vicious evil little brain tells me things that make me cry in a ball because whenever I tell myself they’re not real, my brain yells even more hideous things even louder until I admit defeat. I am beaten, broken and wrung out like nasty old socks. Don’t give up. You’re not alone even if it feels like it. And it does. And eventually *I’mtotallywaitingGodsohurrythefuckup* they’ll find a cure for people like us that doesn’t leave us mute vegetables drooling into our own Cheerios. Blessings lady. Blessings and deep breaths. Living is still worth it.
    .-= Aria’z Ink´s last blog ..You Get A Two-fer LMFAO Friday Because I’m Totally A Thief Too =-.

  111. There’s a stigma to having depression. As a grown man, I hear it all the time. Fuck the non-depressed. Misery keeps me grounded and happy.

  112. I have been in your shoes. Or, you know, in shoes that are similarly messed up from time to time, to really mangle the metaphor. I’m grateful for the family and friends who understand, or who at least try to. I’m grateful for medications that help. And I’m grateful for people like you, who discuss these things publicly, and who help me remember that I’m not alone. I’m sure I’m not the only person who cried while reading this because she saw herself in your words. I know I’m not the only person who’s grateful you wrote them.
    .-= Jools´s last blog ..Stationery junkies, take note =-.

  113. I wish there was a good answer to all this, not just for you, but for me, too.

    Reading your description of the anxiety disorder, sounds terrible and yet, I often find myself thinking things like, “She’s got it easier”… I’ve lived most of my life with Clinical Depression. Not just depressive episodes, though I’ve had those too (terrifying) but Dysthimia, the on-going, “low-grade” depression that never seems to go away. Medication doesn’t really hep. While what you go through sounds tremendously painful, I can’t help but wonder how much better off you are, that the depression is intermittent and the anxiety can be medicated.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know this is not a competition. I know what each of us deals with is terrible…

    You’re very lucky to have Victor in your life, someone who cares for you and understands (as best as someone who doesn’t experience it can) The last two sentences of your post really resonate with me, as I had that very conversation with my therapist, last session.

    It’s just too hard, and it’s so unfair!
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..No Rest for the Weary =-.

  114. i don’t have the depression but I have the panic attacks. I am pretty good at controlling them now, it isn’t easy, especially at work when I am serving customers. I am worried how my partner would treat me if he saw me actually have one. I haven’t let him see me have one yet…I go to the bathroom or start doing things that I can focus on to control the breathing and the shaking. Many times he has worried that I am angry because I am rushing around breathing heavy and doing the washing at 10pm at night. I really think he would understand, yet I am worried he wouldn’t and I would lose what I have finally found. There is nothing worse than having no control over your damn mind and body tho. Love to you xx
    .-= The Tall Redhead´s last blog ..Interesting!! =-.

  115. This is my first taste of your blog. And I completely understand. I call it the black hole.

    I’m in deeper than I’ve ever been before. I will be in hospital by the end of the week, I’ve no doubt.

    So. You’re not alone. You have more than 150 comments, clearly a lot of people care about you. But i know how alone you’re feeling right now.

    I hope, hope, hope that someone helps you climb back out.

    You’ll be in my thoughts as we do this together.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..I can speak Sam =-.

  116. I’m totally grateful for your humor and sharing your ups and downs with us, though they’re of course a lot higher and lower than that sounds like.

    I heard a woman say something like, if a guy doesn’t think that David Sedaris is our greatest satirist, then he’s not the guy for her. You completely pwn David Sedaris, in my humble opinion. Which I guess is why I’m still single. Gee, thanks.

  117. I hope you always have someone to keep you company on your way to the drug store. To hold the bag for you as you walk out. To open the pill bottle and the Dr. Pepper or whatever that shit is that you drink that isn’t Pepsi. To watch you take what you need to take. And then to continue the conversation you were having as though the conversation is what mattered, and not the pills, Dr. Pepper, or depression.
    .-= Backpacking Dad´s last blog ..Cure Juvenile Myositis Day =-.

  118. I’ve had generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and moderate-to-severe depression for years. I understand.

    And I’ve never read a more honest description of these things. Although when I have a panic attack, I have a ringing in my ears, no tunnel vision. Wanna trade? No? Crap.

    P.S. I will totally understand if you delete this post in the morning, but I really, really hope you don’t.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..cow pie =-.

  119. Trying again. This will be my first comment. (on any blog… EVER) You just described me, down to the panic attacks, and how mortified I am to have them. Thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  120. What can I say? That fucking sucks. I have anxiety, and it fucking sucks too. Panic is the worst – the palpitations, the way it hits you like a truck out of nowhere with no regard for time or place. The irrationality that you have no control over.

    Thank you for putting words to it. I don’t know you, but keep on hanging in there. You make me laugh, which is hard to do. So you MUST be fucking brilliant!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Things that make me question if I am really a dude at heart =-.

  121. jenny,

    right now 152 people have told you how they wish you well, and sent cyber hugs and not to delete this post. kindly let me be 153. i’m lucky that i don’t get panic attacks or depression. my husband gets both. they overwhelm him and absorb him. and he has issues talking about it. so your post kinda lets me see into his world. and i thank you for that. in november we’ll be together for 9 years, and in 9 years i haven’t given up on him even when i don’t understand it at all. please don’t give up on yourself. if you did, my dreams of one day buying you a beer will be crushed. and i’m selfish enough to be kinda bummed about that. and then the cycle would be started. i’d start to get depressed and write about it and someone would want to buy me a beer, but i’d give up and then they’d be crushed. and then the cycle would continue. and jesus. that’s a lot of responsibility to have. no wonder you get panic attacks. <3
    .-= jen lovely´s last blog ..I Can Finally Finish The Story =-.

  122. I started reading all the comments that everyone left you, but decided to skip over them. I’m afraid that if I read them, I’ll get intimidated by the “every one has said everything I want to say, I’ll just skip it” thing I do sometimes, and I don’t want to do that.

    I also have the depression and the anxiety attacks, so I get where you’re coming from, but not to that extent. Also I’m too scared to go get medication, so I think that technically makes me a dumbass.

    Hold on, I left a point around here somewhere….

    We love and adore you, Jenny. We love you, yes, because you entertain us and make us laugh, but we also love you because you’re honest and real and we love your flaws, and we love you BECAUSE of them and not in spite of them. You don’t water yourself down when you’re being funny, don’t water yourself down when you have bad days too. We’ll still love you anyway.

    I vote you leave this up. I blog a bunch, and when I write one that is, in my mind, more serious than funny, I want to delete it. Because I think if someone comes across it and has never read anything I’ve written before, they’ll think I complain and write nothing but emo woe is me-ness whilst listening to The Cure in a dark basement. I curse the day I ever heard the phrase “You’re only as good as your last entry.” Because, seriously, fuck those guys.

  123. When I was growing up, my brother suffered from SEVERE mental health issues. As a teenager, he was in hospital several times and as an adult it was a LOOONNGG road to what now appears to be recovery. I could never understand what his problem was.

    3 years ago I was struck with the great big baseball bat of depression. And then I got it, I started to understand what my brother went through. And he had it worse than me. Holy. Crap.

    Victor will be with you no matter what, that’s the deal he made. It’s the same deal my husband made. Sometimes he’s not so sure the deal is a good one, but then I come right again and the deal looks like a great one. That’s life – isn’t it? Ups and downs, and never predictable as to which one’s next.
    .-= bea´s last blog ..Mighty Life List =-.

  124. This is my first time reading your blog, and I must say I relate to so much to everything you’re going through. I have had my own bouts of panic attacks, not as severe as yours, but currently fighting off with all my might a case of what could turn into depression. Thank you for sharing, thank you for exposing yourself raw to the many people that read your blog, and I look forward to making your blog into my next reading addiction.

  125. I always knew I wasn’t alone…but I had honestly never met anyone who had the panic attacks that described them so much like what I experience. I feel for you! Thought there is a little relief knowing it’s not just me…

    Hang in there…someone in crazy So Cal knows just how you feel.

  126. I don’t even remember a time when I didn’t have anxiety issues. I often wonder how “normal” people feel. Even with medication I don’t know what it feels like to be totally relaxed. Although I’ve only had one panic attack, at the scene of an accident, I live in constant fear that it will happen again, I fear nothing more than that loss of control. I don’t talk about it, so the people in my life don’t understand. It’s nice to know that there are people who do.

    Thank you for posting this.

  127. I get the depression, and thankfully only mild anxiety. When you’re in the black hole of depression (I call mine the Jenny-pit, or just say I have mind-AIDS again), it’s near-impossible to get your head around the fact that other people care about you. I am utterly convinced that if I try to talk to any of my closest friends or family about how I’m feeling, they’re going to get irritated with me. I came close to suicide while my best friend was in the next room and I couldn’t tell her that I felt broken inside. I KNEW that she would roll her eyes at me, sigh, and have that “why can’t you just get over yourself” tone in her voice. Well, in reality, she would have been amazing, but I couldn’t see it at the time.

    I haven’t had an episode in almost a year. I’m not sure if this is the light at the end of the tunnel, or if it’s only a matter of time. I’ve found counselling has done more for me than medication. I know now that if it happens, there is an end in sight, and I have some knowledge as to WHY it happens. It doesn’t stop it happening, but it does help me recognise it for what it is and to better cope with it.

    So many of us fall into the hole of depression… if only it was the same place. Then it could be an exclusive club, and we could have music and cake, and big squashy cushions to lie on, and have some company until it passed.

  128. Do NOT delete this post! I got chills when I read you describe the tunnel vision of depression since I’ve heard that from so many other people. I don’t get the tunnel vision, but I do get incredibly sleepy and lethargic.
    Posts like this help all of us to understand what those who have severe depression and anxiety attacks go through, and because of that we can take whatever steps we can to be supportive and helpful.
    Hell, if you and I ever wind up at a dinner party together, and you need to crawl under the table, give me a sign and I’ll get under there with you. It’ll be like the Fortress of Solitude, and we’ll make plans on how we’re going to punch Lex Luthor in the face if he gets up to any shenanigans. Also, we can tie everyone else’s sholaces together! 😉
    .-= Thunderhowl´s last blog ..Thunderhowl: I get to feed starving people AND find out how bad my grammar is. *headdesk*It’s both uplifting and a kick in the junk! =-.

  129. I love your blog. I’ve been reading it for ages and you are a freaking goddess and have a wicked sense of humour. And even goddesses get anxiety and depressed. Don’t delete this post. You’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about.

    As you’d know, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune problem and the immune system interacts with the neurological system which the darn doctors don’t even seem to consider. I have some ick auto-immune problems and can be really sensitive to food or drink, etc. For years I’d wonder what was wrong because I’d get anxiety which ended up making me feel depressed or my ability to concentrate or speak seemed whacked out. I began to realise it especially happened when I ate or drank things that affected my immune system in other ways or my other symptoms seemed to be worse. I think having an immunological problem makes you more vulnerable to neurological and other effects. The worse substances for me: caffeine, alcohol and gluten. Which totally sucks. The gluten’s not so hard to avoid. The other two – hey, I try. The other thing is hormones. They’re a bitch and can make you feel like the end of the world is nigh. And if you’ve got immunological stuff going on I think hormones are affected too.

    Then there’s life. Hey it can be fantastic but sometimes it can just seem crap.

    The bonus of all this: it can give you a really whacked out wicked sense of humour.

    Take care girl. Warm baths, bergamot aromatherapy, find a door to kick in and get lots of hugs.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Side street hurling =-.

  130. You describe this so well, but I still can’t imagine how it all must feel. However I do understand the pervasiveness of it: how, when it’s happening, EVERYTHING is tainted but you can’t tell until it’s over.

    You’re a fantastic person, as all these comments attest. Victor knows exactly who you are, possibly even more than you do. He’s still here. Try to remember that.
    .-= blueskies´s last blog ..waking in the dark =-.

  131. Um, yes, sounds like me. Especially the anxiety. I’m shocked you enjoy being told to “relax,” though. When I’m having a panic attack, the worst thing someone can tell me is “relax” or “calm down.” Trust me, I wish I could! But it’s impossible – it’s not like I’m working myself up on purpose. Sigh.

    I’m just glad more people are talking about it, so hopefully it’ll lose its stigma someday. Did you read the article in the NYT?
    .-= K @ Blog Goggles´s last blog ..Orange: I give in =-.

  132. From my position, face down in the foxhole, huddling next to you in the dark, also terrified and weeping and fighting the wantneedmust to run out in front of the guns and be done with it… all I can do is offer you my hand, a touchstone in the booming pitch-blackness of the pit, and we can wait together for daylight and a ladder. You are worth that. On your other side is Victor, also silently holding your hand. He’s not in the dark, buried in the pit, but he’s waiting for you to lift your head because for you – for love of you – HIS pit is your non-OK-ness.

    God bless, sister Jenny – squeeze my hand if you need to, there’s a long night ahead.
    .-= EarleyDaysYet´s last blog ..Funny Videos on Funny or Die. Watch funny videos featuring celebrities, comedians and you. =-.

  133. beautiful girl, you described exactly what happened to me the other night.

    Only I didn’t know that is what it was. That was some seriously scary shit.

    The fact that you go through that all the time just makes me more in awe of you.

  134. Everything I could say has already been said (including that), but I wanted to make sure to throw my two cents in and let you know how very much you’re loved and supported.

    — JM, reporting from the hole
    .-= Jaka Merriman´s last blog ..Banned Books Week =-.

  135. I get both depression and anxiety. I’ve read many times they go hand in hand. Lately, I’ve been having episodes myself. Hubby tries to understand too. It sucks. There’s nothing else to say. Hang in there.

  136. I don’t get the panic attacks but I suffer from depression. Mine tends to be an almost daily battle. Medications have helped ease it a bit but still there are days I have to force myself out of bed. If you’ve never been in a depression you don’t understand. I want to scream when people tell me “just get over it” “just get up and do stuff you’ll feel better” or the best one “there’s nothing to be depressed about”
    Your post is great… don’t remove it. 🙂
    Hang in there.
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..A Few Things I Have Learned This Week =-.

  137. I know this has been said over and over, but I hope you leave the post up. You are an excellent writer and you have provided a valuable service explaining things that other people have probably not been able to explain to their loved ones or even to themselves. And I agree with the commenter who said that no one is normal. I just have to remind myself of that from time to time.
    .-= laanba´s last blog ..Photo Mojo =-.

  138. I hope you’re not striving for normalcy anyway. I would be afraid it would take your neato edge away. Normal is boring. It sounds as if you are dealing with your feelings very responsibly and have learned to recognize that these times pass. Sending good vibes your way.
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..Sunday Stash #9 =-.

  139. Thank you for posting this. It reminded me that I am not alone. I also suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ve never heard the symptoms described so perfectly. It’s terrible and my best buddy and significant other are the two ppl that keep me going. They never give up on me even when I fear that they will.

    Please don’t give up. You’ve touched my heart with this post. I, along with all of the other commenters, am pulling for you and wishing you well.

  140. Hi Jenny ….

    Just my two cents (along with everyone else’s…) – I have those days or weeks…we’ll just call them “bouts” where it feels like there is no place for me…but eventually I realize that if I didn’t feel that way, then I’m either pretending or I’m in denial…two places I’d rather not be. So, even though it feels like it takes a Herculian effort to drag myself out of it, that effort – in the end – always makes me feel more alive.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..tim got his 2 weeks =-.

  141. He won’t and you can’t! I can’t pretend to understand what an anxiety disorder feels like but I do have friends that live with that illness and others. You aren’t broken honey. You simply have an impairment that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. It sucks but it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. {{{Hugs}}} Jenny. You are a badass chica and I know many people adore you quirks and all.
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..What Not To Wear: Wayne County Fair Edition =-.

  142. Oh, Jenny.
    I am so glad I got to read this, and I hope you don’t delete it.
    I wish I could teleport to your side and give you a hug right now.
    I have a pile of mental illness diagnoses myself: PTSD, panic disorder, severe depression specified as with psychotic behavior (that last one is my favorite, how cool does that sound?). I wish I could be there with you in a restaurant or at a party or wherever and help you get the hell out of there when you need to. Or at least share my xanax/klonopin with you. I read this and feel a connection like these 200-odd people commenting above be don’t know what they’re talking about. I understand Jenny, I really, really *get this*, and we should totally be BFF, damn the hundreds of physical miles between us.
    When you posted about BlogHer, you offhandedly mentioned that you had a panic attack during dinner and had to leave and return to your hotel room and hide under the desk, and my first thought was that I wished I had been with you, or been your roommate, so I could have helped.
    I’m “graduating” from the Intensive Outpatient Program at a local mental hospital in two weeks. I’ve been in it for a little over nine months trying to get a hold of myself. I was full time for the first month, and now just the mornings as I work in the afternoons. Soon I’ll be down to “just” my weekly individual therapist and my psychiatrist. And yet often I don’t feel like I’m any less crazy; just like I have learned to fake it better.
    Anyway, this is getting long and rambling. I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone, and that any time you offhandedly mention a panic attack or depression or any of it, I notice, and my heart breaks a little because you don’t even know me, and I wish we did know each other, because I’ve been there many times, and will continue to fall into the hole and have panic attacks at car washes (I fucking hate car washes).
    I know there are hundreds of people commenting above me and offering their friendship and support, and I know you have your own support circle of friends and family, but if you want to add a crazy chick from Chicago to that list, my contact info up there shows you how to find me.
    .-= Annabelle´s last blog ..Oh, Hey, I Have a Blog! =-.

  143. Jenny … see what people like you do? You blog your Soul, man. You make people feel less alone, and more connected to humanity. That’s all any of us ever want. I truly hope you feel better … hopefully buoyed, by all the collective comments.

    Now, as for this “normal” …. during one of my first NA meetings, this guy was like, “There’s no such thing as normal! The only place you find normal is on a dial on a washing machine!” Than he laughed so hard at his own joke. I was thinking … seriously dude? I’m-a letchu finish I’ll just grab some smack first so I can laugh at your lame arse.

    But, turns out he was right. There IS no such thing as normal.

    Thank fuck.
    .-= edenland´s last blog ..Love and Pain and Truth =-.

  144. Jenny, I’ve joked about this before, but honestly you are a huge beacon of hope to someone like me who struggles with many of the same issues – more constant, lower intensity anxiety than panic attacks, and depression that, like yours, comes and goes with no warning or reason. I’ve had two episodes that lasted over six months each, been hospitalized, and come out the other end – but its the little episodes that kill me, that make me feel like I’ll never get better, never be normal. Your sense of humor gives me perspective on this madness, your incredible daughter gives me hope that I might not screw up any kids I have any more than parents without this shit, and your husband, well, mostly just makes me jealous! Thank you for writing honestly about these things, it’s really important.

    PS: I’ve been writing about the depression on my own website, I’d really love it if you’d take a look.
    .-= Bekka´s last blog ..Jewelry =-.

  145. From one broken person to another, thanks.

    I’m so sorry you’re in this much pain. So sorry, and I wish none of us would have to go through this. I still don’t get why I do, and I why I feel so ineffectual and broken and weak because I can’t navigate through life like everyone else.

    But it does help a bit to know that it’s not just me, I’m not such a freak.

    So, thanks for sharing and thanks for, in other occasions, making me laugh so hard I forget, for a few instants just how defective I am.

    You are wonderful, and he obviously loves you and sees the good, even when you don’t. Don’t believe in anything else.

  146. I can’t add anything better than the comments before me, but I can add TO them and let you know, for the 195th time, that friends and strangers all appreciate, love, and support you.

  147. Next visit to the doctor for meds? You make Victor go with you. You need each other. Especially at times like that. If the doctor explains, then it’s not “just you.” It’s organic, Jenny. You have no control over the chemical releases in your brain, and Victor loves you enough to try to understand that. Who ELSE is going to make him Burberry butter?
    .-= Middle-Aged-Woman´s last blog ..Torturing the Children Through Song =-.

  148. I couldn’t read this whole post. Those symptoms I read you start to describe. I know them. So much so, that just reading about them makes my fingers dumb and my head cloud up and separate, and I had to stop, just so I could stay present today, in myself. I never know how to write about anxiety in a way people who doesn’t have it will ever understand. I have the same type of wonderful husband, he sits with me in our bed, tapping his fingers along my skin so that I still know I am there….alive. Because, well, it’s all he CAN do.

    It’s a great post.
    .-= Brittany´s last blog ..Driving Miss Crazy. Ok, that is the most hilarious blog title ever. It’s actually getting less and less funny as time passes, and I would change it, but titling my posts is my worst skill. Next to softball. =-.

  149. Dear Jenny,
    My 15 year old daughter and I read your blog together and wanted you to know how much you mean to both of us. Not only do we laugh together while reading, we don’t go a day without a secret *wink* wink* nudge* nudge* each time we sear/hear William Shatner, Tim Gunn, a GPS, and so on, and so on… Incidentally, this is pretty much the ONLY time my kid talks to me, other than asking for money. And since 15 year olds don’t listen to their moms, I’m especially grateful for your advice column teaching her how to deal with creepy stalker types. She was impressed enough with your wisdom to share it with her entire Girl Scout troop. They may want to send you cookies.
    Please know that when you don’t post for a few days, we figure you aren’t feeling well, and we think about you and your family every day and send you cosmic good wishes. We love you (in a non-creepy, non stalker way)
    Lib and Katie
    .-= The Lunatic in the House´s last blog ..The appropriate response =-.

  150. You’ll never be normal. That’s why everyone loves you to the kind of stalkery degree that they do.

    That being said, it can be debilitating. It’s humiliating. It physically hurts. Don’t ever be afraid to share it with the anonymous internets. The people here can be a wealth of information and, barring that, they will understand or make you laugh or let you know… you aren’t alone. It’s one of those times when it’s not awesome to feel like a one-of-a-kind precious snowflake. And you aren’t. You’re amongst friends, albeit crazy friends.

  151. What an excellent description. From someone who suffers from GAD and OCD and will be on medicine even when I’m in heaven, I do believe. I have also dealt with depression before and that is the most accurate way I’ve ever heard it described. You, my dear, will never be given up on, by yourself or anyone else. You have too much to give. You’re in my prayers.
    .-= Kelley´s last blog ..Stop Him Before He Walks Out That Door! =-.

  152. Wow girl! Look at the LOVE displayed here for you!!! That was a brave post. Yeah your sick, but you’ll get better for awhile. You know the cycle. I KNOW the cycle. Keep fighting it. I’ll keep reading and leaving stupid comments. And Victor will be there. Bet, for a lonnnng time. When you feel better, I think you should write a stabby post, that always makes me feel even better. And you know its all about me!

    Just keep kickin girl. Lotsa people need you kickin.
    .-= peedee´s last blog ..From here to there and back again. =-.

  153. I admire you for posting this. I’m being treated for depression now, and I had postpartum depression a couple years ago. I like to be open and honest about it because it’s a medical issue, and the mental illness stigma is bullshit. People look at me like I have four heads when I mention it. I don’t mind, because I listen to lots of gory stories about open-heart surgery and pus.

  154. Dear Jenny,

    you don’t know me, nor do I actually know you, though I’ve recently discovered your blog and your wickedly funny brand of humor. Thank you for making me snicker every now and then.

    Do know this, though: like so many others here have said, you’re not alone in battling depression and anxiety – I’ve been diagnosed with depression four years ago and it still doesn’t go away. It has severely disrupted my life and fucked a lot with my mind and the worst is, like you said, because your mind *is* you, you can’t tell it to shut up and be rational and functioning and happy.

    “They are brilliant and amazing and forever broken.”

    *hugs you virtually* This.

    Don’t ever give up. Even if you’re broken, your brilliance and amazingness far more overweighs your brokenness. And there are people who see you as you are and who care for the whole *you*, even for the brokenness, for the jagged parts that hurt and tear.

  155. I forgot to tell you something– I’ve just been diagnosed with Lupus and probably would have been completely FREAKED about it… but I’ve been reading your blog and how you take all this shit with RA in stride, and with humor. BECAUSE OF YOU I KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT. Thank you for giving me a strong example to follow. I’m currently exploring what kind of hat to wear since more than half my hair has fallen out– I don’t think I can put up with a confidence wig ‘cus they make my head itch. I’m leaning toward the over sized beret that the “alleged” anorexic holly wood stars (like Rachel Zoe and one of the Olsen’s) are wearing , because everyone knows that anorexics lose a lot of hair, so they would know best how to hide it. Hmm, maybe you shouldn’t approve this post… Anyway, I keep looking at your pictures.. the ones where you say your face is really fat and honey, let me tell you: It’s NOT FAT. You look wonderful. Give me a couple more weeks on Prednisone and I’ll show you some fat as a baby’s rump cheeks. ~Lib
    .-= The Lunatic in the House´s last blog ..The appropriate response =-.

  156. I know this is going to sound cliche, but this post made me cry. I relate to every single thing you wrote about your panic attacks. I know how bad it is and I have tried to put it into words, but it’s difficult to explain to people who don’t get it. But I get what you wrote. It’s a horrible thing to experience. Probably the most horrible thing I have ever experienced, and people like us have to experience this horrible thing on a completely random basis. It’s terrifying. I’m sorry you have to go through it.
    .-= sanya´s last blog ..On Relationships =-.

  157. I’ve had mild bouts of both depression and anxiety attacks, but nothing like you describe. Even so, I do understand the feeling of helplessness; the feeling of “this is something I should be able to talk myself out of…”

    You are right; you can’t will yourself out of an attack any more than you can will yourself out of arthritis, a broken arm, or the flu. If only it were that easy.

    I’m glad your meds help some. I hope you are able to recover completely someday. You are truly one of my very favorite writers ever.
    .-= N´s last blog ..Probably My Worst Post Ever =-.

  158. This is not my comment, sweet woman, this is just fuel for the discussion:

    Panic Attacks and Kindling: Building a Different Fire

    First of all, this isn’t going to be a discussion of how to build a fire. Uh no, this is a review of a fascinating physiological phenomenon that I consider a physical contributor to panic attacks and anxiety. And that’s because the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, is highly susceptible to the effects of kindling. Now, before we get to work I want to make sure you know that I’m going to be cramming thirty pounds of information into a five pound bag. Okay? Well, let’s get busy.

    In the strictest sense, kindling is the term used for the generation of brain seizures by electrical stimulation. The pioneer of kindling, Canadian scientist Dr. Graham V. Goddard, believed kindling is a process of “message formulation” induced by repeated natural electrical stimulation of small and selected groups of brain cells. Now, scientists can also trigger these epileptic seizures in animals through repeated mild electrical stimulation of deep-brain structures. Curiously, as this electrical stimulation commences the effects are barely noticeable. However, sensitivity to the stimulation intensifies with repeated administration, ultimately leading to the animals seizing spontaneously. Yet, in spite of all this electrical zapping and seizure activity, physical damage to the brain is undetectable.

    In the real-life world of brain physiology, chronic life-stress can generate kindling-like stimulation with accompanying mental, emotional, and physical manifestations. Drug abuse and withdrawal, particularly involving alcohol and cocaine, can as well. This expression of kindling is of great significance to depression and bipolar sufferers, as it appears to stimulate and exacerbate mood cycling both in the immediate and down the road. Indeed, a specific life-stressor may initiate the kindling process with no symptoms in the present, only to have expressions of mood cycling pop-up later in life without the influence of a specific stressor. Now, it’s important to note that research isn’t suggesting this is a matter of having actual epileptic seizures, as we traditionally know them. It’s more an issue of a similarity to the strictest definition of seizure-generating kindling we reviewed in the second paragraph.

    Okay, let’s bring this kindling business to the panic and anxiety section of the stadium. Kindling can play a mean tune on our limbic system, in particular the amygdala. And this results in the generation of a whole lot of fear and anxiety. At the beginning of this discussion we talked about how electrical stimulation of the brains of laboratory animals generated barely noticeable seizures in the immediate. But, we also learned that the sensitivity to this electrical stimulation intensified with repeated applications, and the animals ultimately begin to seize without any stimulation whatsoever. Well, chronic over-stimulation of the amygdala, or any number of our forged neural highways, may lead to a hypersensitivity to fear-generating stimuli and a propensity toward hyperarousal. Doesn’t that make sense? I mean, consider the scientifically confirmed dynamics of neuroplasticity, the notion that neurons that frequently connect tend to establish long-term working relationships. Well, I believe kindling and neuroplasticity sit in the same section of the ballpark.

    So, let’s consider a real-life example of kindling to bring the point home. I’ve written about our HPA axis and noradrenergic (having to do with the neurotransmitter and hormone norepinephrine) system in previous articles. As it applies here, let’s just say the end result of their work is the activation of our fight/flight response; and we become rough and ready to deal with the threat at hand. Well, research has noted that early life trauma may have something to say about how all of this works, and it’s thought to go like this. Someone who’s been exposed to such trauma develops a hypersensitive HPA axis and noradrenergic system due to their overuse so soon in life. It seems our bodies just weren’t designed to deal with excessive amounts of their secretions so early on. These secretions include cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine
    .

    So, as a result of being chronically overworked, these systems become super-sensitive and super-reactive to stress. And as the years go by, any exposure to stress, even in what would seem to be tolerable measures, only serves to agitate and exacerbate this already hypersensitive and exhausted stress response. Ultimately, one ends up attempting to live life as an adult with out-of-control biochemistry. And this goofiness well exceeds design tolerances, resulting in any number of physical, mental, and emotional outcomes; including panic and anxiety. Yes, in this case, early life trauma, and its snowballing biochemical fallout, actually alters neurophysiology in the immediate, as well as stimulating psychopathology in the future. That said, kindling must be considered a significant biological contributor to panic attacks and anxiety.
    .-= La Framéricaine´s last blog .."Thank Le Camioneur for Small Favors…" =-.

  159. I hope you won’t delete this. This is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to what I feel being put into words. I have trouble explaining it to my husband so while he’s patient, I don’t know if he gets it. I don’t expect anyone to get it unless they live through it but your words may help him see inside just a bit.

    Add me to the count as being another “not normal”. There are a lot of us out here.
    .-= Call Me Cate´s last blog ..Breastseses =-.

  160. Long time lurker here.

    I understand the anxiety and found myself nodding my head along with every sentence you wrote about it. Mine came about last year, and there are days that I feel no one understands why or how I go into panic mode and they just sort of give me the , “Oh, you’ll be fine” spiel. I find myself agreeing with them rather than screaming, “Look bitches, if you had this shit, you wouldn’t be so fucking condescending about it!”

    {{{HUGS}}} Ms. Bloggess. I know what you go through.

  161. I appreciate you sharing, if for no other reason than you’ve put it so much more eloquently than I ever could. You do what you need to do and we’ll be here when you’re good to go. But do what’s best for Jenny first.
    .-= Ed´s last blog ..Curses! =-.

  162. Oh Jenny, you put it into words perfectly! I don’t have the tunnel vision depression like you do, just the regular kind, but I do have the anxiety. I know EXACTLY what you mean about social situations and rushing out, then feeling embarassed and out of control. You are almost poetic in how you describe it. It’s like you’re inside my head! Wait…you’re not inside my head, are you? j/k. After all, our names are both Jenny. That practically makes us twins. At least that’s how it works in Iowa.

    Take heart in this: think about the percentage of the population who suffer from anxiety disorders and then apply that to any public setting. Chances are, a good portion of people aren’t looking at you thinking “mental chick.” They’re thinking, “oh no, I wish I could help her without seeming like a psycho” or “I should distract attention away from her” or “I wonder if she has a person looking out for her right now, making sure she doens’t drive home.”

  163. Thank you so much for sharing. My husband suffers from panic attacks very often. He never explains to me what he is going through and reading this I understand just a little more. It made me cry, especially the end, those last few sentences. His is related to the military and the war, I will always support him and I hope he knows I will always be there for him. Thank you so very much…

  164. I’ve always been a highly emotional person, but I’d never suffered actual depression until I started taking a prescription sleep aid (for my chronic insomnia… I’ve also suffered anorexia and bulemia… we ALL have our issues). I felt like Harry Potter’s dementors had come to life and sucked all the happiness out of the world. Nothing was worth doing and I truly believed that everyone in my life, from my fiance to my cat, would be better off if I weren’t around. I thank god that it went away as soon as I stopped taking that medication, beacuse I didn’t have the strength to live with it. My heart breaks for you for having to live with this. I wish I could take some of your burden.

    Thank you for sharing this, even if you decide to take it down later.

  165. Jenny, I had a dream you and me and my brother were talking on a porch. You were completely fine. If you want, you can hang out in my dreams whenever things get tough. Plus, you get to fly without an aircraft. It’s awesome.

  166. He won’t and you won’t. You put into words so well what more than a few people in my life suffer from, and as much as I’ve always wanted to, I don’t truly ‘get it.’ It’s nice to have more insight. What could your husband (or anyone) do more? To be more helpful?
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..Of Surgery and Swooning =-.

  167. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me it’s going to be okay, or to distract me before I got into a full attack. Sometimes I need to be alone. Sometimes I need to have someone force me to *not* be alone. There really aren’t any good answers aside from letting the person know you don’t judge them. That’s why I try to just tell people what I need when it happens and hope they forgive me for being so crazy afterward. I’m very lucky. They always do.

  168. Thank you for describing something I could never describe. I’ve tried to tell the people closest to me when I go into depression the world actually loses color and I see everything in sort of dull gray/monochromatic and everything losing focus. And the anxiety… all the weird tics that come with it. I’ve been with my husband long enough that if he sees me raising my arm over my head, cocking my head to the right and yawning/sucking in as much air as I can – he knows I’m having a panic attack and trying to trick my body back into rhythm. He doesn’t tell me to “Just breathe” anymore. I can’t go anywhere without thinking at least once what it would be like if I totally lost my shit in front of everyone. I used to feel like I was the Tazmanian Devil and the world was in slow motion… and I was just cycloning (New verb!!) through everything. ((hug))
    .-= Gwen´s last blog ..Yeaaaaaa. I’m 15. =-.

  169. My husband deals with anxiety & depression. He’ll go for months & be fine. Then it all changes. It’s so much harder with a kid too. But I’m not giving up on him, just like I’m sure Victor won’t give up on you.

    Take care of yourself, lady. Big Internet hugs to you.
    .-= cindy w´s last blog ..on gun control =-.

  170. Wow. That is exactly how I would describe my depression and anxiety, and I have never been able to fully explain it to my husband, so I’ve never felt that he really understood. There was a time when he got it and knew how to help me avoid triggers, but now with three kids the focus is never on ME so it seems to be happening more and more often.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and being open. I saw on Twitter that you thought about taking this post down. Please don’t. You help a lot of people when you open up and share yourself. We all do. That’s the beauty of blogs, these are real people having real experiences.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Meal Planning Monday: Swine Flu Edition =-.

  171. Since I don’t have a tenth of the writing talent you have, I’ll keep it simple:

    Please don’t delete this post. Your eloquent description is a great way to “let people into” this bastard of a disease (I was diagnosed with major depression first in 1998).

    Normal is boring. Normal is going through life as a drone, and not making people laugh on a daily basis. I wish for you to be WELL, not “normal.”

    I wish I could offer more. I know we’ve never met, and may not ever, but HUG HUG HUG.
    .-= Jennifer Mathis´s last blog ..This is going somewhere dark and creepy…and I kinda like that. =-.

  172. I like to describe depression in one way.
    You’re walking along a beach, happy as can be, or maybe not happy, but content. But without knowing it, someone has dug a huge hole, and you fall into it. No one else sees you fall, but you’re stuck down there, you can see out, but can’t pull yourself out. Without help.

    I’ve fallen into the hole so many times, in the past, that now I can see the shovel marks and have learned how to side step most of the holes. Sometimes I merely trip and sprain an ankle, but I don’t end up in the hole, in the dark, panicking. Most of the time.

  173. Seriously, my mom could have written this whole post. I nursed her through one of the scariest things our family has ever been though. She is our glue and one day, she just became unglued. And you are right. Some people think this is something you can just shake off, rub some dirt on it, walk it off. Hey buttmunch, tell your wife to walk off her diabetes. How about you rub some dirt on your erectile dysfunction.

    You are very brave, and you are not alone. We have a history of mental illness in my family. And there is a history on my husband’s side as well. My kids don’t have a chance in hell. That scares the shit out of me.
    .-= LizzB (@hereslizz)´s last blog ..It’s Because I’m Old Isn’t It? =-.

  174. I think we’re all striving for normal. I don’t think a single one of us will ever get there. And that’s okay. Normal is a fallacy. But hopefully knowing that you are SO not alone in this makes things a wee bit better.
    .-= Just Shireen´s last blog ..Friday Night Bites =-.

  175. I understand your frustration with not having a concrete reason for why these things happen. Without something to point your finger at, you can’t fix the problem. You can’t eliminate the source of anxiety or depression; you can only treat the symptom. My pet peeve is when someone asks, “Why are you so depressed?” They want an explanation and can’t accept it when I matter-of-factly reply, “I just am.”

    I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. I’ve grown so accustomed to my miswired brain that medication actually makes me feel off-balance! This is how we are. Being wonky is our “normal.” We’re not broken. We’re just put together differently, like the creatures in the Land of Misfit Toys. Embrace it. That doesn’t mean sink into it and curl up with it like a fuzzy blanket. It just means accept it as part of YOU, and learn to appreciate and respect it. My depression does not define me any more than the fact that I like sushi defines me. Without these issues (I prefer to call them “quirks”) we wouldn’t be who we are and where we are today. The fact that you live with this makes you stronger than those who don’t; the fact that you can open up and offer us such a raw glimpse into yourself makes you a fucking superhero. Now all you need is a confidence cape to go with the wig!

  176. Just about every day, I wish that I could just be.

    I wish I could just do the things I need to do and LIVE my life without looking over my shoulder to see exactly how far away the monkey is from my back. On good days, I feel brave. On bad days, my 39 years feel more like 99 and I’m sure that life will swallow me whole.

    Normal people don’t think like this. They certainly don’t give a second thought to taking a drive on the weekend, planning a trip, or doing anything spontaneous. They just do. They enjoy. They live. I wish and hope that one day I won’t have to write ridiculous lists and obsess over miniscule details before I feel calm enough to attempt something outside of my day to day routine; my safety zone.

    I’ve had a panic disorder and lived under the crushing restrictions of agoraphbia so long I’m sure I too will never have what I wish for and be ‘normal’. But there are still times when I have faith that it won’t all be awful forever. Those are the times I find courage to take a big step forward. And knowing that people like you, who I admire and look up to… also struggle with similar demons?

    Those are the times when the monkey fails at bringing me two steps back.

    Thank you. Feel better.
    .-= karen @agentninety9´s last blog ..I Wasn’t Raped Once. =-.

  177. I’ve been staring at my computer trying to think of something to say here, or to you on Twitter, but I can’t seem to put my thoughts together about depression and anxiety as you have here. However, what I do want you to know is that all of the kind words you have received here? I bet there are at least 5 times as many people who were also helped by your post that can’t/won’t comment. I know that you are hurting, but it’s sharing like this that let’s us know that we aren’t crazy or abnormal, this happens to other people too. The world isn’t ending because we’re having an anxiety attack or a depressive episode. People everywhere are dealing with this and yet the world keeps turning.

  178. When I lived ever-so-briefly in Texas, I lived in an industrial part of town (artist lofts, cheap rent) and had no car. I incredibly distraught over the total lack of growing things in my immediate environment. No trees, no grass, no plants, anywhere. The parking lot of my building was old and cracks ran across it and I started tending the stray tendrils of rogue grasses that grew up through the cracks, watering them, sitting out on the asphalt every day just to be next to those luminous, green, vibrant blades.

    So you’re cracked in this way (and so am I) ~ and yet, you have the most incredible blooms growing from those very cracks. The genius to see a boob in a lawn mushroom. The talent to bring others, others who have never met you, to a higher, lighter place than they were before they encountered you. The strength to show there is no shame in being naked, as in this post. And so much more.

    The cracks suck. There is no balm. But I know I would never trade them, not if it meant I had to lose everything that is growing in them and from them and because of them……
    .-= Daily Coyote´s last blog ..Caption Contest! =-.

  179. Jenny pumpkin darlin’ sweetie woman-who-makes-me-pee-myself-on-a-regular-basis

    loving you all the more

    and wishing you a sackful of good health, happiness & great meds.

  180. I want to cry right now reading this…thank you. No seriously THANK YOU. It’s not as bad as yours…I’ve only had ONE actual panic attack. But now there is always this nervous feeling, this sickness, this awful feeling and I know there is NOTHING TO BE PANICKY ABOUT, but it’s there anyway. It makes me want to hide in my home and not go out and enjoy all of the things that I used to. I almost feel worse that it’s not as serious as most others…one actual panic attack? What the hell? I feel like if I was like you…more of the obvious symptoms I’d have more of an excuse to act and feel as I do. My boyfriend is so understanding, I say I’m sorry I’m always sick, sorry fun things make me so damn scared now…so sorry. My biggest worry is when he’ll be sick of it too. When he’ll leave for someone who can just let loose and have fun all the time with now worries. No panic in their stomach. Thank you for writing this. Thank you.
    .-= Jen @ lifelove’n’wine´s last blog ..Friday Fill-Ins – It’s Fall! =-.

  181. As someone who went through a serious bout of depression myself, I just want to say thank you. In the best moments of my depression I would never have been able to come close to opening up about it like you just have. You are braver than most and I hope that what you’ve written today helps others see that they aren’t the only ones. Also, your blog makes me laugh out loud (almost) every single day. Please know that at any given moment someone, somewhere is smiling because of you.

  182. First off – sending positive feel good vibes for you from Brooklyn. Kudos 2 you for sharing this difficult & way too often stigmatzed illness. Very brave. Hang tough.

  183. Thank you.
    I hope this episode goes quickly and quietly and you wake up in the morning and think, Yes, this is right.
    If it doesn’t, please remember that you are loved.

  184. Look, this is probably going to sound in appropriate but why add embarrassment? As you note, you have a medical condition. This is not the Dark Ages (really, it’s not) and (probably) nobody is going to be tie you down with stones to see if you float . Plus I hardly know you and I knew you had this and now more people know so let that part go and just cope as best you can with the matter at hand.

    Plus, let’s be honest, you can work this. There are a million authors but people meet them and it’s like, So-and-so is funny in writing but in person, ho hum. Do you think J. D. Salinger would have been so famous if he hadn’t been a recluse and had inappropriate affairs (wtf–he was a recluse!) that his lovers wrote about? Hemingway would have just been another guy writing books if he hadn’t shot everything in sight and raised 6-toed cats. C’mon. You see my point.

    Your problems make people love you all the more (200 plus comments & counting). Plus it totally lets you off the hook for people expecting you to be amusing in person. If I were you and by some miracle I ever got well, I would tell no one.

  185. Thank you for describing that so vividly. I appreciate your honesty. The depression I understand. And while I have anxiety in the form where I worry and analyze everything to death, I don’t get the attacks. I hope your world stops spinning soon!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Another week, another list =-.

  186. I just started reading your blogs in the past month and think you are the funniest woman I’ve ever seen. I wondered if there was serious side; if the constant hilarity was to make something else bearable; or if you were just the luckiest woman on earth. Sounds like there’s a little truth in all 3. Best wishes! Lots of people love you.

  187. I get depressed a lot. Not like you (anxiety attacks,) so I’m not going to pretend to understand what you’re going through. It must be horrible and it genuinely makes me sad that this happens to you. What I try to do (when I get super depressed) is remind myself that this is a recurring cycle and I always feel better in a few days. And in your case, try to remember this: Batshit crazy comes with the brilliant writer package. The way you perceive life is both the source of your depression and your brilliant comedic style. It makes you, you, and I think those closest to you know that. And when you’re at your lowest, take comfort in knowing that you hold the record for most broken laptops caused by nose soda. Meanwhile, comment 217 talks about my sister and I hanging out with you in her dream. When you get depressed next time, let’s hang out in my dream. I have a catigator named Steve and a house made of waffles. If that won’t make you happy, nothing will.
    .-= MayoPie´s last blog ..Whoopi Goldberg is an idiot =-.

  188. Sorry… I’m in jetlag, trying to take my heart attack survivor husband to cardio rehab and the PA in Cardiology… but who could fail to be pulled in by someone claiming that someday s/he would be “normal.” That’s a great line. Who could resist? Not I.

    I posted, earlier, a big blather on “kindling” because it is something that is a physiological phenomenon that is directly related to panic attacks and a vocabulary word that is, unfortunately, not on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

    I would like to applaud you for having taken the time during both a depressive episode and a panic attack, while dealing with RA, being a wife, a mother, a woman, and a human being simultaneously, to write about your experience of both an oncoming depressive event and a panic attack in concrete terms. In some ways, I am led to wonder if the unique experience of tunnel vision, as a symptom of a depressive onset, is not, in some strange way, a self-protective reaction on the part of both the mind and body. It would be a brilliant psycho/physiological adaptive measure, when you think about it. The mind and the body actively behaving in a way, spontaneously, to limit stimuli by shutting down your peripheral vision. A gift in disguise.

    In any event, Jenny, I think that it was very kind of you to have made the effort to share your experience of these two ongoing health challenges with others. I don’t think anyone could fail to understand more clearly, after your description of your own cycles of depression and panic attacks, their own episodes or those of loved ones, friends, or strangers.

    I have a large hoard of Clonazepam/Klonapin of my own at my fingertips in the aftermath of 19 months of forcing my husband to drive me to the ER with great regularity because I was convinced that I was going to have a heart attack and die and I didn’t want to do so in a house with a heart attack, elderly, beloved husband. The ER personnel very kindly, each and every time, told me that I wasn’t having a heart attack, however, they woefully neglected to tell me that I just might be having panic attacks. I had to figure that out by myself. On the way to doing so, the doctors tried to give me anti-depressants and I refused because I was not depressed. If I were depressed, I promise, I would take them. Finally, I called Dr. Richard O’Connor, “Undoing Depression” book & online: http://www.undoingdepression.com/, and he listened to me and suggested that I might be suffering from panic attacks and the effects of “kindling.” He was right and I have not been back to the ER, except once, in one year. I turned around and educated the doctor at my HMO, took 1/2 a .05mg am and pm for one month, and moved out of the worst part of the kindling effect. I weaned myself off all but a 1/4 of a .05mg at night, for the time being.

    Fuck normal. Keep doing what you are doing–analyzing, describing, articulating, sharing your own experience and setting up fail safes for your own best care and well-being. By simply sharing your experience you empower others to do the same.

    Reserve harsh judgment on yourself until long after the Fat Lady sings. You can give up, if you want to–for a minute, an hour, a day, a week, and then you can rise back up and continue what you were doing before you gave up for a time. There is nothing wrong with “giving up.” It is not synonymous with suicide, which is what most caring people fear one mean’s when one speaks of giving up. More “giving up” might actually prevent suicides. And, lest anyone think that I am talking out my ass, I will go on record as being the survivor of a mother’s suicide death by gunshot wound to the head when she was 58 and I was 37; a father’s suicide death by upper-GI hemorrhage due to chronic alcoholism; a sister’s extreme mental illness of 4 decades, a brother’s disappearance into Scientology and conspiracy theories; and my own dalliance with panic attacks, anxiety, and fear-based modus operandi.

    There are several books that I have found are full of shit:

    Undoing Depression by Richard O’Connor
    The Mood Cure by Julia Ross
    Depression-Free Naturally by Joan Mathews Larson

    Your commenters who have remarked about hormones are on target. Almost every woman going through menopause is going to be offered anti-depressants because the medical establishment is so utterly clueless about the extreme psycho/physiological stress that that transition engenders.

    Nutrition, meditation, medication, self-knowledge, communication, are all critical parts to maintaining your health, both physical and psycho/emotional. I love your blog work. I admire your courage. I appreciate your big heart. And Christ how you make me bust a gut with pure unadulterated glee!

    Amitiés,

  189. Hugs to you… I’ve been down similar roads. To me, panic attacks and anxiety are primarily physical. It’s like my body goes into this fight-or-flight mode, and my mind has to come up with a reason (no matter how wacky) to make sense of what my body is doing. Thinking of my anxiety as something akin to a seizure has helped me be kinder to myself.

    I’ve been on medication for almost 15 years, on and off. Last year I finally realized that I needed to stop messing around, trying to be normal.

    You describe short-term depression very well. I’ve only had to deal with short-term depression (usually brought about by lack of anxiety meds or lack of sleep), and even a few days of it were terrifying. I have great respect for those who manage to get through the black hole for any amount of time.

    Hang on to the hope — you’ve got tons of support here.
    .-= Aine´s last blog ..long time, and all that =-.

  190. I love that you shared this. I might repeat what some others have already said, but I don’t know what they said and don’t care. I have depression and anxiety as well. Part of my depression is a general lack of interest in things I like and a complete avoidance of things I didn’t really care about in the first place. Seldom have I read the comment section of a blog. I just don’t care. Sorry. Kinda.

    Your post reminds me of Tipper Gore. Minus the bat-shit crazy ideas she has about music. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a story about you and Tipper Gore having a Twitter cat fight, or something equally awesome.

    Tipper helped bring some attention to the issue of depression and mental illness. In my experience, people tend to think mental illness is someone with multiple personalities or Courtney Love. Depression is an illness. We are not depressed because of some event in our life that is causing us to be sad. It bugs me when people ask what am I depressed about. I’m not depressed about anything, I’m just depressed. I seldom hear anyone ask why someone has a cold. So, please don’t ask someone who is depressed what they are depressed about.

    The experience of suffering from chronic and sometimes debilitating depression is very hard to understand unless you go through it yourself. Watching the mini-series Band of Brothers does not mean I know what it was like to be in World War 2. The same is true with depression or Woodstock. You weren’t there, man, you wouldn’t understand. (I wasn’t there either, I was three in ’69.

    I don’t suffer from anxiety from the level that you do. I have had a few experiences that were close. One was in a restaurant as well and I just had to get out of there. Other times I have felt like I was going insane and that I would not be able have control over my actions.

    Some people think that drugs can cure depression. That is not always the case (Are you listening Mike Wallace, if you’re still alive that is, because not everyone can beat depression with medication.) I’ve had chronic and sometimes severe depression for the past eleven years. During this period there has only been one time that I felt great due to the meds. Unfortunately, it only lasted 10 days.

    One last thing…If you are against having health insurance reform/health insurance for all Americans, you should pray to the god of your choice that you never suffer from depression.

    I have been without health insurance for the past year. I rely on a mostly free clinic that is merely helping me from falling completely into a bottomless well.

    Jenny thank you for being brave and sharing this. Thank you for all of the laughs you provide. My depression often disables my ability to laugh. When I read your blog I know I won’t be able to stop laughing.

  191. “I know there’s nothing to panic about. And that’s exactly what makes it so much worse.”
    Yes. Exactly. Thank you for this post. I suffer from depression as well and so many of your words could be my own. But that above line really stood out. When I get “in the hole”, I hear words similiar to that, no need to panic, you have a great life, etc. And it makes me feel so much worse. I know I have a good life, I know I am lucky in so many ways, so when I feel like life is bad and I’m not lucky and then I hear those words, it makes me feel ungrateful, which sends me deeper into the hole.
    I am so glad you posted this Jenny.

  192. He’s never going to give up on you. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t be embarassed or ashamed. Let everyone see exactly what’s going on with you, and let them help, because they want to. It made all the difference in the world in my own healing. We love you!

  193. I know you have a list of people wishing you well, but I figure, every single one helps :D.

    Why have a blog (or 4??) if you can’t write about what you want to? I thought that was the reason behind owning a blog? Writing up your day to day life, because you need to yell SOMEONE about it, and your poor husband just doesn’t want to listen to you repeat yourself over for the twentieth time that hour (Or at least mine is that way. haha)

    I don’t have medical anxiety (though I suffer from the usual “Something Horrible is going to Happen to my Child if I Don’t go Check on Him Right this Instant” problems, and a definite Chemical Depression..) but my mother does. We don’t always understand what her triggers are, but we deal with it, and support her as well as we can.

    The point of that is to let you know that… well… If Victor hasn’t given up on you by now, I severely doubt he ever will. I mean, he MARRIED you, right??? He even had a kid with you! How better can a man tell you how much he loves you, no matter how crazy you might be??

    There’s not much we on the internet can do to make one other better, other than talking… and I know I have the verbosity of a 5 year old.. but I hope this helps….. 🙂

  194. As heartbreaking as it is to read this post (because I know EXACTLY what you are going through), it’s also amazing to see it spelled out to clearly. I’ve been having anxiety attacks since I was 13 years old, and it’s debilitating. I feel lucky that they come much less frequently and less intensely than they used to. But when one hits, it’s like this feeling that you can’t get away from, and it knocks me out. And the worst thing someone can say is “It’s going to be fine” or “There’s nothing to worry about”, because really it feels like my world is crumbing, and now I just feel worse for feeling that way to begin with.

    Thank you for your honesty, and sharing what you feel. I think you make an impact on people every day in different ways, and you are truly not alone.
    .-= Kristen´s last blog ..Fill in the Blanks =-.

  195. Oh lordy. I don’t have to deal with any of that in my own head, but that was just luck of the draw in my family. One genetic twitch to the right or left and I could have been writing this entry myself. But I don’t and for that I thank all the gods and goddesses available. I think if I did I would be wearing one of those victorian poison rings, the kind with a secret compartment, only instead of poison I would have my drugs in it there, so that they would ALWAYS be there when the need arose. You are one of the funniest people I have ever read, and I am so glad you wrote this entry to share part of yourself, and to let those who suffer the same issues know they are not alone. And I would seriously consider the comments of one of the other commentors about a link between your autoimmune issues and these issues. These things do not stand alone.
    .-= MidLifeMama´s last blog ..Strategizing =-.

  196. Wow. Its amazing how you are able to put these things into words. “I feel it build up, like a lion caught my chest, clawing its way out of my throat.” I could never explain what I was going through. The depression. The anxiety. All the things I dont remember. My friends now will tell me things and I have no real memory of the events or they are warped. My friends can comprehend alcoholism but not depression. I am so thankful that I have been depression free for four months now but every day I fear that I’ll slip back and restart the cycle. I have lost so much – family, friends, job, my love. I am so glad your husband tries to understand and loves you regardless. You are so blessed as much as he is. It is such a good quality to have – your strength and determination. Cant wait to read more of your blog.

  197. Jenny, I am so sorry you’re feeling this way. Like many of the other commentors, I’ve been through horrible, black, frightening bouts of the same thing. You are wonderful in your entirety, each bit of you balanced by the other. I love reading your blog because behind the goofiness and skewed humor is an intelligent, kind, creative, sweet person. That shines through so clearly. I wish you could see you as others do; you’d be completely smitten.
    .-= vakadesign´s last blog ..You are being shagged by a rare parrot! =-.

  198. I don’t suffer from these issues, but I have dear friends who do. Thank you for putting it into words. Keep writing– this stuff and your usual offbeat, faintly blasphemous, always screamingly funny stuff. And the sweet stuff about your daughter.

    Maybe one day medical science will catch up. ‘Til then, at least know that you’re not alone.

  199. Hi.

    I really needed this, I guess, because I am having moderate anxiety today. Like. The kind when you’re just walking to your car and you start crying for no real reason other than everything is wrong wrong wrong even though nothing is wrong? Yeah. So um. I know it’s not the same. But that lion is clawing at my chest too.

    Love,
    Meg

  200. You should check out Danny Evan’s (Dad Gone Mad) book if you haven’t. I read it recently and while it is from the male’s perspective and I have not suffered from depression or anxiety like the two of you have, it was enlightening.

  201. You’ll never be normal. You’re abnormally funny, abnormally good at getting lost, abnormally gifted at writing, and abnormally prone to depression and panic attacks. I’m abnormally short, abnormally funny, abnormally messy, I have an abnormal life philosophy, and I’m abnormally well hung. My wife is an abnormally good teacher, is abnormally poorly informed about world events, is abnormally easy to live with, and is abnormally concerned about what other people think about her.

    You have a physical auto-immune disease, right? It sounds like you have a mental auto-immune disease also. Your natural mental defenses turn against you sometimes. But your overactive brain also lets you be as funny and as good a writer as you are.

    Fuck, I don’t know, I’m just rambling. Selfishly, I really, really hope you’re never normal, because then you’ll be boring as shit, and right now you entertain the hell out of me. I mean, you wouldn’t wish normality on Nacy Kappes, Paralegal, would you?

  202. Those who love you, and even those who don’t know you are not embarrassed of you, they are hurting for you. They know the shame and guilt that you feel, and wish that you didn’t because you don’t need to. Of course all of this is easy to say and I’m sure the logical part of your brain hears all the well wishes, but it won’t change anything for you. I know that you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, have you ever had your vitamin levels checked? I have a chronic Vitamin D deficiency which causes severe depression and anxiety attacks. B-12 also helps with mood regulation. And I’m sure you know all of this, the chemo drugs are depleting your body of essential vitamins and minerals, but on the off chance your doc has not discussed this with you I wanted to bring it up.

    I can tell you are in a downward spiral right now, and that explains the last sentences about giving up, but I think it is really important that you recognize that things will get better, they always do. In my own life, once I understood that everything is cyclical it freed me to have hope.

    There is nothing worse than telling someone who is obvious pain to “relax”, my husband does it too and it drives me crazy.

  203. I suspect that Victor knows you’re flawed and loves you anyway. He’s a good man. He only half rolls his eyes when you put waffles in the butter container, leaving that plaid pattern. He helps you get home when you get lost. He keeps you away from the computer when he knows you need to be kept away. He is cool with a sno cone machine in the bedroom.

    I would imagine the worst of it is intellectually knowing that there’s no reason to panic and panicking anyway. I have mild anxiety attacks, so I know a bit of what you speak. I don’t want to seem patronizing or like I know more about it than I do, which would be condescending. I don’t know what it’s like for you. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish the best for you, that you find a way to cope. But you make lots of people happy. You make us laugh and we love you. I feel selfish sometimes, because I get so much from reading your site, and often feel like I don’t give back a lot of what I get. You give so much, and this post proves it with your honesty. If there’s anything I can do, I would do it. I really would. Please don’t give up. The world is a better place with you here.
    .-= Andrea/ShutterBitch´s last blog ..I Promise, I Really Am a Knitter =-.

  204. It is an interesting fact that only the most brilliant people have bouts of depression/anxiety- Abe, Steven Hawking- you and me! No consolation, however, to know this…hugs do not help, drugs do. It took many years to find the right one for me and i would be dead without it. It is not mental or emotional or a thing that can be shrunk- it is chemical , like diabetes. My vision narrows, too. Very dark place, indeed. DRUGS are a great thing!I think that we are just more sensitive to life than those who skate through never knowing this deep hole thing…we observe more, feel more, take on more even when not intending to. The vibes of despair just glom onto us…it could be Africa’s despair- or a war over yonder but somehow we get glommed onto when we are particulary vulnerable…just a thought…like I said- it is common with brillant individuals…
    feel better? Didn’t think so…get some drugs and ride it out that’s about all we can do. Know that you are in good company.
    .-= lindasue´s last blog ..Daisy wins honors CANINE FREESTYLE =-.

  205. I have a theory totally unencumbered by any medical or psychiatric training. And now that it’s on the internet, I expect it to be embraced as the absolute truth. So here’s my theory– the more brilliant and talented you are, the more likely you are to have your brain do crazy stuff. Fortunately, I’m not as talented as you, so depression only sneaks up occasionally and not too harshly and that’s only if I forget the meds. But seriously, most really talented and interesting people are that way because their brain is a profusion of synapses and unfortunately, the synapses can’t be turned off at will, so the brain goes into sensory overload, which isn’t always useful. But I don’t think I would trade it for having a dull brain.

    Thank you, and I will now accept my honorary Ph. D.
    .-= jcaroline´s last blog ..New Blog for Web Updates =-.

  206. *hugs*

    I almost cried! I don’t think anyone will give up on you though, you are too funny to leave behind 🙂

  207. Jenny, I’ve come to this conclusion: The funniest, brilliant-est, wittiest and clever-est people are mentally ill (oh, and the most modest, natch). Seriously. Girl, I’ve suffered from this shit for as many years as my mind allows me to go back and sometimes I think the worst part is the stress that comes from worrying about the people who are worrying about me. I hate bringing this down on them, but I JUST CAN’T HELP IT. I call it being in my black place (which technically is everyday because I’m black). I know I’ll always come back, but everyday I wait for someone who loves me to say “You know what? I can’t do this anymore with you.” It never comes but yet, I still wait for it. And you know what? I DID give up on myself. I attempted suicide on March 4th of this year. You know what was the worst part? Being in the hospital, wrists bandaged, watching those that love me, cry for me. I’m actually crying right now, thinking about it. Also, I worry that I’m comfortable in my depression. I worry that if I weren’t depressed anymore, who would I be? Then I worry that I’ll never find out. I have no platitudes to offer you. Depression fucking sucks.
    .-= dubiousMa´s last blog ..One Blog Washes the Other =-.

  208. I know anxiety. It has been the little devil on my shoulder since I turned 11. I’m lucky that my panic attacks are few and far between (they clump… I’ll get a ton in a short period, then none for a loooong time). But while depression runs in my family and I *thought* I understood what it was like because of my problems with anxiety and seeing it first hand growing up, it wasn’t until my first child was born and I had a full blown 3 month long bout with post-partum depression that I finally realized that there is nothing rational about it. At least you’ve done this enough times that you know you can ride the wave to the other side. Lots of hugs, and thanks for sharing. And please recognize that you are pure emotion during this time, and reality is skewed. As awful as that well of emotion can feel while you are in the middle of it, coming out of it makes everything seem so bright, amazing, and beautiful. Not that I’d ever want to go through that again, but oh my gosh do I remember the feeling of seeing things through normal eyes again… it was like an incredible reward for the suffering that I’d gone through.

    By the way, I did say that this runs in my family. I want to say kudos to you and anyone who is brave enough to get help for it. In my family, it was something you just dealt with and didn’t get help for. It was very hard for me to get help, because I’d always been shown that asking for help was a weak thing to do. Opening yourself up and being honest is truly a gift to others, as is the fact that you’ve been able to seek treatment for it. Trust me… growing up with a father who suffered from this for years and refused to get help for it, but lashed out at his family because of it instead… as a child I couldn’t understand that it had nothing to do with me. That little girl in me wants you to know that you are doing your daughter such a favor by accepting reality and dealing with it.

  209. You are an amazing writer! Everything you have written in your blog is amazing. The fact that you have shared your vulnerability with us is truly a gift and an inspiration.

    Having suffered from depression my self, I want to tell you how fortunate you are to have it affect you so seldom. Being able to see the light at the end of your “tunnel” is something most others don’t have, and another reason why you are truly amazing.

    I don’t have the panic attacks and anxieties like you do (my anxiety attacks are very mild), but my very best friend does. She feels the same way, she never knows what sets her off and (the control freak she is) feels helpless when she loses control. When she feels like screaming, I scream with her, when she feels like crying, I give her my shoulder, when she feels like the world is crashing down around her, I give her my umbrella.

    I’m the person who, when her attacks happen, I do whatever I can to take the focus off of her. Usually I’ll embarrass myself in some way or another to make sure that people are talking about the crazy thing I did and forget all about what happened with her. Then it’s off to my car for whatever catharsis she needs.

    Thank you for your bravery. Your words will help so many people who feel the same way.

    I am hooked on your blog and this post is just one more reason why.
    .-= OhSweetSara´s last blog ..Helpful Tips =-.

  210. Whether you leave this post up or take it down is of course your business, but I think you should leave it. You say this is unlike you, to which I say this is not one of your typical posts — but it is still you. Most of the bloggers I read have something they are dealing with. Hell, most people I know take something for depression or anxiety. Believe me, you ARE the American normal. Just… don’t give up.

  211. I know you are a complete stranger to me and I to you. But please know that you are appreciated and loved and this too shall pass. It is part of you and makes you, well, you. Wonderful, nutty, funny, off-beat, fantastically uniquely you.

  212. Thank you for posting and please do not delete.
    This post was an emotional education into your ‘disorders’ to any of us who do not understand, or who cannot relate.
    Thank you for opening my eyes.

  213. I am beginning to think Depression is a character trait in all of my favorite writers… and in a sick, sad way that gives me hope, because I have been through it and struggle not to fall back into it every single day. While I can’t relate to the anxiety (only sympathize because it must be terrifying) I know how it feels to physically feel the symptoms of a mental illness and how helpless you feel when you think people can’t relate or don’t understand. It is, honestly, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy ( and that’s saying a lot because I do wish things like herpes on them, but the face kind, not genital because that’s mean). Don’t be afraid of the serious posts. You’re a good writer whether you’re funny or not and I think your readers find your honesty refreshing.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Eliminating "I Can’t" =-.

  214. Great book called, Don’t Panic. It’s not patronizing and may be helpful. Helped my family.

    And I agree with Sumo, mental illness IS normal. You’re wonderful, Jenny.

  215. If it helps at all (and it may not) I think a lot of people have at least some understanding of what you’re talking about. I had an incident when my daughter got hurt and was being taken to the hospital – I started to drive to the emergency room and had such an attack that I couldn’t drive. I ended up in the median, looking drunk.
    The point is, don’t ever feel like you can’t just say “I’m having a panic attack. Talk to me later and I’ll be rational.” If they don’t understand, they will.
    Stay safe – and be thankful you have someone there to love you.

  216. I have never dealt with clinical depression, but I have dealt with severe and dehabilitating grief, and I just want you to know that even though depression (and sorrow of many kinds) is the most lonely feeling you can live through, we all, in some stage or another, wonder how long our loved ones will stick around, how long we can stick around ourselves.

    But you know? Love is more resilient than we can imagine. Even when we can only hold on to love for a couple of seconds at a time, it’s still there. I pray that you continue to hold on.
    .-= nakiru´s last blog ..danger danger will robinson =-.

  217. Thank you for this. For the heart-wrenching honesty and for helping me understand what it’s like.
    And may the two of you keep believing in yourselves and each other.

  218. There is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said by the 290 people commenting before me, but here is my personal “thank you”.You’re wonderful. There is a light at the end of that tunnel, & as long as you can see it, you’ll make it to the end. Shriek House said it best: “absolutely frayed”. Not broken. Not beyond repair. Just frayed. Don’t ever give up.
    .-= Ambry´s last blog ..Update! With Pictures! =-.

  219. This hurts my heart for you. The comfort is in knowing that this will pass and you will return to all that is good around you. Hang in there, kind soul.

    And keep up on your meds… this is what gets me through the day… that and drinking… or at least thinking about drinking… but I know better.

  220. I’ll never leave–especially because you write these type of posts. You are amazing!

  221. Jenny,

    Please please PLEASE don’t delete this. You manage to say so well what so many others feel, but simply can’t express.

    Although, the Tweets about sniffing the insides of grasshoppers? That was just plain weird.

    ~EdT.
    .-= EdT.´s last blog ..You really should read this… =-.

  222. Normal?? Who the heck wants normal?!?! We want YOU. As-is.
    RA sucks. Depression sucks. Anxiety attacks suck. But you? … you ROCK!
    Metaphorically speaking: no matter how dark the clouds, it does not rain forever.
    You’re loved, Jenny. Thanks for sharing. I hope you feel better … and soon.
    Don’t give up! The sun will shine again.

  223. Well, you’ve never made me CRY before. At least, unless it was from laughing so hard.
    This is a very honest, poignant, moving post. I’m glad you shared it.
    I haven’t had an anxiety attack in many years (knocking wood, here) but your description is very apt. And I’m both blessed and cursed with a husband who doesn’t freak out even when he SHOULD, so he doesn’t get it- but he tries. I don’t think he’d ever give up on me, and I don’t think Victor would either.

    Thinking of you…

    –Trish
    .-= Trish´s last blog ..Quickie w/video =-.

  224. I’m so sorry, I understand exactly what you’re talking about. I feel the shift in my moods and the physical symptoms that accompany and withdraw socially leaving my friends and family to wonder where I’ve gone and what’s wrong with me until I reappear. The perfect combination of meds doesn’t seem to exist but if I can feel the shift and manage it so that I don’t feel like giving up anymore, I guess that’s something. You explained it better than I have before! Hang in there.

  225. I have been reading your blog for some time and have never commented but I will now. I am 22, started having panic attacks about 3 years ago, and want to cry about how perfect you described it in this post. My (now ex) boyfried of 4 years never quite got it, he tried (bless his heart) but never completely got there. The worst thing for me was wanting someone, ANYONE, to truely understand how I felt at that moment, almost going as far as to wish it upon someone else, which is horrible! It is not nice that you have similar episodes but it is nice that I don’t feel so alone because you write about them. Thank you.

  226. Sending Hugs Jenny.
    Victor won’t give up on you and you can’t give up on yourself. You are a truly unique person and so damn funny, of course you have to have your vulnerabilities. We all do. You’ll get through this. There are more mushroom boobies to be discovered!
    xox
    .-= AmyBloob´s last blog ..It’s true, kids give you grey hair =-.

  227. Your talk about the hole is one I relate too. I describe it like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, down the dark hole into the other side. Everything is there but nothing is what it should be, it ‘s an illusion. Everything shifts, including how you see the world (literally both physically & emotionally). You don’t feel like you should & you aren’t sure if it’s them or you. Then you realize one day it’s you.

    It’s good to have someone support you, I’m glad you have that. I know I couldn’t get through a day without it myself.

    Thank you for writing this.
    .-= beth aka confusedhomemaker´s last blog ..Glamour, Body Image, and the Loving Your Body Revolution. =-.

  228. i go thru this too and what ive learned over the years being an artist of any kind be it musician or writer or painter is that with any gift comes the ugly…for every ounce of beauty on the outside of pandoras box the demons lurked inside waiting to be let out…and unfortunately i believe most beauty comes with the ugly. and depression and anxiety is the downside to creativity. im there with you. and so are others. that hole comes and you sit it out and then one day the sun comes out too.
    dont ever be ashamed at who you are and what you create for you are truly gifted. i read you every day and you are brilliant.
    .-= losttoo´s last blog .. =-.

  229. Hey, maybe this just means you’re a fucking artist! So you got that going for you…

    Seriously, take care.

  230. You were right,,,,geeezz such a bummer. I hope you know how much light you bring to the blogesphere ( I am kinda a blog virgin unsure of the spelling)But your rants are favorite of mine. They make me laugh out loud and for that I thank you. Let your darkside show some times . It obviuosly has a way of showing itself no matter what you say. Maybe you could get some darkside advice from Mr Vader there.You also need to know you are not alone. Mental ilness is also rampent in my family and fully getting lost in the throws of it while friends and family loose patience in me and all slowly leave me is something I ofter fear. I can relate. Please remember some of us need to hear your voice and the joy it brings…Thanks for all the yucks… Sarabeth
    .-= Sarabeth´s last blog ..I WON’T GROW UP! NEVER GROW UP! NOT ME! =-.

  231. 301 comments. Wow.. you hit a nerve. You did. Because I know, like so many others, I get it. I wish I didn’t. I wish you well. God, I hope our men don’t give up on us. And it does kind of add to the whole mysterious tortured artist persona, right? I’d trade it all if it meant less stress and confusion for my children though. In a heartbeat.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..I Just Got SERIOUSLY Pissed Off =-.

  232. I very much recognize myself in your post. Not the panick attacks, but the bouts of depression.
    I also try to hide it, the obvious parts. You try to be open about it, and you try to hide it.
    How logical is that?

    I also literally see things differently, although I just see mist. Mist in my head, mist around my happiness and mist around all things I love and hate. One big mist, as if a smoke machine has been blowing all my life.
    And I hope that the day after it will end, unless it’s already been a couple of weeks. No hope left then.
    But you know what? I always feel better sooner or later, and you will too.

    And just like you, I have a wonderful husband who sticks around. And I know it is because we give a lot back. My husband has to endure with me, but I offer a lot in return. From the peek you give us into your life, I know the same goes for you.
    Don’t put yourself down because of these ‘malfunctions’. This makes us who we are, and our husbands love us for
    it.

    PS: Sorry for talking about you as if I know you. Or your husband.
    Blame the wine!
    Good wine though.
    PPS: Feel better soon!!

  233. Wow! I, too, suffer from depression and you did an incredible job describing it. Don’t give up. Eventually the colors get brighter.

  234. While I don’t suffer from the exact symptoms you do, I also struggle with depression. Reading your blog (and a few others) totally helped me talk to my doctor about it and get medication. I feel better now, but still not 100% “normal”. I don’t even know what “normal” is anymore but I like who I am. I like me. Thanks for being a part of that and thanks for sharing your life with the rest of us. You are awesome.
    .-= PrincessOfForks´s last blog ..Life Sucks Or: Reasons why everyone is going to get stabbed. =-.

  235. Amazing blog post. Please do not delete it! You nailed it! Your post will help so many people know they are not alone!

  236. Jenny, I’m sure you’ll never read all the way down to this comment…but there is strength in numbers and I hope you see how many comments this post will get and know that that huge number is just a fraction of the people who support and love you, and who do understand.

    I try to hang on to happy and anxiety-free moments. My affirmations are: I am strong; this will pass; I have faith that I can handle this; I have support; I am strong.
    .-= Theresa B´s last blog ..My first decorated cake is literally a "wreck" =-.

  237. I read your blog every time you post and normally I don’t comment because I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say but when I read this I had to say thank you I have never been able to describe what happens in my brain very well to other people and have always felt very alone but your post shows that at least one person out there goes through the same thing and now I have a better way to describe what it is that goes on so thank you so much

  238. I hate – for both of our sakes – saying this but I am right in that hole with you. Except you can never be in that hole with someone else. You think you can do something together but you need to do it alone and get through it alone.

    In my hole I keep envisioning my car and an overpass and what might happen if I press on the gas a little harder. And then I tell my therapists and they change my meds and then I feel better and then I’m back to that car on the overpass.

    I hate it. It’s affecting everything and I, too, wish I could be normal. I wish I could get through a day and react to things the way others react to things. Instead of that there’s a lot of anxiety yet no crying. I’m just frustrated. I want to feel normal and yet I can’t. I hate it.
    .-= Heather B.´s last blog ..Jack Daniel’s neat =-.

  239. Thank you for this post. I started getting anxiety attacks when I was pregnant, and I didn’t know what was going on with me. I didn’t know how to explain it either because – sheesh! I was busy having an anxiety attack. It’s awful and miserable and yet so amazing to read all the comments of the people who also know how awful and miserable it is. It’s nice(r) to know I’m not the only one…so thank you again for posting this.

  240. I completely understand. You are incredibly brave for being honest and talking about it…gazillions of people deal with this, but DON’T talk about it out loud. You made me feel better just by sharing your raw and vulnerable thoughts…I hope you feel better soon.
    .-= Sweetest in the Gale´s last blog ..One Single Impression: Descent =-.

  241. The Love of My Life™ had Major Depressive Disorder.
    This year she thought she would do me a favor
    And take herself away from me.

    Don’t do anyone any favors.
    We choose to love you.
    Let us, goddammit.
    .-= Sharkey!´s last blog ..Coloring =-.

  242. You are amazing and you are loved. I have sporadic panic attacks at night but not serious attacks. I refer to them more as night-terrors. Fortunately for me, they are few and far between. I can’t imagine living with the attacks you and others like you experience. Know that you have people that love you and we will always support you.
    .-= Motherofthemonth´s last blog ..Prop 8 =-.

  243. Thank you for being my voice… I’m on my third brain tumor. Was told that the last one was going to be my last one. it’s not. It also exacerbates my fibromyalgia/CFS.

    Even though he is my best friend and husband of 7 months, my anxiety about being a vegetable after the next operation is causing the attacks that you so elequently spoke of. I have one thing that you don’t…I can’t control the scream. It comes and I don’t know I’m doing it. That scares people more than the anxious rush from the crowded wherever-I-am. He rocks me until I stop.

    Thank you for being you and saying what you did today. I’m sure I’m not the only one you helped to realise that we aren’t alone.

    :s

  244. I usually read you because you are funny, but today, I’m proud to read you as a fellow member of the anxiety community.

  245. <3
    Don't give up. You are amazing and we love you.

    The blogosphere makes the world feel much smaller, like we have friends out there that we've never met. Just thought you might like to know that even though you don't know me, I'd be your sanctuary in a foreign city and lend you and hand to pull yourself out of that hole. This time and the next time. Anytime.

  246. You are such a brilliant woman and if it takes a little “crazy” to have you in this world then so be it. I won’t pretend to understand how you feel but please know that we’ll all be there waiting for you when you come out of it.

  247. Jenny, you’re the sum of your parts. This is one part of you, sure. But there are other parts, other amazing parts, funny, generous, outrageous parts, warm, caring and loving parts, and when you add them all together, the crazy is just a small part. It is no doubt overwhelming and feels like the elephant in the room for you, but I would bet that’s not the first thing people who know you think about or see in relation to you. I remain, as ever, in awe of your humor and today, of your vulnerability, which is harder to share with us. Thank you.
    .-= Candy´s last blog ..America’s Least Convenient Bank =-.

  248. you are so, so brave and i admire you now even more, goddammit. i have similar condition- and i only got to close to writing about it once in a post about postpartum depression, and not with as much honesty as you. just know you’re not alone. i think it’s like this fine line between madness and genius that we mad geniuses have, or at least that’s what i tell myself, because it means i can maybe wear a cool mad scientist costume for Halloween. (plus I was thinking if I went full-on psycho and ended up in a straitjacket maybe i would have more hits on my blog.)
    seriously though? i just am sending love- to Texas from Maryland. You’re the best.
    .-= @marymac´s last blog ..GodSPAMIt! =-.

  249. Just hugs. Thanks for writing this. My husband experiences depression and anxiety as well and it’s helpful to me to hear about what he might be going through.

  250. Wow, the timing of this post was perfect for me. I experience the same thing as you on all accounts…not so much the physical tunnel vision…but everything else. Today my breathing has been very fast, and I am so agitated I feel an attack coming on. Hang in there…and know that there are people experiencing the exact same thing.
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..New Fabric Designs =-.

  251. Thank you. You described everything I have *ever* felt. I wish I could print this out and give it to people who have told me I am “rude” and “mean” or that I’m “overreacting” when I have a depressive episode, or a panic attack, or just good ol’ social anxiety around them. But I would have to print a lot of copies, because I’ve been told those things A LOT from A LOT of different people, so it would totally be bad for the environment.

    I want you to know something, too. The first night of BlogHer in Chicago, I was FREAKING OUT on the inside. I just wanted to HIDE. And then I found you in the bathroom, and you hugged me, and I knew that you kind of wanted to hide to, and I felt better. And I had one of the best nights of my life, following you around like a puppy dog, because you know how it feels, and I realized that we could be okay together. Thank you.
    .-= Ally B´s last blog ..The Importance of Good Goals =-.

  252. thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you for being so funny all the time and so honest this time. It made me cry and really helped.

  253. Too many people are relating to you and accepting you. It’s gonna make you feel too normal. You’re not. You’re totally fucking strange.
    .-= BHJ´s last blog ..Going Off =-.

  254. Oh Jenny, your post made me tear up in the middle of my work day, next to my boss, who is trying to ignore the fact that I’m reading your blog right now. Your writing gives all of us (especially the crazy ones) a break from the constant dealing with “normal people” who admire our brains when they kick their brains’ assess but judge us the rest of the time for everything, including the horrible painful shit, that makes us who we are. Your faithful readers admire your courage to be awesome and to be you, all the time no matter what. The feeling that it’s just a matter of time before you’re abandoned by the only person who really matters is the worst, most undermining feeling in the world. I know it. I really do. Please let yourself believe that he will never give up on you. You need to make Victor understand the depth of this fear. If he deserves your wonderful self, he’ll step up.

  255. I’m here. Suffering the darkness along side with you.

    Perhaps if we reach out in the dark we will find one another’s hand to hold tightly until we can see the light once again.

    I love you.
    .-= Redneck Mommy´s last blog ..Honesty =-.