The fight goes on.

If you follow me on twitter you already know that I’ve been battling off one of the most severe bouts of depression I’ve ever had.  Yesterday it started to pass, and for the first time in weeks I cried with relief instead of with hopelessness.  Depression can be crippling, and deadly.  I’m lucky that it’s a rare thing for me, and that I have a support system to lean on.  I’m lucky that I’ve learned that depression lies to you, and that you should never listen to it, in spite of how persuasive it is at the time.

When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery.  We call them survivors.  Because they are.

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate.  Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive.  We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors.  Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it.  Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

Regardless, today I feel proud.  I survived.  And I celebrate every one of you reading this.  I celebrate the fact that you’ve fought your battle and continue to win.  I celebrate the fact that you may not understand the battle, but you pick up the baton dropped by someone you love until they can carry it again.  I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger.  We learn new tricks on the battlefield.  We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them.  We don’t struggle in vain.

We win.

We are alive.

 **********

I wrote this post a month ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it then.  I was too weak from fighting to shout, and so instead I whispered this into the night and left it unpublished until I felt like I could speak to it with the battle-cry it deserves.  Years ago, coming out about depression and anxiety disorder was something frightening, but now people are more honest and open and so much of the shame has dissipated.  We may not have pink ribbons or telethons but we know that someone out there understands.  That is, until we’re honest about how it affects us.  I’ve never written about this because I can’t talk about it without it being a trigger but I think it’s important to be honest even when it’s scary.  Especially when it’s scary.

I self-harm.  I don’t do it all the time and it’s not enough to put me into an institution or threaten my well-being, but it’s enough to make it frightening to live in my body sometimes.  I’m far from suicidal.  I do it to self-sooth, because the physical pain distracts me from the mental pain.  It’s one of those things that’s impossible to explain to people who don’t understand impulse control disorder.  Honestly, I find it hard to understand it to myself and I’m working my ass off to fix it now before my daughter is old enough to see the things I don’t want her to see.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I am safe.  My disorder is fairly mild and is becoming more controlled.  I’m in therapy and I’m not in danger.  I avoid triggers and I’ve found therapies and drugs that are helping.  I’m getting better.  But I sort of feel like I can’t completely heal from this without being honest about it.  So here it is.  Judge me or not, I am the same person I was before.  And so are you.  And chances are that many of your friends, family and coworkers are dealing with things like this.  Things that are killing them a little inside.  Things that kill people who don’t get help.  Silent, bloody battles that end with secret victors who can’t celebrate without shame.  I hope that this post changes this somehow.  I hope that you feel safe enough to be honest about the things you are the most ashamed of.  I hope you have someone there telling you “It’s okay.  You’re still the same person to me.”

I hope to one day I see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle and that they celebrate the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.

I hope one day to be better and I’m pretty sure I will be.  I hope one day I live in a world where the personal fight for mental stability is viewed with pride and public cheers instead of shame.  I hope it for you too.

But until then, it starts slowly.

I haven’t hurt myself in 3 days.  I sing strange battle-songs to myself in the darkness to scare away the demons.  I am a fighter when I need to be.  

And for that I am proud.

2,643 thoughts on “The fight goes on.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Depression is so lonely, and the more it’s talked about the more we see it in others and feel less lonely.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I’ve done the dance with depression for years, and have almost committed suicide 6 times. I’ve been on meds for going on 12 years, and sometimes I still need to fight the battle, but I’m still here and damned proud of it.

    May we all rise up in light and love and drive back the darkness.

    Cheers,
    E.

  3. Brilliant. Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote: “If you are going through Hell, keep going.”

  4. As the mom of a teen girl who cuts herself and battles similar demons, I have to say I’m seeing this from a new perspective that helps me understand it a bit better thanks to you. (I’m not using my name to protect her privacy). Know that the ones that love you want desperately to make the pain go away and often feel helpless. Your courage to step forward and share your experience is inspiring. My sister and I are huge fans of your blog and you are at least a weekly conversation. If you only knew how many times in this world this must happen: a phone rings, is answered, and the words that scream out of the phone are “Did you see what The Bloggess wrote today??!! Hysterical! Go read it right now!” Everyone suffers from pain in some form at least a few times in their life, and you are there to brighten their day and make things just a bit better in their lives thanks to a good chuckle. I know you have for me during some very dark times. My sister preordered your book for me for Christmas and I couldn’t have received a better gift and can’t wait. Hang in there. We are cheering for you. No one deserves for this to go away more than you. Hugs to you.

  5. I have forgotten what it feels like to come to the surface for a breath. That’s how long this depression has been with me. It is exhausting, constantly swimming for the surface. The meds turn off too many feelings. I keep fighting, though. It’s all I know how to do.

    Be proud of yourself every second that passes. There are those of us out here cheering you on.

  6. Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more or respect you more than I already do, you go and do this. And you save at least one life in the process. I’m glad you keep fighting, because seriously? You make the world a better place by being in it.

  7. I’ve battled depression in my life and so far have managed to emerge each time victorious. It’s a terrible feeling to be at the edge of that pit and be afraid you’ll fall back in. I wanted to thank you for writing this post. Not only for what it means to me personally about fighting against depression, but also because I have someone in my life who self harms, and I’m trying really hard to understand her.

  8. I battle depression and anxiety. I come from an abusive and trauma-filled home and life. I have PTSD. And I am a former cutter. The way you described self-harm is exactly how I have in the past: I used cutting as an outlet – a physical manifestation of my soul-crushing internal pain. I beat it. I quit. But in my dark days, it’s still difficult to resist. To me it’s as addictive as anything else. In my dark days, I long to do it. I haven’t relapsed in a few years. It’s a struggle. But it’s possible too.
    Thank you for sharing this. Depression is so isolating. We all desperately need someone brave enough to stand up for themselves and the validity of our disease. You’re my hero today.

  9. Thank you for this. I suffer in silence because I work in an industry in which I’m supposed to have it together enough not to suffer. And the thing is, it’s a helping profession. Yeah. My new boss — who should know better –has even made fun of or spoken badly about clients and their depression. It is controlled and I will be okay. But we have a terribly long way to go. I think we need to start a silver ribbon campaign.

  10. From my personal experience, the self-loathing that causes me to want to harm myself comes from just one thing – separation from Self. Not separation from little ego self. Not inner child self, even. Self with a capital S. Until I began connecting with my spirit, my larger Self, Who I Really Am as a spiritual being, I was lost to endless self-flagellation and the anxiety that created.

    Twenty years, (yes, 20 years) of intensive personal and spiritual growth efforts and a LOT of help on many levels have gotten me through. I can’t say I’m all the way through, but I’m definitely traveling to the light and living a much happier life.

    God bless you, Bloggess, and everyone out there struggling to make it through pain. Don’t give up. Seek and find your Self. It hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s right there inside you.

  11. You are a strong brave woman to share this! Depression can be such a closet thing…one feels shame as well as the overwhelmingness during one of the bad bouts.

  12. Jenny, I cut myself as a teen. During my dark times I sometimes think about doing it again. The scars on my arms have faded, but I still know they’re there. Sometimes I feel like everyone can see them. I’ve quit a lot of things in my life- alcohol and drugs, smoking, etc. NOTHING was harder to stop than self-harm. I am fairly sure that if I hadn’t found a good combination of medications in my early 20s (and another set in my mid 30s when the first set stopped working), I would still self-harm. On the plus side, it has given me a good perspective now that I’m a psych nurse. We need less judgement and more understanding about this. I am embarrassed to say that while I am “out” about most of my mental health and addiction history with my coworkers and friends, I don’t tell them about the cutting. Have an e-hug from me. You are most certainly NOT alone.

  13. Jenny,

    THank you for writing this. Between you and JT Eberhard (yes, I giggle at his name, and here’s his blog http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd) speaking openly about your struggles, you have affirmed that my strategy of doing the same is a good one. I have the conversation one friend at a time, but I put it out there. Like so many others, I struggled with depression that had no name, no diagnosis, and no clue. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom, with my former landlord calling my dad and threatening to throw out my stuff that I found the courage and support to get help. My secrets exposed, my hysterical crying in a hotel room in Austin while my life fell apart in Chicago, the phone calls to my loving partner all helped me to realize the only way out is to talk, inform, and stop hiding. Sure, I have relapses, and the fears can become overwhelming. But I know help is a phone call away.

    Thank you for being a more public voice than I have the courage to be. You are truly an inspiration.

  14. A man I love very much just came out of a very severe bout of depression and I love that you put into words what he’s feeling inside but can’t express to me. I didn’t understand what happened, both during and after, but I get it now. Thank you so much for sharing this. You’ve helped me realize what I need to do next, and how I can support him better. You’ve sent me on the road to healing, a road that will allow me to carry his baton until he can carry it himself. I am eternally gratefull. Thank you.

  15. I’ve never had the urge to self-harm, so I can’t truly understand what you’re going through, but I’m here and I’m listening. Depression is a horrible bitch, and I fight it off myself, but I know that I have it easy compared to many others.

    You are amazing. You are brave. You are worth it. And if you ever need a reminder of that, I’ll be glad to provide it.

  16. This is why I love you Jenny! I have a pretty good support system as well but I always feel like no one truly understands the fucked up mess that is my mind. But whenever I come to your blog, whether it’s random shits and giggles or deep, meaningful posts like this, I just feel like someone out there knows exactly how I feel and is explaining it in a way I can FINALLY understand. Your blog gives me comfort that I truly can’t find anywhere else. Thank you so much <3

  17. We had a lock box in my house growing up where we kept all the knives and scissors in the house so my older sisters couldn’t get to them. Sometimes I think the only reason I didn’t turn to cutting when I had my own battles with depression was that I’d learned from my sisters how little self-harming solved. With a psychologist for a father, this was an issue we talked about. No one ever tried to keep my sisters’ problems from me. My parents understood that doing so wouldn’t protect me; it would just teach me that my sisters’ issues were something to be swept under the rug–that they were something to be ashamed of.

    From the help you give people around Christmastime, to having the guts to write a post like this–you just make me feel so much better about people in general, Jenny. The only way to fight things like this is to get them out in the open and talk about them, rather than shoving them away and shrouding them in shame. Showing that level of understanding is hard enough around just friends a family–thank you so much for showing it to thousands.

  18. I don’t know how to respond to this. I am so grateful you shared this. Thank you for your courage, your tenacity, and your honesty.

    Be well.

  19. I’m an almost middle aged male who cut himself seriously for almost 20 years, ending up in hospital to get sewn up on numerous occasions.

    Currently all my scars are white, rather than red or pink. I’m not proud of that really as I feel that if I ever tell myself I’ve won the fight, the demons will sneak up on me from behind and bite me in the ass. I think the key for me eventually was as someone said above, I grew to be able to ignore the siren song of the relief on offer from self harm. The longer I went without harm, the more the song faded into the background.

    I’ve even started to wear T-shirts on social occasions now, although I do deflect the questions. I’m not fixed nor do I think I ever will be, I’m just not currently broken.

    X

  20. I’ve dealt with depression since I was in 7th grade, I am now in 10th grade.
    I agree it is defiantly a battle and I wish it could be spoken about more easily. For me, it is extremely hard to speak about my depression and for you to make a blog about is amazing. I wish I could be that brave about it, I think I’m getting there but not quite yet.
    Things don’t just go away and it is hard for people to understand what you’re going through, unless they’ve gone through it too. I think that’s why it’s so hard to open up about it. It’s a time in my life I knew for me was the scariest . I’m still going through my depression, or at least trying to get better. It’s not easy, and as well I am scared I won’t be able to ever fully recover, but reading and meeting people like you give me a lot of hope.
    Thank you for making this blog, it meant a lot to read.

  21. You go girl.

    My sister has struggled with depression and self harm for years. I am going to share this post with her in hopes that she will find more support through people who are embracing “the new normal” as you call it. Keep fighting, woman.. we need more people like you!

  22. Thank you. My demons, Depression and Anxiety, have been with me since I was a little kid and I still haven’t figured out how to exorcise them from my mind. Perhaps there is only enduring. There are times when they seem just a distant memory, and other times when they are all I can see, hear, and think about. During those times, everything just seems bigger, bleaker, and insurmountable. During those times, leaving the house is a feat of strength. During those times, the dark gray times, the times when everything is just “meh”—during those times, your blog helps brighten the day up a bit. If I could afford a Beyonce, I would have one for my desk to remind me that at least there isn’t a giant metal chicken on my doorstep. So, I don’t understand exactly about your Demons, but I understand about mine. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for the humor.

  23. I took my first antidepressant last night. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this. I really needed to read this today as it gives me hope to survive it.

  24. I applaud you. I hope you never worry about dropping the baton. Your loved ones will do anything for you. Your wholeness and happiness is the most important thing in the world. Thank you for your honesty. I hope it truly helps you and others. Never stop fighting.

  25. Thank you. I shared this post with my husband because you are so much more eloquent than me at explaining something I’ve been struggling to describe to him for 10 years. Thanks to your words, I feel understood by him maybe more than I ever have.

  26. Thank you, Jenny, for helping those of us who don’t quite understand to come a little closer to understanding. You are all the more awesome for this. 🙂

  27. before, I thought you were this amusing, talented writer. After this post, I realize how wrong I was. You are actually this ginormous, 4D, awe-inspiring human being that can somehow reach into each of us and help us see others with kinder eyes. Rage against the darkness; the world needs you.

  28. I’ve been away for the holidays, so I’ve only just read this post. I applaud your courageousness & I celebrate your victory with you.

    Mental illness is debilitating. Sadly, I’m far too aware of that fact. It makes one feel alone, ashamed, and defeated.

    Please know that you are not alone—I’ll start wearing my silver ribbon asap.

  29. The one I love suffers from Depression. Sometimes I understand him better after I read your posts. It helps me be there for him when he wants to be alone but doesn’t really. That sentence seems confusing, but I know you will understand it better than anyone. Don’t give up. You have many people who think you are something special even when you reveal something you think is embarrassing, all we see is you and we like you…just as you are.

  30. I’ve been fighting depression and anxiety for years. And a lot of it, I’ve felt very alone even though I’m not. I realized that it’s OK to be me and it’s made me closer to some people, which has totally been worth it. But it’s scared other people and they’ve missed out on me because of it. It’s been bad this winter with my surgery and changes to my meds this year. I love you Jenny and I yearn for your next post every time I finish one. I’m giving silver ribbons to my friends for Valentine’s Day. From another Jenny…

  31. This is the first time I’ve commented on one of your blogs. You often have made me laugh very loudly in very awkward times, and I have loved that. Today you have made me cry as you touched me very deeply and profoundly. Thank you for what you wrote <3

  32. Such strength and bravery in your words. Keep fighting and we will keep supporting. You are amazing!

  33. I can’t thank you enough for writing this, and for sharing it. I know you’re overwhelmed with responses right now, and I don’t expect a reply; I’m keeping my comment anonymous partially for that reason, partially because I’m not quite as brave as you…. 🙂

    You helped me talk to someone last night, though, and I wanted to let you know that. Thank you for giving me the courage to talk to a friend and get some support.

  34. This will probably individually get lost in all the comments you have already received, but I felt it was important to write away. Sometimes what amazes me is not the content of comments (or review of stories I post online) but the fact that I’ve received them at all and just seeing the numbers gives me a happy glow that lasts.

    Jenny, I have always loved your blog, and through that love you. And the fact that you revealed something like this to me and all your readers makes me love you more because you made me feel important to your life. I remember the first time a friend in need opened up to me, and I felt so happy that she felt she could place her trust in me and feel like I could help her through things. We don’t know each other well, if at all, you and I, but yet I feel such a connection with you because of your strength. And admiration. There has been so many times when I’ve thought, man, she has an awesome life, because you do. You do all these crazy things, live life as you want, and have a supporting husband. And yeah, sometimes your life is awful, but you’re still so strong to overcome it, and I want some of that strength. With the good and that bad, you’re amazing. And always will be.

    ~Gwen Tolios

  35. I will, at some point, read every single comment on this post.

    But for now I just want to say a huge thank you for being so brave and publishing it and helping me and so many others feel a tiny bit less alone.

    I’m doing ok now thankfully but I do live in fear of things getting bad again. When they do – I wish I could say ‘if’ but I’ve been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was 12 – I know that I can come to your blog and read it and laugh and cry and escape from my own mind for a little while.

    Also huge hugs to everyone. Keep battling on!

  36. it didn’t take long for me to realize i’m not a happy person, but it took years (and i’m still learning) that i can be happy sometimes. it’s been 4 years since i hurt myself and i think about doing it less and less. and i know you can be there too. talk to victor, talk to your therapist, blog about it, just don’t keep things inside. and it will get better. i promise. 🙂

    look at all these awesome people that love you!

  37. I would just like to go on the record and say ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? …
    Oh and one more thing ?!!!!!

  38. I wish I could hug you. No one gets it. It’s not being an attention whore. It’s something you can’t explain. You can only live with it, feel it. It’s consuming. I’m still trying to weed through the lies. And I’m still trying to find a way to allow myself to exhale and find peace. If I could… I would… hug you… I’m glad I’m not alone.

  39. Sorry the hearts came out as question marks… but there is no question that love that I have for you and all that you go thru and able to share all that you do is truly AMAZING!!! 🙂
    Thank you as you truly can put into words what is in my heart but just can’t seem to express it as eloquently as you do!

  40. You’re amazing! Thanks for sharing your story– you make me laugh, you make me cry, & you put a real face on depression & anxiety. You give me hope for so many reasons. I’m glad you’re through this episode and feeling better.

  41. My wife reads you more than I do, but I see some of your stuff. I respect you greatly, and I just want to add my voice to your chorus of support. I also deal with depression and anxiety occasionally (as well as various physical ailments), and that you are this successful despite it is inspiring to the rest of us. Thank you for doing your part to remove the stigma and invisibleness that many of us feel.

    Thank you.

  42. You and so many of the people posting here are awesome. And tell that little voice in your head that doesn’t believe it to screw off- I’m entitled to my opinion, which just happens to be right.

  43. My friend told me about your website…I am so glad I found it!! I have never read a blog and would like to start one but have NO IDEA how…HELP!!! Your voice was like a validation for me, somewhere and someone who speaks truth in a sea of phony lives.

  44. Lovely, amazing honesty. You are a wonderful person, worthy of love. You are loved. Thanks for all you do to give a voice to the silent and suffering.

  45. I applaud and salute people brave enough to share with such real raw and relevant truth. Thank YOU Jenny. I have followed your writing for quite some time, and finally here I am to comment.

    My 15 part blog series “A Quiet Strong Voice – A Journey through Depression, Anxiety and Attempted suicide” chronicles the journey I went through in 2004. http://simpleeserene.com/a-quiet-strong-voice-a-journey-through-depression-anxiety-and-attempted-suicide and how I recently said to my regular bout of October depression – Bring it On!!!! http://simpleeserene.com/shine-bright/bring-it-on

    You are so correct in saying if someone battles cancer they are considered a survivor. The day WILL come that those suffering with mental illness will be celebrated – we are already, slowly but surely.

    Keep bravely stepping through, sharing your truth and reaching out for help.
    Hugs & Love
    Lee xoxox

  46. I am amazed at your strength and encouraged for others suffering. I lost a dear friend almost a year ago to terrible car accident. But she had lost herself to depression and mental illness long before that. She was trying to come out of that place when she died in the accident. My best friend lost her niece to suicide a week later. I applaud you for effort and persistence it takes to pull yourself out of the pit that is depression.

  47. Thank you. Words can’t quite express my appreciation for this post. You so accurately put into words what so many of us feel. Personally, I especially appreciate the comment about our loved ones possibly never understanding, because it’s so true, and so painful to realize, and now I know it’s a shared lonliness.

  48. The thing that constantly gets to me about your blog is that even when you are in the darkest of places, you have the ability to shine light on those who don’t think they’ll ever see the light again. It may not seem like much to you at times, but just through being honest and a bit fearless you’re changing lives. You’re amazing.

  49. Dear Jenny,

    Someday all the people you inspire will show up when you least expect it, bearing a smile, a bottle of Strawberry Hill, and and overwhelming urge to hug you.

    Until then, you should know that while you might not understand how or why, you’re an inspiration for a lot of us for more than a few reasons…and more importantly, I owe you a hug too.

    Keep shining sweet girl. It helps the rest of us shine too.

    -Tony

  50. Thank you for putting a voice to what many of us struggle with. You articulated it so well, and it makes me feel like I’m not alone in how I feel.

    THANK YOU.

    And I will keep you in my thoughts.

  51. I am the wife of a bi-polar disabled veteran with PTSD so I know the types of hurdles you have overcome and I applaud your courage and strength for standing up and sharing your struggles. You a wonderful (and hilariously funny) woman who inspires thousands on a near daily basis.

    I can not speak for Victor but hope I do when I say, as your partners in life you inspire and teach us greatly everyday. Teach us how to fight and love, how to be gentle and firm, how to seize every awesome moment in each day and how to just be in the not so great moments. You and everyone here who commented and took a stand against depression and other mental illnesses are heros and deserve each spectacularly perfect moment you are here! Much love and hugs!

  52. When I first read your post there were 1884 responses and I didn’t want to add to the ridiculous number, because I was sure you were going to read them all. I read the new post and just have to comment.

    Thanks, me too.

    The only sane response to an insane world is insanity. You and Emperor Norton the First show us the way to do it with style and humanity.

  53. Thank you for your honesty regarding your depression. You are to be applauded. The stigma around this particular illness will remain until others are ready to publicly acknowledge their fight with this horrible and, too often deadly, disease. I had two cousins in the U.S. I never met who went to those depths of depression and did not make it back. Both hung themselves.

    Stay strong!

  54. Jenny, sending hugs. I’m one of those other admirers who never comments, but wanted to add my support to the sea of well-wishers. You are so worthy of all of the love coming to you right now. Thank you for sharing your humanity with us and offering a voice for so many others who may be afraid. I sincerely believe that every day we come closer as a species to being able to heal each other, ourselves and maybe the planet too – look at the energy just present in the comments from this one brave blog post! Again, hugs.

  55. This is probably the most eloquent description of depression I’ve ever read. I really identify with the notion that depression seems more like a personal or unalterable weakness, rather than a clearly defined and treatable illness. That’s probably the most frustrating part about going through it: because of the mental location of the disease, the boundary separating it from me becomes blurred. The insidious, depressing rumination begins to feel natural and deserved.

    But she’s right: more people should treat it like most other medical issues. Pardon me for tooting my own horn, but hell yes I feel like I’ve beaten back something debilitating! Every once in a while there’s a little low point, but seldom have I felt as bad as I did before seeking medical help in ernest. For now, at least, I’ve won.

    I don’t want a pat on the back for doing so, but I would love not to have to put up with people talking about depression as something that’s not a “real” medical condition, that it’s all in one’s head and it’s a matter of attitude. No shit it’s in my head! That’s the worst place for an illness to be, and it’s damage is just as real as any more visibly apparent condition.

  56. I’m a fellow RA sister, and I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager. However, I wish I were as brave as you and could admit publicly that I have been suicidal since I was about 12. I failed a few times, and sometime in the last 30 years I came to realize that it’s a brain chemistry imbalance and that it will always be with me and that just because I have the thoughts doesn’t actually mean that I will ever act upon them. The thoughts don’t scare me any more, and the only one who really knows is my husband but (even though he suffers from depression along with anxiety) he doesn’t really understand it and I know it scares him.

    Every therapist I’ve had has flipped the fuck out when I’ve mentioned that yeah, I think of suicide frequently; but no, I haven’t attempted in many many years and I never will again because no matter how terrible things seem to get, life is just too damn wonderful to give up on.

    I’m so afraid of repercussions that I’ve sat on this response since last night, deleting and rewriting it several times. But here it is, finally.

  57. You are a strong, brave, inspirational woman. You are also well-loved by many…including us, your readers.

    Be kind to yourself. Give yourself the time and space you need to heal.

  58. Thank you. You are far stronger than you may think. You have no idea how what you wrote helps. Thank you, thank you ever so much!

  59. Jenny – your bravery is speaking to so many people, myself included. Thank you for sharing this. My boyfriend of 4 years has struggled with depression and anxiety the whole time I’ve known him. There are so many times that I just don’t get it – that I don’t know if I’m helping or hurting. This was a reminder that I just need to keep the course and continue learning about his illness. My heart is with you.

  60. Hey there lady – I am another strong one who is alive. I however have had the blessing of being introduced to CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Check out this book: Mind over Mood http://bit.ly/wQADuf It is used as a guide in my group therapy class. IT WORKS. I hope you see this comment.

  61. i get it. thank you. thank you for being brave enough to say what so many of us have been terrified to utter. you’re beautiful and amazing and hell yes!…you are a survivor and you will beat this. i did. and when the darkness tries to sneak up on me, i know exactly who to call. i haven’t had a “black night” in almost a year.

    *Victor: take care of yourself, too. prayers and love to you as well!

  62. I’ve been reading your blog for months but have never commented. I know tons have people shared similar things but I just want to tell you how much I love your stories. All of them. You are an amazing person.

  63. Mind you, I’m a random internet commenter. I don’t know if this will mean much to you, but I feel like I need to say it. You are a wonderful person, and I really love reading your posts. So when I saw such a somber post, I did cry a bit, from the truth of it all. It rang out in every word. A confession is, in of it’s self, a battle cry in my eyes. You are so strong, to be able to post this for everyone to see. I hope to be as strong one day when facing my own demons. Thank you.

  64. wow. you are an inspiration. thanks for your honesty and for shining light on the fact that we all share our weaknesses and shame. but can inspire each other to overcome. thanks.

  65. I’m so sorry you have to deal with such a miserable recurring illness. I think the bravest thing is to work not just to overcome each attack, but also to permanently heal not just for yourself, but for the ones who love you. My little sister battled anorexia, bulimia, cutting, depression, alcoholism, OCD, and on and on for years – until she passed out one night and drove under a parked 18-wheeler at age 26. She was a talented musician and a dear soul, and it was a huge loss for a lot of people – and running through her letters and diaries is the thread of her efforts to “get better” because so many people loved (love) her and were hurting for her. Despite her efforts, this world was too hard for her, but you are strong and you have friends & family including a little girl who alone is worth the fight – as well as thousands of fans 🙂 rooting for you. I know you can do it and so do a lot of others! (and could your recent disaster in HI have whacked out your hormones?)

  66. I have no words for how this made me feel. I am sitting here bawling, not because I feel sad for you but because I understand how it feels. It feels so very awful, so very shameful.
    You writing this has changed my life and probably lots of other peoples too. Thanks.

  67. Thank you for letting people love you.
    Thank you for helping other people find the confidence to love themselves.
    Nothing is too weird, too insurmountable if we just talk about it out loud. You are stripping it of its power and for that I am so grateful.

  68. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t have Beyonce. Some days, and I really mean this, Beyonce is the only hope I have. It’s the only thing that distracts me from myself, and that is so precious to me.

    Thank you for fighting. Thank you for winning. And thank you for telling us about it. <3

  69. I can only say thank you. You give hope to many. Still looking for that light but with your true words I will keep looking, hoping.

  70. I am so humbled and grateful for your courageous blog. I immediately thought how inspiring and reassuring your blogs will be for the clients who I am honored to spend my days with, as we sort through the darkness.

  71. Thank you for posting this. Your honesty and courage is an inspiration. Facing the scary stuff, putting it out there is so, so hard. But shining the light on it is the right thing to do. Make it shrink back in fear as it is exposed for the demon it is. Stay strong, keep fighting. You have many sisters and brothers in this battle.

  72. Get ’em tiger! Depression is such a mysterious taboo topic and you are very brave for discussing it in an open forum. Continue to heal and please continue to write!

  73. You is kind.

    You is smart.

    You is important.

    -Abilene

    That was a beautiful and moving post. Thank you for speaking up, my best friend committed suicide in 1999; we only found out about her depression after her death. If she wouldn’t have hidden from it, but rather talked to us, would she be alive today?

    Thank you!

  74. Reading your post and all the responses, I was reminded of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, near the end, where Harry asks Dumbledore:

    “Tell me one last thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

    Dumbledore’s reply is priceless and unforgettable. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

    I am one of the fortunate ones. I have never had to battle depression or any other mental illness. But I have never for a moment thought that just because it is “happening inside someone’s head” that it isn’t real.

    You have received so many responses from others who fight a similar battle to yours, thanking you for your post. It helps them know they are not alone. I would like to thank you from the other side of the fence, because as important as it is for people to know that they are not alone, it is just as important for everyone else to be aware that it is our loved ones who suffer, our friends, families, coworkers, and neighbors, just as people with physical illnesses and ailments do.

    Rock on.

  75. My 17-year old daughter suffers from depression. It worries and scares the shit out of me – both because I can’t help, and because I don’t understand. I want to understand, and I want to be able to make it better. Can I still wear a silver ribbon?

  76. Jenny, I want you to know you have given hope to so many by sharing your pain with the world. You’ve allowed readers to not feel alone in the darkness and for others, you’ve opened their eyes to an illness which still holds severe stigma. I hope we can change that.

    You are an inspiration.

  77. I am so deep in my bout right now I don’t even see a way out. I did have the strength to call, for the first time ever, and make an appointment to see a therapist and thankfully she had just had a cancellation for today. My anxiety level increases as the depression increases and there are times where I just wish I would die in my sleep. I am not suicidal, the mental pain is just that awful. And yet, I have anxiety attacks because I’m afraid to die. So how the f* does that work?!?! I’m a blogger with a loyal following and not one of my readers knows how I suffer. Thank you for being brave enough to post this. I took my first baby step today and someday maybe I can be brave enough to post about it and help others like your post has helped me.

  78. I admire the bravery you have for speaking out & talking about your battle w/ depression. For those of us who are struggling w/ depression we tend to feel so alone & when we hear stories, such as yours, it gives us a little relief knowing we’re not alone.

    So thank you for being so open & honest!

  79. Jenny, we all love you, and fight alongside you. Thank you for saying the things many of us are afraid to say out loud. I have depression and anxiety, am still trying to find the right drug combination that works best for me, miss grapefruits like a mutha, was a cutter (lucky enough only a few turned to permanent scars) during my teen years, and still battle trichotillomania. It’s hard, it hurts, and it sucks. But knowing that others are out there, and some are strong enough to tell the world what’s going on, is so incredibly empowering. So, when life throws you a few grenades, try to remember to lean on us and those that love you.

  80. You GO girl! ((pats on the back))
    the seduction that depression whispers is indeed filled with lies – I know because not only do I fight it (and win most times) every day – but I also know because I know you. I know you are loving and supportive, tough yet sensitive, and are one Hel of a woman!

  81. Been there. Totally get this. Pinned your “depression is a lying bastard” quote many weeks ago. It’s been a silver ribbon of sorts for me as well. Thank you for this.

    Also, you are freaking hysterical. Not this post in particular. But more like the metal chicken one and the mongoose one. When I feel sad, I think about the mongoose and the snake.

    Peace.

  82. We cry in silence. I fight depression everyday. It’s my pets that get me through everyday otherwise I would check out. Life sucks unless you have lots of money. Then it’s not as unbearable.

  83. It’s such a relief to read this and know that I am not alone. I’m 17 and I struggle with depression, anxiety disorder and an eating disorder. I began self harming years ago and around May of 2011 I attempted suicide and was admitted to a mental hospital for about a month. When I left, I lost my two very best friends who found it too stressful to be around me anymore. Since then I’ve returned to school and even though medication and bi-weekly therapy helps some, my battle is far from over. I agree that depression isn’t acknowledged like it should be. I was so embarrassed when I my friends asked me why I left school early and didn’t know how to explain to them that I was completely unable to function anymore. It sucks that this disease is something so many people feel ashamed of. Of all my friends only on has been able to understand my pain, and she suffers from depression as well. I really appreciate you sharing your story with us and I wholeheartedly agree with all the points you made. Good luck on your journey to recovery! 🙂

  84. 10 years of dealing with this same thing…although it’s not really the same for anyone is it? I just pray each day as I take my meds that they will continue working and am starting to exercise to help them work even better. Thank you for posting this, for having the courage to put something so difficult out there for everyone. Please make those ribbons! I would love to wear one for myself, for my husband who struggles from PTSD, and for my aunt who took her own life six years ago.

  85. I can’t tell you how many times I have read something you have posted about depression and anxiety, and began to feel better. There are times I begin to think I am the only one fighting just to get out of bed some mornings. Thank you for always sharing your struggle and encouraging the rest of us to keep fighting.

  86. Thank you . . . Too many of us hide in the shadows; thank you for stepping into the light. Love you now more than ever- you have strength and courage and are a survivor. Keep moving, one day at a time. “There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to ends further than they would ever know. ” william Bradfield

  87. You are a survivor. You want to make your life better for yourself and your little girl. You are open, and authentic, and you want to help people. And you are kick-ass hilarious to boot. Shameful? Not even close Bloggess. That is Courageous. And don’t you let the fear tell you otherwise.

  88. That was incredibly courageous. It is so important to keep an open dialogue about stuff like this. Thank you for doing that. I have suffered on and off with anxiety disorder since I was 13, and now it appears I have passed that on to my 12 year old son 🙁 I am grateful that I knew the signs pretty quick so we could get some help so it doesn’t take over his life the way it did mine back then. I applaud you for this post!

  89. Been in the depression black hole and hospitalized for it so I know where you’re at. Don’t give up because it can get better. I thought many years ago it wouldn’t. I’m pulling for you. Society’s attitude is better than it was 20 years ago but we have a lot farther to go and we MUST talk about it. My 13 year old grandchild is trying to learn not to hurt herself. With love from her family she is making strides. Thank you for making it public.

  90. Thank you for this post. My sister linked it to FB. I’ve been battling PPD since the end of 2007. I had it under control until I discovered that I was again expecting earlier last year. My daughter came very early, and she is still hospitalized. Her medical crisis compounded my own. For me, the days of not wanting to get out of bed to even visit her are the hardest. I feel like I don’t deserve to be her mom. And I carry tremendous guilt. Even though I know in my heart that her prematurity wasn’t my fault, I blame myself for every needle she’s ever taken. I recently went back to the medications I was prescribed the first time, which worked very well then. Only this time, they don’t seem to be helping much at all. I don’t think anyone, even my doctor, takes me seriously. All they tell me is that it’s to be expected under the circumstances. As if bringing her home is the ultimate cure and my world will suddenly become all sunshine and rainbows. I see my doc again the day after tomorrow. Again, this will be mentioned. But this time, I’m not leaving without answers or further help of some sort. I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want to die. My kids need me. My daughter in the ICU needs me. But I don’t want to live, either.

  91. I’ve never commented before, and I’ve not had to deal with this myself, but I just wanted to commend you for your honesty. It takes great strength and courage to fight these enemies. This is a rally cry not just for yourself but for many others who suffer. Kudos, and all the best in your battle.

  92. I wish more people were open about what they were going through. It helps to know you’re not alone! I’ve been dealing with postpartum depression for over two years and only realized it recently. For the longest time, I thought I was just tired, but I wasn’t the same person I was before having kids. Things got bad last fall and I finally went to a doctor to talk about how I was feeling and she was really crappy about it (she actually took a call on her cell phone while I was telling her I think about ending my life). My husband doesn’t understand at all, but he’s here for me and takes the kids out for a walk when I need a break. I’m getting help now and starting to feel better but I see it will be a long road to recovery. I’m so happy you are feeling better and are able to share your experiences to help others. Thank you.

  93. You may never know how many people you have helped with your words. May your bouts be fewer and more seldom. You have an army of supporters at your back. I wish you well!

  94. Thank you….no, really….THANK YOU. You are amazing. I’ve cried and cried reading all of the responses. It’s nice to know we’re not alone. 🙂

  95. as someone that battled depression, anxiety and suicide for years i found this post to be amazing. i have written about my struggles, many of my own stories locked away in some corner of a long-forgotten usb drive. i was too scared of being judged by those around me. too afraid that they would treat me differently. too afraid that they would turn away. i have my bad days, but i am happy to say that my good days far outnumber them.

    just know that there is an end to it. that happiness and light can and do exist in your life. hang in there. and know that you are strong, so very strong. be proud of yourself for being able to raise your voice. and never let yourself be silenced. much love to you, may your days be brighter.

  96. You’re still the same amazing, hilarious, thought-provoking person that you were. To me. I don’t cut myself anymore, but I feel that perhaps I have replaced that with alcohol. I feel I am so incredibly lucky to have a role model like you. Thank you for everything.

  97. Silver ribbon for sure. I didn’t know how to respond, and I was definitely one of the frightened ones waiting to see how others would respond — I feel so weak for that being my reaction, but one of my goals this year is to embrace myself, accept me, and fix whatever it is I don’t like. I’ve been talking more about this depression (which is partly post-partum, and I think partly PTSD from my preemie daughter being in the NICU for 4 months) I’ve been recently diagnosed with, and I think it still weirds people out. But I cannot possibly be the only one, other than Brooke Shields or whoever it was that talked about it first and then Tom Cruise railed against, and perhaps all of my friends are lucky in that they didn’t suffer from it, but gosh darn, if I can help just one other person who may be feeling like me, it’s worth it. So on that front, thank *you* for opening up and sharing. It is so hard to expose vulnerability, and you are amazing for blasting open those doors — for yourself, and the rest of us.

  98. I completely understand your pain. Although i don’t self harm- I suffer from severe anxiety disorder and have for years. I have medical phobias regarding my children and myself. Perhaps the nursing field was the worst possible field for me to go into- however- I felt the need to help others that suffer like I do to get through medical procedures,illnesses etc. My anxiety often stabilizes for months even years on end but when it acts up and I go through severe panic attacks and inability to function- it is hard to make it through one day. My mantra is breathe in…breathe out..I find myself holding my breath in hopes that my heart will stop racing or jumping around in my chest. People who have not experienced the pain of anxiety and depression have no idea.. If I had a dollar for how many times I have heard “buck up buttercup” or “just stop thinking about it” I’d be a rich rick woman. Good luck in your struggles and know there are many others who are struggling as you are- you are not alone. Please feel free to talk to me at any time- any where…

  99. When I was depressed, my neighbors pulled back from me. It was almost as if… somehow depression was catching. Several people told me to “pray”. Others kept saying “but you used to be so funny”. In the hospital, because it got that bad… (I couldn’t eat, it seemed pointless) a lot of really good people were there for me. My family also. I remember, one thing some of my now former friends would say was “her marriage, must be something wrong”. And, also I got “You have to get up and DO something”. One relative accused me of being “lazy”. Well, hello, my kids and my husband got me through my depression. In fact, dealing with the guilt of what I thought I was doing to them, was one of the hardest things to work through. Guilt, is bad. And learning it isn’t anything anyone has “done” to you. Or isn’t even a sign of a bad relationship, life.. blah de blah. So, I found out who my real friends are. And I found out my husband is one hell of a strong man, and he’s on my team. Also, I learned a lot so that when my own daughter was diagnosed as bipolar, I didn’t panic. It was horrific, because if there is anyting I wish I could have spared her, it would have been a mental illness. However, the same husband that got me through my depressions (2 bad episodes) has taught me how to help my child. She also self harms, though, it’s so much better. SHe learned to deal with it, in some very creative ways. Makes me so PROUD of her. And sadly mental illness is the curse of the smart I think. In a way, the creative people that think differently and see the world perhaps with too much clarity, are the ones that make life worth living. My own daughter keeps me on my toes, but she is so creative and her strenght to keep going and hoping and planning… despite an illness where I think I might have given up myself, makes her my hero. Some days the old black dog (to borrow Churchill’s name for his depression) sniffs around. But, it is why I live my life a little bit different. I gave up trying to “fit in”, and found instead a world of “not normal” people that let you join their “club”… only rule, you have to accept their imperfections as they accept yours. Those normal friends I used to have… well, sorry…one of my new friends said “No one can put a sign up on their front lawn that says ‘NO TROUBLE HERE'”. I’ve held that in my heart ever since.

  100. It was not until recently that I have been able to deal with my depression and anxiety much better. Just a few weeks ago I was stuck in bed, crying in the shower, feeling like I was going to die. I’m lucky to have a husband who gets it and me, who will sit in the shower & let me cry & make me laugh at the same time. I am lucky to have two wonderful children who make my life so joyful. I am now able to tell myself, “This too shall pass.” Thank you so much for this blog. For so long, I have felt ashamed, crazy, weak, & the list goes on. But not anymore. In fact, I feel like we are all stronger than the average bear. We deal with an affliction that threatens to take everything from us, including who we are, but we don’t allow it. We are survivors. I love you & what you are doing here :]

    <3

  101. we all fight our battles, behind the doors and behind our eyes where no one can see it. I battle with Bipolar disorder and the manic range of emotions that can bring. I sing mantra’s to myself whenever I feel an uncalled for emotion perk its ears up, to remind myself that *I* don’t need to feel it, that I can control it. I’ve been medication free since I was 17 because I can’t afford it. All I can afford is the private battle and luckily I have the most amazing man who helps me with both the bipolar and BPD. He has saved my life more than a few times and I’m a better person for him 🙂 we may fight privately but we must also remember, with the crowds of us out there, we’re never fighting alone. *hugs*

  102. Thank you for posting this. It helps us to remember that other folks have lived through depression and thrived.
    It isn’t easy exposing yourself, but I appreciate it.

  103. I’m so proud of you Jenny, you are amazing and such an inspiration.
    So. Proud.
    Somebody had to have the balls to say it, and you did …..your saving us from ourselves most days of the year.
    Never, ever stop!:-). Totally love you:)

  104. Extremely well-said! I never really thought about it that others are considered heroes for surviving illnesses and when we are better we are just the way we are supposed to be, if anyone even knows there was a battle going on. It is a hell of a fight and anyone who hasn’t had depression (and/or anxiety) has no idea of the strength and courage it takes to fight it even when you wish the world would swallow you up and you think you are a blight on the face of the earth.

    I salute you for posting about this. People need to know. Supporters so they can support better (and know that they are doing good even when it doesn’t seem like they are getting through), and sufferers so they know they are not alone and that it is a valiant fight and nothing to be ashamed of. And I really like the silver ribbon idea.

  105. You are just one of the many reasons that I started my own blog. This post will be another “trick on the battlefield” for me the next time I crawl into my dark cave. It will be one of the candles that I will keep lit in my own brave attempts to ward of the darkness while “struggling to just breath”. I am blessed with a husband that loves me no matter what, looks past the lack of doing anything for weeks at a time, and keeps trying to make me feel better, even though he doesn’t understand.
    It’s a good sign when you can use the word hope so many times in one post. Hold onto that.
    Thank you.

  106. You have no idea how much this post means to me. I’m bipolar manic depressive and I deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s hard for the people in my life to understand what I’m going through… Its hard not having control over yourself.. say things you regret.. do things that don’t even make sence to yourself. sometimes you feel helpless and worthless. Its a struggle that I have to go through everyday of my life.. reading this.. I know I’m not alone and that means a hell of a lot. Thank you
    Jennifer

  107. There are so many things I want to say to you, I love that you are using your powers for good, and talking openly about life. It is such a gift to hear from someone else, with genuine understanding, “I know what this is for you”. Of all the illnesses, it is one of the most isolating, and needs this kind of sharing, building a solidarity of experience. So many benefit from the words you put down. It’s like pregnancy, childbirth, and being 40 – there’s a whole lotta shit no one seems to mention, and it would’ve been nice to know. So thanks for speaking up!

  108. two words: me too. i wish i felt as safe as you in talking about it, even with the people in my life who know and still love me (i need a lot of reassurance of this), let alone total strangers. the times are few and far between now, but i still struggle, and the shame is so heavy.
    you’ve inspired me to be more honest about myself with the people i trust. i know the people who love me in spite of my sadness and struggles will stick around. that’s all that matters. fear still gets in the way though.

  109. p.s. The next person who tells you to ‘just think happy thoughts’ or ‘buck up’ or ‘pray’ – it’s totally OK to tell them to fuck off. Now, you may not want to do that out loud every time, but seriously, not everyone can understand that they do not have the qualifications to offer advice on any medical condition, let alone yours. So remember, if you are finding unsolicited advice hurtful (like mine here) – practice it now…

  110. I love you even more for writing this, being strong enough to publish it in a public forum.

    I often feel like I’m falling down the rabbit hole, that everything I know is melting and turning into shit. Mostly because I have too much time to think about everything, and work myself into a paranoid anxiety about it. But I can barely explain to medical professionals simple things like bronchitis, let alone my mental health.

    So when it gets really bad, and the Murphy’s Law attitude and dark music isn’t enough, I scratch.

    I don’t know why we aren’t as equipped to deal with mental health as we are to deal with physical health. Maybe it’s because it’s harder to remove cancers of the mind?

    I’m sure all 2000+ comments above this one deserved to be read, but I can’t read them all.

    I’m going to go bedazzle a ‘free hugs’ shirt now…

  111. I am 17. I have been on anti-depressants since I was 9. I self harm. It feels good to admit that in public, though I can only admit it to a few of my friends. Everyone thinks that this battle will go away when I’m no longer a “typical teenager”. I don’t think it will. I have always hurt myself in one way or another. I feel so weak, but I guess I should be proud for every day when my anxiety doesn’t paralyze me. I’m a fighter, and if that’s not good enough for my friends then that’s too bad for them. I’m trying to stop self harming. It is hard. Thank you for making me feel less alone and dark. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight, and making me feel a little less alone. You are amazing to post this. Some day I want to be able to post the same kind of thing. But I don’t have the courage. You are so much stronger than I am. But I guess that’s the whole point… just putting one foot in front of another day after day.
    Stay strong.

  112. You are a very brave woman to be able to admit this, my mother fought depression for 30 years and would never admit to anyone including her children that she had it. She would stop taking her meds as she felt that mental illness was a sign of weakness and she should have a strong enough faith in God to not need chemical intervention. She died 4 years ago — technically from the flu but all of us left behind know it was passive suicide. She refused to seek medical attention until she was so dehydrated her organs had started to shut down, then refused to allow them to do the treatments she needed to survive, she told us she was tired of fighting and needed to “go home”. At this point all of her children seem to have avoided the depression bullet that she and many of her brothers and sister fought and continue to fight. Thankfully, due to you and people like you who find the strength to publically admit your depression issues, it is becomming less of a shameful secret and more of a disease that people recognize as being real and in need of treatment, not something that only happens to “weak” people who are afraid of life. God bless you and help you as you continue to heal and learn how to cope with this debilitating illness.

  113. Wow! I couldn’t sleep tonight as my depression (PTSD) has reared it’s ugly head. I had two whole days without crying, without triggers and without self loathing. 

    I am so thankful for seeing a tweet about your post. I’ve never read your blog before but everything you say in it hits home for me. 

    My parents never wanted me to be born. My mother willingly antagonized my alcoholic father into a rage encouraging him to kick her in the stomach in the hopes of causing an abortion. Something she proudly used to share with me. From birth and for fourteen non-stop years, my development as a human being was molded in hate and shame.  

    Although I have never physically self mutilated, thoughts of suicide have become an increasing occurrence for me. Your words about depression lying to a person really stand out for me. I often struggle with this. When I encounter a trigger (and there are so damned many it seems) I can’t help but struggle with whether or not to believe myself. I’ve never had trouble trying to express to someone when they are making me feel rejected or hurt, but so often after listening to their response I am left feeling crazy. Thoughts like “Am I being too sensitive?” “OMG! I am losing my mind!” and many others have been plaguing me. 

    Not many people who know me know or would ever guess I suffer from PTSD. I have battled depression all my life, but currently it’s severe and has left me debilitated for four years now. I fight hard to keep my mask on, but it’s beginning to destroy my current relationship. Though I’m not certain that’s such a bad thing sometimes.

    Then the self doubting and shame starts up again. Maybe I’m too co-dependant on my BF. Maybe he’s not as self absorbed as I feel like he can be. Maybe I can learn from his strong sense of self preservation. And then I get tired, I break. I try communicating only to feel like I am taking to a brick wall. He’s not a bad guy, just “always right”. Sensitive, sweet and quirky, and never wrong. His righteousness leaves me feeling even smaller less worthy. But maybe I’m just too sensitive. A vicious circle. 

    Bullying is a big trigger for me. Rejection/abandonment another. 

    Panic attacks are something new to me. I’ve been having then mostly in this last year and strangely enough often in my sleep. Some nights I wake up from the pain in my chest as my adrenal gland has gone into insane overdrive. It often takes more than an hour for the discomfort to pass. 

    Other times I’ll find myself so nervous or anxious my teeth are chattering. I’m so tight with tension Riverdance could perform on me! 

    I have been in and out of therapy and on and off meds for 24 years. Most recently I have begun EMDR therapy.  I have longed to write a book about my illness. How it came to be. But I am afraid. I have no idea how to begin writing a book. Where can I find someone to do it with me? What if I fail? What will people think? But when you are caught in the darkness it is so hard to find someone who will reach in and take you by the hand. I have withdrawn myself from most of the world without meaning to. A vicious circle. 

    Thank you for shining your light and pulling me out of my darkness, if even for a night.  

  114. don’t leave out the schizophrenics, borderlines, multiple personality disorder peeps…. tell them we love them too… all of you, if you are still alive, God has a purpose for your life

  115. why did you delete us message? i told you the truth we saw last night about you.
    you said to me ” it is my fault sorry” but to the police or Doc, you shouted ” Ikuyo is fucking lier!!! It’s not my fault!!!! ” so loud.
    Why? Which is your real thought? Are you really sorry for her? We want you to apologize to my house, to her mother, sister (me), Mr. Atsuyoshi who saved her life never leave her and seeing her face changed called ambulance while you rush to police to improve that “It is not my fault!!!” We will mail you when our schedule fixed to see you. Please stay real and honest for sure. Please….

    (I don’t know if this is spam or if you are confused but I don’t know you or anything about what you’re talking about. You must have me confused with someone else. Sorry. ~ Jenny, bloggess)

  116. @depressed in pa

    i’ve been where you are. it’s a horrific dark place. i’m so sorry. i’m not sure if others have responded to you or not, but i wanted to let you know that if the meds are not working, it’s NOT YOU. sometimes, meds work and continue to work. sometimes, even if you’ve been on them before, they no longer do the trick. and sometimes, after trying meds and hating them, they all of a sudden work their magic.

    please be sure to ask for different meds. you are in my thoughts. you are not alone.

  117. This is pretty incredible. I didn’t expect to read something like this tonight and I definitely wasn’t looking for it…but my God,thank you. I’m 27 and have been fighting depression since I was 10. I was walking to the mailbox on an gloomy,cold fall day and thinking to myself “I feel the way this day looks. All the time.” I knew something was wrong,but I had no idea what to call it or what to do about it. Seventeen years later,I still don’t always know what to do about it. Some days I can’t get out of bed. Some days I don’t eat because I can’t muster the energy or care for myself to get up and fix something. Some days I self harm. And some days I poke my head out from under the covers and I tell myself to fight because I’ve got one life and I should make it a fucking brilliant one. I think this is going to be one of those days.

    Thank You

  118. Love you for posting this one Jennie – more than any other you’ve posted maybe. I’ve lost more than one person I knew during this holiday season and I’ve had a couple more come close enough to wave across the abyss.
    I’m up at 3am because I’m still trying to get back in my own shoes.
    To every silent survivor out there? Here’s to another day.

  119. I wish you a silver ribbon for your secret struggle.

    My Clients often wish they were amputees or had some other visible or obvious handicap so that others would understand something of the effort it takes just to get through the day. THat way they would get some empathy and support. Instead, they are told “it’s all in their heads” and if they would only “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, they’d be better. They are blamed when they suffer and then stigmatized when they seek treatment. No-one looks down on the diabetic who takes insulin, but tell the world you’re on anti-depressants (or other psycho-active meds) and wait for the ignorant, couch-shrinks to fling their opinions your way.

    All power to you for a better 2012!

  120. It sits and waits in the corners of my life. I pile things on top of it like it’s an ugly table to keep it hidden. I throw myself into my children’s joy as a defense against it. It watches and waits for me to trip and drop all those normal curtains I’ve hung up. It feeds on the word “crazy” – that’s the trigger. When it’s down to me and It, and we’re staring each other down, I’ve killed myself a thousand times in my head.

    Nobody knows how to respond to that kind of darkness. It’s not polite conversation. But it’s happening and you’re not alone in this fight. We are all in the same dark room. My husband doesn’t even know how dark it gets in here. I put myself into my Person costume and act my ass off. When I’m acting out my part, performing for the world, the lights come back on and It gets back behind the curtains.

    Thank you for standing up in the darkness to say “I am”. We heard you and we love you.

  121. Thank you for being brave enough to post this.
    I’ve been struggling with being brave enough to post, publish, or paint my own struggle with depression, etc.
    It helps to see another awesome Jenny doing amazing things; and know that she too, doesn’t always feel that way.
    I mean that in solidarity, not that I’m glad we feel this way.
    When I read your mention of silver ribbons, my grief resurged. Because gray/silver is already a ribbon for a cause. For Brain Cancer. The disease that took my father; and for so many years overshadowed and accentuated my own struggle with depression. It’s been 12 years since I was diagnosed with depression. 10 years since Dad was diagnosed with Brain cancer. And 4 years since he died. Holy crap, today. How did I go the whole day without realizing it’s today? The anniversary of his death. Seriously, honestly. Maybe, just maybe, that’s one more sign that 2012 is going to go a lot better than 2011. In five days, I’ll be 26 years old. And even at times I have three days where I can’t really get out of bed farther than the bathroom; I keep breathing.
    I’ll wear a silver/gray ribbon; but I can’t promise I won’t cry.

  122. The only thing I really learned from my depression in high school was why I should hide it. So now, in my thirties, when dealing with my bouts of anxiety, depression, and trich, I’ll go see a professional when I start to get bad, but still won’t open up the people around me. Thank you for finding the energy to put this into words, and for being bold enough to share. It makes me feel braver.

  123. Thank you for discussing your struggle. It was your post earlier this year for Mental Health Awareness month that inspired me to get help for my own depression. Hang in there!

  124. I can not imagine the pain of depression, though I watched my mother-in-law suffer from it. It takes strength to open yourself up to the world. Consider yourself a hero to those who suffer in silence and needed a voice to tell them “it’s ok and you are not alone”.

  125. Oh, Jenny. I can only send healing thoughts and pray you find the strength to carry on with your battle. My husband’s sister struggles with this disease – it’s been so hard to watch her and want to carry her when she’s weak and know it’s something she must do on her own. Please don’t be ashamed. You are so strong and beautiful and have so much to live and love for.

    And I would miss your blog terribly :).

  126. Betsy,
    Steve Parrish shared your blog, and you’ve probably seen my name here and there on Steve’s, Travis’ and Paul’s posts. I’ve shared your blog post on my wall because it is POWERFUL, as are you, and it needs to be heard ’round the world.

    You are brave. You are courage. You are brilliant. And I am humbled.

    Thank you for sharing.

  127. The comments to this post restore a bit of faith in general human goodness that so often seems lacking on the internet. Good for you, Jenny, and good for all the people who had positive things to say.

  128. I’m throwing a party for you in my head. I’d have a drink in your honor, but it’s 8:30 am.

    And getting a silver ribbon pin for my coat.

  129. Thank you so much for this post. I usually read your blog for the insanely hilarious way you write of your day-to-day interactions. The metal chicken on the front door step is one of the best things I’ve ever read, and I even printed it out for those down days when I need a random laugh.
    The last two days blogs are two of the bravest things I’ve ever read from anyone. I too have dealt with depression and still do today. I haven’t cut on myself for years, but I still have the scars to remind me of what I’ve overcome. Depression is a stigmatized illness that people are afraid to talk about. If you had strep throat you wouldn’t deprive yourself from antibiotics. Depression goes the same way. Brilliant minds have created miraculous medicines that are now being advertised without the stigma behind them. I was on meds for probably 10 years then off for 2, and just recently back on. I probably will never go off of them again, and I’m ok with that.
    Thank you so much for posting this. I can’t imagine how much courage it took to post this, but thank you. You probably will never know how many people you touch with this post. It will have a ripple affect that we’ll never know, but you can trust people will read this and share it with someone they know.
    Again, I say thank you.

  130. Jenny,
    Keep fighting the good fight. Depression is brutal! And you are right a dirty secret that most don’t dare bare to the world. I applaud you! Talking about it is a step in the recovery. I am a mom who enjoys your blog. A therapist who deals with depression every day and a survivor who beat that bitch twice and don’t plan to ever let it be the boss of me again.
    Sending you encouragement and healing thoughts…you are braver than you think and stronger than you feel!
    Laura

  131. I used to burn myself instead of cutting because I was too scared and grossed out to go balls to the walls and cut myself. When I told my therapist about it, she spun it to the point where we were acutally *laughing* because I couldn’t even get self-harming right. Some might think it is horrible that a therapist could laugh about something so serious, but for me? It gave me great relief. I didn’t feel alone and ashamed, I felt a weight lifted because laughing took away the stigma of shame and isolation. I felt *normal* in a situation of extreme abnormalcy.
    Obviously you are not alone. And obviously all of the other sufferers are not alone. Even if that a**hole depression tricks you into thinking you are.

  132. Thank you…
    I just finally had an a-ha moment this year where I learned that so many of the things “wrong” with me can be attributed to anxiety. Like, problems from when I was 5 I now know were the start of anxiety attacks, but no one ever talked to me about it (though mental illness runs in my family), or got help for me (though I’m sure my parents saw the warning signs). I even went though a 4 month bought of stomach illness a few years ago that I now know was just overwhelming anxiety. Thankfully, at 29, I am now seeking help and am less ashamed/embarrassed than I was before. I guess I knew what it was all along (deep down), but never wanted to admit it.
    Thank you for talking about it. It’s important.

  133. Thank you for sharing this. I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I have only harmed myself on a few occasions, and scared myself so badly that I don’t think I will go there again. But I totally understand the need to make the pain equalize (outside vs. inside). I’m on good meds now. They’re working, and I’m in therapy. I’m glad you are too. Congratulations on making it through the day.

  134. get plain old niacin! Pop a 500 and be forewarned you will freak out when it makes your skin flush. But really it’s just opening every blood vessel in your body. It works! The mental affect is fast -the cloud goes away.

  135. Dearest Bloggess:

    As a self-harmer in remission, a frequent battler of anxiety and a perpetual fighter of depression, I applaud you for coming out with this inspiring and extremely candid eloquent confession of the daily, no hourly, no minutely, NO secondly war that is fought against these types of disorders. If everyone fighting was able to articulate these struggles so precisely, I feel that there would indeed be a ‘silver ribbon’ one day and ideally we would be on our way to removing the gigantic fuck-all stigma attached with mental health issues of any kind, level and/or degree.

    Your post has helped me more than I could ever express and I will make sure to forward to those friends/family members of mine who suffer in silence with the rest of us.

    Your strength has given me strength. That, in itself, is a battle you have single-handedly won.

  136. As I wipe away my tears and hunt for silver ribbon to start passing out to all of us who suffer with depression but never feel brave enough to show that chink in our armor, I am grateful for your courage and hope that your dark clouds see more and more silver linings until all you can see is silver – bright and brilliant in the sky.

  137. What a post! Harming yourself? Really? That is bizarre, I myself will go out of my way to avoid pain. I avoid people, getting out of the house, and getting out of the recliner. Every day to go to work I lie to myself that I will go, but I will sneak away. And everyday I believe my lies. I need to go to the doctor, I avoid that. And the dentist, and even avoid going to the hairdressers. I mask the pain with food and sarcasm. I haven’t been to my OBGYN in ten or fifteen years, I need thyroid medicine and I’m suppose to go to the doctor every month, and I make it in until something takes over and I’ll eat til I gain weight, which makes me put off going so maybe I’ll lose that weight but I don’t quit eating then I gain more which makes it even more difficult to call for that appointment….etc. I also have a great husband that I know will leave me someday, so there are times that I’m just not nice to him. Although we’ve been married forty years it’s just a matter of time. So Jenny, you knew you had a problem, you went to a doctor to get help and you are trying to work through it. Well that is just crazy! And Brave and Strong, I really wish I could be more like you.

  138. I’ll join the throng of folks saying you are strong! I love that you can write openly and honestly about depression. I’m learning more about it each day and hope to be supportive to family members (mom and sister) who also battle depression. In the past I have not always be a caring and sensitive person to depressed folks. Its a challenge to be in a family relationship with a depressed person. As I teenager (and many times over my life) I’ve watched my mom slog through periods of depression. Unfortunately, in my mind the difficult situations and her moods were all about how they affected ME. Poor me, my mom is acting crazy again, etc., etc. She does act pretty out there when she’s depressed – e.g. paranoia, skewed reality, but I’m learning to cope and hope to be a better support person.

  139. I have read your blog for a while but have never commented before – I look to you usually for comedic relief from the hum drum of every day. But when I saw this post today I wept openly. Just this past month I admitted that I had depression struggles – but your words were so concise and articulate. I never thought of myself as a “survivor”. Most days I saw myself as a failure. Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for being just as encouraging in your rawness as you are in your humor. Hugs.

  140. I forwarded this to one of my students. She’s battling depression, and her bravery and steadfastness makes me love her even more. Thank you for your willingness to put yourself out there like this; we need to stop pretending that depression is “just a phase.”

  141. I am so proud of you for posting this. I have clinical depression as well as social/general anxiety disorder. I also am a “writer”. I put that in quotes because I have never shown anyone what I write. You have inspired me beyond belief with this post, and made a HUGE difference in my outlook. Thanks you and hugs. (I swear I am going to design a silver ribbon for us. )

  142. A friend sent me the link to this post just now because she read it and thought of my last years’ struggle with major depression and anxiety disorder.

    I LOVE you’re comparison with cancer survivors- on several levels. I love the reference to “surviving” cancer and all of the support and relief and cheering that comes from the fight and (hopefully) success.

    I would like to let you in on how incredibly you hit the nail on the head here.. I think it is little known that fighting cancer is 10% physical health, and 90% battling depression. What recently diagnosed person doesn’t feel helpless, hopeless, scared, and alone? So many doing battle cancer are lauded as “strong” “courageous” and as “fighters”; yet as you point out, the strong face of a “survivor” is very different from the private mental struggle when the lights go out at night and they are alone. Those who appear strong on the outside are often alone in their battle with depression. And the the battle with depression and fear wages on long after the fight is over… constantly staring the threat of recurrence at every doctors appointment for the rest of their lives.

    I know this because I was diagnosed two years back with a slow, steady, chronic leukemia that has not yet had any physical fight, but has put me in an inpatient mental facility THREE TIMES in the last year. The promise of “10 more healthy years” is quite a black cloud to have over ones head. But each time I left the inpatient setting, I was amazed how NOT alone I was… how almost every one of the people I met in “the bin” were experiencing overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and being completely alone. We found amazing support in each other.. being able to talk about the pains and experiences of being depressed… and simply knowing we’re not alone in in our struggle. Being alone and keeping it within is a terrible, terrible place to be.

    Support is key. Support from others LIKE US is key- people who GET what we’re going through. Not being alone in our struggles is the answer.

    Thanks for you’re insightful post! Stay strong!

  143. Well, before this post you were one of my favorite twitter contacts. After your Re-tweeted Allie Brosh’s post on Depression, you became my favorite Twitter contact. After this brave post, now I feel there is a bond that joins us. Just like a sisterhood, we share a “secret”.
    I´ve suffered from undiagnosed depression since I was a teenager. My mother suffered from it for years, never diagnosed. Five years ago I started having panic attacks. They were so terrifying that I had to consult with a doctor. I thought I was having a heart attack. After many doctors and many tests and many months, I was finally diagnosed with Depression, anxiety and panic attacks. So, my daily battle is no different from many of you reading this.
    I´m not surprised that even here there are people suggesting herbal or natural supplements as a way of getting better. They just don´t understand. Depression is a serious illness.
    If you son hits his head and cracks open what would you do? Go to the E.R., get X-rays, tests, stitches, right? Then why people suggest you should try putting some weed leaves on the wound hoping it would heal?
    People, if you suspect that you, or someone in your family or friends might be suffering from Depression, please, please, please, PLEASE talk to them and go to the doctor. There are many ways we can help ourselves and those we care about. Not all of them involve drugs, but PLEASE get professional help.
    Jenny, you are a fantastic person, and I am so happy to know you (sort of). I would give you an unconditional-love-hug if I could. Since I can´t, I´m getting my silver ribbon ASAP.

  144. I just wanted to add something: I feel stronger just being in this comment thread. From my heart, I love you all, we are stronger as a community. 🙂

  145. You maybe didn’t know this before you posted that, but you just ministered to me. Thank you for the battle song. At this exact moment, it was perfect. Literally my husby found a song last night that I blogged about but I will share it with you. Foster The People – Waste.

  146. Just the fact that you’ve shared your struggles with so many people speaks volumes. Know that you have loads of people pulling for you, including me, comment #2,100 and something.

  147. Congratulations for your courage and transparency. I believe that the most valuable gift we can give each other is our honesty – and the courage to be real. Those who judge us will do so no matter the issue.

    God bless you in your ongoing quest. I am fellow pilgrim.

    Blessings,
    Rosalyn

  148. I self harm as well.

    After hospitalization and group therapy, I’ve come to look at it much like alcoholism. The injuries have the same mind-numbing effects. And the same addictiveness. I couldn’t face college classes or people without a stop in the bathroom for my “drink.”

    You can get better. But I think, like an alcoholic, you just “dry out,” and will always be an addict/ self injurer. I’ve been harm free for four years now.

    Awareness of my moods, stressors, and triggers has been key. What didn’t work for me was avoidance or substitution (stupid therapist). Those paths led me to more dangerous things. When I didn’t use my knife, I used everything from staplers to weed wackers. Depriving myself of all of these things is what led me to give myself a concussion when I had no other outlet for my rage/anxiety/pain.

    It gets better.

  149. You’re devoted minions are with you.

    We are steadfast.

    You are steadfast.

    If you need help thinking up battle songs, you know where we are.

    And may I humbly suggest that, instead of silver ribbons, the tinfoil hat has been sadly under-utilized and left on the fringes far too long. I’m thinking tinfoil fascinators with wild explosions of chicken feathers and wolf fur. And possibly fangs.

    Love and hugs and funny faces,
    Minions

  150. I am part of a long line of depression sufferers, none of whom speak about it aloud. For me, it’s my badge of honor to laugh and cry and be open about what the days can be like. I have major depression, I’ve been committed, been an inpatient for an eating disorder I have struggled with for now more than half my life, and I’m still here. Each time I’m down I cull grace and strength both from the experience and in the courage to be open about it. And in being open it has drawn my loved ones ever-closer; because I can bare myself in ways that encourage the same in return. What a beautiful surprise it is to be loved for our perceived failings. Keep on’ keepin’ on, dear Jenny. And thanks for the reminder…

  151. as a life-long sufferer of both depression and anxiety, i can embrace your words. can i share that i have been med and depression free (with the exception of a day or two a couple times) for over a year! i never thought it was possible and had started to resign myself to having to take pills the rest of my life just to function. i had almost committed myself more than once. the only thing that has saved me from all this is neurofeedback. my mom (a social worker and therapist) encouraged me to try it for months before i did. she is a provider, so i was lucky. it’s a subdivision of biofeedback and fairly new. it’s like giving your brain a workout. with depression and many other issues, the brain is weak and out of shape. neurofeedback helps it to behave the way it should. seriously, if it weren’t for neurofeedback, i’d be on meds for both issues and wouldn’t have been able to apply for and get into grad school. you have nothing to lose and your life to gain.

  152. When I started suffering with anxiety and depression, I didn’t try to hide it from anyone. It was who I was and I was not going to be ashamed by something I have no control over. I knew it was a reality for many people and I was not going to let what someone else thought of me affect me, especially someone who is a stranger to me and did not know the situation. One of the first things my anxiety used to do was cause me to cry. Sometimes I didn’t even know I was doing it until I felt the tears on my checks. I never tried not to cry if I was in public, it was part of who I was. A few years ago, I became bipolar, which was a blessing in disguise. The medication I’m on for that controls it very well and has also helped my anxiety immensely. I’ve also rarely been depressed. I still have some bad days, especially if I’m dealing with other really difficult things. I’ve also gotten a couple tattoos to help me through and they have saved my life a couple times and I will never regret having them for that reason. Hope is what got me through the toughest of times, one of my tattoos is a heart with the word Hope written inside of it. So many people have called me brave for getting the help I needed. I don’t think I was brave, it was just the only way I knew how to keep living. And I don’t feel we are merely survivors of depression, but we are victors of all the battles we have to go through.

  153. “It’s okay. You’re still the same person to me.”

    Awesome, hilarious, strong, honest, brave… you are THAT person. Sometimes, you are THAT person, battling depression. But you’re always that person.

  154. I applaud you for “coming out.” I think your post will be of great help to many people. I had depression “issues” for many years, and now refer to that time as my “lost years.” I “self-medicated” with booze and sex. I had therapy (which I found useless), prescription drugs (which didn’t seem to help), and something perhaps even better: time (meaning I didn’t kill myself). I still have mild episodes of depression, but I think of it like a migraine headache: painful, but temporary. I have read your follow-up post as I write this, and am glad you got so much support.

  155. Bravo! And I think you should celebrate. Everyone who comes out of a terrible depression should. Granted, it may take a little time before we feel up to it, but it should happen. I have unipolar major depression. I was diagnosed about 12 years ago, when I was suicidal and landed a short stint in a psych ward (followed by an intensive outpatient program at the same hospital). I’ve been on meds since, though recently lowered to the lowest dose, which I never thought would happen. Last time I tried to lower it, I became suicidal again, though no triggers were present. The meds have helped immensely–my depression obviously has a large biochemical component to it. I’ve had one or two recurrences, though not nearly so bad–a day or two off work, a lot of sleep, and my best friend (and husband) got me through those quickly.

    We–society, the world–need to realize that depression is a physical illness and stop treating it as something that can just be pulled out of.

    Thanks for writing about this. The more people are out about this, the less shamed we’ll feel when it happens. (Okay, I’m personally over the shame and talk about it when necessary, but I don’t have the audience you do. 🙂 )

  156. Last year at this time I was really struggling. Luckily I’m not right now. I don’t know how to explain how much this helps. Thank you.

  157. Very helpful and brave post. You will have no idea how many people this may have touched and helped. Thanks.

  158. Buddy, I understand (and I wish I did not). Here is UR cyber pat on the back. When that depression and anxiety, that all the cool kids talk about, hits and (seemingly) no one understands it is the “I” in shit (that means really bad). Myself and other atheist bloggers, this year, have been chronicling our depression, naked, honest, the opposite of glamourous…and we support each other. thanks for the honesty and g-luck.

    Kriss

  159. Thank you. It is so hard for people to understand. My husband has been with me for over 21 years and has seen it get really bad, and all he felt was put out. He didn’t understand that I wasn’t just “taking a break” or “being bitchy”, he couldn’t comprehend, and may never comprehend the pain someone feels when severely depressed. Mostly, when I “went in remission” as you aptly put it, everyone just expected me to be okay, no scars. There are scars, every time we go through this. There are mental scars, and in some cases physical ones. To not be in control, that is a scary feeling. I am crying as I type this because I don’t think that I can put into words how much this post means to me. Thank you.

  160. Love you you awesome example of humanity. The depression I’m battling isn’t even my own. Thank you for this post. I for one think that the mere fact that you’ve kept posting all this time is a huge victory that everyone can see. Keep on being amazing.

  161. Thank you for writing this. I so often feel that only others who battle depression truly know what it feels like. People who don’t often expect you to be able to “snap out of it” which is not the case. You are amazing for being able to share this.

  162. jennie – this in no way changes who/what you are to us.

    keep fighting the good fight, and know that we’ve got your back. if you ever need something, don’t hesitate to ask!

  163. I want you to know how much laughter and joy I get from reading your blog. Today it made me cry, because I see so much of myself in your struggles. Thank you for being courageous enough to share not just the good, but the bad with us. You help more than you know.

  164. This is a beautiful, inspiring, brave post. Well done on posting it – and know that you’re not alone! There are so many others out there who are too scared to say anything. I’ve not confessed things I’ve done because I’ve been afraid of my friends and family judging me, misunderstanding … and also because confessing things makes them seem more real. But I’ve been pushing through, and it’s posts like this that make it easier. Someone else has put into words what I can’t!

  165. Jenny – thanks for having the strength to talk about this. In all the years, in all the columns and blogs I read, I’ve never read a first person account of self-harm. 2153 of us think you’re awesome and have your back.

  166. I am impressed. Flabbergasted. Awed. I have loved your writing from the moment I stumbled across it a while ago, and this just makes it all the better, because now I know just a little bit more about what makes you, You. You are the true definition of awesome, to me, in many ways. Rock on, sista. 😀

    I recognize myself in this, and it makes me think. That’s what good, honest writing does. Makes people think. Good on you.

  167. The number of comments to this post is a stand on its on. The spectrum is a wide one but I’m grateful you reach the masses with humor and honesty.

    To the greatest Bloggess!

  168. You. Are. Awesome. I first read your blog a few months ago when a friend forwarded a link to your original Beyonce post. I was hooked. I felt an immediate connection to your writing. I was certain that if you lived here, we’d regularily be shopping for big metal chickens. Your writing is hilarious–witty and the kind of honest we all wish we could be. I am a silent sufferer. A young professional who appears to have it all together, and in reality should be thrilled with what she has accomplished. I am not ecstatic. On the inside I feel like I’m falling apart. I’m in pain. I cry and bear this alone because it is taboo to talk about. I’ve recently sought professional help. I have a long road ahead of me and knowing that I’m not alone makes the trip a little more endurable. Thank you for your voice and your power.

  169. i feel devoid as a person. i feel like whatever it is that i can muster as far as ability to be and do beyond myself is useless and unwanted. i feel drained and i feel like a drain on everyone around me. i’m a pretty good party favor sometimes. i feel like i am absolutely not in control of my own life/self/brain/body/destiny. i cannot think about the future, or the big events in life that have yet to come for me, without being overwhelmed by anxiety. i can’t keep the elements of my life together, even with people helping me. i can’t keep myself properly insured and medicated at all times. things fall and slip through my hands even as i am trying to prevent it. the cycles repeat and repeat and it seems like there is nothing i can do to truly break them. i’m unemployed, my grades are shitty. my voice has gotten quieter and quieter. i feel closer to the edge than ever, even though i know i have seen much darker times and far fewer fingerholds. i’ve worked for years to control my impulses and my need for chaotic self-destruction, i have reasons to live and am sure that death will be painful enough as is without my fiddling and cuddling. i’m not even sure what i’m saying, i guess i just felt encouraged to share myself. thank you for putting this bit of yourself out there for us to see, for acknowledging what some of our closest companions choose to ignore. i’m glad you’re fighting. i’m fighting too, and this helps. thanks.

  170. It’s hard. I know.
    I wish I could be half as strong as you. I wish we could all be half as strong as you.
    Keep fighting.
    You can work through it.
    I know the self-harm part, but not the recovery part. Not yet.
    Keep fighting.
    You inspire us all.

  171. I’m with you. It’s been over a year since I self-harmed, and with the love of my boyfriend holding me up, I’ve learned to stop counting the days and just enjoy them instead. He’s the only one that knows what I used to do and doesn’t judge me for it. I’m to ashamed to ever tell my family because I know they won’t do the same. It does help to know I’m not alone in my struggle, both from him and from peers who have fought the same battle. Congratulations on one more victory, and may you have many, many more <3

  172. You are amazing. You are strong and beautiful and this post was astounding and so courageous. You WILL make it through, and you are a great mother. I am sending you all my support and love.

  173. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you a thousand times. My very best wishes, keep going, we are all so much stronger than we ever imagine x

  174. I haven’t cut in almost four years, but there are times when I really really want to. It has always been a way for me to focus my mental anguish into a physical one. I know exactly how you feel.

  175. Jenny I find it so hard yet so empowering to read what you wrote. I am sure there are way to many comments for my insignificant comment to be read but I’m going to post it anyways because you have empowered me at right now, this minute, I feel like I can do anything. I’m sure shortly I’ll be back to cowering in the dark, but I will know that I can feel like this and will strive to feel this way again.

    To be inspired by how brave you are, it fills me with hope and yesterday for the first time I told my best friend everything. I told her about my first suicide attempt at 11. I told her about the subsequent five attempts.

    I told her that in August I nearly got it right, that if it wasn’t for a random call from my case manager (which I do not recall answering and in which I apparently repeatedly tried to reassure i was ok) who proceeded to call an ambulance which in turn airlifted me to a bigger hospital I wouldn’t be here right now. I told her I spent two days on life support and the doctors told me that i had another 15 mins before the window of death would have slammed shut for good. I told her I then spent 15 days in a psych ward. I told her last month they sent me back for another week.

    I showed her my innermost turmoil by sharing this poem I wrote:

    Eternal Tango
    Let us dance you and i,
    a slow seductive groove.
    Ages old these steps we take,
    i shiver as we move.
    Invisible to the naked eye,
    i feel your grip like ice.
    You wrap me deep within your arms,
    my heart is in your vice.

    Reality is silence now,
    in your arms is song.
    My heartbeat keeps a steady bass,
    how can this be wrong?
    ‘Very soon’ you whisper now,
    ‘I’ll hold you evermore.
    From now until eternity,
    I’ll catch you when you fall.’

    ‘Remember now, if you doubt,
    what life has done for you.
    Fear, pain, doubt and loneliness,
    I’ll remove those when i’m through.
    A cold master i may be,
    but constant evermore.’
    The cadence increases now,
    my heart begins to roar.

    In the mirror i can see,
    only mine only reflection.
    I close my eyes and i can feel,
    him whisper his directions.
    ‘One more time’ he purrs to me
    ‘and there your job is done.
    Just one more’ his gilded cry,
    ‘and we will be as one.’

    I raise my hand and take the pill,
    the last one that remains.
    Gently now he caresses me,
    and swallows all my pain.
    Slowly i begin to fall,
    crumble to the ground.
    I feel his presence keener now,
    his strength is all around.

    The veil of worlds is shifting now,
    light has turned to black.
    ‘No more pain’ he says to me,
    ‘but of peace you’ll never lack.’
    Tenderly he lifts me up,
    now cradled in his arms.
    ‘Too long long you’ve eluded me,
    immune to all my charms.

    ‘Long have i followed you,
    and watched you flirt with me.
    My hunger grew as each day passed,
    but now you finally see.
    We will be together from now ever on,
    you will see as i say, the dark will be your friend.
    Silence is your reaward,
    It’s how i make amends.’

    Cradled there within his arms,
    i finally felt safe.
    ‘Take me now’ i say to him,
    ‘let us leave this place.’
    Silence is all around,
    my heart has ceased to beat.
    Blackness is all i know,
    awareness in retreat.

    A blinding flash, a foriegn voice,
    cracks the silken dream.
    Lightness floods, reality,
    and in the dark he screams.
    I fight the light, the agony,
    it’s the darkness that i seek.
    Once again i loose my way,
    my will is just to weak.

    Reality is all around,
    bright now, so obscene.
    Garish, bright, offensive now
    this has to be a dream.
    I close my eyes and darkness seek,
    his name i scream out.
    But emptiness is all i feel,
    the echo of my shout.

    Choas now, alarm bells ring,
    on the bed i lay.
    I struggle to pull the cord,
    there has to be a way.
    Panic shouts sorround me now,
    i can’t seem to understand.
    Strangers hands stroke my face
    and someone takes my hand.

    Their solace means nothing now,
    it’s not the sort i want.
    I need the end he promised me,
    my memories does he haunt.
    Days pass by, slowly now,
    meaingless and dry.
    Slowly i miss him less,
    and no more do i cry.

    Then one day i feel him close,
    his breath upon my skin.
    ‘Silence now’ he says to me,
    ‘this time i will win.’
    ‘Take your time’ he orders me,
    ’emotions you must lack.’
    ‘A happy face you must have,
    for me to win you back.’

    Now i smile and fake this life
    and watch them all relax.
    No more do they follow me,
    they soon forget the facts.
    Every day i wait for him,
    to whisper ‘nows our chance.’
    Very soon he’ll come to me
    and softly say ‘let’s dance.’

    I told her that I have Borderline Personality Disorder, something I am so very ashamed of. I told her that although this is messed up this is how Bordline Personality Disorder makes you think, this is how depression tricks you into thinking that to die would be blissful.

    I told her I self harm … A lot. I told her why and how much of release it is for me and how sometimes it’s the only alternative to another attempt. I poured my heart out to her and I sat there unable to meet her eye, shaking and dying a little more inside.

    She put her arms around me and cried and told me that she loved me anyway.

    YOU DID THAT.

    THANKYOU.

    And for the first time ever I told someone that my stepfather started abusing me when I was six. He stopped when I left home at 16.

    I released that demon into the world. It escaped from me and now I’m terrified. So I keep coming back and reading this post and the comments and I can feel the combined power that surges through your words and the words of others and it is an amazing thing. I told her that I now felt that I could maybe discuss it with my psych.

  176. Of course we love you exactly as you are. And yes, we do celebrate your victory each time depression tries to make your life hell and you battle back. Thank you for helping everyone to understand this terrible illness.

  177. Thank you so much for this. I think openness and honesty about depression is the best thing we can do for others going through it. I actually just wrote a post about my own recent struggle with yet another bout of depression:

    http://momentsofexhilaration.com/2012/01/04/in-a-dark-and-lonely-room/

    And, although I didn’t mention it in the post because I’m clearly not as brave as you… I also self-harm. I haven’t done it in three years, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I did it for fifteen years before finally conquering it. The thing that helped me finally stop was a therapy called DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It was life-changing for me. I would encourage anyone struggling with any kind of addiction to check it out. I wish you the best with your struggle.

  178. Thank you for your honesty. You have taught me to tell sufferers that “I still love you.” It is scary and foreign to watch and not understand. You showed me that it’s okay not to understand if you love the person anyway. You are a true hero!!

  179. I read quite often but never comment… I’m not as witty or funny or as cool as the rest of your followers, but I do read. Reading is love, too. But I have to just say something this time… I’m at my desk, at work in an office, sobbing because it’s taken so much pressure off my shoulders to know that I’m not alone. For the first time in my life, I feel like someone gets it. My husband, God love him, he tries, but he still misses the point.

    Congrats on your amazing three days of safety, of health, and of battle-worthyness. Know that you’ve brought more smiles, snorts, and insane giggling to my life than any other. Much love and luck to you in your struggles.

  180. Thank you. Thank you for being a voice against the dark for the rest of us, thank you for starting the what seems like a crash against the silence, just thanks. I may never know you beyond your writing, but your words are strength both from honesty and from laughter.

  181. I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I’m glad someone pointed me in your direction. Those of us who have been living with chronic depression in our lives have learned so much about how to survive, and even though we always hope that there won’t be another crashing fall into the darkness, we always have to stay vigilant against the inevitable day on the horizon when we are clinging to whatever we have to just to survive. Whether our danger lies in inflicting harm upon our bodies, or in withdrawing from the world even more than we already have, or even worse, finally falling over the line that separates us from taking our own lives, we always have to react to depression the same way … just as you said, don’t believe the lies it tells you, and hang on until the darkness lifts and we can smell the sweetness in the air again. Thanks for sharing this post. Again, I’m so glad I found your voice. You make me have confidence about speaking up, and speaking out. Thanks.

  182. Thank you.
    I think I can finally come out about my struggle with self-harming to my friends (my family will a bit longer, but I will get there). And, perhaps, I’ll finally be strong enough to seek help. My own personal demon is hibernating–that’s my nice way of saying the depression/anxiety monster is in remission–and I think I will take this opportunity to head him off.
    Let’s both continue to fight, shall we?

  183. Well, just holy shit!

    You know, Jenny, you always entertain me and make me laugh and I enjoy your blog enormously, but this post really, really made me think. My wife suffers from huge bouts of depression, and although I try to be supportive there have been times when I have lost my patience and snapped on her for wallowing in her shit. Thank you for helping me see it from the other side. I’ll try not to be such an asshole, and maybe I can talk her into getting some help.

    You know, I just can’t think of anybody else with the stones to hang their shit out there the way you do. You really are the best kind of fucked up and you are my hero, Lady.

    Thanks for the boot in my ass. I obviously needed that.

    Best wishes for your continued recovery.

  184. It just occurred to me that self-harm can be active – actually doing or saying things to hurt ourselves – and it can also be passive – NOT doing or saying things to stop hurt that is ongoing, up to and including living a lie that slowly steals your soul.

    We are legion. We are family. We are survivors.

  185. Oh baby, I’m so proud of you! I hate it that there has to be a physical release to get through the emotional distress, but there it is. It happens. I’m so glad you’re working with professionals to get control of this. Hold that pretty head up high. It’s not your fault. I have severe depression, and sometimes I cry my eyes out for days until they are bruised and swollen shut. Cymbalta has helped a lot. It seems to give me energy to get out of bed during the worst mornings, but nothing stops the tears. I want you to know something. You just became my personal hero. That was a tough thing you shared. You’re amazing, and you’re so talented and intelligent. I’m glad you’re voice is out there. You’re helping so much. When I have a down day, you make me laugh my ass off. When I’m having a good day, same thing. Now I find the depth of you, the ability to share personal things in a serious way. You’re turning into a one stop shop for me. Hugs from San Marcos, TX. 😀

  186. The more we talk about our mental health the more the stigma of having mental illness Will dissapate. I applaud you joining the ranks of stigma fighters. Your words make us stronger!

  187. Thank you. It’s so hard to get people to understand what it’s like for me, and I get so tired of friends and coworkers saying “Why don’t you just cheer up?” If you’ve never had depression, it’s hard to understand the black pit that you’re in, trying to dig a way out. Thank you for posting this, it’s helped more than you can know….

  188. Thanks for having the courage to share this. I can really relate. I’ve suffered from depression on and off for about four years now, and it’s still hard to talk about it. I admire you for being so open and I’m glad that you’re self-harming is getting under control. Although I’ve never self-harmed I’ve engaged in other compulsive and destructive behaviours like fasting and bingeing, and I know how hard it can be to try to break out of the cycle. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery.

    You are totally right that most people with depression suffer in silence without any support or recognition of their recovery. It shouldn’t be like that. We shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of our illness and worry that people will judge us. But posts like yours go a long way to raising awareness of depression and help suffers feel like they’re not alone. Thank you.

  189. i to suffer from depression and anxiety disorder. But i struggle with something even deeper called agoraphobia and OCD germaphobia. Its hard to live everyday knowing that today may be worse tan yesterday and tomorrow you may not be able to leave your house or your bedroom for that matter. I struggle with this daily. My medicine helps but there are days when its not enough. Lately its been not enough. I lay around all day and cant sleep at night. I know how it eels to want the pain to stop. I dont hurt mysle but i dont provide adequate nutrition and care or mysle when i get in my moods. In fact i may cry myslef to sleep tonight to let it all out. Hope that your feeling better and if you ever need to talk to someone that understands im available. http://punkrockmomma.com

  190. I read this post earlier this week, and it moved me, mainly because of my own experiences.
    This afternoon I found out someone I know & love committed suicide shortly after midnight on new years day. Now I’m reading this again and can’t stop crying. Thank you for putting in to words the thoughts that I’m not eloquent enough to express myself.

  191. Wow, it’s refreshing for someone with such a huge following to admit something that the rest of us would rather keep to ourselves. You’re absolutely right, when people like us pull ourselves out, we can’t really claim a victory. Not out in the open, anyways. My girlfriend turned me onto your blog and I always could count on a really good laugh from you to help bring me out of those slumps. You’re not suffering alone, and I’m sure you’ve helped many people like us more than you think. Keep kicking ass, Bloggess, and keep pressing on.

  192. Thank you. I’ve struggled with depression since I was 16 (I just turned 30). You’re right – some days are fine, some are shit. Some are nothing, and that’s even worse. But keeping it inside, keeping it “together” fixes nothing. So thank you for speaking when some of us feel we can’t.

  193. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and self-harm on and off for over 10 years, mostly in absolute silence. Thank you for being brave enough to write this and come out and say that we need to celebrate our remissions too, because we didn’t choose this anymore than someone chose to have cancer. We fight too!

  194. Thank you for your honesty. I’ve battled depression for years. I self-harm by overeating. I’m a single mother of twin boys and have raised ’em without the ex (his choice) since they were 1. They are 16 now. I find comfort and a huge amount of solace in food. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t stop and don’t know how to let myself out of the circle of addiction that I’ve become accustomed to. But because of your post and all the incredible feedback, I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    Thank you, Jenny.

  195. It’s January 4….I hope that you have had more days without hurting yourself. I am touched deeply by your words…all of them. I am a psychiatric nurse working in an inpatient setting. I also suffer from depression. I have seen the scars of patients who mutilate themselves to ease the pain and others who completely shut down to catatonia when the pain is too great. I am praying that you find peace….

  196. You are awesome. Continue to write, it heals. Your words added to the mental illness fight makes us stronger. Stigma sucks and the more we talk about mental illness, the more we fight that stigma. I am glad you joined the ranks. Your words heal and perhaps your words, my words, and others will be inspired to come forth and share their struggles. We are not alone.
    *hugs*

  197. “Judge me or not, I am the same person I was before.”

    No, I won’t judge you, I’ll give you a big hug instead.
    You are very brave to tell us this, as there are still so many prejudiced people out there – in our modern, well-educated world…

    Hang in there, I’m proud of you.

  198. In an hour I’m going to tell my counselor that I want to look at medication options. She won’t be able to prescribe anything for me, so I’ll have to go to someone new. That’s scary. I don’t know if I can even afford any medication. That’s also scary. And I’ll have to admit to her that I’ve begun to think about suicide, which is the scariest thing of all.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I just know that the unhappy half-life I’ve been living for nearly the past two decades is not what I want to do for the next 50 or 60 years. My family is very anti-medication, and I’ve always felt like going on meds would be like admitting defeat in some way, but even if that’s true, then I’m ready to be defeated, because obviously what I’ve tried so far just isn’t working. I thought yesterday that I was afraid medication might change who I am somehow, and then I realized that I don’t even like the person I am, so I’m not sure what I’m afraid of changing. And no one knows how bad it’s gotten, except an ex who doesn’t want to be with me but still loves me enough to encourage me to get whatever help I need. Such confusing support to find…

    So now you also know, fellow fighters and supporters, because I needed to talk about it somehow at least once before I go to this appointment. I am afraid of this next session more than I’ve ever been afraid of counseling before, and it might be the beginning of saving me from myself.

  199. Thank you. I too, suffer from depression and anxiety disorder, and started harming myself about a month and a half ago. After a week-long hospitalization, therapy and meds, I haven’t self-harmed in over 2 weeks. Bravo to you for speaking out, stay strong, keep fighting.

  200. Anything I would try to put into words about your awesome, furiously honest post would probably never do it justice, so instead I will just say two simple words as someone who has lived through this, too: thank you.

  201. As a former junior high principal, I can tell you that this happens much more than most people realize. Your post s truly an inspiration. I hope teachers, principals school counselors and parents alike read this and do something with it. I always told the kids I dealt with that they have to believe that they are truly special and unique and that they were valuable. I also looked them in the eye and told them that I cared deeply about them and that I loved them. I don’t know if it made a difference but I prayed that it did.
    Always, always, always, remember that I care deeply about you and that I love you. I know you are not particularly religious, but I am and I am commanded to love and I do so willingly and with an open heart. If a total stranger can post a message on your blog telling you that you are valuable and loved, you gotta either believe I mean it or I’m as crazy as you. Either way, you are not alone!

    Now, I’m going to link this on my blog and FB page and encourage all of my friends and readers to read it and pass it along. YOU ARE SAVING LIVES!

  202. Shit tons of comments, which I can’t read. I’m late for everything. Late to pick up my kids. Late to take down the Christmas light. Late to fold the laundry. Late because my week has been the least obvious full of nearly unbearable levels of stress that I can’t talk about because it’s all stuff that seems normal to everyone else but isn’t to me.

    But I’m commenting because I appreciate you. I appreciate your battle. I’ve been in this battle, and am in this battle, and these days I feel much more shame than victory. Thanks for being victorious. And for telling everyone else to be victorious, too.

  203. Thank you for speaking out. I have struggled with depression for more than 30 years. There always seemed to me to be a lot of shame associated with mental illnesses, some of it self-imposed, some of it brought on by a society frightened by what it does not understand. We are people. We deserve to laugh, love and love…just like everyone else. Your post has inspired me to write more about my own problems. You rock…HARD! :O)

  204. You are courageous and strong. Self-harm is just another vector of self-medication an attempt to ease a pain that is not easable for so many. Here is a hope that someday some type of real medication can come forth that will work and not leave horrid side effects and will release all sufferers from the tyranny of self medication in hopes it will help. I do not suffer from depression or mental illness so I cannot say I know how you feel, but it must be like trying to take out your own appendix because there is no other choice when the pain is too great.

    xoxo

  205. My friend posted a link to your blog today on facebook, and I read it, and then I re-read it, and all I can say, as so many other have said, is Thank You. Thank you for sharing.

  206. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Princess Di, Mike Wallace, Brooke Shields, Billy Joel, Buzz Aldrin, Drew Carey, Harrison Ford, Emma Thompson, Winona Ryder, Sheryl Crow, J.K. Rowling, Hugh Laurie, Jon Hamm, Ashley Judd, and a metric shit ton of others, with an emphasis on those who – like you, Jenny – are no strangers to creative brilliance…

    I’m not happy that other people suffer, too. Wouldn’t wish this demon on my worst enemy. But when the ol’ fucked-up brain chemistry used to lie and insist I was all alone in a cold gray world composed entirely of failure and self-loathing, I clung to evidence that some of the best and brightest have been there, too. And if they were still able to accomplish great things, then maybe my own dreams were not as utterly lost as they felt at the time.

    Don’t know if this helps, Jenny, but I soooo appreciate your latest posts. Thank you for having the guts to capture this experience in words in a way many people (or at least I) cannot.

  207. As a recovering bulimic, I am so grateful and impressed by your honesty and openness. There are certain things that are so difficult for non-sufferers to understand, like cutting, like purging, that looking for support and comfort opens one up to judgement and dismay. That you so bravely did so heartens me beyond anything I can write here. Thank you.

  208. You are… indescribably fantastic. I hope that the outpouring of love and support you are receiving in response to this post help you as much as posting it will. As much as depression is a liar, so is the impulse to self-harm. It doesn’t help. Oh, sure, it distracts from the mental pain for a little while, but what happens when that comes back? And what happens when it really hits you what you’ve been doing to yourself and how that affects the people around you? It makes it SO much worse in the long run. It is a lying little jerk. I look at the scars I have now and wish with everything I have that they would just go away. I hope that no one notices. I make up fake reasons for how I got them or just claim that it’s been too long for me to remember. I remember. I am not proud of who I was, but I am thankful for where I am. One day, I may go back there, when I felt that I had no choice, but until then I will be honest with myself and I will build myself the strongest support group I can. You have my support, if it means anything at all. Words over the internet can only do so much or they could do everything. I hope I can do something.

  209. Thank you. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing, for being you and being wonderful even in the midst of the darkness, and inspiring us to be the same. I too fight the battle on a daily basis, and it’s really wonderful to know that I’m not alone.
    Thank you so much, and know that we love you.

  210. You are right, depression is a LIAR. It’s sneaky, and vicious and so, so black. People who suffer from it feel invisible. There are no signs, no symptoms that others can see, except those close to us. And depression does a good job of keeping you from having people really close. Depression is the devil. We feel invisible, we have this disease that makes us feel bad, bleak and awful, and we can’t talk about it because people who don’t have it don’t understand that you can’t just watch a cartoon, or have a laugh and get over it. I hate the black, I hate myself when I’m in the black, and wish I could be in the light, be happy.

  211. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, but I’m glad that you’re so vocal about it for the people who can’t be.

  212. I can’t read this post or the comments on it without crying – the sentiments you all articulate strike home for people battling not just depression and anxiety, but any number of battles. You should all be proud of everything you are. You’re beautiful, each and every one of you.

  213. You probably won’t make it this far through the comments, but it is incredibly brave to share your struggles. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager (I’m now 40). I’ve very rarely shared how severe it can be at times (like the fact that knowing I’d be leaving my daughter motherless is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes). I was involved with someone who claimed to understand, but really didn’t. I finally had to tell him that he loved who he thought I could be and not who I was at the time (depression and all). Most people don’t know the self loathing I feel because I can’t complete the simplest of household chores, or lose my patience too easily with my daughter, etc. Even after reading this and all the comments, I will probably continue to put on a brave face and not be truly honest about my pain, but there’s hope that someday I can be.

    Thank you.

  214. I’m just a random reader. You make me laugh. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone. My daughter is 9 and fear that she may inherit this monster I have been battling my whole life. I live on a roller coaster ride. The hardest obstical for me sometimes is putting on my happy “mask” and going out into the world, hoping no one will see the weakness and pain I hide. You are not alone.

  215. Hey there, Jenny. The pain you admit to here makes the humor you have shared with us for so long feel much poignant. Knowing you could deliver smiles to us at times when you may have been hurting inside makes us appreciate you even more for your bravery and generosity of spirit, in addition to your wicked, weird humor. You’re not the same person — you’re even BETTER than we knew. Here’s wishing you strength and a full recovery.

  216. Thank you! As you have said, you don’t understand unless you have gone through it, and it is so nice for someone to understand, I have been losing a fighting battle with my husband about this. I myself was a cutter (but have not done that since my kids were born) on the other hand, I am bulimic and have been for 7 years, not to get thin, but as you said, to have control. It’s strange to read as someone else puts how you feel, and why you do things into words, and be able to say that is it, when I myself did not know how to express it. I have suffered from depression ever since I was an early teen, and for a while had thoughts of suicide. Now I sometimes wish I was no longer living, but because of my kids, can’t even think of taking my life. Just recently I myself started into the worst depresion of my life, and I have finally made an appointment to see a Physiatrist, but that was done in secret, until I had to tell my husband, so he could stay home with the kids (that and after a really bad reaction to a medicine to try and help). I so want to give the link of this to my husband for him to read, maybe then he will start to see and understand…

  217. Thank you for putting something so hard to describe into words for others to understand.

  218. Despite knowing that there are over 6 billion people on this planet, it still amazes me that anybody can relate to how I feel. I remember that I used to be such a happy person. I’m not sure when panic attacks set in, or why I now feel so low sometimes it hurts to want anything, even food. I hate that it makes me feel weak, think how my loving husband must regret marrying me because I wasn’t this way 3 years ago, how I feel crazy and that I can’t possibly love anybody because I’m a monster on the inside.

    I’m OK for the most part when my birth control is working, but it’s a nightmare for those few days when I’m using the placebo. I sometimes think how my husband would surely be better off without me, because he wouldn’t have to worry if I was sad, or he wouldn’t suffer because I’m so sad. I hurt myself with my own mind, but I am always scared that I’ll do worse one day.

    You give me strength, even when I’m not presently suffering. I hope one day to be strong enough like you to seek a therapist, because right now I’m too scared to try, too terrified that they might uncover something I don’t want to know about myself. But every day, you give me strength to take a step towards professional help.

    Thank you. Always. Your life is so much more important than you could ever know, than we could ever tell you. But we will continue to try.

  219. Your willingness to share the most vulnerable parts of yourself were rewarded…what a joy! I have even more faith in my fellow humans as I read the comments here. I am about to begin graduate school so that I can become a licensed therapist. When you share your stories like this, I learn. I loearn more about what it’s like for so many people, and it makes me want even more to learn how I can begin to lend a hand to others in need.

    I admire you, and I absolutely celebrate everything that makes you who you are. Your words, and those of everyone else here, are beautiful. Please keep it coming…share the bad days with us, too. We’re one big wonderfully disfunctional community here!

  220. Thank you for such an honest post. So many of us fight this darkness alone, and ashamed.

    It has been 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days since I last self-harmed. I was 18 when I started, and 27 when I stopped. You can recover. It is incredibly difficult, and you have to take it day by day. One day, you will realize you didn’t think about self-harming that day. Sometime later, you will realize you haven’t thought about it in a while. Almost three years later, I only have the urge once in a while, when triggered or under extreme stress, and I am able to pull myself back from it without too much distress.

  221. I started reading your blog right around the time Beyonce came on the scene. I’ve loved your posts and your humor but I think I like you even better now. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal issue. My heart goes out to you and I salute your bravery!!

  222. I suffer from seasonal depression, but am always afraid it will get worse. I used to love, nay LIVE for fall. Now it marks the coming of a terrible, dark time each year and I have learned to fear it.

    This post not only leaves me still loving you, but loving you even more.

    God bless you, Miss Jenny.

  223. Thank you for being so honest about your fight; I don’t think you can understand how many other people you are helping just by coming out and speaking the thoughts and fears so many of us are keeping silent. Your point that, “When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again…” especially hit home with me. About 6 months ago, I finally turned a corner and started coming back up after my own rather dark year, and you’re right – the relief that I finally feel better is quite tempered by the fear that maybe it will return (as this was not my first go-round with that bastard, Depression). But it helps a lot just to know that other people share that same fear, because you’re also right when you say that depression lies – and one of the biggest lies it tells you is that, “You’re the only one. You are alone in this.”
    I started reading your blog with the Beyonce post. I love your humor. But I really appreciated this. And I applaud you because I can imagine the courage it took to post this – what you admit here are thoughts and feelings a lot of us can’t even admit to our very nearest and dearest. Well done, Bloggess!!!

  224. So bravely and beautifully written. Thank you for being so transparent and in your fight helping others. Praying for your healing!

  225. Thanks for sharing, have and still battle depression. I tried so very hard to hide it from everyone but my daughter (adult) knew something was wrong and would not leave me alone. I got help and after 2 years of therapy I can cope and have control over it. Not it controling me. Like you am still the same person I was before, except I now know what is wrong with me and it can be fixed.

  226. My son turned 26 in September and I have been on and off (mostly on) anti-depressants since shortly after he was born, which is more than half my life. My self-harm physically is minimal; mentally it is colossal. My suicidal thoughts ebb and flow. My friends and most of my family know I suffer from depression but have no idea to what extent. I have run into one (ONE) boss in all these years with whom I felt safe sharing my situation.

    Bless your bravery. Like smiling, it’s free to share and can make a huge difference to the rest of us.

  227. I drew a big silver ribbon with a permanent marker over the spot where I usually cut myself, you’re strength is giving me the strength to quit, or at least try my hardest.

  228. I have recently come public about my anxiety, depression, self hurting, and personal loathing. I am in therapy and unfortunately have medication. I have learned that talking to my daughter and ,y other half about how I feel or what is going on in my head helps a lot! They are incredibly encouraging and help me through the really dark days. It honestly kills me to think that my little girl could someday feel this way. I am however very hopeful for her that if she does start to feel sad, alone, depressed or scared that she will see people like you who are brave enough to not only admit to yourself and family but to the entire online world that you are fighting a disease that claims more lives that people realize. My daughter is only 6, she has grown up around a mother who could barely get off the floor from crippling days and she cheers me on daily.
    At this point after getting the help I didn’t think I needed, I am able to joke about it a bit. It makes it easier for me to admit publicly that I have problems. I am inspired by EVERY post you write, but this one in particular feels very personal- as if you wrote it just for people like me who still hide in the darkness pretending everything is ok. I can’t lie and say you are still the same to me, I think more of you now. You are more real, almost tangible than a faceless name and blog that has some pretty hilarious antics and moments. You are a real person and actually have to live a life that to me is now MORE glamorous than a celebrities, because you live in reality…. even if it stinks sometimes.

    You freaking rock my socks lady! You are great! And if anyone, I mean ANYONE… including that voice in your head says otherwise THEY ARE LIARS! <3
    Keep on keeping on Jenny! We can be inspiring together- I am physically hurt free for 2 months now and mentally hurt free for 2 weeks. I hope that I will lose track of both, but for now I hold on to the days like gold stars! or better yet, silver ribbons!

  229. Jenny – I know this comment is just one in a sea of similar comments, but I wanted to thank you for this post. It took tremendous courage to write it and your courage is inspirational.

    I have battled depression all my life, and for the first time I feel like I am winning. It’s a constant fight, and sometimes I wonder if I can keep this up. It helps to know that someone I admire understands my struggle. You confront the darkness, and you press forward. One day at a time.

    I hope that on days when it’s particularly difficult, you remember that you helped me, along with so many others.

  230. Bless you for this post, Bloggess.
    Please know you’ve got a lot of us behind you who love you. Even though we’ve never physically met you, we know you nonetheless because we’ve been there (and will always be there,) in spirit.

  231. come closer. Give me your hand. No – I won’t hurt you, just give me your hand. Feel that? That’s a silver ribbon. Come over here — feel that? It’s a handhold. Over there, almost out of reach? Another. Yeah. I know all the hand and foot holds out of this hellhole.

    It’s funny. You fight your way out of this black pit, and you always keep the pit location on your radar, you always keep one eye on where it is. But then, one day, you’re looking at something else, not paying attention, and you slip. Maybe you were paying attention, and you just got so damn tired of fighting to stay out of the pit, and you slip. Sometimes, it is a relief to slide down into it. You’ve fought for so long, you just want to damn rest for a bit. Just a bit. You’re intimately aware of the floor of the pit. You’ve pressed your face against that dirt before. The dirt is smooth from the flood of tears poured there. It’s a bit muddy in spots from the recent tears that leak down the sides from your grief at being so close to the edge of the pit. But it’s a relief to just slide down the sides. To just give up and rest. Just for a bit.

    The problem is the pit wants to keep you there, on the floor, defeated. It tells you that you can rest there. But you can’t. Life is waiting. Someone who loves you is waiting. Maybe children and parents are waiting. Here’s the handholds. Start your way back up. Keep climbing. If it takes a pill to get you out of here, swallow it. Just get your butt up that wall. Keep climbing — don’t look down. No matter how tired you are, get your @ss up that wall. When you get out, put that ^&*(I! pit in your $%^& GPS.

  232. You are amazing. You are wonderful. You are stronger then ever and strengthening strangers who hear your words and know your struggle and keep going because, having heard you, know they are not alone. Every day you win again because you’re still here and still fighting. AWESOME! Thanks so much for posting this, Jenny.

  233. My god…thank you. You are strong, courageous and wonderful! I finally came to grips with my depression. I’ve coped for years — even successfully — but have indulged in self-harming since my early teens. Last month I finally began seeing a therapist and I feel hope. I hope you all feel hope. It’d there for us…I believe it!

  234. I’m lucky; medication helped. Most of the time. But it was never as bad as yours.

    One day I was playing the 785th game of Spider Solitaire, and reflecting that that was not an un-neurotic act, I thought cutting must be a bit similar: you narrow the pain to one place where there’s an explanation for it, and YOU CONTROL IT. Instead of big, unfocussed pain, you have focussed pain. It seemed like a way to have a safe place. I don’t self-harm in any such obvious way, but I think I can see how a person could sanely and reasonably find it helpful. It’s still not a good idea, but I think some us can understand it. And I hope you feel better, that your brain chemistry quits being such a vicious monster.

  235. I needed this about 6 1/2 years ago. Reading this almost made me want to buy a real bathing suit to wear this summer instead of the board shorts I’ve worn for years to cover the scars but I only swim with my inlaws and I know they wouldn’t understand. They would judge and it would kill me all the more. Board shorts forever!

    Your explanation of why is what really got me. I never could explain it to him, he always told me I sounded cliche, and yet I married him anyway. But my reasons were valid the whole time. Thank you.

  236. Thank you. That is all I can say. You described the experience with such accuracy and truth. I am sitting with tears in my eyes reading EXACTLY what I have wanted to say but have not been able to find the right words. You have them for me.

  237. Interesting. I used to tell people about my family members who climb mountains, occasionally. And then I would tell them that depression is trying to climb out of a hole, every day. A good day puts you on level ground. Thanks to prayer, by myself and others, I get to remain on level ground now. Prayer has brought me a good doctor, the right medicine for me, strong friends and an awesome husband. Anyone with depression has my prayers for them. It is a hard earned journey and much to be celebrated!!!

  238. If depression and OCD were likened to Lord of the Rings, then depression would be the eye of sauron: Wreathed in flame, litless, always watching, never resting. It casts a shadow over all the land, and evil whispers in the dark. That is a hard enough battle, as you can see from the twin girls who killed themselves rather than suffer. They had the one ring, and it took them. Tragic. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. OCD could be compared to the ring-wraiths: They never die or grow tired or weak, but attack endlessly in different ways in different places, and never stop. You get stabbed in the shoulder, and that can last for months. A battle that you fight over and over every day, day after day. The one-two punch is killer. This is not a woman thing. This is a people thing. I’m a man and this is me.
    Christian – posted 1/5/12

  239. Jenny, I’m just prompted to say that I love you, you are in my prayers, and I am going to share this post with my friend who suffers from depression too. Thanks for being so brave, and I hope that this will be your best year ever.
    ~ Kathy M.

  240. When I was 11 or 12, I used to cut myself. I horribly depressed for years. My mother was angry all the time and I was usually the target of her anger. Our fights were brutal and my brother and father did nothing. I’m 40 now. I’ve struggled with my relationship with my mother over the years, have done therapy and moved on. I have managed to keep most of my terrible thoughts away. Until recently. My husband and I have been fighting more than usual these past few years and the urge to cut started a couple months ago. I never would have thought, that after 30 years, after adolescence and maturing and growing up, I would have those urges again. My kids’ faces keep me from doing anything, and I typically talk myself out of it. The hubby and I keep working on our problems. I have never told anyone this part of my life. Life truly is a journey, filled with highs and lows. It’s something that was never really taught to me, but I do plan to teach this to my kids.

  241. I didn’t know that silver was the color of support ribbon to wear. I will wear silver. All the time.

  242. I havnt read everyone’s comments yet, but I wanted to write mine before my boss came in. I have severe anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder with a wonderful heaping side of slow-cycle bipolar. Cynical much? Mine was triggered by a traumatic event – I was raped, beaten, and abused mentally- over 4 years. I kept it to myself. I was allowed zero contact with my family and he had ran off every single friend I had. One day I came back from a meeting at work to find the guy had hacked into our computer network remotely and was going through everything on my computer. It seemed small – but I just snapped. Had a full blown panic attach, shaking, rapid breathing, dizzy, fear of everything – my coworkers had no clue what was going on or what to do because I had never spoken about it – so they took me to the crazy hospital. Two weeks later my mind kept telling me I was alone, everyone put up with me because they felt a social obligation and I was just burdening everyone. I had been released to my great aunt. She came home to my empty bottle of sleeping pills and me out cold. The ER staff did their jobs well that day. My doctors were still trying to pin point exactly what was wrong with me and find me the right medications but it was taking soooo long and again, my mind kept telling me it was a waste, pointless, I was just bothering them and costing everyone money. The plans would just roll around my mind like a warm foggy blanket. You know that feeling when you have peace internally about a decision? I would dream about how I would do it, plot it, plan it, and finally one day I was ready to go through with it. I climbed in my glass door shower, taped up the tarp so clean up would be easy, left the air vent on so the smell wouldn’t be too bad by the time my parents got home, and I sat down with my baretta. After about an hour of me sitting there staring into space saying my last prayer, my phone rang, the answering machine switched on and I heard the voice of a long lost friend. He said he didn’t know why, but he had a feeling that he had to talk to me, right away and would I please pick up the phone, that he loved me and needed to hear my voice. I hated my depression right then. Its like it becomes your friend and convinces you to listen to just what it tells you and no one else and here it was trying to come between a real person and this voice in my head. My friend showed up at my house not too much later, he seemed so happy to see me. I couldn’t and still can’t understand it. Nothing was wrong with him, he didn’t have some crisis he needed my opinion or advice on. It was weird. I pawned my gun the next day, took myself out of the care of the doctors the crazy hospital had stuck me with and found my own doctors. They figured out what was wrong and for the past 4 years have help me battle every step of the way. You’re right, I sit here at my desk feeling like a robot getting the job done for the man – a cold piece of machinery that no one cares about and is easily disposable. Until I find people like you, or people that are where I was a few years ago. They’re like these little hidden jewels that you have to search for because they don’t wear a t-shirt that says – hey by the way, I’m fucked up too. Finding people to talk to and to help what little I can – are the things that keep me here. These are the little things that make holding on to my sanity worth it. Mental illness sucks ass, its not fair, its non-discriminatory, and it fucks your reality up – it makes you not even trust yourself. I’m sorry this is so long. I’m right there with you, hugging you and kicken your ass at the same time. We’re the normal ones.

  243. I never comment here, there’s no way anyone could read them all! I just want to say thank you. Thank you for writing about depression and, even more, for writing about self-harm. I find the latter to be far more difficult to discuss without feeling really embarrassed. Admitting to the self-harm makes me feel like an adolescent again even though I’m now a mother and in my 30’s. I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only grown-ass woman who uses this to cope. This time around, it’s been over a year since my last injury!

  244. I have struggled with self-harm since I was in high school and I do it as a self-soothing method as well. I’m proud to say I have not done it for about 5 years but I still struggle with the desire to especially in those dark moments of depression that sprout up every now and then. I call them grey days. And for me the best way to get out of a grey day is to play with kids. It’s hard for me to stay in that darkness when coloring a picture with a 5 year old. I just want to say thank you to you for posting this and letting me know that I’m not the only one out there like me and also for all your other posts that have helped on the grey days. Because it’s also hard for me to be depressed when I see a large metal chicken ringing a doorbell 😀

  245. It IS possible to overcome the self harm. I started doing it from as far back as I can remember, 2 or 3 years old. Even then, I somehow knew to hide it from others. It took me a long time to really quit…first it would be a couple of weeks that I didn’t do it, then a couple of months, then even a couple of years. It has now been 10 years. And I now know that if the thought crosses my head to do it, that I need to IMMEDIATELY reach out to a trusted loved one and say, “Listen, I need you NOW! I was just thinking of hurting myself again.” Usually just stating it out loud to another human helps me to not do it, sometimes it takes a bit more talking and figuring out what may be going on that I don’t realize. Luckily, the urge only comes maybe once or twice a year now and I know what to do. I think it will always occasionally creep up on me. But I am strong. I can do this. I WILL NOT harm myself again. You can do this too. It’s not an immediate quit and it’s over….it’s more of a journey. But when you get to that good place, you will find more peace with so many different things in your life. I wish you all the best.

  246. I love this. And I love the shit out of you , just cus its painfully nice to know that there is someone else out there that deals with what I do. I was reading this just now at work, and it almost made me cry a few times, but it also made me smile. You put a few things into words, that I knew, but never realised I knew. Or just could never put into words for myself, or anyone else. One of the hardest things for me, always, was to put my feelings into words, so that someone else that needed to understand, could.

  247. Your post brought tears to my eyes in the best possible way. I’ve suffered from depression for over 12 years and I to self-harm. Well, I used to – I haven’t in about 6 years. I am also pulling out of one of my worst bouts in a long time (losing your dad, one of your closest friends, and your partner of over 5 years leaving will do that to a girl) and I barely made it through. I had to start taking meds again (I hate taking meds- it makes me feel weak and reminds me that I have an illness) and have had to rebuild my life. I know how it feels. I know that feeling of “just hold on and keep breathing” and those nights that your brain tells you that there is no light at the end of the tunnel and you will feel this bad forever. The way I see it, people with depression are lost in an ocean. We tread water to stay afloat at the best of times, and when things get rough, we have nothing left to keep us from going under.I applaud your strength, and I think you have done a great service for all of us that suffer from severe depression by putting it out there so honestly. It’s hard to explain sometimes; how do you explain that there’s nothing wrong with your body, but your mind is hurting so much it makes life impossible and unbearable? Thank you for sharing this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  248. Dear Bloggess,
    I’ve been reading your blog every once in a while, enjoyed it, but never commented on anything before.
    I’d like to tell you that I find your posting very courageous. I admire your strenght to keep on fighting! Well done!
    Hugs from Europe!

  249. It is so refreshing to see someaone post about this… I have suffered from depression and self-harm for just over 10 years now. It is so hard to talk about, especially with people who don’t also suffer… becuase no one can truely understand the pain and the hurt unless they are experiencing it too. *Props to you for being so brave*

  250. Having been where you’ve been, I know how hard it must’ve been for you to write this. I commend you on your honesty. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  251. I have to say that I did judge you, and I know that you view it as a weakness but it made you seem so much more human in my mind. When you say your weakness out loud, it dimishes its power over you, sometimes completely killing the weakness. I hope you kill it, kill it dead. And even though its terrifying, your daughter will be stronger because of this, your an honest strong person, and your daughter will find strength in that knowledge.

  252. I read this and thought immediately how incredible and strong you are, and how I wished I could be as honest.
    Then I thought: What if I *could* share my own painful secrets?

    Thanks to you, and seeing the supportive and understanding responses you received, I finally admitted to my parents about my self-harming addiction. It’s such a relief not to be hiding this from them anymore.
    I think that admitting your struggles is always a massive step towards resolving them and I think you’re such an inspiration to have shared this.

    Thank you for helping me find the courage to do the same. Thank you so much.

  253. Thank you so much for your bravery in posting this. I struggle from depression, and it is better with meds, but it is so easy to feel like you are alone and so fucked up. My sister used to cut herself. I didn’t know until years later and I feel so bad that I didn’t see how much she was hurting. She is doing much better now, and is open about her struggles. I am so proud of her. I am glad you are getting help and feeling better.

  254. Echoing the literally thousands of others, you are doing amazing things. My mother suffered from serious depression, and as a small child I would not have understood. However, starting in my pre-teen years, her being open about her experiences has made a world of difference.
    Sending hugs and strength!

  255. It is hard to put into words what depression is and does to you, but you do it beautifully. I hope the road out is smooth.

  256. I will wear a silver ribbon for you and all the brave souls who battle this evil disease. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you.

  257. I’ve admired you before, and now even more. I hear you, understand you and thank you!

  258. Thank you. More than 30 years ago I survived cervical cancer and secretly struggled to survive depression for years after that. Today, I am alive. I am strong. SO ARE YOU. I am wearing a silver ribbon.

  259. http://www.causes.com/causes/188-to-write-love-on-her-arms

    You should check them out. Its a wonderful non-profit place. I too suffer from severe depression – the trick I use is when my thoughts start to go dark places, I start picturing a single leaf falling into a stream and floating off. I do that for as many leaves as I need til I calm down. Between that and the 200mg of Zoloft, its… well, its not getting worse. Cheers for writing this post.

  260. Thank you for your courage. You’ve inspired me to finalyl write my own post about my struggle with depression too. x

  261. I too suffer from depression. Genetic disposition, PTSD from sexual and physical abuse, and generalized anxiety disorder. While I can not even begin to understand your pain, the more of us who share our stories, the less of a stigma will be attached to this horrible disease. For years I self medicated with alcohol and anonymous sex. Found myself drawn into one abusive relationship after another. When you have only ever known pain, that is where home is.
    When I was first diagnosed I remember telling my doctor I thought everyone was like that. After years of great meds and therapy I am happy to report I know what happy means, and it is wonderful. I have two of the most beautiful daughters who will benefit from my challenges and NEVER have to experience what I did. And I have learned to take care of myself, so that I may take care of others (and not feel selfish about it). I am finishing my PhD in the next year, never working as hard for as long before, mainly because my brain was just NOT working.

    The good news is, as a sufferer of PTSD and depression, we are biologically different. Our hypothalamus actually shrinks and gets stuck in “fight” mode. The good news is recent studies have shown that long term anti-depressant therapy relieves the load on the hypothalamus and allows it to regenerate! Yes the brain will heal itself!

    So stick strong to the therapy, it won’t be forever, and know that the missing part of you will return and your struggles will help so many others who are fighting just like us.

    Thank you for your frankness, humor, and courage!

  262. Thank you for posting this. I suffer from depression, anxiety, and self harm as well. I has thankfully been several months since I have cut myself. Unfortunately my obsessive compulsive shopping is worse – ppl think that is a joke, or not devastating. but it is. But anyway – I understand the depression struggle. It is a hard fight but we can win.

  263. Jenny,

    You are the reason I started blogging about my depression/anxiety. You are part of the movement that will one day free the disease of its stigma. Starting that day, there will be no shame for having cancer of the soul. Thank you for baring yours so that others might learn.

  264. You are so very brave to share your struggles. It took me a long time to realize that my dad has always struggled with depression. As a teenager it was so scary wondering what I might come home to. Instead of people recognizing it as a medical condition he was often called lazy and some family even encouraged him to not take his meds because they just couldn’t understand. Thank you for promoting awareness…wether you meant to or not. Depression is a bitch…and she lies. Lots of love to you!

  265. Thank you so much for your courage in posting this! It’s totally eerie that I’m going through a particularly rough day and remembered your blog from an article recommended to be forever ago. It was a little unnerving to read the title at first, as it mirrors how I feel. It’s ridiculous to me that people I know are aware of my struggle, but continue to minimize the effect that this disease has on a person, savvy? Hang in there and congrats on pulling out of a cycle! Here’s hoping I can do the same soon =)

  266. I know depression and substance addiction, not self-harm but I understand the diversion from mental to physical pain. I am in awe of your self-disclosure, it truly strikes home for me. You are loved, you are amazing and you are making a difference in this world with your two hands typing out these blogs. Your daughter will pull strength from your fights, I know I got so much strength from my own mom’s battle with depression, though it took years to see it. We’re all behind you Jenny so when you need to fall, thousands of hands will catch you and carry you til you are strong enough to get back up. We all need a safe place to land when we’re blue. Honestly, sometimes Knock Knock Mo’Fo’ comes to mind and I giggle and giggle and have to read the post. Now I know what the freedom looks like in the picture you posted on your follow up post. Much love to you!!!

  267. So many of us have felt like posting something like this and haven’t had the courage or strength or words or whatever to actually do so. Thank you for giving words to your pain. Thank you for providing words for what so many cannot express.

  268. I have dysmythia and anxiety disorder. I was alsways anxious and my dysmythia symptoms showed up at the ripe age of 16. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I got diagnosed. I honestly thought the insomnia, nightmares, budy brain, were all just me. I was “wrong” somehow. It took a few rounds on the wheel of meds (I’m a sensitive metabolizer and lactose intolerant. Did you know that a majority of SSRI’s have lactose in them as a filler? I learned that the hard way). Thanks to a dedicated psychiatrist, we finally found two medicines that work.

    About a year or so ago, I became mostly asymptomatic. I tried to enjoy it, but I didn’t know how to function with a quiet brain. It disturbed me for it to be so. I was so used to feeling massive emotions about everything, that being “normal” was an effort for me. It was strange. My disease was so much a part of me that I felt I wasn’t me without it.

    Recently, I’ve been lax at medicating (I know, I know BAD) and my symptoms are different now. I get numb now. I find myself not really caring or being in the present or paying attention to what’s really going on around me. My usual response to anything will be “whatever” or “I’m really tired’ if asked if I am OK (which I usually am. Sleep and I don’t get along. I love it, it doesn’t love me back). I didn’t even recognize it as a symptom until recently. I have an extremely wonderful support group. I just had a friend promise me that if she notices me acting “blah,” she is to pull me aside and check in with me. This way, if I don’t notice it, she may help me pay more attention.

    I’m very open at home and work about my illness (it’s why I don’t have children. I wasn’t ever stable enough to not medicate to try and I couldn’t be pregnant on my meds). I talk about it to educate people, to show that those with mental illness can have a job, a house, a spouse, we can function. I also talk because they might have someone in their world experiencing the same stuff and not realize it could be a mental illness.

    I want to thank you for being so honest about your fight. I admit to feeling like mine is miniscule as compared to some of the comments here. It’s not. Dysmythia sucks. It’s pervasive. It’s every day. It doesn’t keep me in bed or immobile, so I feel like I am not as bad off as others with more severe depressive conditions. I know I’m lucky that my condition isn’t severe. My heart breaks for those who are deeply suffering. Mine is different, but not less. Thank you for having me get that. It may take time for me to believe it, but that’s what therapy and people like you and these wonderful commenters are: a place/people to give me hope that I will believe it.

  269. I fought depression after 9 miscarriages in 18 months, and found out I had a blood-clotting disorder, and Fibromyalgia…… my husband, the love of my life….left me due to the combo of these things.

    I’m clear and healthy now, strong and moving forward….but you’re right…the people around you have no idea how you’re swimming in a dark hole, trying to hold on, but with no hope in sight. It’s so easy for them to give up on you and walk away…which just makes it that much worse for you.

    Thank you for blogging about your depression and how it’s affecting you. I’m not depressed anymore, haven’t been for a couple years (my blog talks about the changes I made) but I do suffer some deep despair and sadness that despite his walking away from me…..I love my husband with my heart, soul, mind and everything I am….still. I still wear both wedding rings. I had his name tattooed on my shoulder…a year plus after he left me. Those who don’t understand you can come out of it….if they will be patient and wait for you…need to know….(sigh).

  270. I can’t even formulate the right words to tell you my gratitude for this post. Its always comforting to know another person whose with you in the darkness. If only there was enough light that we could all reach out and grab hands as we sat in the damp cave of depression hoping for the light to descend on us. What people don’t realize that there is no true remission. We’re always susceptible to go back there again, never knowing quite what will be that thing to push us back in.

  271. Dear Jenny
    I am a recent fan and in the short time I have been following your blog have quickly come to know that you are amazing. It took a tremendous amount of courage to share your situation — in this post and all your past ones. Thank you for your honesty, bravery and fabulous spirit.

    You are so right. We win. We have survived the dark nights of the soul and we are alive.

    Bless you Jenny
    Christine
    “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced” (James Baldwin).

  272. I feel like I just read a little slice of my thoughts. Having fought depression off about every four years since I was eight, your struggle is unfortunately familiar. (I, too, self-harm, mostly in the form of biting my fingers when I inevitably screw up on something or experience frustration.)

    Every day after the depression chooses to lift will be less and less of a struggle, and every positive thought will be a victory. Heck, every day you live through depression is a victory, too. You’re right, society needs to recognize the silent mental wars that are won every day, as ordinary people conduct epic struggles against their own minds just to live normally. Those of us who have faced depression and can talk (or blog) about it are survivors–we have literally faced death at our own hands and refused it, somehow. We rock. We are not shameful for having faced this; it’s just another human frailty, like any injury or illness.

    Saying prayers for you as you continue to heal. 🙂

  273. Celery–You describe it very well.
    Christian–So do you.
    Catherine–You made me sit down and have a full on cry. My brother committed suicide 2 months ago. I can’t imagine how he felt. I have thoughts, but I won’t/can’t do that to my family, so maybe I’m not as far down as I thought.
    Jenny–you are one of the things that keeps the dark away for us, sometimes. Even a post like this, it makes me think “how can I help?” so motivates me.

  274. I’ve never read a truer description of what it’s like to come out the other side. I will share it with people I know. Thank you. You (and I, and all of us) are not alone.

  275. Thank you for sharing. You aren’t the same person to me – You are more awesome than I knew you already were. I was at the point a couple months ago where I wasthisclose to giving up. I actually did give up and was ready to quit this life but my hubby wouldn’t let me. I am a little better now and taking it day by day. You are an inspiration to so many.

  276. Jenny,
    You are amazing and brave and have a way of describing what I am feeling in words I could never find. I too am suffering from severe depression, and anxiety. I have been on medication for over a year. Actually two anti-depressants. They help some of the time but other days it is cling to the bed and try to breathe. Most of the time I feel like I am working my way through quicksand and sinking with every step. I lack the energy or focus to get my work done, be there for the children as much as i want, take care of the house, the bills (and bill collectors), carpool, etc etc etc I do it all but not very well most of the time. Extreme stress I believe triggered my depression and stress still plays a huge role in how often I want to crawl in the bed and drift away.

    I don’t self harm in a physical way; however, I often seem to sabotage myself and my goals. Thank you for sharing your fight and your successes. You have brought to light a disease that is so crippling and so misunderstood. Love, love, love you girl!

  277. You are a brave woman and I stand with you. If you need someone to lean on today, lean on me. If I need someone to lean on tomorrow, I’ll lean on you. And the next time I feel the despair, I am going to read these comments and be held up by their support and strength.

  278. Let’s celebrate the survivors.! Thank your for sharing your story and raising your voice for so many who are too scared or are unable to speak their own truth. You are STRONG…for every day you live and get through the depression. Keep marching forward! (hugs)

  279. Thank you. Your post saved my life tonight. I didn’t cut, I didn’t drink, and best of all I’m still alive. You are so strong for sharing this. You’re truly an inspiration. Thank you again.

  280. I saw this exactly when I needed to… And it helped me understand that I’m NOT alone… And it helped me explain to my family why I am the way I am and the way things happen sometimes. Thank you.

  281. I applaud your bravery. Telling others was a major step in my own struggle with self-harm. I’ve now been self-harm free for about 6 years. Yes, it has been long enough that I don’t even remember the date or the number of days. It did take me a long time to get to this point and it was not without struggle. Sometimes it is still a struggle. But it is one that both of us are strong enough to win. I’m rooting for you!

  282. This made tears come to my eyes. I’ve never read anything that’s describe so accurately what I feel. It’s helped make it easier to put into words. It saddens me that you, someone so open, friendly, creative, funny and generally accepting, suffers from such.
    I’m glad things are improving for you, and though we may not be on a personal basis (much to my dismay because you seem like such a great person to know), my thoughts are with you.

    xx

  283. a few weeks ago I went to the er……..BECAUSE I’M CRAZY! and a doctor there asked me just what I would do if he came in talking shit about my daughters. I was all “I would beat you up” and he said “why can’t you treat yourself with that kind of respect?” Nobody ever put it to me that way. I hope you start loving yourself as much as Victor and Hailey do. You have changed my day so many many times. and I only wish the best for you.

  284. Thanks for your honesty and sharing your gifts. I’m 46 . In my late 20’s early 30’s I was a mess. Panic attacks, overindulging in many things, boughts of depression and the occaisional wish to get the hell out of life. I really wanted to feel better but i was sure that there was “something wrong with me” and I did not want to go there. Scared shitless really. I started art therapy which i highly recommend. It reaches into your unconsious like dreams. It taught me a lot but the most important thing was that all my feelings, anxiety and depression included were not crazy. I was afraid, angry and overwhelmed. When i stopped feeling embaressed and humiliated for my feelings and started honoring them it changed everything. I made some changes in my life, slowly. I feel like those parts of me I hated were the parts that have led me to a life that I adore. It’s all me-authentic. I spent about a half hour a day writing about my anger, fear etc and then i looked for ways to adress those feelings. I still panic sometimes, still get depressed, but it is rare and i know to take some time for myself, listen. I’m not affraid of myself anymore and it is awesome.

  285. You really have a way with words that gets right to the heart of things. This post made me shake a little with the need to hug you and tell you that it takes real guts and bravery to be so open and honest. Not everyone feels they can bare their soul the way you do and for that you should feel immensely proud of yourself for it. Lots of love to you from over the pond.

  286. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I saw something posted on a forum yesterday about someone who had a panic attack in public, in front of an acquaintance…and the acquaintance said something like “How are you ever going to get a job if you can’t be around people?”. I went on a little tirade about how mental illness is not a joke, not something that people can be so insensitive about because the rude things they say can just push the sufferer deeper into the hole. To see this post and the outpouring of love in the comments makes me regain a little faith in humanity.

    I have suffered with anxiety, depression, obsessive and compulsive behaviors and seasonal affective disorder. I’ve been in the care of a therapist for nearly 10 years. My parents never believed that mental illness was an issue- they are “brush yourself off, pick yourself up” kind of people, who decide that if they are depressed, it’s because life sucks, not because of a brain chemical imbalance. I remember being a teenager, coming to my parents for help and telling my mom that I thought I was bi-polar. She told me to stop talking like that, my great-aunt really WAS bi-polar and I was just an angst-y teenager. I started self-harming when I was 13 years old. It was never every day- usually I would start up again when the last episodes injuries started to heal. I used every possible implement imaginable. It’s a wonder I never ended up with an infection. Sometimes, I’d lay scotch tape across the healing scabs and rip it off quickly…because it was fun to do for some bizarre reason. When I went away to college, I took matters into my own hands and gathered up the courage to go to the school’s counseling center. I’ve been on various medications since then. Some helped, some made things worse, some lost their effects after taking them for extended periods, others were REALLY close to helping but killed my entire sex drive. I recently changed medications and while I don’t see a drastic change, I feel a little bit more like me.

    Anyway, the reason I’m blabbering on about all this is to share this with you- after years of being medicated and engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy- I no longer self-harm. It tapered off….you have to wean yourself off of it slowly because if you put pressure on yourself not to do it, you will get an urge and be disappointed for even feeling that urge, not to mention the crippling self-doubt if you happen to backslide and actually injure yourself. You have to find a replacement, but remain aware that there IS the possibility that you will want to cut (or do whatever it is you do- that was my poison of choice). I replaced cutting with shopping, then replaced shopping with eating. Not exactly the ideal way to do it….but it is working. Because now I am focusing on replacing eating with organizing. It feeds my desire for control. After I’m done organizing, maybe I’ll replace that with exercise to un-do everything I did when I was eating all the damn time. I don’t remember exactly how the tapering off process went, but I do remember that eventually, I was celebrating small goals like making it 3 months without. Then 6 months. Then a year. For a while, the winter because a signal that cutting could be on the horizon. As soon as my therapist and I discovered that January was my “danger zone”, we upped my visits to her during that month. I cut once a year, every year after the holidays. But not last year. Or the year before that. And not this year either- I may have 25 days left of this horrid month, but I WILL make it through. Because I deserve a better coping mechanism- one that makes me feel good about myself. One that I can show off to other people and be proud. And one that actually works. The guilt was what really helped me get over it. I felt guilty every single time…because I knew I was hurting those around me. I didn’t stop for myself….but I continue on the path of recovery because I know now that the reason people cared about me was because i was WORTH caring about. By no means am I “healed” but I too am a survivor. I also believe that there is an unspoken bond between those of us who have experienced self-injury. We understand each other just a bit more and we can truly appreciate the small victories because they are the ones that eventually turn into the big victories. Most of us will never be “cured”, but we will learn to live life to the best of our ability. It will take time- lots and lots and lots of time. But it will be worth it. I commend you for opening yourself up like this and for shedding some light on a subject that still has way too much stigma attached to it. I am celebrating with you. We can all make it through.

    A friend of mine committed suicide over the summer- a beautiful girl, full of life….the exact opposite person that one would think could be capable of something like that. It was incredibly difficult not to harm during that dark period in my life…questioning why I couldn’t see it coming, angry at myself for not helping her, sad because I missed so many opportunities to see her. I turned down a visit to New York City (where she lived) 2 weeks before she died. If more people had been at her side, I think she would still be here today. And I would not look at her name on the guest list for my wedding and swell up with tears. But instead….I am going to do everything I can to make her proud of the life I am living. I am going to be open to the signs that she sends me and I’m going to remember her thirst for beauty. She was a firework- beautiful, extravagant, mesmerizing…and gone in the blink of an eye. I am making my silver ribbon in remembrance of her- and to remind myself that we are all fighting…and never alone.

  287. hey there,
    thanks for your Blog. I blog too and I know what it takes to dig deep and produce words.

    I thought greatly about your Blog here though. I got the link through @wilw on Twitter. Such a fascinating thing Twitter is I just started but iDigress…

    I’ve got mild depression issues. My dad is a bi-polar manic depressive, so either through nurture or nature I’m a little “touched” in that department. I’ve only been to therapy once following the Worst Breakup of My Life. And it was a good experience. Wasn’t medicated, wasn’t seeking pills either. I do “self-medicate” with Beer & Grass. What does that make me beyond a redneck? Yet…
    Hours, Nights, Hollow, Scratching the Walls, an itching on the inside of the skull, a bad idea that can’t get out. This pretty much sums up how it “used to be” and “how it gets very, very infrequently”.
    I had an experience a few months ago. Best friends birthday party. I was depressed for days after. I know what the triggers were and I know I can cope with it but in the “There & Then” of those Emotions…it’s the hardest of times in this human experience.
    We Are Own Worst Enemy. Our thoughts & experiences and their results on our perception…is it our sea of salty electrolytes & enzymes squirting feverishly in our cerebellums or something else.
    I’ve helped myself with getting Spiritual and that’s its own story you can follow on your own if you wish, you’re welcome to read it. S’why I Blog. Good or Bad I want to share this human experience with you…and thank you for sharing with me.

    Also when thinking about depression, I keep coming back to HBO’s the Sopranos. I watch this show over & over again OnDemand. This gotta be the 6th time I’ve seen it, all in sequence. Tony’s couch trip for us a the viewer is our empathetic couch trip as well. And Dr. Melfi succinctly defines it for Tony in a way that shone light on Me. Depression is Rage Turned Inward. I’ve always had rage issues. My god…that was the key. So that’s my filter now…I slow down and ask myself, “what are we mad about”? Then in that pause I can choose “Other” than Rage. Rage gives me a few predictable result patterns such as Smash, Pout, Cry, Bleed.
    if I choose other and shine my light with a different lens, say if I use Indigo for Compassion I get a Multitude of Different solutions that don’t include the results of Rage’s Red Light.
    (I’m a huge Green Lanntern fan so thanks Geoff Johns for the Emotional Spectrum…such an Elegant Metaphor!)
    Sorry, I’m a Geek. But with this filter for my Light I’ve begun to be Blissful (also meditating & reading something spiritual everyday).
    Then I have something happen like my best friend’s birthday party. And it reminds me I’m human but I can cope. And it will probably happen again. And when it does, be prepared and Shine some Light on it.
    As Mick & Keef said on “Exile…”, may the good lord shine a light on you, make every song you sing your favorite tune”.

    Thanks & Kriya Shakti,
    Rev Sully
    Hub of the Multiverse

    Eric O’Sullivan
    Boston, MA USA

  288. Thank you. I’m crying while I read this post and all the comments because they make me feel like I’m not alone. In my head I know that there are others like me, but in my mind it’s a different story. I’ve struggled with Binge Eating Disorder for years, even before I realized how messed up I had become. Only my doctor and my husband know (knows, but doesn’t really understand). I had the worst episode of depression ever that finally ended a few weeks ago. I just woke up and I felt better. You can’t understand how awful it is unless you’ve been there.

    Thank you for reminding me that I’m not dealing with this by myself. I’m going to get 2 silver ribbons. One for myself, and one for somebody that thinks they’re alone in the hopes that they can get the help that they need and know that they’re not the only one fighting

  289. I know the exact feeling you speak of when one day the clouds start to lift and you remember what it’s like to feel hopeful. I’m happy for you, my friend.

  290. I shout hooray for you…very happy for you..I just found your blog…I have some reading to do.

  291. omg! I am SO thankful that you wrote this. I suffered from this for YEARS. I won’t make a long story of it but I do not do it anymore – I’m a lucky one. I use to use razors to cut up my arms and they way you described it is almost the same as I had to explain to people around me, the physical pain is better than the emotional pain. I didn’t understand HOW to deal with emotional pain and just general life experiences, thank you for being SO brave to post about it! You ARE a strong, beautiful, wonderful person! I wish you only the BEST in the future!!!! Happy New Year

  292. I am late reading this, but it hit a few nerves. My husband has suffered from depression for 16 years. he keeps it very quiet. Why you ask? Well, he took 6 months disability leave after his first major battle, and on his return to the office his boss promptly fired him. His boss told me to my face that he had to fire him because ‘what if it happened again’. No wonder people hide it!

    I have suffered fro anxiety for 11 years, and this fall developed severe depression. It is BAD. But, I am determined to battle it back, because I have to. I had a lovely friend commit suicide last spring and saw the devastation it caused her family. I cannot do that. I love my family and friends too much so I feel I have to find a way out. I have told many of my friends (not all, but only because I haven’t had the opportunity). I am on antidepressants, have engaged a counselor and I am exploring what other help may be available to me. Everyone who knows have been incredibly supportive and have offered tangible help (not just ‘is there anything I can do?) . I feel totally blessed and so very lucky to have this support and I hope you and all of your readers have support too.
    It is a scary illness, but with help and love we can battle it. Stay strong.
    Thank you for your honesty and courage to write this. It helps all of us, sufferers, friends, family members and others.

    You are a wonderful person.

  293. thank you, so much, for sharing this. i’m coming out of my own dark place for the first time in many many years, and it has been people like you who were willing to share their own experience online who helped me to understand myself the most, encouraging me that i could find a way out. thank you, and all the best to you.

  294. Thank you for surviving with me. You have no idea how much I mean that.

    Your post hit home because my 33rd year was the year depression kicked my ass, took my name and left me gasping for air on the floor, good for nothing until I realized the same truth you did…it lied to me. I had so much that I was happy about, that I loved, that I would not give into another beating for another day. Your blog was one of the few external bright spots in my fog because you made me laugh during some of my hardest days.

  295. Reading this post felt like you’d opened up a window into my soul. It’s so encouraging to know that other people know what it’s like. Thank you.

  296. Thank you so much for your honesty. My partner of 7 years struggles with depression and sometimes I get so caught up in how I feel about his depression and how it affects me, that forget how hard it is to just be him. It breaks my heart to see him try to put on a happy face for me when I know some days he just wants to say fuckitall and give up. I wish you and your family well and keep up the good work!

  297. Hi

    Just happened here via Design Mom. Do you know about DBT? I am icurrently n a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Group – I have Panic Disorder. The class was designed by Marsha Linehan for folks with Borderline Personality Disorder, and it is also effective for depression and anxiety. Lots of info on-line. I’m finding it very helpful!!

    All Best!
    Martha from Maine