Strange and beautiful.

I don’t know if it’s the planets or the meds or the darkness of winter, but this week I’ve been a bit down in the hole and I suspect I’m not the only one.  Then I heard this song that I’ve loved and forgotten and it saved me a little bit.  Little things save me from myself all the time.  Sometimes it’s music, and sometimes it’s words from writers who’ve been dead for years, and sometimes it’s you.

If you’re sad or lonely or feeling like you’re one of the misfit toys, know that you are part of us.  And remember that those misfit toys were always far more interesting than the normal ones.

Tell someone that you love them, or that they’re important.  And tell yourself.  Because it’s true.

PS. I wrote this last night but I was too mentally exhausted to publish it, and this morning I looked out and saw a mostly full moon and realized that’s probably partially to blame.  It sounds insane and vaguely werewolfy to blame the moon, but I know that weeks with full moons are worse for me.  My shrink says that full moons and increased mental illness has never been entirely proven yet, but that studies have shown an increased correlation between full moons and human sleep quality.  In particular, delta activity (deep sleep) decreased by 30%.  I already have sleep problems and when I did I sleep study last year they found that I had severe alpha-intrusion, which means that my mind is awake while my body is paralyzed and asleep, and that I get almost no delta sleep.  There’s no real cure, but my doctor told me that it’s commonly found with people who have intractable pain and depression.  No idea if one causes the other or vice-versa, but it was nice to have someone who knew nothing about me look at the scientific printouts and say “You probably have depression don’t you?  You’re in pain.  I bet you’re exhausted.”  Somehow it made it feel better to have someone nod and knowingly say, “It’s not all just in your head.”  Except that it is just in my head.  But it’s real.  And it’s something I fight against, and something I continue to win against every day I’m alive.  And if you’re reading this then you’re winning too, even if you don’t feel like it.  Am I rambling?  My guess is probably and I blame the moon and the fact that lack of sleep puts my ADD into overdrive and makes me question every single thing I do and say and write.  So today I up my drugs until things feel better, and I wait until it lifts and then suddenly I remember what it’s like to feel again.  Because I know it will come.  I know depression lies.  I know that mental illness is a small part of me that makes me who I am.  I tell myself that when this lifts I will feel again and that it will be amazing.  I don’t “know” it because my mental illness also causes illogical doubt, but I know that I’ve been in this hole hundreds of times before and that every time I come out with a few more tricks on how to deal, so mathematically the odds are in my favor.  And they’re in your favor too.  You just have to trust me on this one.

PPS. When I’m in the hole I find it difficult to help others because I’m so focused on fighting my own battle and that sucks.  I’m sorry.  But I’ll give you a few tricks I’ve learned and maybe you can share some of yours.  Or maybe you can include your twitter ID here in the comments if you want to offer support or need to find a buddy who deals with the same thing you’re dealing with so you can talk to them.  It’s amazing how much this can help.  Here are a few tricks I’ve learned that help (off and on):

  • Sunlight.  Take vitamin D.  Sit near a window.  Buy a sunlight.  When things are very bad I go to a tanning salon for five minutes.  It’s not super healthy, but it helps me.
  • Exercise to increase endorphins.  This is only good when you’re not at that uber-fatigued level of depression.
  • Rest.  Watch funny shows and uplifting drivel.  Something you don’t have to think about or keep up with.  I recommend something like Little Britain or The Mitchell and Webb Show.
  • Give yourself permission to be sick.  Mental illness is just as dangerous and real as any other disease.  If you need to take a day off to take care of yourself, do it without guilt.
  • Read things that make you realize you’re not alone.  Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and Half is good for this.  Here’s her website if you can’t afford the book.  Boggle, the owl, is also quite nice.
  • If you have self-harm issues, snap a rubber band across wherever you usually hurt yourself.  It’s just as painful and releases the same chemicals but less likely to give you an infection or scars.  Also clench ice in your fists until they hurt like hell and you want to cry.  You get the same pain-rush but without any long-term damage.  If you pull out your hair or scratch yourself, smear coconut oil all over your hair or wherever you normally hurt yourself.  It makes you more cognizant of when you’re doing it since many of us do it without thinking.
  • Have someone you can tell so they can watch over you.  There’s something very freeing about sharing your struggle and having someone else be available to call when things are at their worse.  It feels bad to have to share the load with someone you love, but I guarantee you that they want to know so they can help.
  • See a shrink.  Adjust your meds as needed.  Sometimes I need antipsychotics and sometimes I don’t.  My chemistry changes and I have to keep up with those changes.  Drugs sometimes work and then stop working and you have to manage them, which sucks when you have depression because you’re often too tired to fight for yourself, but you need those drugs just as much as someone with diabetes needs insulin.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  Ask a family member for help in making appointments and remembering to pick up refills if you can’t do it alone.  Remember that it’s hard as hell to get the help you need when you’re mentally ill but that’s not a sign that you’re not worth it or that you should give up.  I’ve had to switch doctors before and I’ve had to demand to be seen on numerous occasions.  Not every shrink works for every person.  It can take time to find the one who fits with you.  It’s not your fault if you don’t mesh well with your shrink.  Keep looking until you find someone you trust.  The right one is out there for you.
  • Call the suicide hotline if you need to.  They’re there to help and they have fabulous tips and resources.  It’s free, you can’t call them too many times, and no one there will laugh at you.  You can stay anonymous and they’re happy to just listen to even the craziest things you have to say.  Many of them are volunteers because they too have called and been saved by someone on the other end of the phone.  I’ve called myself (even though I’m not suicidal) and some of these tips came from the amazing people on the other line.  They can also often help you find a good doctor for your specific needs.  Just google “suicide hotline” and your local one will pop up.  There are also sites like “To Write Love On Her Arms” and Mind Your Mind, which can help.
  • Remember that 25-50% of all people will experience mental illness at some point, so you are not alone.  I’m a successful writer with a wonderful family, but I also have numerous personality disorders, some that even my closest friends don’t understand.  You can be mentally ill and still be a good person.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but it’s true.
  • Do what feels right for you.  Dance in your room.  Meditate.  Read silly quotes.  Be unreasonably angry at strangers on the internet and scream at the computer screen from the safety of your home.  Make balloon animals, or knit, or project a paint-by-numbers picture on the wall and paint a giant mural, or adopt a bunch of cats and dress them up like little people.
  • Laugh.  This one seems insane, but sometimes in the middle of one of my lowest points I’ll find something ridiculous and it’ll make me laugh and I’ll suddenly remember what that feels like to smile and it’s like a lifeline to remind me that I’m going to feel good things again soon.  Laughing isn’t proof that mental illness isn’t real.  It’s a sign that you’re stronger than your mental illness even when it has hold of you.  For instance, while I was writing this, I googled “how many people will experience mental illness” and google decided to “help” and instead suggested I look up these two things:
really google
Who is googling this? Also, the second one is just awesome because when I first looked at it I thought it meant that people had turkey butlers who cooked food for them and I felt a little jealous.  Then I felt stupid.  Then I laughed.  Then I wrote “Get a turkey-butler” on my to-do list.
  • And lastly, know that this struggle makes you special.  It might not be a struggle you’d have chosen for yourself, but it’s one that can make you stronger in the end, and more sensitive and compassionate and empathetic to others.  It’s one that will help you help others.  And there’s something unique about the people who see the world from the bottom of the hole.  We have different eyes when we come up and different ways to seize those moments of joy that we know are so important and rare.  And that’s a gift.  A terrible and wonderful one.  You aren’t alone.  You are wanted.  You are good.  And you will get through this.  I promise.  And when you doubt your worth, imagine your younger sister or your best friend or your child having these same doubts and realize that that same sense of angry disbelief that the world would ever be better without them is the exact same disbelief that your friends and family would feel if they lost you.  You are as special and irreplaceable as the people you love most.  Your differentness makes you unique.  I makes you who you are. It makes you part of our tribe.  It makes you flat on your back one day, and it makes you dress like a circus performer the next.  It makes you grab hold of life when it comes back around.  It makes you crazy.  But that’s not always bad.
(photo by Maile Wilson)
(photo of me by Maile Wilson)

If you have tips, tricks, or want to share your twitter handle or email to offer an ear, or to ask for one, feel free to do it in the comments.  Or just listen and know that you’re  going to be okay.  There is an incredible community here built from people just like you.  We’re all in this together.

634 thoughts on “Strange and beautiful.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I know it seems odd to say this, but I love when you write these posts. I hope you find your way out of the hole soon… I know you will.
    PS I work at a psych hospital and that shit about the moon is true.

  2. I know it seems odd to say this, but I love when you write these posts. I hope you find your way out of the hole soon… I know you will.
    PS I work at a psych hospital and that shit about the moon is true.

  3. once in a very dark hour i confided in my friend that i considered myself a coward for not being “brave enough” to go through with suicide – she told me she thought it took more bravery to live. i love her for that. be brave yall.

  4. I read somewhere once that if you smile, even when you’re feeling sad, your brain is tricked into thinking you’re happy. I don’t know how effective that is against clinical depression, but it works for a regular case of the doldrums. It works mostly because I look like an idiot smiling when I don’t want to be, and then my husband says “why are you making that weird face?” which makes me laugh.

    (So true. I sometimes hold a pencil in my mouth because it makes you mimic a smile and it can lift your spirits. Feels stupid at the time though. But if it works… ~ Jenny)

  5. How wonderful. So THAT explains why I couldn’t sleep last night. I came downstairs to read TEAM OF RIVALS and woke up very early with the full moon in the west window, lovely and white, and then, as the sun rose, the moon turned a pale gold.

    Also, I have a poem called “Strange and Beautiful.”

  6. Jenny, You are remarkable to be able to share so much and to be so open. I’m so impressed and thankful that you are so real and you let us in. Thank you.

  7. I heart you in so many ways, Jenny. I’m glad to not be in the hole of depression anymore, it took a lot to get out of it for many years and we are standing with you!

    I don’t care WHAT the docs say – my sleep has been AWFUL and I swear it’s the moon.

  8. I truly believe the full moon does have an effect on people. Equally, I’ve noticed, the new moon does as well. I’ve worked in retail and healthcare and I can tell you there is a correlation. Maybe we should crowdfund a study?

  9. Of course it is the full moon…that is why my sleep has been crap lately. I was just going to blame the husband and his snoring like usual.

  10. I have suffered from occasional depression, currently I have two very close friends who are battling a deep depression and not being able to help them without pulling myself down in with them is so hard and so frustrating. I’m sending them both this post and saving it for myself. And YES the moon is totally part of it!!!

  11. I’ve been there, with the impossible, actually-still-awake sleep and intractable pain. I always took easy sleeping for granted until I got mono for the 2nd time and just… never got better.

    Almost by accident I stumbled across the book From Fatigued to Fantastic. Sounds like douchey exploitative crap; isn’t.

    That doctor’s regimen for sleep changed my life. There’s a medication called Desyrel (aka trazodone) that is an antidepressant, but research has shown that it is one of only 2 drugs known that actually IMPROVE sleep, deepen it. It made an immediate difference for me. You don’t take the same dose as you would for depression; I take between 50-100mg depending on if my symptoms are flaring up.

    I never wanted to take drugs to sleep, but I tried literally everything else. After months of feeling like I woke up 30 times a night, got “stuck” in looping dreams, and never rested, life looked REALLY bad.

    Traz helped SO MUCH. (Also: Magnesium. Helps a lot with the pain and also sleep.)

    Unlike other sleep meds like Ambien, it’s not a “Hypnotic.” It doesn’t work by knocking you out… which actually makes your sleep worse, even if you do actually pass out.

    Yeah, I sound like a drug rep. But it really, really turned me from a complete invalid who couldn’t cope with ANYTHING (no sleep = no emotional will, no buffer, no self-control), to somebody who at least resembled my former self.

    (I’ll check it out. I had mono too and never fully recovered bc I have two autoimmune diseases. I take neurosleep because it has magnesium in it and it helps me. I’ve heard mixed things from others though. ~ Jenny)

  12. Thank you for sharing this.
    tea – for you and anyone else who needs it today (Because I’m English, so firmly believe it cures all).

    I like to stand on something, pretend I’m on a stage and sing very loudly (and badly) until I’ve sung out all the feelings (or borrowed them from the songs). I’m left exhausted, but I sleep!

    Will pass this post on to everyone I can think of.

    (I do this too. I sing show tunes incredibly loudly. Lately I’ve been singing “Letting Go” from Frozen. It’s ridiculous, but if you look at it in the right light it speaks so clearly about anxiety disorder. ~ Jenny)

  13. You are not the only one. And I’m commenting before I even read most of this, because I want you to know how important it is that you write this stuff. I am sitting in front of my SAD light, waiting for my morning dose of hope, and this is good, really good, to read.

    Thank you.

  14. On those gray and dismal winter days I rely on you and Wil Wheaton’s blog to pul me through. Knowing that others feel the black sucking vortex of depression and what others use to fight against it helps me. For me beating the heck out of the heavy bag in the garage is what helps the most. Some days it takes only 5 minutes to get the endorphins flowing but others it is a good half hour. My computer sits next to my sunlight and I schedule my anti-depressants to increase after the winter solstice cause I know I will need them. For the moon thing, I sleep with a white noise machine going, a heavy duty eye mask to block out all light and earplugs. Routine, schedule etc all are against my “free spirit nature” but I have found that if I wait until I ‘feel’ bad it takes longer to come back to normal. Keeping the balance between “normal” and manic is hard but worth the irritation of scheduling. Blessings. p.s. just bought your book for my sisters 50th birthday. She should enjoy it as much as I did.
    teri

  15. Thank you for this. Those two words: depression lies; have saved me so often. Your posts and the comments of so many others are helpful beyond words. Laughing helps so much.

  16. My insomnia is always worse during the full moon, in my 20s I hardly ever slept those days it was out and at times I swear I can feel it, like edginess in my blood. Now I mostly sleep some, but it’s fitful and not restful at all. I know they try to claim it’s not real, but I think there is something to it.

  17. Thank you for this. I’m more than willing to lend an ear for anyone who needs one. I’m not really on Twitter much, though. 🙁 Try me at mommymilkies on Twitter.

  18. Wow. Thank you so much. I needed this today. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. You helped me. The self-harm deterrent tips? Amazing. I would never have thought there WERE such distraction methods. As much as I know intellectually that I’m not alone in my depression and other issues, still I do sometimes feel alone. Then I read something like this, and I remember I’m not. Bless you. I hope you feel lots better today.

  19. I also had a sleep study awhile back and they said the same thing about my brain activity – that it’s very high while I’m sleeping. Lack of sleep (or lack of GOOD sleep) can really change your outlook, your personality, and your state of mind. Hang in there. As that…um, famous person said, “This, too, shall pass.”

  20. I love to stand in the moonlight. Some people think it’s cold but I feel washed in light and warmth.

    There’s a song from the Barbra Streisand version of “A Star Is Born” called The Woman In The Moon, and these lyrics always remind me that I’m gonna be okay: “The believed that “strange” was a word for “wrong” – well, not in my song!”

    Bless you, Jenny.

  21. Phew, there is an explanation for how I’ve been feeling lately.Depressed, mainly… thanks for reminding me that depression lies and I’m not alone in this. It still sucks though… and now I’ll hide behind my light therapy light!

  22. Positive drivel links I like to share when people are sad:

    Two versions of “This Too Shall Pass,” by OK GO

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJKythlXAIY
    A ridiculously adorable terrier who does some awesome tricks:

    And an admonishment to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

    Oh, and a big hug from me! My grandmother passed away this week, and I’ve been feeling a bit low,too.

  23. Yeah, I think this kind of thing is more prevalent in recent days. I’ve been more down. Rory’s been more down. A lot of people I know have been writing about their depression. I’m here for people, if they need someone to talk to. @jennywilliams on Twitter. Or comment on one of my posts at my blog at jennywilliams dot com. Depression does lie. Some of us just have to wait it out. But others sometimes need a lot of help. Reach out.

  24. Sorry you’re in a hole. I just tweeted you a pic of my kitten Daisy looking at Hunter S. Thomcat looking at that pug…hope that helps for a second or two. 🙂
    I live with someone with depression. He takes his meds, does all that his doctor says…but ever so often, he slips down the hole a little. There are little tricks that help:
    – wrestle with our Golden Retriever, Simba (that’s some seriously potent ju-ju against depression right there)
    -make yourself take a shower, even if you really, really, really don’t want to…clean hair always feels better
    -more veggies, less processed food
    -turn on some lights
    -DON’T LIE TO YOUR DOCTOR. Tell him exactly how bad it is.

    Still, even with all of the little tricks and such, there’s still times when you just have to bear with it…it takes time for the keel to even back out again.

    All of the best people are crazy

  25. Thank you, again. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which was diagnosed when they gave me anti depressants and although my mood was better I was still barely functional. I’ve been in a spiral lately and it’s helpful to remember it’s not just me and that there will be better days.

  26. Thank you for this. I’ve been feeling depressed more than usual lately. It seems the meds don’t help and brain won’t s long enough to sleep. I do forget depression is a liar liar, pants on fire. I really needed this today. Thank you Jenny!

  27. Thank you very, very much.
    The laugh or smile thing doesn’t work for me. Makes me cry every.single.time. I wish it didn’t, because on days like that, I want a happy moment. But I suppose this is just one more way that we’re all different.

  28. Love you….even when you write what’s deep in my mind and heart….I’m sitting in that hole…moving around it to catch the sun..and snuggling the cat

    @di53 is twitter..

  29. I’ve been suffering a nasty bout since fall started. Some of it is lack of sleep; some of it is lack of sunshine and days outside. The kiddo sleeps fewer hours when it’s cold for some reason, and of course most of the winter it’s too wet to play at playgrounds. I know it’ll get better in the spring when I get more sunshine and exercise, but this winter has been especially hard. The full moon doesn’t help this week. I’ve cried (in front of other people and my kid, too!) several times. I was all ready to be happy this morning, but I’ve had to yell at the kiddo 5 times already. Then, I cried reading this. What a mess!

  30. Also, I worked retail in a mall during my early 20s. Full moon, Saturday night that place was a NUTHOUSE. And not in a good way.
    I hate that you have such a bad reaction to the full moon. It makes my hubby (who battles depression) frisky…very nice.

  31. There’s also a website called Stay Here With Me. Stayherewithme.com that’s helpful. And, about seeing a shrink: don’t be ashamed or afraid to change shrinks if the one you have isn’t working for you.

  32. my head’s not always right, either. it likes to distort things, or lie as you would say. and, knowing this, i’ve a list of what makes me good stored on my phone. and when i’m feeling down and am unable to see myself clearly, i ask a friend to tell me either what she likes best about me or what makes me pretty. one thing. and i add it to the list. and i read it when my reflection appears, in my mind, to be more like ursula from little mermaid and less like the one the mirror presents. sometimes it helps.

    also, i spend more time at pappadeaux’s bar, writing. the hustle and bustle, the camaraderie of the staff there distracts me. this helps me because i don’t have to involve myself in that hustle and bustle. i’m not part of it. but i get to enjoy it nonetheless.

    or i watch a movie. heads up, saving mr. banks is NOT a good one to see when your head’s messing with you.

  33. You inspire me every day. I’ve never laughed louder than I do at your posts (the story of how you got Beyonce is a personal favorite). You also make me feel, if not exactly normal, less abnormal, which is the best you can hope for on some days.

  34. I have so much gratitude for you. You are the voice for those of us who can’t get the words out. I would like to share a quote from another wonderful writer who lost the battle. “Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
    ― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
    It makes me so sad that I will never get to read something that he wrote again. It’s so hard not to sound trite- but I hope you know that you’ve saved lives, and we can never thank you enough.

  35. Thank you. I needed to read this.

    I also love Mitchell and Webb. I think your next taxidermied animal should be named Sir Digby Chicken Caesar. Especially if it is a taxidermied chicken.

  36. Thank you for posting this the “Do what feels right for you” have saved me before. Also get out of the house, even if it’s just going to the store for gum, get out, make contact, i’m the biggest hater alive, so i know is the last thing you want to do, but it does help.

  37. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. You make so many people’s worlds a better place.

  38. I work at a public library. The full moon theory is fully proven here.

    And my sleep has been completely disrupted for about a week and I hit a mini-mania period early on, although that ended my sleep disruption continues. Despite my total belief in the full moon at work, it never occurred to me at home. DH can add that to PMS as extra crazy times…so basically three out of every four weeks :-).

  39. Thank you as always. When I get lowest I think of a quote by Hank Green, “Your job isn’t to deal with this, it’s to survive it.” Just stay alive until you have just enough energy to actually go through the hard process of “dealing” with it. Remember that you can never be too kind to yourself, because depression starts you off in a cruel position.

  40. Mercury is in retrograde. Google it and see if that explains things. It’s a bitch. Hope you feel better, we all look forward to your posts!

  41. Changing what, how and when I eat has made an incredible difference in my Anxiety levels. I have had no Panic attacks or outbursts in the last 3 months. Just a thought. The Moon fucks with me however and I totally have to curb impulsive behavior and it takes me longer to fall asleep.

  42. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. I have felt so alone and down on myself this month. People tried to tell me it was the post holiday blues. But I always struggle more in January and February (mid winter in Buffalo, NY, go figger!). And I’m sorry but the moon cycles affect us all whether science can prove it or not. This past week has been just gosh darn awful. Sometimes it helps to know we aren’t alone and we are all stronger than we realize. Depression lies but as long as we keep reminding each other of that, we’ll stop believing the lies.

  43. Just when I make up my mind that I’m just destined to always be sad (kinda like Eeyore), you come along and make sense and make me think that I’m not the only one. Thank you for that.

    And of course we can blame it on the moon.

  44. Thank you. I’m good right now but I know just who needs to see this right now and I will undoubtedly need to see it again too soon.

  45. I have a family member who suffers from depression. Thank you for sharing your pain. It helps me understand a little bit more about how I can make a difference. Thinking about you and supporting from a distance. We love you!!

  46. Thank you, Jenny, for reminding us we are NOT alone. I have been struggling these last few days also, and it doesn’t help that I’m on an antibiotic and can’t take my other meds. You remind us WE CAN DO THIS. YOU.ARE.AWESOME.

  47. Thanks, I needed this especially today. Lately on every Friday I think to myself “is this the weekend I finally check out for good?”. And every Monday morning I find myself surprised I am still here.

  48. I spent the entire day Tuesday sleeping because I couldn’t get out of bed. It’s the time of year (it’s below zero and dark in MN most of the time right now) and the full moon this month, I think. Plus post-holidays exhaustion. Thanks for writing this: I use a lot of the same techniques to ‘just keep going’ during depressions, but I KNOW my cranky level has been pretty high the past week or two.

  49. Anyone who wants to talk can contact me at @brigidslipka on Twitter.

    Sleep. Lots of sleep. Even if you don’t call off work sick, call off sick from dinner/kids and go to bed at 7pm. Read for three hours or whatever. Remembering how in The Fault in Our Stars the doctor tells Hazel that sleep fights cancer. It fights depression, too.

  50. For those of us with issues with the phone a lot of places have an email address you can use. It took a friend mentioning that for me to contact a specialist for panic and anxiety. It was the greatest revelation. Apparently the local kids support line in town has one and a web based chat.

  51. Jenny, you are so brave. I know depression lies but sometimes the truth is just too much to bear. I am, once again, in that black hole and I keep ending up here so the me in my head keeps asking why I even try to crawl out. I am ready to give in.

    (Do not give in. I’m not brave. I have no choice but to fight this and I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can be honest about it and not have to fear the repercussions. I’m lucky…and sometimes I’m strong…but I’m so far from brave. One day I hope to be though, and then I can help people in real life rather than hiding behind a computer. We do what we can with what we have. It’s brave to be ready to quit and then change your mind. Be brave. ~ Jenny)

  52. It may not be scientifically proven, but to anyone who has worked in a nursing home, emergency room, or is the parent to a child with serious mental illness- WE know the full moon causes all kinds of increased crazy. I don’t know if you have any real understanding of what you do when you help bring awareness to mental illness and make it not so scary for the masses, but I thank you so much. I have depression, anxiety, and PTSD stemming from parenting a child with severe mental illnesses. Other people who have no idea, get some type of a clue reading your posts. And it helps.

  53. I love that you shared all this. Depression sucks. And it’s every bit of what you’ve just written. I am fortunate to have married a wonderful man who I can alert when it’s particularly dark for me. He keeps watch. I have a child with a chronic, rare disease and that beats up on my depression as well. There are so many bad days. But also good days as well as some great ones. It can be very lonely and isolating living inside the mind with depression. Thanks for your honesty. It’s hard to share but you never know when someone like minded might need to hear. I suspect many people will read what you’ve written and it will help them get find their way through the dark into the light.

  54. So many people have some form of mental illness. We’re trying to show real people with real mental illness at our site The Face of Mental Illness. People tell their story, and most show their face, to get people talking and to help people realize they are not alone.

    And that’s just it. You aren’t alone. You may feel that you’re the only person struggling the way you do. But just talking to other people you’ll realize that others struggle in the same way, related ways, or completely different ways. But we all struggle.

  55. Please add B vitamins to your list. I haven’t been depressed, which happened quite often, since I started taking a big B complex supplement every morning. Lot’s of people have trouble absorbing B vitamins from their food and don’t ever realize it.

    (Good point. I take B12 twice a day and have to get shots every week because mine is severely low. I feel like it’s helped my fatigue a bit and my depression a bit too. Not a ton, but enough to keep doing it. I go back for more bloodwork soon to see if it’s working. ~ Jenny)

  56. I don’t have a problem believing the moon affects people. The moon makes the tide. People are mostly water. So of course the moon pulls on us, too.

  57. Jenny, My depression comes and goes and I can usually handle it and recognize it for what it is (Kind of like Wil Wheaton) and Depression is an ugly thing that I don’t really like. I feel for you. Remember, there is even another Jenny from Texas who suffers too. Sending you the hugs and support that only another sufferer can share.

  58. Thank you for sharing these, they are great tips. I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time, but I’m glad you’re able to remember that It Will Get Better. And we’re here for you all the time, not just when you’re feeling up and happy.

    If I may add something, when I’m feeling depressed, helping someone else even in a small way like smiling at someone or thanking the barista, can help me remember I’m not alone and I can make a difference in somone else’s life.

    Take care.

  59. I haven’t been able to sleep worth a damn for the past week, and when I have slept I have had very vivid dreams that have made me not want to sleep. I tend to read a lot when I get like this. It helps me to think about something other than all the madness going on inside my head. I had to give up my meds when my husband lost his job and we lost our health insurance so the last few months have already been hard. No sleep on top of it has made it more difficult to deal with. On the bright side though I have gotten in a lot of reading and watching shows I have been wanting to see for a while now.
    I am sorry you are having to go through this but thank you for sharing it so we don’t all feel like we are the only ones.

  60. Thank you. Your words mean a lot. And I agree, I think the full moon is powerful, as I always feel a bit on edge or just off during the full moon. They may have not found a link, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. They just don’t know of one. There’s so much about how the brain works that science doesn’t understand.

    And many thanks for all the suggestions. I have been trying to exercise more and get some actual sun. It does help.

  61. I don’t have any tips really but ever since I discovered your youtube video where you said “Don’t Leave”, I will repeat that elebenty brazillion times until whatever is attacking my brain slows down or stops and I am able to breathe better and switch lanes.

    Also, Amanda Palmer posted a blog a bit ago about her friend Conor who killed himself and she wrote, “i love you. whoever and wherever you are.” and I don’t know what it was about that moment in my life, but damn I needed to hear that and bawled my eyes out for what seemed like forever.

    Hanging in there can be so fucking hard, but you reminding some of us to do just that helps … Thank You! <3

  62. I have felt so down lately too. Our house burned down in October. my 8 yr old who is mentally ill. Bipolar w/psychosis and RAD is having a really rough time. We ended up having to commit her to a crisis unit about two weeks after the fire. My oldest is Aspergers and severe OCD. The lies in your head make you feel useless and pathetic. They make me think it would be better to just leave and run away. I know they are lies but they are damn convincing at times. My panic attacks have increased 100 fold (fire fire fire everywhere all the time in my head) and my depression is epic right now. I laugh and dance alone and sing songs. It helps. I read you and allie and others that I know struggle as well. You have been my hero and someone i have looked up to since I started reading you wayyyyy back when and I thank you for being open and honest. It helps. Mental illness is a douchefuck. Needless to say it has been a rough time lately so I get it. I am @mysnafudworld and I am around to support you or take support. We are a club…a very jackholed club. But one all the same.

    (Sounds like PTSD. I had it for a year after a traumatic experience and it took time and therapy to get over it. It sneaks up on you because it hits hardest when you start to relax and feel safe because your mind couldn’t deal with it at the time and so it waits until you’re better and then makes you feel all the emotions in the world. PTSD was one of the hardest things I ever went through and caused the worse panic attacks of my life. It will get better, but it takes time and help. It’s a normal reaction, but much worse if you also have anxiety and stress. Sending you love. ~ Jenny)

  63. There’s a window at the top of the vaulted ceiling in my bedroom. When the moon is full, it sits in my window and taunts me. I really don’t like the moon in my window. I like the moon everywhere else. I just want it to get the hell out of my window and stop being a taunty asshat. That’s not too much to ask, right?

  64. I have quite a few friends who have depression or other issues. Your posts about your struggles always help me to understand them just a little bit better. If anyone needs a total stranger to lend a nonjudgmental ear, my twitter handle is @KelleyLMH.

  65. Reblogged this on Bipolar Me and commented:

    If you don’t already know about The Bloggess, well, you should. And here’s your chance. I especially like the advice about seeing a shrink. Remember: You are hiring the therapist. You can look for another one if needed. I had one that said I had PTSD because of some non-standard sexual experiences. And a couples therapist who shredded me and left me worse than when I came in. I learned to interview therapists before I made the first appointment. Do you deal with women’s issues, mood disorders, grief counseling? (Good.) Are you a Freudian, a cognitive behavioral therapist, a religious counselor, easily offended? (For me, at least, not so good.) And do you have a sense of humor? Then I give it a couple of visits to do the Reader’s Digest condensed version of my screwed-up life. By then I can usually tell if we are right for each other. And if we’re not, I MOVE ON. And keep looking. I need a professional therapist in my support system, but not just anyone will do.

  66. I try to remind myself that my anxiety and depression can be good because they help me understand what’s going on in my daughter’s head, and help me be a better mom to her, and to help her through her low points. Some days, most days, it’s not enough, but it’s a start.

  67. Wow. It’s nearly noon and I haven’t managed to goad myself out oh bed yet from feeling so low, and along comes this thunk on the head from the Universe, reminding me that it ISN’T just me, I’m not alone in my wretchedness. Thank you Jenny and everyone who has commented. Big shout out to ShellHawk for the additional videos.

    Depression, you lying bastard, suck it!

  68. Survivors matter. On both sides. I can’t possibly imagine life being bad enough to not want to enjoy it, but now I understand why we lost my BIL and why we might lose other family and friends. It helps me not “get it”, but accept it. Cause I honestly don’t think if you can understand if you don’t struggle, but hey jack – we are all a little crazy or we wouldn’t be taking this ride with you and to me your immense bravery and putting your hand up and asking for help is incredible and awe inspiring and yeah, I want a turkey butler too 🙂

  69. Holy crap I am so glad to see the thing about the moon. This week has kicked my ass in so many ways and I am utterly depleted today. I had blamed it on the moon semi-jokingly but I really believe that it fucks with things. Changes our body rhythms. If something as big as the sea is affected, why not something as small as me?

    P.S. Thank you for the rubber band tip. I don’t self-harm but I need distraction techniques when my anxiety spirals out of control.

  70. My mom works at a facility for the severely mentally retarded. She and all the folks she works with know exactly when there’s a full moon. I’ve heard nurses say the same. By the way,! I’m a teacher and this time of year is terrible for my students. Everybody, keep your kids in mind when you are taking care of yourself to beat the blues this time of year. They suffer too.

  71. You are really inspiring, Jenny. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the mental health I need, but you give me hope that it’s out there. One day I might be happy.

  72. Yep…I can relate. My daughter has several personality disorders as well and she has been manic the last few days. Personally I usually get depressed this time of year (HATE the holidays! All those happy people running around. UGH! lol) but last year I got a “Happy Light” (Mine is Verilux brand) and I SWEAR it helped me! I keep in on my desk and leave it on every day. No extra drugs for me last year or this year (so far!! lol). I saw white noise machine mentioned. I use one of those too. It shuts my head off at night (fairly well…my ADD has a hard time shutting up!) Hang in there! Thanks for sharing. I’m sure this blog helped more people than you can imagine! <3

  73. One song I listen to (that I’ve been listening to since I was 11) is “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. Yeah, it’s an old song, but it reminds me that I’m in the middle, and the ride is not over and that things can and will change. I also sing. Studies have shown that people who sing or play in a musical ensemble are much less likely to have problems with depression. So even if you don’t feel like going to that music rehearsal, go; it might just help. My choir family and the release I get from making music always make my day better. Another thing that some studies have shown can help with depression is dirt. I’m not kidding. Dig a hole. Garden. Get outside. My archaeology professor in college had a print out of the study pinned to the wall of his lab. As an archaeologist, I can say that I don’t doubt it.

  74. I don’t know if I’m suffering from depression or just going through a phase where things are generally suboptimal but I’m so thankful for you writing this. It helped a lot. I hope you get better soon.

  75. Thank you so much for this! I’ve been going through a down period right now and it can be a very lonely feeling. So many people don’t understand that depression and mental illness is REAL and you can’t just snap out of it. Reading your blog and Allie Brosh’s can ALWAYS bring a smile to my face when I feel down.

  76. I have 7 ruptured discs in my back/neck and I have fibromyalgia, IBS, and chronic fatigue (though I’m pretty sure that last one would resolve if all the others would get in line and march the hell outta here), and I’m constantly ay-frickin’-mayzed I DO NOT have depression or anxiety issues. Don’t ask me why, I’ve no clue…not a one. Which is to say, to have all this pain AND depression? Cheese and rice….

  77. Thank you so much for this, Jenny. I’m at a bit of a low myself right now (I clearly need a med check!) and actually wrote about it on my blog this morning. Thank you for making me feel just a little less alone. I hope the sun comes out soon for you! xoxo

  78. Funny how so many of us needed to hear this today, myself included. Thank you jenny…you also, are not alone. <3

  79. Great list!
    I used humor to defeat the bitch last year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I have never had the prolonged kind, just a reaction to the crap that life throws my way. I call it going down the hole. That’s when I write a blog post about something funny or work on my novel. I can only think about one thing at a time so I fill my head with other thoughts. It’s been very therapeutic!

  80. When I read these posts, I am always bowled over by the thought how how many people you help every day, just by being yourself and letting that beautiful self loose on the Internet. More than you can ever realize. Everyone needs to hear your message and I am proud to be part of your island of misfit toys. Your bravery is a light in this sometimes cold dark world. xoxo

  81. I have to speak to the ” know that this struggle makes you special. ”
    It’s totally true. I’ve suffered with depression (manifesting as anxiety and sleep disorders) for more than 20 years. I’ve collected my toolbox and taken meds and there are many more good days than bad. It can be hard to remember that when you’re in that hole, but it’s true. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I know I can survive stuff that would crush other people – because I’m still here.

    Use those tools. Find the tricks that work for you. Call someone. Read something funny. Take a walk. Whatever it takes.

  82. Today I am having a day in the darkness, where meds etc. just do not seem to be helping. Reading this gave me that hint of reassurance that I’m not in this alone, and I greatly needed that today. So thank you!

  83. One of simple things that helps me is quote from Harry Potter: “Of course it is happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” I hear it in Dumbledore’s voice and it’s someone whose judgement I can trust 🙂

  84. I ♥ you.
    I’ve been down in the hole lately as well. Slowly clawing my way back out of the darkness… You and the tribe have been saving me a bit.
    Be kind to yourselves. You are all wonderful individuals. xoxo

  85. great music. Thanks. When i can’t even see over the barrier wall of depression, if i can find anything to make me laugh – FAWLTY TOWERS has worked when nothing else will. I would swear that i feel better during the full moon, but for those who don’t, blackout curtains might help some. But i do know that strange “feeling in the blood” thing; i always thought of it as “that strange feeling” and mine is not effected by whether I see the moon or not.

    Playing with my dogs? YES! Big time.
    I think there should be a service for depressed people to play with lots of puppies or kittens for a while. 5 minutes with baby animals can work better than my anti-depressants.

  86. I am someone who doesn’t suffer from depression or mental illness, and who is generally pretty up-beat and easy going. I know from experience that it is hard for people like me to really appreciate why people who are “sad” or who “focus on the negative” don’t just get over it. One of the things that I appreciate about your writing is that – in addition to helping people with issues akin to your own – your articulateness and frankness go a long way toward helping people like myself understand. Understand both the potentials and the limits of what we can do to help those around us — people who can seem so alien and unreachable in the depth of their hurts.

  87. I had the misfortune of being in an ER once and waiting for hours. When I finally saw a doctor I said, “is it always like this?” and she said, “during full moons it is.” Great post, you are helping people.

  88. Wow…not sure I’ve ever read a post that made me laugh maniacally (heh…turkey butler…I’m giggling again) and then be in tears only a minute later. I really have to stop reading your stuff at the office.

    You call it a hole. I call it the dark…and the dark has weight. It’s always there, in a box under the bed, or pushed into the back of a closet, but sometimes the lid comes off. Not something something I talk about with most people. There are only one or two I trust enough. But they have been there to help me push it back in the box a few times.

    I hope you find the ladder out of the hole soon.

  89. Thank you for these posts. Know that you help others when you share your pain. My therapist taught me ego state therapy. This involves thinking about your emotional “parts” as different people. If you need to nurture the little girl, then the mother part does so. Things like that. It helps. Having compassion for yourself makes a big difference. But also, give yourself time to mourn or be sad if you need to. I had a good cry and pity party for myself the other day. I think it helped. Exercise does help me now that I have a gym close by. Just keep trying to make it through the next minute to the next hour. As a friend told me: suicide is a rather permanent solution to a temporary problem. We love you Jenny.

    (I love you guys right back. The Doctor Who episode with Vincent Van Gogh is my go-to show to make me cry when I need to let me emotions out. It’s uplifting and sad at the same time. ~ Jenny)

  90. Thanks, as someone who lives with depression and works with those living with mental illness, it’s so important to know we are not alone being misfits. And Jimmy Buffet is my mood elevator

  91. I use a lot of your tips, but here are some of my favorites:
    – Keep an uplifting playlist. When you find a song that makes you smile or dance or feel lighter than air, add it to your emergency playlist. Sometimes I have to keep the volume down real low because in the darkest moments some songs can feel too saccharine, but even at low volume I can feel it lifting me little by little.
    – Scent is a powerful mood switch. I can feel a little brighter by wearing some perfume, using a richly scented shower gel, lighting some incense or nice candles, baking something, …
    – I’m also a very visual person, and keeping a list of pretty things to look at helps a bunch, I have a few favorite movies in my “emergency kit”, a few picture books that mentally transport me, some favorite websites that inspire me, …
    But most of all, I find it’s important to actually make a list like this that you can reference. Having a “Bad Day Emergency Kit” not only reminds me of things I can do to feel better, but it reminds me that there is a pattern of rise and fall, and that I’ve been here before and will get through it. You wouldn’t think one could forget something like that, but when the clouds start to gather in my head, I always ALWAYS go through a brief period of, “What’s happening??? Why do I feel like this???”

    (I totally forgot one you reminded me of. Peeling an orange. Even if I’ve lost my appetite the smell of an orange can pick me up a bit. Also mint tea. Even if I just brew it but don’t drink it. So odd how little things can jar you a bit out of your head. ~ Jenny)

  92. Thank you for this. I’ve had depression and anxiety for over ten years and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not alone and plenty of people do understand out there. One of your earlier depression-related posts is how I actually discovered you.

    If anyone needs a shoulder you can HMU on twitter @CamaroCass…

  93. As an antidote to the winter blues, each day I’m writing down something that I love. It’s a good excuse for me to take a moment and reflect on the positive. I just published the first week’s installment.

  94. Thanks, Jenny. You have no idea how much I needed this post. January is my absolute worst month every year. It’s at least a month of hard struggle (I never quite know when it will abate).

    One thing that always helps is putting on your audiobook. I travel a lot and sometimes if I’m stressed, I put on your book because it’s guaranteed to make me laugh. So again, thank you so much for being you and sharing it with the world!

  95. I apologize in advance, as this will be a lengthy comment. Feel free to edit, or not allow, just writing it down, knowing someone will see is helpful.

    I too, have suffered from this grey cloud, all my life. The insomnia started when I was 15, at the same time as my first migraine. My search for perfection in all I do just makes these crosses that much harder to bear. To the uninformed naked eye, I look like a nice middle-aged lady who has a good job, family, house, etc. Inside I am telling myself it is all a mirage, or that it will come crashing down soon. I have been on an antidepressant of one type or another (along with anti-anxiety meds) since my early 20s. Do they help? Sometimes, mostly they just take the edge off and allow me to function, to survive.
    The full moon this week really knocked me backwards as well, sleep was just not in the cards, and with my job and family obligations, it has made me exhausted. Weary. If there were a way I could give up, I would. I do not want to kill myself, I just want this to end.
    So, what am I doing? I just took my dogs for a long walk in the winter sunshine, I am eating a chicken breast with cheese but no carbs, I took my 150mg of Effexor, my fish oil, and I my take a lorazapram if I get too jittery. Does self-harm help? does it cause some sort of chemical release? If so, should I try it?
    It does help, knowing I am not alone. I just wish my tribe were closer, I could really use a hug without the “cheer up” that would accompany it here.
    Thank you Jenny, for the crazy laughter (my hubs got me my own “Beyonce” for Christmas this year) and for being a voice for us special, sensitive, depressive, anxious dreamers.

    I hope we all feel better soon.

    (Self-harm doesn’t help. At all. For me it comes with Impulse Control Disorder and I can’t stop myself from hurting myself unless I use behavioral therapy. If you have it then there is temporary relief after hurting yourself but if you don’t have it it just causes more pain and no matter what you feel crappy afterward. Some people do it as a cry to for help, but it’s easier to just ask. Don’t start. It’s a bad road and one that doesn’t lead to good things. It’s like crack, except that I suspect crack at least makes you feel good for a bit. Self-harm is all shame and impulse and it’s one of the worst things to struggle with. Depression is almost sane compared to the urge to hurt yourself for no reason. ~ Jenny)

  96. I’m grateful to you for your posts. You always make me smile, and that’s not easy to do when I’m in the bottom of this hole. Thank you kindly.
    I struggle with self harm, anxiety, and terrible depression. I’ve been seriously considering ending my life. It feels so very lonely and impossible. I am alone. No one understands here and criticizes me for it.

    Thank you for helping me to remember how to smile. I’m also glad that I’m not the only one that dresses up their cats. 🙂 I wish you all the happiness in the world.

    Much love and thanks

  97. We were talking about January just the other day. January seems to start right after Christmas and doesn’t end until mid February. And by mid February I’m on the internet looking at beaches and Italy. A couple things I’ve learned 1) don’t nap. You have limited daylight so use it. Once it begins to get dark turn on every light in the house. Works for me.

  98. Thank you for this. I’ve had depression & anxiety for over ten years and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not alone. I actually found your blog because of one of your other depression-related posts and it brought me to tears because someone finally understood the crappiness.

    If anyone needs a shoulder, HMU on twitter, @CamaroCass

  99. I love your honesty, I know you help many people and I suspect you save many more! One thing that really turned me around (as far as understanding my depression) was reading Mother and Daughter Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup -I also have it on audio.

    The blood that nurished me as I developed inside my Mom, was full of the enzymes and hormones of depression. But, I spent the time in therapy over the years and I also have a list of the tricks you share, I call them my toolbox, and they help and work! My only extra one is I give myself two days to wallow… stay in bed, eat comfort food, cry and watch sad movies, really plummet, until I get so low it makes me laugh at the absurdity. I chose 2 days, because when I was working, it meant a weekend in bed eating delivery (I lived in Boston then) pizza, chinese, etc. Now, I work from home, so I can do my 2 days at will.

    My mother went through hell when she was pregnant with me. It was the 1950’s and her parents were furious that she got pregnant in her senior year of high school and got married at 5 months. After she died, I learned things that helped me understand her issues with abandonment and love -how they damaged me. When she went into labor at 17 years old, she was alone, my father had abandoned her weeks earlier to go party… she called her parents and they told her: “You’ve made your bed now sleep in it!” She had to take a taxi all alone at 11 pm on a Sunday in April 1956. I can not even imagine how scared she was! She drove passed the hospital and went to the Catholic Maternity hospital, it was where young girls went to give up their babies. No one is left to tell me the details, my mother killed herself in 2001. But, I understand why I have issues with depression, I developed inside a teenager, who was abandoned and betrayed by those who were supposed to love and protect her.

    I had long talks with her during her last ten years. We respected each other. She claimed to have no ability to love me, but I think she was too damaged to understand that she loved too much, it overwhelmed her heart. She hated being a widow and could not find her way. I wish she had given life more credit and had more hope. I miss laughing with her on the phone. She was wrong, no one is so broken by life that they can not find happiness. You need a toolbox and you need to use ‘tricks’. Never lose the curiosity about tomorrow, always strive to stick around to see how it turns out!

  100. I tend to not talk to anyone anyway but when I am depressed I don’t feel I deserve to talk about it. I tell myself, there are so many other people that have things so much more worse than I do and I shouldn’t and have no reason to be depressed.

    (I have no reason to be depressed. If anything, I should be happy. But if I don’t get help then I’ll do something I regret and then everyone will have a reason to be sad. Get help. There is no shame in it. It’s purely chemical, just like mine. Nothing bad happened to me that made me this way. I just am. Talk to someone. They’ll understand if they’ve been there. A shrink will totally understand. ~ Jenny)

  101. I love your irreverent life-posts, but these posts are where I feel you truly shine. This is when you are your most human, humane, and striking. You can and will keep on doing it! For yourself, and thus, for all of us out here who count on little things to pick us up when we need it as well.
    THANK YOU!

  102. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really needed to hear all of that today. Glad to know someone as cool as you feels the same way I do.

  103. I don’t normally reply because you’re amazing, and I just sneak around quietly in awe, but I’ve been in kind of a blah place lately and I had to say thank you. This morning, I needed something, and this helped me kick myself in the ass and try to get back to a better place. Thank you for continuing to expose your pain so that the rest of us can deal with ours. Just thank you.

  104. this is pretty much exactly what I needed to read today… thank you for your words and your work, and for being you.

  105. I’ve had piss-poor luck with drugs. For me, most have the opposite effect from what was intended. Even ibuprofen messes with me seratonin enough that I start having suicidal thoughts. So my therapist is a really huge part of my mental healthcare, and my current therapist is finally one that really works for me. I found her on the Psychology Today website, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for someone to talk to (they have psychiatrists, too, not just LCSWs). There’s a place on the website where you enter your zip code or city and it lists for you all of the therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. in your area. Each person has written a little blurb about themselves and their practice, which is how I found my amazing therapist. The things she wrote just struck a chord in me, and it turned out to be the right thing.

    I hope this helps someone. You’re not alone, and if you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to who will understand, at least you can pay someone who really will understand, and even be able to help. I’ve been doing it for a year, and it’s the best money I spend every week.

    http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/?m=0

    (My first anti-depressant made me suicidal and I was scared to try again after that. I finally did and found a drug family that worked for me, but I wish I would have known that different drugs work for different people and that it’s not my fault. I also discovered that I’m completely immune to everything in the valium family. Like, I could take a whole bottle and be completely normal. I didn’t even know that was possible, but you don’t know how drugs react until you take them. That’s why it’s so important to let your family know how you’re feeling and fore your doctor to listen to you about your reactions. ~ Jenny)

  106. Thank you so much, I just pinned all your ideas, they really do help! Also wanted to share that as someone who worked in a bank, we dreaded the full moon, it is not a myth! I hadn’t realized the effect it had on the sleep cycle, so maybe that does help explain it!

  107. I needed this today. Thank you. ♥♥

    Knitting helps me as does singing loudly (horribly. I mean SO bad that I feel I should send condolence cards to my favorite bands for my butchering of their amazing music). Some days I pull up a book on the Nook, grab my latest knitting project, AND sing loudly with one of the dogs curled up on my feet to even get myself motivated enough to put on something other than pyjamas.

    Sarcasm, at least according to my kids, seems to be my biggest ‘stick’ though. I am so glad you mentioned TWLOHA since I have been all but screaming from the rooftops about how awesome they are. Just having that resource available has helped my teenagers with their own bouts with depression and self-harm.

  108. Thank you for this. Needed it (badly) this week. Numbers 1-5 and 11-13 are all going to be on my to-do list this weekend. Also, I’m sorry you’re feeling down, but its really nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s stuck in this funk.

  109. I attempted suicide once. I was ICU for five days and the hospital for a week. I was transported to a mental are facility where they said I was fine and didn’t need to be there. I really blame generic Wellbutrin for it because once it was out of my system I was fine. My friend was on the real stuff then her insurance switched her to generic and she did the same thing. Not that it doesn’t work for some, but it does have it’s problems.

    Now I am good other than not sleeping & extreme anxiety/panic attacks. I do have depression but I’m learning to cope without Meds. Even my psychiatrist thinks I am doing great and I still see a psychologist. My anxiety is another issue altogether, but I am working on it. Thanks for the post. It helps A LOT.

    After my “attempt” I realized a lot about myself and my friends and family that loved me. Depression sucks! But if you can make it out of the whole, it’s so much better. I’m so glad I lived, even though I wouldn’t have had I not told my sister my goodbye that night. She saved my life and I am forever grateful. Suicide isn’t the way out. The way out is perseverance, help, love & laughter. When I can’t find the will out of bed, my husband makes me laugh and I know there is an end coming.

  110. Thank you so much. I’ve been crawling out of my skin this week -and now I don’t feel so bad about it.
    It makes sense. Your whole post makes sense, and I really needed it today. THANK YOU.

  111. Thank you for this post, Jenny. You have no idea how much it helps to know I’m not alone, especially when depression tells me I’m a fuck-up and that no one likes me. In my lowest moments, I remember that depression lies and that we are all in it together.

    My email address is lunarmoon81@yahoo.com and I offer it up in case anyone needs to talk. My Twitter handle is emnipotent. Please reach out if you need an ear or a friend.

  112. I loved reading this. Though I feel great today (thank you Cabo, for all of the Vitamin D), it is a constant battle and always in the back of my mind. Depression is not a dirty word. And it’s not my fault. Took me years to accept this, but once I did, I felt free. Hope someone else reads this and knows they are not alone.

  113. As a survivor of sexual abuse, and an otherwise hectic childhood, I tend to live in Anxiety Land. Since I work from home, I only medicate as needed. There are days when the door bell is frightening. Well, that’s everyday.
    Anyway, I do dance, in my bathroom, as exercise. Here is a blog that explains that: http://lisarpetty.com/2014/01/01/hobbit-dance-studio/
    I also LAUGH and make others laugh. I try to take nothing seriously. I used to do stand up. Now, I’m too tired at night for such nonsense. 🙂
    Vitamin D is great, and so is caffeine. I have 2 to 3 caffeinated beverages a day. Tea is better as coffee tends to frazzle my nerves too much.
    I talk to myself. I talk myself out of freaking out. This is especially helpful, along with Ativan, on planes. I hate planes.
    I LOVED this blog, Jenny, and I shared it. I have a few friends who can relate. I hope today is much better. Hugs

  114. I was very depressed for the last two days (I suspect an herbal menopause remedy I tried), and have been so relieved to read your blog, other blogs and commenters who have been having the same difficulty at the same time. Just knowing complete strangers are rooting for you, and that you can cheer for them in return when they’re down, has been uplifting. We really are all in this together. Thank you all so much for being here.

  115. I love you and all of your crazy-as-me followers! 🙂 I love the links in the comments to funny or goofy things. I love the heart and soul that you give and others give in return. You are a hero even when you don’t feel like it! You are super special and you were put here to help hundreds and thousands of people know that they are not alone! Thank you.

  116. I love it when you’re so vulnerably honest about these things, it makes me feel less alone and scared – it truly helps just to know that someone so successfull is also battling the same demons. (Which is also why Wil Wheaton is the bomb diggity imho) (one of the reasons) (shut up non-Wesley)

    Instead of the rubber band thing I try to do housechores that are hard on my back (so I feel it easier) and that works. I’ve aquired playlists for almost all occasions now.
    I thought I was crazy about the moon-thing, but more and more I feel particularly rollercoastery and there’s the full moon and I go “oh..”. it makes sense. One thing that always helps is watching rap battles and this sketch about two scots in a life (it’s called eleven) and I watch that till I start giggling.

    Sometimes I just rant out on twitter and sometimes people throw logic at me, and that works too.
    Most times engulfing myself in a fandom is the only thing that works. Potterhead-Whovian-Guildie etc.
    Long reply is long, sorry Jen – but most of all – thank you for being you and writing these posts as openly as you do. I hope you find a ladder out of the hole, and have the turkeybutler carry you out 🙂

  117. Thank you for writing this.
    This comic helped yesterday a lot, because it has been my life lately. http://www.lunarbaboon.com/ I love my kids and my husband, frankly they are the only reason I haven’t given in and laid down my sword and stopped the fight against the ever present onslaught of depression, but in the same breath they are quite demanding sometimes. So that particular comic gave me a smile which helped a little. Still haven’t slept more than an hour a night in more than 3 weeks though.

  118. The full moon thing is definitely true. Most moms I know with kids on the autism spectrum (like mine is) notice a great uptick in challenging behaviors when the moon is full. My son is louder, more emotional, and generally a lot more challenging for the few days surrounding a full moon. What amazes me is that it took me so darn long to make the connection.

    Thanks for continuing to write about depression. Awareness is everything, really.

  119. If the moon can affect a body of water like the ocean, and our bodies are mostly water, it only makes sense that we it has an effect on our bodies, too.
    Thank you for your continued openness and more making the effort to express something that feels truly empty and void.

  120. I’ve adopted a mantra for when things get really bad, or when I feel like they might. It takes all the strength I have, but I clear my head of all the ugliness, for just a minute, and repeat the words “Clarity, Strength, Joy.” I don’t know why it helps, but it does. Right now, when I’m feeling completely fine, it’s hard for me to even remember what it feels like not to believe in those three things, but in that critical moment, repeating those words over and over again is like making a promise to myself: I will feel good again.

  121. I have recently fallen into a depression I haven’t seen the likes of in over 15 years. I arrogantly thought that it wouldn’t happen to me again, not like in my late teens, early 20s (when I was legally commited after two suicide attempts). But yet here I am. This time though, I have a child. I have something to fight for. So I actually got it together enough to see a shrink. She said something that jolted me: as a parent, you want to do the best you can by your child.
    Think about all those negative thoughts and words in your head–the “I’m not good enough” “I don’t deserve to live” “I’m useless” “people hate me” “I’m completely alone”. Now, imagine if your child said those things to you. What would you tell him? You need to take care of that little girl inside your head. Tell her over and over again that you love her, tell her she’s beautiful, tell her she’s valuable, that’s she deserves love and support. That blew my mind right there. And now I’m crying at work, hoping no one approaches my desk.

  122. I really needed this today. I woke up early this morning with all the anxiety from the past month built up. It was hard to go back to sleep and that’s just made the anxiety worse. When a big bad thing happened at work I called someone else to take over and left. I felt selfish, but I didn’t want to have a bigger breakdown than I may already have. I can handle some crying, not a big bawl fest.

    But I’m watching Doctor Who and relaxing. And it’s reminded me of something my husband and I came up with a few years ago when we first started watching The Doctor. “Smile in the face of the Daleks”. Remember in the season finale of the first season 9 smiles and laughs in the face of the Daleks as he goes to save Rose? If he can smile in a time like that, I can as well. Especially when what I’m stressing out about is that things are going too well. I must be really messed up if that’s why I’m upset. Anyways, I hope you get out of this funk soon. Good luck! And thank you for putting this out there!

  123. Whenever I feel like something is “just happening inside my head,” I think of Harry Potter’s death in the final book – he is having a conversation with Dumbledore at King’s Cross and asks “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” and Dumbledore replies “Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”

  124. When I’m struggling with sleep (due to the crap ton of health issues I have) – I’ve found that sticking the headphones in and listening to binaural beats works wonders – within 5 to 10 minutes, I’ve generally nodded off and into a very restful sleep.

  125. thank you I worked in a pharmacy for several years and we always knew when a full moon was near or happening. Just because science hasn’t proved it yet doesn’t mean it’s not real. never having done a sleep study, I just took my sleep difficulties as part of my depression Which the doctor agreed with. You help a lot of people just letting us know we aren’t alone.

  126. Thank you for this. Thank you and thank all of your readers for sharing, for ideas, for commisserating which I am totally not going to check has to s’s. Or how to make s plural because probably it’s not s’s. For me, it’s music. Specifically, it’s 80s music that’ll get me smiling. And there’s a song from The Wiz called Brand New Day that does wonders for my mind. Right now, Pharrell’s Happy is on repeat along with Mary J Blige’s Fine OH MY GOD I AM SO BLACK. I can’t justify the expense of a lightbox just now but I know I need one and will find a way to get one eventually. The sun makes me feel something deep within slow down, spread out, open. I like it.

  127. Thank you for saying the things that a lot of others just can’t. I think. That there is something in the air as well as the full moon and it sucks. I think that lots of music, as much sun as you can stand and just some good, stupid laughs can help. I find that getting some exercise can really help too, even if it’s. Just a dance party in the kitchen. I sometimes forget, I the quest to be strong and in control, that it is not weakness to ask for help sometimes too.

  128. As someone who regularly deals with general anxiety and bouts of depression, I can say that when I’m feeling downright dejected and emotionless it’s always the little things that pull me out of it. Like taking a bubble bath and focusing on how simple and GOOD the hot water feels on my skin. Or watching the bubbles pop until there are none left. Or going outside to watch the birds and noticing their weird little mannerisms. Most recently, I decided I had to just get up and do ANYTHING, so I went for a walk. And when I got outside I found myself just focusing on physical sensations, like the breeze or the smell of the leaves or a bird chirping, and before I knew what was happening I found myself smiling.

    Most of all, it helps to remember, like you said Jenny, that it’s in my head but it’s still real. It’s a disease that I have to fight, and I CAN and WILL fight it. It’s something so many people struggle with, and when I feel like I’m losing my mind I remember that I know what it is and how to handle it, because I’ve been there hundreds of times before.

    I just want everyone reading this to know that they are strong, and beautiful, and amazing, and they can fight this. That goes for you too, Jenny. You’re an amazing person, even when you don’t feel like you are, and I’m rooting for you.

  129. This was indeed a very rough, rough Full Moon. No, it’s not crazy or anything. Maybe it’s mystical, maybe it’s Magickal, or maybe our Ancestors used the Full Moon to hunt so we think we need to be out killing things. But the January Full Moon is typically a rough one and to boot, Venus told us to go fuckourselves and is off possibly copulating with Mercury or something, so nothing even looks pretty. Sincerely, your Witchiest Fan!!!

  130. Sometimes, when I fight just to force air into my lungs – it’s something as little as pushing my shoulders back that helps. The pic about the dancing is dead on. I’ll throw on the Violent Femmes and have a solo dance party – as long as I remember to pee beforehand, I don’t usually wet myself. I’m with April from above too – time to sing it out! You always make me smile Jenny – even in the midst of the angst. Thanks for that!

  131. @terminallyRory or Geekdadrory@gmail.com or terminallyintelligent.wordpress.com I am here if you need me. Anyone. Seriously. I’m bat-shit crazy, and I’ve never met anyone I couldn’t talk to. Stalk my blog, email me, whatever. Know you aren’t alone. Hugs from my part of the world to the rest of you. Keep being awesome.

  132. Felt bad for you after reading this…seems like people who have crazy highs also get crazy lows. I wanted to do something nice and find you a Turkey Butler. I was truly surprised when my efforts turned up nothing…Really, they have Hound Butlers and Distinguished looking Owls, but no TURKEY butler…Did come across a Turkey Chef, but felt bad because it was a Thanksgiving decoration. Did he have to cook the meal? That’s sick and twisted! But I figure you would prefer a Taxidermed Turkey Butler and I am guessing those are special order. For now I guess we have to find a different happy…

    Good luck in your pursuit of happiness! I guess if you just keep it inside you, you wouldn’t have far to look.

  133. I imagine that these posts help SO many people, that is so amazing! Not only that, but you’re raising awareness about mental illness which is so necessary for so many reasons. Kudos to you, know that you’ve made a difference.

  134. I suffered with PTSD shortly after my son’s transplant. I didn’t know how to cope, and I felt like a huge failure for having brought him into the world unhealthy, even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent his disease.

    It took me two years to get it all straightened out, and sometimes I still have what I refer to as a “flare”. There are smells and times of the year that can completely trigger a “relapse”. It’s ugly, especially since I know there’s no “logical” reason for me to be depressed or anxious. He is a healthy, happy, normal 10-year-old now, and I need to focus on that instead of the near-death he had as a three-month-old. And yet, the emotional side of my brain sits there staring at the logical side of my brain, and the emotional side says, “No hablo Inglés!”

    I can’t imagine having more than the occasional relapse. I wish there was something I could offer beyond my hope that this, too, shall pass for you.

  135. Thank you. I’ve been an occasional reader for a long time, but I needed to read this today. I’ve been struggling badly with self-esteem issues and had a particularly tricky session with my therapist this week that had me in a bit of a slump. I know I’m not the only one with these problems – intellectually! – but reading about it from someone who really does get it is amazing.

    Keep being kind to you. The moon will wane and you’ll sleep better soon. I hope!

  136. Do you have a place that gives tips on helping friends with depression? I went through depression myself while I was in college, but it was based in bad decisions I was making and the bad situations I stayed in at the time and when I wised up and quit mistreating myself the depression left. So…I really don’t know how to talk to friends who are depressed through no fault of their own. I feel like my expressions of love and support aren’t good for much when they’re in the midst of their own “hole” which might just be projection from remembering my own hole.

  137. Oh Jenny, you have no idea how much I needed to read this. It’s got to the point that I don’t want to skype with my mom anymore because I feel guilty about my thoughts of not being here anymore. And some people are so caring and think the world of me although I feel like a piece of shit sometimes,

    Also as an advice, I find it easier to get through things if I make goals no matter how small or big: read that one novel, graduate, go to a certain country. I know depression makes it feel like you’ll never do these things but it really helps. Also keep things in perspective-last time you got out of it and it’s going to happen again.

  138. you are amazing, and this is what i needed to hear this month. i have everything going for me right now, and no joy in any of it. but this too shall pass, and DEPRESSION LIES.

    thank you.

  139. As another person who lives with depression, it helps to know you aren’t alone and to have so many people standing up and saying “You know what, I have depression and it sucks and it’s an illness and we aren’t weak or shitty because of it”. It helps to have that honesty and to have communication, to be able to reach out to others who understand. Thank you for sharing your own journeys and for shining a light in to the darkness.

    For my own way to handle the lying bastard I:

    Get out in the sun – take the dog on a walk or just lay my ass in a chair with a book. Soak up that vitamin D.
    Watch stupid cat videos on the internet.
    Take a hot shower and let it wash the junk out of my head; bawl or yell or sing or whatever I need to do because that’s my own personal sacred space and my way to cleanse.
    Paint my nails some insane glittery ridiculous unicorn fart colors and smile at how awesomely silly that is.
    Talking it out – with my spouse, with a friend, with the cats or the dog… anyone that’ll listen and not judge.

  140. I needed this more than you’ll ever know. I’m in the “hole” right now as well. It’s my first time and I’ve never been this scared in my life. Thank you for this little bit of hope 🙂

  141. @luv2filibuster

    Like she said, I find it hard to help others when I’m in the hole myself (and I sure as hell am right now). It’s hard to offer emotional support, but in this state what I can do is give practical recommendations – things like books, links to websites, other resources, and my own emotionally-dead but scientific advice and/or personal anecdotes. (Or we can just complain together. I’m always up for that.)

  142. Whenever I am down & need a laugh, I can always count on this – http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/ – to make me LMAO every time! You are funny & brave & totally, uniquely YOU. Hope the hole you are in isn’t so deep today!! We love reading your blog & sounds like many of us readers can relate. Thanks for the insight on the “full moon phenomenon.” I’m having another super-bitchy case of PMS today, coupled with a rip-roaring side of I-hate-being-a-mom-somedays. Perhaps the full moon is working me over as well!? Put a unicorn horn on your cat, listen to some relaxing “jizz” (JK) & remember we adore you.

  143. I told my husband that suicide was a dick move. He looked at me like I was a little off my rocker, and then I proceeded to tell him how my life would not be improved if he wasn’t in it, and how I would then kill my self and haunt his ghost for all eternity for being so much of a selfish asshole to kill himself. Bitchy, yes, but I made an impression. I also put him on a gluten free diet, and that has helped the sleep and ADD a lot. Lastly, he prefers British panel shows like 8 out of 10 cats, Countdown, and QI when he needs cheering up. I highly recconend them. Your not the only one feeling this way right now, I think January is making everyone’s regular shit a thousand times shittier. Thanks for posting this.

  144. (sorry for adding another comment to my already lengthy reply)

    also, when I was preg and in hospital the nurses said there were always more pasients around full moon.
    also 2: also got PTSD, not really open about it, but people like you being open about it makes it easier for people like me – so thanks again for that. <3

  145. i was feeling depressed after the holidays and my wedding – coming off a high is hard. but what ALWAYS helps me is helping others. giving to give without wanting anything in return. it’s a beautiful thing. and so are you.

  146. I didn’t know I needed that but I did. I also learned something new (intrusive alpha waves). And lastly, you are special and so I thank you for this.

  147. Thank you, Jenny. Sometimes at the right moment it sinks in that I’m not alone in this journey with the “crazy’s”. I’m not alone .Sometimes it feels desperately so that my brain doesn’t work right. I just don’t think it’s fair. My obsessions, my impulsive reactions and suicidal tendencies, my paranoia and debilitating anxieties, the ups the downs the “who the hell am I?????”. I don’t like talking about it because it embarrasses me terribly. It’s so real yet not. Been trying to get meds to work but the side effects, like I’m not in my body, terrorize me. I hate it but I hate it without. Thank you for your voice. It helps me to hang in there to know someone “gets it”. I don’t know if you know how much that means to me but…it’s huge. I’m usually a lurker but I just wanted to let you know. Back to lurking. ;0)

  148. Thank you for the tips, all sound great. Yesterday I got my separation letter. My company is eliminating the area of the business where I have worked for 20 years. Over the last several years 300+ really good people have lost their job, many of these folks were my people. It is like a long slow death. I am one of the last to go, I have been working from a home office for the last couple of years. It sucks. It is so isolating, I miss my people, I miss seeing them everyday, hearing about their families, teasing each other and having fun. But its all gone now, I have to find a new job and so far no interest. I know I’m worth something but at times I seriously doubt myself. I feel broken, defeated. I’m trying but find myself stuck so much of the time. I’m sorry that my family has to see this, that I am not whole and the person I should be right now. They say they have faith in me but I need to have faith in me and I don’t right now, not even a little bit. I have to get through this somehow. I need this to be over. Thank you for giving me hope. KimmyRas on Twitter.

    (Job loss is one of the most horrible things you ever have to go through. It’s in the top most stressful things that happen to people. If you can survive this, you can survive anything. And you can survive this. ~ Jenny)

  149. I started taking Trazadone 10 or 11 years ago to prevent nighttime jaw-clenching (all-day tension headaches suck) and haven’t had a night of insomnia since. A couple of things to consider, however.
    1) I enjoy the vivid dreams that it gives me, but it can be severely off-putting to some.
    2) You really need to have the time to get roughly 8 hours of sleep in when you take it–try to get up too early and you will be dizzy and wobbly (do NOT drive in this condition!).
    3) This is not an occasional drug and the withdrawals are a bitch if you can’t/forget to take it. For me, I skip one day and I get dizzy, two days and I start to hallucinate, vomit, lose time, and scare my friends and family.

    I fell deep in the hole last weekend when a bit of grief that I had been putting off rose up and triggered me. It super-sucked because usually sadness is not a component of my depression so it was a double whammy. I spent a lot of time in a hot rosemary/mint bubble bath up to my neck (I learned about overflow covers on your Oprah for poor people post comments!) listening to music and podcasts and audiobooks.

    When I’m not quite so deep, I take myself out of my head by reading and gaming. I sleep a lot (lack of sleep is one of my triggers) with purring cats (life’s little anti-depressants). Instead of cable TV, I pay weekly to go to the massage school for a full-body massage by the students which makes me feel relaxed and content at least once a week.

  150. The line I needed the most from this post today? “You can be mentally ill and still be a good person.” 

    I recently had an anxiety attack in front of not-very-close friends, and have been dealing with the humiliation and awkwardness of that. The line helped soothe some of the hurt.

    (I’ve done that before. It’s more awkward for them, not knowing how to help. It’s scary for everyone involved the first time it happens. They still love you though. Good friends always do. Talk to them and tell them how they can help next time. That helped my friends. ~ Jenny)

  151. Where the hell have you been most of my adult life?! For those of you that have never had depression or anything…I can speak from experience that Jenny if pretty much hitting the nail on the head. I am lucky that my depression is nearly gone, I still struggle but not with the intensity or frequency that I use to. Still, listen to what she says. The whole, “Depression lies.” should be a f**kin’ bumper sticker and placed strategically around the world to remind everyone who needs reminding. Anyway…well said as many of the other post clearly have already stated.

  152. I have a few go-tos when I feel the darkness creeping in. My first is to find a comfort read and lose myself in it; escaping from my own problems into someone else’s for a few hours seems to help put things in perspective. I tend towards romance for comfort reads (Nora Roberts is highly reliable) or YA fantasy (Harry Potter, Narnia, LoTR, etc). I keep a selection of these books on the bookshelf by the bed so it’s easier to make myself get one when even that is a struggle.

    The second thing I do is find a place to read my book. Sometimes it’s in bed or sometimes it’s on the couch. If I’m laying down, I always try to crack the blinds to let in a little natural light, curl up with comfortable blankets, and make the cat sit with me. If things aren’t too bad, I often go outside with my book. I doesn’t get that cold here in Alabama so there are really only 2 or 3 months where I can’t do that. I grab a lawn chair and sit in the middle of my driveway because it gets the most sun.

    I find that comfort and routine tends to help. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to take a sick day because of my depression, but I have no qualms about doing so. Taking a mental health day is necessary for survival sometimes. On those days, I sleep, read, take long, too hot baths, and watch Disney movies, Bones, and The Big Bang Theory. Routine and comfort works for me.

  153. I came across this post on Twitter. I am so very glad I chose to read it. I have been facing my own struggles in dealing with mental illness and have spent my life isolating that mental illness to a deep dark corner of myself, so nobody else understands it, and so I can try to hide from it. Recently, I’ve been ready to give up hiding and start dealing with the troubles I have. This post gives me the motivation I need to keep fighting for my mental health.

    Thank you.

  154. I agree completely with the moon-correlation; I’ve been in an increasing funk this week, You say when you are in this place, you aren’t able to help others but you are so wrong — posts like these bring tears to my eyes because I can relate in a lot of ways You help so much in sharing your experiences with us. “Daring Greatly” indeed, Bloggess. You are indeed the warrior struggling in the arena, striving valiantly. And we are right there with you [but in a supportive sisters-got-your-back kind of way, not in the creepy stalker kind of way 😉 ].

  155. This post made me cry. I think there’s something wrong with me.
    I’m afraid to see a doctor, but it’s moot because even though regular medical doctors are free to see in Canada, the last two I tried to talk to were no help at all; barely listened to me and prescribed me some weird meds after talking to them for about 10 minutes (and the meds made me feel much worse). And now that I’ve lost my job, I can’t afford meds, or a shrink.
    Now I self-medicate with booze, because it’s something I can afford.

    I don’t know why I’m typing all of this here.

  156. I started a happiness book. When things are good I write down what makes me happy and how that feels. Like “Just realized that it would be funnier if Hammie broke his leg instead of Bree. I feel brilliant and bubbly inside.” Then, when I’m depressed and can’t remember ONE THING that I did that made me happy, or ONE TIME I felt good I pick up my happiness book and read the things I wrote there. It’s not a magic bullet but it lifts my spirits and focuses me on the positive. It reminds me what happiness is and who I am when I’m not depressed.

  157. Wow, I have the exact same sleep disorder! I got a C-Pap, which helped a lot, though it took me 2 years of hating it, avoiding it, and resenting it before I got to accepting it and not being able to function without it. When I manage to exercise it also makes me feel better, though it’s very hard to drag a gelatinous lump of gloom to the gym. Still, Jim manages it about 80% of the time. The other 20% he just walks me around the block, which also manages to help. Thanks for reminding people of all the resources at their disposal. It’s hard to remember when you’re down that you have options. In solidarity,

  158. I’m one of those “I don’t think I’m really depressed” people but there is definitely a cycle to my low points. I’ve learned to make taking care of me a priority in the sense of saying “no” as much as I can to church, work, and social obligations and saving myself for me and my family, especially my 6yo daughter. I am by no means a hermit but I have only so much energy and time. This is why what you do IS so amazing; you are helping others even if you think you are hiding behind a computer. Other stuff:
    –the shrink, yes, and yes to changing until you find the right one
    –as much as possible eat right
    –take a shower, no matter what
    –get outside, if even for a minute
    –spend time on your hobby; my depression’s biggest lie is that I don’t deserve to spend time quilting, but quilting brings me joy

  159. If you like Little Britain, you may also like French & Saunders, if you haven’t seen it yet. Two amazingly funny women.

  160. I want to give you a hug. Not in a creepy stalkerish way. Unless you don’t like hugs, I would just sit awkwardly with you and hope it helps. 🙂

  161. Thanks for posting this, Jenny. I think one possible antidote was that video you posted yesterday. I had it up on my screen for probably an hour, and it helped me through a difficult phone call.

    I’ve had problems with depression and anxiety for years. I was suicidal for a while, but I got over that, fortunately. The last 3 years or so I’ve had Fibromyalgia and sleep problems, both of which affect me mentally as well as physically. The depression/anxiety thing gets worse when I think about money (I’m not bringing much in because I can’t work) and how my mind seems to be degrading.

    The thing that works best for me when I’m in a depression or panic attack is to distract myself. It feels like it’s just pushing it down the road, but later I can better able to deal with things.

  162. I think this winter has been particularly hard for us depression folks. I and several of my friends have commented on how the lack of light and intensity of cold has contributed to an overall “meh” feeling about life. Everything’s just kind of flat right now. I know it will get better, but it’s frustrating to be back at that place again after a long time of doing well.

    I will add that if you’re watching shows, be careful what/what season you watch. Typically, I enjoy Doctor Who. But last week I was watching the end of Season 4 and it didn’t help my sadness. In fact, it amplified it. “Journey’s End” in particular set off a wave of tears that wouldn’t end and a slump that lasted a couple of days. Be aware of what you’re watching, and don’t try anything new unless you’re pretty sure of spoilers on how things will turn out.

  163. You are an inspiration to all of us. I have terrible anxiety and only occasional depression, but the depression feels SO MUCH WORSE to me, so intractable and like it’ll never go away. Hyperbole and a half’s Depression part two made me laugh and cry at the same time, the way your posts often do.

    Thank you for being our heroine, Jenny, and for making us realize that depression lies.

  164. Jenny, we are real people in real life, and you do help us every single day. You’re not hiding behind a computer when you lay your guts out on the table for the whole world to see. My mother always used to say that “you do the best you can with what you have” as well. I always thought that was such a cop-out until I was old enough to understand. Truer words were never spoken. We all do the best we can with the tools we’re given.. And boy does it help to find others in the same boat who’ll let you use their tools as well.

  165. I hate the holidays. My husband works every Thanksgiving day because he is in the grocery industry so I end up spending the entire day cooking for three of us to have a 20 minute meal. My birthday is smack in the middle of December and it is such a rough time of year for me I end up hating my birthday. I get to Christmas Day and have no joy because it has been torturous getting there. By New Years all I care about is getting the Christmas decorations away and getting my living room back from the chaos. My kiddo was born Jan. 5 and I’m so exhausted mentally from trying to get through the holidays and make them enjoyable for everyone else and not let them know how much I hate this crap that I severely struggle with her birthday. She’s still young so there is party planning and invitations and presents and dinners and goodie bags and cakes to bake and RSVPs. Hubs’ birthday is Monday and I’m just done. I have dragged my carcass through 2 full months of celebrating and I’m almost at the finish line but I’m SO TIRED and I’m struggling with why I’m putting so much effort into planning shit for his birthday when he doesn’t care. THAT is why January is so depressing for me. I just want a month off to sleep.

    3 more days. Deep breath. I can do this.

  166. I needed this today. My husband rolled my Mini Cooper (he’s perfectly fine) on Sunday. It was like a pill to make my meds not work anymore. Thanks for the post and the emails when I needed them. {HUGS}

  167. I use essential oils. particularly peppermint. i put some on my wrist and when my anxiety gets bad, i smell it and it helps pull me out of my hole for one minute.

    p.s. i needed this today. thank you.

  168. Thank you for this post. I was wondering why I was having a tough time this week. I am so glad I found you and your blog so I can remember that depression lies when I don’t have the strength to remind myself.

  169. We love you, Jenny. I love you particularly because you write what I feel like I can’t. I have been in such a hole. I had a full week of flat on my back reading about medieval history because, odd as this sounds, it made me so fucking glad I live in a time of medicine and treatment for everything from an infection to my mood regulators. The meds aren’t perfect and sometimes I feel like I am chasing that goddamn white rabbit but we’ve lost the hole to Wonderland (which may actually be good because Wonderland always sounded a bit like how acid trips sound to me) but I just keep chasing. Sometimes I crawl. But I still crawl. I suppose that’s why I am here.

  170. Magnesium as a supplement or as a salt bath has ENORMOUS positive effect on physical fatigue and mood. I found a study where a lab increased magnesium intake for lab rats who had untreatable depression — here is the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944540 Effervescent magnesium (you can get at the health store or HEB If you’re in TX) is very helpful. For me, I find baths or topical to be best – epsom salt is crystalized magnesium. If you can’t take a long soak, what I do when I am pressed for time is to mix the dry salt with a little water and some bath gel, get out of the stream of water, and spread it on my body and let it sit for at least 30 seconds. Not as good as the bath but still gets some absorption. Thank you for sharing, Jenny. You inspire me so much.

  171. You beautiful woman. Thanks for sharing your list, and although you think you aren’t helpful to others while in the hole this proves that you are in fact, a HUGE help to a select group of wonderful misfit people proudly belonging to your tribe. Allow yourself the pat on the back for yet another item to add to your list. WRITE about it.

    Things that have worked in my world:
    Trazadone ~ sleep is necessary and this makes it possible
    Music – because duh
    B vitamins
    Exercise
    Forcing myself to focus on hobbies/creative pursuits because it also forces the tape loop in my head to stop if I have to CONCENTRATE on getting past a writers block or to make something with my hands.
    Oh and the best one ~ 16 hugs per day, or at least as close as I can get to that number.

  172. Thank you Jenny, I’m in the hole too. It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one. My life seems to be crashing down around me but I’m gonna keep picking up the pieces, because I have to. Thank you.

  173. My lowest point was when I was 17. I spent months trying to find the easiest way to end everything without hurting my mom or breaking the promise to my friend. I’m 20 now and still not sure what got me out of that place, but I know what it’s like to be happy again. I still have bad days and question everything. I still get shockingly upset about the stupidest things. But now I understand depression lies and that I need to stick around to prove it, sort of out of spite for it. “YOU WON’T GET ME YET YOU STUPID ILLENESS.” I almost typed “asshole illness” but then realized how it sounded.

    Things that have helped me or others? The Butterfly Project. Draw a butterfly in permanate marker where you hurt yourself and name it after somebody you love. If you hurt yourself or wash it off before it fades naturally, the butterfly died. The hospital helped one of my best friends with an eating disorder. I write poetry. Dark poetry. But it lets me vent my feelings in a way a lot of people can’t handle listening to.

    I’m one of the people who can. If you need to talk, my twitter is @whenalionsleeps and my email is petinax_puella@hotmail.com

    Talking is scary. I didn’t go into details with my boyfriend until a few months ago and we’ve known each other three years. But talking is one of the best thing you can do. It’s a way to fight back for yourself, the survivors, and the victims.

  174. 2014, so far, has sucked, mostly because I’ve got a cough that I just can’t shake and it’s left me exhausted. Job is also demoralizing but financially necessary — and I feel quite the hypocrite complaining about my job because (i) it pays well, (ii) it’s in the field I wanted, and (iii) usually it’s quite interesting — but it still feels like a big fat dead end. I’m starting to realized that I’ve fallen into a big hole, and that is rather shocking since, although I’m not always a “glass half full” type of person, I am usually a “well, at least I didn’t spill half a glass all over everything” person. Now I just want to throw the glass against the wall and leave the shards lying there while I sleep until spring. What helps? Nyquil — at least I can sleep some with the cough. Grapefruit — I would eat nothing else, if my body would function on a solely grapefruit diet — both the scent and the taste are just perfect. Watching “American Pickers” on the History channel — like a cross between Hoarders and Antique Roadshow.

  175. First of all, Jenny, thank you for this. All of it. I spent the better part of the last year really deep in the hole, and even when I felt completely alone, it was posts like this that reminded a small fraction of my brain that it was only depression TELLING me I was alone. You’re a light for all of us.

    Second, I can’t agree more how important is to ask someone for help. Even just one person to have as an ally. I felt SO guilty at first about putting the burden on someone else, especially when I was so low that nothing could really get through, but having a friend there to remind me that I was still the same person, just sick for the time being, probably helped me more than anything else. Not to mention the practical side of helping with medication, making sure I was eating when I didn’t want to, and dragging me outside after weeks of hibernation. My best friend probably saved my life.

  176. I have posted in the comments quite a few times. I have (not going to say “suffer from,” because I’m not suffering) pretty severe social anxiety issues and have had more than my share of full-blown panic attacks. I’ve also been in the hole a few times in my life. But it has made me a stronger person and a person that loves herself more for the care she can provide to others.

    If you ever need somebody to talk to, my Twitter handle is kimberleybear. I’m not on Twitter a lot, but if you reach out to me on there I will give you my email and a willing ear. You are never, never alone.

    @MizWeirdo, you know you’re in trouble and you’re not doing the right thing, that’s why you typed that. I self-medicated for a time myself, but it always causes more problems than it solves. There’s nothing wrong with you that can’t be fixed with patience and a bit of help. You obviously didn’t get the right doctors. They can be hard to find. The right meds can be even harder to find. Everyone’s chemistry is different and it can take a while to get on the right thing. You have to keep trying. If regular doctors are free to see, see ALL OF THEM until you find someone who will listen to you. If you can’t afford meds, ask for samples. Demand that somebody help you until someone does. You cannot give up on yourself. Write down all your symptoms and come in with a freaking list and a plan. Don’t let them deny you or steamroll you or just try to get you out of their hair. Ask around and see if anyone you know or who is near you has a doctor that doesn’t suck. Read reviews online–that’s how I found most of mine. Keep knocking on doors and kicking and screaming until you get help. I’m serious. Try the meds, and if they don’t work, go back and say you need something else and this, this, and this is why. Be your own advocate. Yes, this is absolutely exhausting sometimes, but with the way doctors can be anymore you have to do this for yourself. If you have family or friends you can lean on, lean. If you have someone you trust enough to go with you to the doctor to be sure you’re heard, take them. You are not broken. You are not bad. You will get better. Please don’t give up.

  177. Me too, Jenny. Me too.

    Create art, even bad art, even art you don’t want to show someone
    Write your story down. It matters.
    Go for a walk. Breathe deep.
    Send thank-you notes (this sounds dumb and it’s hard, but just telling someone you love them and are grateful for them helps immensely. Trust me.)
    Stretch

    Twitter: @gigigriffis. I’m there for any of you who need me.

  178. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see Amanda Palmer’s latest Tumblr post – the song by John Grant she posted seems relevant:
    http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/73594592947/i-dont-usually-beg-here-on-tumblr-but-i-beg

    “This pain –
    It is a glacier moving through you
    And carving out deep valleys
    And creating spectacular landscapes
    And nourishing the ground
    With precious minerals and other stuff
    So don’t you become paralyzed with fear
    When things seem particularly rough”

  179. The moon definitely affects me. I didn’t know it had to do with sleep, but that is interesting because I have fibromyalgia and some studies say that people with FM never get to REM sleep, so no wonder I feel even shittier when it’s a full moon.

    I have been fighting to stay out of this black hole since before Christmas, and some days I end up in the fetal position on my bed, clenching my teeth for hours. Some days I get shit done. Today I put on a bra and considered that a great success.

    My son was diagnosed with depression and anxiety this past year, and that just breaks my heart. I cannot imagine being 11 years old and feeling the way I feel. Although, I was diagnosed at 14, so I guess I kind of can, I just don’t want to.

    I bought Allie’s book for myself for Christmas, and I love it of course. My husband is reading it and I hope it helps him understand this disease a little more (not that he’s not great, he just doesn’t really get it).

    This is the longest and most rambling comment I think I’ve ever left on a blog post. My twitter is Steph@DontChewGlass, and I can’t even remember why I’m putting that here, but I think you said to. Dammit.

    Jenny, you are awesome and brave and the first person I ever knew to be so open about mental illness. I hope one day I’m as brave as you are – no chance on being as awesome! hugs

  180. Thank you so much for all you do for people with depression. I think you make us all feel better.

    My favorite Harry Potter quote is, “Of course it’s happening in your head, Harry. But why on earth should that mean it isn’t real?”

  181. There will be a special place in heaven for you for posting this essay. It will help SO many people, but I’ll be grateful if it can help me, too. When I’m in the hole, I can’t see the light. Thank you for sharing your struggles, for telling me to love myself, and for reminding us that others will miss me even when I think I have made no impact on this world. Sending you hugs!

  182. I love your cheek-hurting-from-smiling-so-hard-funny posts, but I also really love it when you share these ones. I hope you find your way out of the hole soon, you strange and beautiful soul.

  183. This is truely my favorite post on this subject. I’m not a religious person unless I’m depressed. At those times I literally pray for death and can’t understand why whatever higher being there is hasn’t let me die yet. I couldn’t commit suicide but I am a self harm kind of person. My cycle runs from depressed to pissed off that I’m not dead and the self harm tries to take over. At these times I read your posts I have book marked. That’s what helps me. You do and I love you dearly for helping us all with these issues while coping with your own. Your an amazing person Jenny! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  184. I’ve never commented before but after reading your post today I thought I might. I suffer from bipolar and depression and am so happy to see that you’re posting tips for those of us who suffer, usually silently. Thank you for being an advocate and taking the stigma out of mental illness.

  185. I do believe the power of the sunlamp. The hubby’s family suffers from S.A.D.S. We break out the sunlamps in the winter and turn them on to blast everyone during breakfast. It helps. As for the power of laughter, I turn to this ridiculously silly youtube video. You just can’t help but smile and laugh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X-moxE

  186. I don’t know you personally, but I read your posts whenever they come out so it’s like I talk to you more often than most if my family. I read this today and burst into tears. Sometimes it justs helps an incredible amount to know your not alone. Empathy can come from so far away. I also have alpha intrusion (a very made up sounding condition that people don’t understand including myself) along with bipolar 2, and postulate orthastatic tachycardia syndrome. I had no clue about the full moon thing, but I am normally under pretty good control of things now, however, this last week has been terrible. So, thank you for reminding me I am not alone, people do understand, and it will get better. It really does mean so much.
    <3 Chelsea

  187. I just have to say that your crazy cocaine-addled taxidermy deer made me laugh so hard I forgot I was feeling hopeless. And then my cat came up and gave me kisses. Cats and deer for the win haha

  188. Jenny, you are good and kind. I had a couple of really bad few days this month. my shrink smiled and said “how did you feel all the other times?” It’s true, i need to allow myself a couple of bad days now and then. Read “Ordinary People,” made such an impact on my life (movie after.) And if you ever want to talk, I’m always here. From your Facebook Friend, Laurie F. hibernationnow.wordpress.com

  189. As another fellow sufferer, I thought I would share a few more things that help me on the off chance they help someone else. 400 milligrams of SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) in the morning helps reduce my depression and anxiety, and also my joint pain. I have to take the Vitamin Shoppe brand because most formulations have mannitol in them which causes me (and lots of other people) severe gastrointestinal distress. Also I take large doses of B-complex. Without the B-complex, my depression and anxiety hit paralytic levels pretty quickly. As most formulations make me incredibly nauseous, I was thrilled when I discovered Garden of Live Raw B-Complex. Nice not to have to choose between being sick to my stomach all the time and being too anxious and depressed to function. The two supplements are not a totally cure, but they help quite a bit. Still lots of other bits to the formula to try to achieve and maintain “normal” functioning: exercise, plenty of clean water, alcohol and sugar avoidance, eating regularly to keep blood sugar up, sunshine, getting enough good sleep, trying to keep outside stressors to a minimum, etc. It is helpful to know I am not as alone as I often feel. Oh, I have also found that sitting somewhere quiet and peaceful and cuddling a furry critter that enjoys being cuddled (dog, cat, bunny, rat, or whatever) can be incredibly soothing to me during an anxiety attack. Watching cute animals playing, even if just a video, can help ease depression. At least for me. I’ve been struggling more than usual lately and it has helped me to read this blog and the responses and know it isn’t just me. Thanks to all of you and I hope we all feel better.

  190. Thank you for this gift from you to us. At this point I have no one to talk to, so that leaves you. Your words mean so much, they tell me that SOMEONE understands. Thank you.

  191. Every time you post something like this, it makes me feel so much better about everything. We seem to have very similar mental health cycles, which might be sorcery or the moon. But I always need to hear that I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. <3

    I have PTSD and a whole slew of fun stuff that goes along with that. And I never know if I’m doing anything right coping wise, but these things help me:

    Writing. Even if it’s terrible, even if it’s a grocery list. The last anxiety attack I had, I sat down and wrote everything that was happening in my head and all of the anger and frustration I was feeling and cried hysterically the entire time. Crying got me tired enough to fall asleep, which always helps. When I was feeling better a few days later, I sat down and read what I wrote. When I was feeling a bout of anxiety a few days later, it helped me to slow down and examine everything and I was able to get out of it faster.
    Letting myself do something stupid. Buy that dress you don’t really need. Eat that bag of crisps. Order the Thai food. I give myself permission to do the thing that I really want to give myself that bit of happiness.
    Making up stupid names for when I’m having an attack. My old roommate and I came up with this system and it works really well. When I was feeling rough and she was due home, I would text her ‘fucking sasquatches’. She knew I was in a bad place and the phrase made me smile. We were both better equipped to handle it.
    TV Therapy. My therapist has fully endorsed this. I throw myself into Downton Abbey and I forget that something is wrong with me because O’BRIEN IS SUCH A TWAT. It works for me with Sherlock, Perception, and Criminal Minds as well.

    I think I might have to write my own post about this. Sharing coping mechanisms has to be a coping mechanism.

  192. Thank you for sharing this important post. I have struggled with depression on and off, my postpartum was particularly scary. I’ve had to ask people to watch over me so I wouldn’t hurt myself, even though logically I knew I didn’t want to. Having a committee in one’s head does make life more stressful, and I have been having to learn to tell those in my head that are feeding my depression to fuck off, because they drown out the little voice of hope, and of reason, and of happiness. Laughing is such good therapy, as is exercise, so I try to make those my go to. I seem to never tire of Drunk History on youtube, Modern Family on TV, oh and cooking shows on cable. They don’t make me laugh but they get me out of my head. I think the mantra that helps me most is, “Tomorrow is a new day.” Even the most royally fucked up day ends. Thank you for the reminder. And that shit about the moon is totally true. Whenever I am feeling abnormally punchy, as in I want to punch someone in the throat, I always look at the moon, and it is ALWAYS full when I feel that shit.

  193. Thank you for the affirmation. I am avoiding removing the Christmas decorations because I know the depression comes when I do….. I’ll do it when the days are longer and the sun shines more like spring, my happy time!

  194. A powdered magnesium drink called “Calm” helps me sleep, as does melatonin. The other thing that helps me fall asleep is listing, in my head, every thing I’m thankful for, though nothing complicated that will get the thoughts going too much – the pillow, the bed, the sheets, the roof, the ceiling fan, the cat purring… I suppose it’s like counting sheep with a layer of gratitude thrown in. Next thing I know, I’m asleep.

    As for drugs, I’m glad I’m not the only one who ups my dosage when I know I need to, and I’m lucky to have a doc who supports that theory. I also find taking a Mega Stress vitamin B-complex helps, too, and a D-3. And I agree with whomever said showering. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it makes me cry, but it always makes me feel better, even if only a little bit.

    For ADD, there is now a product called Vayarin that is getting good reviews. They call it a “nutritional food” but it’s still just a pill – just has some naturally occurring elements in it, I believe. For me it’s less intense than some of the other stuff, but that’s what I wanted.

    I second the sunshine lamp vote, too. I’m always surprised by how much it helps.

    Jenny, I’m convinced that you save lives when you write posts like this one. At the very least, you give hope and remedies to those who might be too scared, or too down, to do anything more than read your blog. I understand fully that all the rah-rahs in the world won’t pull you or anyone else out of a hole when you’re in it, but if you’ve ever wondered, “does my life mean anything? do I make a difference in this world?” – I’m damn sure that you do.

  195. I attended a talk years ago given by a man who had bipolar disorder. He talked about how, when he was in a depressive phase, people would tell him to count his blessings and look at everything he had going for him. His response was: “Exactly. Look at how much I have going for me, and yet I STILL FEEL THIS WAY!” That’s what depression is. You don’t need an external reason to feel the way you do, because it has to do with brain chemistry. There is help available, though, and you don’t have to go on feeling this way! (I do think it can help to keep in mind that the people who give you platitudes like “count your blessings” generally mean well and just don’t know any better.)

    Regarding self-harm, some alternatives to cutting that I have learned about include running a paintbrush over your arms, or using a sugar scrub on your arms. Doing this can stimulate your nerve endings and have a similar effect on your brain to the effects of cutting. (However, if you still have healing wounds, you will probably want to skip the sugar scrub until the wounds are healed, and make sure that the paintbrush is clean.)

  196. This was exactly what I wish I could have written for a close friend who is struggling with her depression this week. Thank you for being such a comfort and inspiration to those of us who live with mental illness. And the stuff about the full moon makes perfect sense. My sleep has been shit this week.

    @BipolarMomLife & @ThisIsMyBrave are my handles and every Wednesday from 9-10pm EST we’re hosting #BraveChat – real people coming together to have a supportive conversation about mental illness, in case anyone is interested in joining in.

    PS. LOVE that Sara Bareilles song. She’s sortof my hero. (www.thisismybrave.com) is my baby, but her song provided a huge spark for me to get it off the ground.

  197. One more thing…..about smiling. I have had a saying, since 8th grade, that helps shake my brain a bit: “smile even tho you are depressed, you will be happy soon.” Helps sometimes.

  198. Fuck, I love you. I love your honesty. Be strong and know that you are loved and appreciated. There have been lives saved by this little piece of the net.

  199. I’ve been unemployed since July and it’s a lonely occupation. You feel like such a loser even if they do tell you it was because of budget reasons. It’s not personal. It feels personal though. What helps me is blogging and this blog and most of all the book Hyperbole and a Half. I carry it around like a Bible. Whenever I feel down I flip through the colorful pages and find my favorite story. I recommend it to everyone!

  200. Thank you. Thank you for being honest with us. Thank you for sharing your insights & your tips & tricks. The anniversary of my mom’s passing is today & I woke up feeling annoyed as hell with everyone. And then Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of my dad’s passing. This time of year sucks & it it helps to know that I am not the only one dealing with these issues.

  201. Sometimes I want to scream. Mostly at my husband. We have been dealing with infertility for almost 5 years. I have become depressed knowing that I will most likely never have a child. Yet I am afraid to look to a mental health professional because what if I’m not legitimately depressed? Are my feelings not relevant? Why should I be depressed when I have a job and a husband? It’s hard for me to be around people sometimes, especially pregnant women. I grew up with the knowledge of the 7 Deadly Sins (and have always tried to avoid them) but in this case jealousy has started to turn into straight up envy. I recently started blogging about my experience, which has helped a bit since I’m not talking to anyone I know.

    Sometimes I fee like there’s no one that understands my pain. There aren’t any support groups near me; I’d have to travel 2 hours to get to the nearest one. It helps, albeit in a small way, to know there are others out there that have difficulty living their daily lives, for whatever reason (if any).

    I’ve never self-harmed myself, although there have been times that at the end of the month, when I realize there’s no pregnancy, I slap my stomach like I’m trying to punish it for being an empty womb.

    (I struggled with infertility and miscarriages for many years and it caused a lot of depression that I needed a psychologist for. The difference was that a psychologist could help me talk through my anger and feelings of shame and fear. It helped. I still hurt, but I had someone to give me legitimate feedback on the validity of my feelings and to tell me if I also needed medications. I also used a lot of BabyCenter discussion groups to vent, although it had its bad sides as well. Sending you love. ~ Jenny)

  202. Thank you for this — Winter is a particularly hard time… I take my meds, I exercise, and I try to remember that when I am in a dark place that I will not always be there. I am not the best at asking for help but it is so invaluable to know that there are others like me out there.

  203. Today is my birthday, which I usually love, but I’ve been a bit blah leading up to it this year. I noticed the full moon yesterday but didn’t put it together with the downswing. Thanks for normalizing for me.

  204. We are mostly water. The moon controls the tides. Shit yeah, that’s gonna have an effect not he human body.

    Meditation saved my life. And a friction’ amazing psychologist. She’s my most expensive friend. In fact, she is the reason I started reading your blog.

  205. I didn’t even think about the moon and have been wondering why my moods are all over the place.

    Side note – was stoked to see you on word press! Now I don’t have to check your website or stalk you on Facebook for your updates. 🙂

  206. Hi there! I know you are not a particularly religious person, but I have to say that faith is a big help for me when I feel down. There is something truly miraculous about the way God has breathed life into all of us, and it is something that I always cling to. You have a beautiful family, and are a voice for many of us who face the same issues. Your life has meaning, you are valued and loved, and if you remember that God has a purpose that only you can fulfill, it can give you the strength to keep fighting for yourself!! This is my favorite verse, and maybe it can be something great for you as well. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
    “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

  207. Thank you. It has been a rough few weeks. Not only have I been struggling to keep my own chin above the water, my son (who has PTSD) and my mother (who just lost her husband of 62 years) have been struggling as well. It’s been like trying to hold up two people while treading water in a whirlpool. Somedays, I just stare off into space and cry. It’s good to know when you’re not alone. I asked my mother yesterday (after not seeing her for a couple of days), “Did you miss me? Cuz I missed you.” She just started crying. It’s rough.

  208. I forget so often what an impact nature has on me, but it’s why I live where I live and why I can always go to the beach to feel better. I took a walk in the moonlight with my puppy two nights this week, and was thankful for the light, even though it did mess up my sleep, too. The days have been hard, and it is good to walk anonymously in the night. I have been dealing with a whole slew of issues, my brother’s suicide, my childhood trauma, my adult trauma, my family’s lack of empathy, my near fatal car accident. The pain from my accident brought right back into the forefront of my brain all the abuse I suffered through as a child. I love reading your posts because they make me laugh, and feel not so alone. Thanks for always sharing.

  209. The first thing I thought of while reading this is also : “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” -Dumbledore

    Hang in there. You are beautiful and wonderful and a great leader of our (not so) little tribe! And to everyone struggling, you are also wonderful and beautiful and I love you at least as much as I work to love myself every day.

  210. That’s a beautiful pic of you! So many of these tips really help…depressed or not. I am so glad that you are blessed with helping hands, smiles and shoulders around you.

  211. My 90 year old grandmother went into the hospital on Christmas Eve … she was literally at death’s door when it was decided she would receive a Pacemaker. The surgery was successful and she was sent home two days later. On the 3rd day, my aunt told me all hell broke loose -> my grandmother went into a MAJOR Panic Attack which freaked out the entire family. The Paramedics decided it would be best to bring her back to the hospital where the medical personnel offered to place her in a rehab facility for 2 weeks to help her adjust to her new circumstances. My grandmother has experienced many life experiences (90 years says it all) but this one left her feeling so lost. As I have suffered for many years with numerous mental & physical challenges, I wrote her a letter of support, which I hope might help someone better accept and deal with the terror of anxiety/panic attacks that are so debilitating.

    “… I am truly sorry that I cannot be there, if just to sit by your side and give you a thousand kisses and hugs. I can empathize what you are going through physically (since my heart too, has extra beats that totally freak me out).

    When it happens, I try to think of it like a roller coaster ride. I’ve only been on one roller coaster ride in my life and that was enough.

    The only advice I can give to you is that to get through it, you are going to have to finish the ride. You are in the dinky little car going 100 miles an hour, supported by rickety wheels upon a track. It slowly pulls up and you know the free-fall is going to happen … and when it does, you become physically ill and the fear sets in rendering you helpless. You are stuck on this seemingly, never-ending ride; but, eventually it does end. The dinky car comes to a stop and you are whole again, standing on the platform, full of disbelief that you survived.”

    ~ Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.
    John Lennon

    Hang in there sister! Your tribe thanks you for sharing your truth!

  212. This is the longest ‘dark time’ for me that I’ve ever had. It started in July or August and has continued to get darker. I thought I was close to digging out a couple of weeks ago. I was so close to the top and now I’m just completely sunk again. I can barely bring myself to get out of bed in the morning. I have panic attacks several times a week. I want to quit my job and just stay home all day. I can barely interact with my children anymore. I try to connect with my friends via facebook and twitter. It’s the fakest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m not good at pretending to be happy.The drinking helps even though I know it’s hurting me more. I started a project and a blog back in October to try to make myself and others happier. It helped me for a bit and then it stopped working. I have moments of happiness but nothing that helps sustain me. I feel so lost. I’ve followed everyone on here that listed their twitter handle so here’s mine…@shimmerandglo

  213. Jenny thank you for this. Thank you for old taxidermy, and giant metal chickens, and your conversations with Victor. You make me laugh whenever I need it. I love that!

    I’m lucky at the moment and am feeling quite good, but I also know that that can change any day, any moment. I am exercising daily and spending time with those that lift me up and allow me to lift them too. Nothing makes me feel happier, and more complete then helping others. So if I can listen, share, laugh, or cry with any of you…find me.

    Twitter: @betteroffhappy

  214. Thank you for this post, Jenny. I do not have “official” depression or any diagnosed mental disorder, but my husband died almost 3 months ago in a car accident at just 27 years old. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am, but on the inside, I’m mostly screaming and feel like I should be in a straitjacket or something. But I keep going for my 2 year old son’s sake, and for my own sake, too, I suppose. But this post makes me feel a little more normal, so thank you.

    (I’m screaming for you. That’s not fair. I’m so, so sorry. You’re amazing, Clare. Sending love to you and your family. ~ Jenny)

  215. Jenny, you are amazing. I have suffered from depression for years and still struggle w meds. The weight gain is the worst Ans is setes more depressing than having this crazy disease yourself. I’m @hgabell and available at any time.

  216. Thank you so much! Your blogs always help.
    Something that I did that is a wee bit more permanent than some folks may like is this: I had a tattoo put on my inner forearm, where I can always see it. The tattoo represents renewal and rebirth and is a very visual reminder that it GETS BETTER. I’ve needed that reminder many times, and I’m always glad it’s there.
    And exercise always helps, especially outdoor exercise.

  217. I feel this and understand. Shared this on my facebook wall and hope others can get a glimpse of the struggles we face. Thank you.

  218. But I am alone. I live alone, no siblings, parents have passed, and no friends with whom I keep in contact. I go days without speaking to anyone – then it is at the grocery store or speaking to a repairman. I truly want to believe your post, and I do for the most part. What you wrote was very poignant. Thanks for writing it.

  219. This is an awesome post Jenny. I know that there is at least one person out there that will benefit from this, even if it’s just information to file away for a “lower” day. I hope you find your light again soon and that things get better for you. Wishing you laughter…

  220. I usually don’t comment, but here goes nothing.

    I’m not one to really pay attention to the lyrics of a song. I enjoy the tune, melody, what-have-you, and sometimes I latch on to the words in a particular verse or the chorus. Unfortunately, since I engage in this type of selective listening, there are times that I completely misunderstand “what the song really means”. For example, I started dating this guy and wanted him to know that I really liked him. I thought a song could express my emotions better than anything that I could ever think to say to him. So, I called him up and asked if I could play a song for him over the phone. It was “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. At the time I wondered why he didn’t have much to say afterwards … and why he stopped taking my calls. Nearly 30 years later, I completely understand.

    Anyway, that’s a long-winded intro before telling you that I was listening to Pandora at work (after having read this blog entry) and Elton John’s “Your Song” came on. When he got to the line where he sings “I hope you don’t mind / That I put down in words / How wonderful life is while you’re in the world” … I thought of you. Disregard the rest of the song unless it’s applicable.

  221. Jenny – I, too, am so thankful that you share your feelings with us. It’s incredibly brave of you and I am so thankful. Your post made happy and sad cry, all at the same time. Happy because it felt so good to have someone say “You are as special and irreplaceable as the people you love most.”. Sad because I usually don’t believe that it’s true about me. Everyone else, yes, me no. It helps me so much to know that I am not alone in my struggles with this. THANK YOU!!!!!

  222. I. LOVE. YOU. Thank you for sharing posts like this, you give us all courage to keep on keeping on during the hard times. Your honesty is beyond refreshing. No therapist or doctor has made me feel more at peace than you do. You get it, and you help others who don’t get it to understand. Lastly, thanks for making me almost piss myself with laughter at least once a week! cheers to you chick!

  223. Reading this post today made me feel so much better. I was feeling particularly down yesterday as well, and it’s nice to read (even on the back end) that someone else was going through the same thing.

    Something that makes me feel better is a relaxing bath, which is exactly what I did yesterday. I sat my laptop on the ground, put Doctor Who on Netflix and watched some Catherine Tate episodes while in the tub.

  224. I want to say I love that you’re willing to share your struggles. It’s always an odd comfort to know someone else is out there… somewhere… also lost in this massive black hole. It gives hope. Reading your blog, and the comments is one of my go-to’s to make me smile and feel less lonely. Thank you.

    I have (undiagnosed) dermatillomania as one of my myriad issues. The coconut oil is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could manage it. One of my other issues is sensory-related. I can’t stand the way most lotions/oils/etc feel on my skin, especially not on my hands. I did get a lotion applicator wand thing for Christmas so I can try to keep my feet moisturized (“MOISTURIZE ME!!!”)… tempted to try that with the coconut oil. Thank you for that suggestion.

    (This one helped me. Cover your hands (or legs or wherever you pick) with elmer’s glue and let it dry. Then slowly pick off the glue. It helps to get the same feelings you get from dermatillomania but without breaking the skin. Also, cut your nails super short when you’re having a bad cycle. It’s incredibly frustrating to not be able to use them to pick, but sometimes it’s a good last-ditch effort. ~ Jenny)

  225. My daughter has depression issues and all I can do is love her through them. Your descriptions are very on point. I can only support and try to understand because (lucky me) my brain doesn’t operate like yours and hers. However, Jenny, your book has made me laugh out loud in all kinds of public places and I am in awe because I’ve known for a long time that you have these dark times and still function – and write the most wonderfully funny things. For you and my daughter, I suggest love and reading your book. Hugs to you.

  226. trigger warning
    A word from the wise…
    Okay first you should note, I am a very, very unique person, and for good or bad, you will never met anyone else like me EVER again.

    I went to a doctor a very concerned about self-harm and suicide. I was very genuine to him, very much myself. He was my son’s psychologists. He is an amazingly wonderful and gifted semi retired professional. He sits on the board of several organizations, is and has been the director of several facilities. However he does, see a very small amount of private patients. Keep in mind, he does not take insurance, if I could have afforded we would have stayed with him till he died but we saw him several amazing years. I should note he did amazing things with my son, he would not be the wonderful man he is now with this doctor. I can NEVER repay him for what he has done for us.

    So with all that being said…

    After one of my son’s appointments, I asked him if maybe he could refer me to someone, he said well I can see you, I have observed you and heard about you for sometime now. I was a little nervous at first, being as he was treating my son, but things were going so well with that, and he knew so much about my family dynamics, and me that I gave it a shot.

    I confessed to him that I had been very upset, well for years and depressed, and that I had been reading… and that I been thinking about suicide. Well at first he had this very concerned look on his face, and said that he found this very out of character for me, and he was very surprised. So, I had told him that this book I was reading said I should call one of the helplines, because I was in danger. I had never once that that I was in danger, but what do I know, I am a depressed person, and the book says you cannot think clearly about your own wellbeing at times like this… But they did not take me seriously. Seems you have to be in danger when you call them, guess that is why they are ‘help’ or ‘hot’ lines.

    So the doctor asked me all the important questions. It became clear to both of us, we were not on the same thinking paths. So he had me explain.

    When I get upset, really upset, I go to bed. I breath deeply and create a scenario to kill myself. Some are much better than others. But all require an extreme amount of detail. While laying down, all covered up, breathing deeply, I will pick out the scene – to give you an example, in one it is a parking garage. So I imagine driving to the parking garage, what I will see, smell etc, for the entire root, so this can take a few minutes to just get there as I imagine the entire trip. I then picture parking, walking the perimeter, time of day, sun, wind direction, and which wall I will be using. Then I return to my car, make a list of what I will need. In this scenario I will be using two body bags and a wire coat hanger.
    Now I picture the entire trip to the medical examiner (as I don’t know where to get body bags, but I do know they have them there), then the trip back. On the way I have to stop at the dry cleaners for the hanger. Again every detail of the trip. More often than not I am asleep before I get to the medical examiners.
    As with most of the scenarios, I very rarely get to the end, I most often am asleep after about 15 minutes. I sleep for an hour or so, when I wake up everything is much better, either I know how to handle whatever was upsetting me or it has gone away.

    In case you are wondering what the rest of the story is – I return to the parking garage, put one body bag in side the other, I climb in, zipper both up (why I need the hanger) and then go to sleep. The plan is – if I roll over to the right in my sleep I fall off the roof ledge, if I roll to the left, I am simply still on the parking garage.

    So this works well for me, or did when I need it. The moral here is know if you are just modifying a relaxation technique or really seriously considering killing yourself.

    One should note, I have never done anything that would really, cause death or harm to myself or others.

    (There’s a thing I have called suicidal ideation. I’m not suicidal but I sometimes have uncontrollable thoughts about it, which can be dangerous. You might need to look into it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicidal_ideation It’s more common than suicide attempts but still needs treatment to understand it. Helping to understand and avoid triggers has helped me a lot. ~ Jenny)

  227. I would just add that if you’re fortunate enough to work somewhere that they offer an Employee Assistance Plan, there is usually an emergency help number that you can call with trained professionals on the other end of the line. They are a great resource and it’s kept confidential.

  228. Winters always make things so much worse for me, especially in the pacific northwest because the days can be so dreary so it feels like there’s no respite from the dark. Last year, I was so distraught that it was actually giving me heart palpitations: huge doses of vitamin d, an anti anxiety medication, and (very short) sessions in a tanning booth helped me immensely.

  229. Thank you, Jenny! You are so generous with your precious time and energy. I am always so touched to read all the comments saying how much they needed to hear your message. It’s really true.

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, looking back, but have only been conscious that that is what it is about it for the last 20 years or so. I’ve been suicidal, a cutter, a recluse; my depression and anxiety have ruined golden opportunities to follow my dreams. I’ve been hopeless, believed I was helpless, and felt completely alone. Blessedly, and with a lot of hard work, I’m managing without medication these days. (I really don’t like taking it because it makes me feel bad in a different way, but it definitely, definitely works when I’m not functional, so when I need it, I take it.) I don’t often spiral down into the hole these days, and usually when I do it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be. When it is, I go get meds until it’s manageable again. God Bless my doctor for trusting that I know myself!

    There’s so much I’ve learned over the years of trying to deal with this shit, but rather than ramble on and on here, I’ll try and keep it to the top couple of things that might help someone else.
    1) Getting enough rest is my #1, top, most important priority. Period. If I get more than a little short on sleep I get crazy in a hurry. Fortunately, once I fall asleep, I generally sleep pretty well. Those of you who’ve mentioned you don’t sleep well have my deepest sympathy. I hope you can find something that helps with that.
    2) I have to remind myself (frequently) that NO MATTER how bad it sucks right now, it ABSOLUTELY WILL GET BETTER! always, every time, no matter what! Just . . . eventually . . . which is the bitch part of it. All I have to do is survive long enough and it will get better. That lying bastard depression can go suck an egg.
    3) Call that bastard out. When it tells me “you’re worthless,” or “you’ll never . . .,” or whatever the lie du jour is I say, “That’s not true. Shut up.” Sometimes I even say it out loud. I don’t have to prove it, or defend it, or even really believe it, I just have to stop the thought. Probably over and over again, but I can do that. If I can throw a wrench in the thought spiral it can’t drag me down as fast or as far.

    Looking back over that, it comes off a little aggressive to me. Sorry. I’m not trying to be pushy to you guys, that depression bastard just pisses me off, hurting such loving, caring, sensitive, awesome people that we are. When I’m not depressed, I just wanna kick its ass.

    I apologize again for this being so long. I really, really did try and restrain myself. I’m am so totally happy to be a listening ear for anyone who needs to talk. I don’t mind, you’re making my life harder or spreading your unhappiness; I don’t think you’re crazy; I don’t mind if you repeat yourself a zillion times; I believe in your worth and have no judgement about how you express yourself. If you want to contact me email is: leighbug_27893@yahoo.com or you can google me leigh ann apanites (I’m the only one! lol) Just please don’t call, I have a telephone phobia.

  230. Cuddling! It releases oxytocin which reduces stress and strengthens bonds between people. I think a hug has to last 7 seconds for oxytocin to be released, so if you don’t have someone to cuddle, go in for the long, awkward hug!

  231. Gee, I just wrote a long (verbose) email to many of my friends who suffer from panic/anxiety disorder. I have had the same anxiety “affliction” for 40 years. Unless you have felt it — no, I mean really, really FELT it, you have no experience to draw from. By writing about depression and pain, you touch those who need you, who FEEL what you feel, and need these connecting words to help them in their struggle. Your words are beautiful and timely. We all need to remember it is in our struggling that we connect. Thank you for being a precious person to touch those who need you right now. And thank you for the laugh-out-loud moments you have given me and so many others!!

  232. Thank you SO MUCH for this. Often, when I read tips on how to help depression, it’s “get your hair or nails done, something to make you feel beautiful; go for a walk in the sunset…” or the like. Those tips are for people who can still function. This here, what you have posted, is honest, true-blue help for those in the darkest throws of it. Like I was. The barely squeaking out of bed to make it to the bathroom fits of depression where I was incapable of holding a conversation. This information here saves people. Thank you.

  233. Thank you for being awesome. I ALWAYS read your blog (thanks Bloglovin!) but rarely comment.
    You totally just made me realize why I’ve been having such a god damn hard week… my depression is not diagnosed and only something I’ve been struggling with for the past few months, but for someone who spent her last 28 years being bubbly, happy, and excited all the time… its incredibly odd to feel… the worthlessness.
    And this week has been tough – probably thanks to the moon.
    Thanks for reminding me i’m not alone. I actually enjoy being a misfit MOST of the time.

  234. B vitamins, D vitamins and folic acid are supposed to help with energy, so I try to remember to take those. The full moon explains why I’ve felt so shitty this week, that and the rainy overcast weather really put me in a funk. I saw my shrink, and I know I’m mildly seasonal affective, so she did suggest exercise, but when you feel as low as I did….well we all know how much of that I’m going to do. When the sun was out this week, I tried to at least get some on my face and arms, soak up some vit D and I did feel a little better. I also deal with chronic pain (fibromyalgia) and ever since the cold came whooshing through, I haven’t been able to get out of this flare up and staying in constant pain is enough to break anyone down. I try so hard to get out of these funks, but dammit I feel like I keep getting pushed right back down. It just really is discouraging. My bf notices though and he tries to keep me upbeat, do sweet things to make me smile and make me feel better, and that makes the biggest difference. I am going to try some things on your list though, great ideas!

  235. jenny, god i wish there were easy answers. unfortunately, my mode of depression action is to go into isolation, it’s much easier for me to cut myself off from everyone, pull back from my therapist, stay in bed. it’s not a wallow in self pity. kind of like my own form of coma

  236. Thank you so much, Jenny. I am at a low point today, myself, for a variety of reasons, and reading this really helped me. It is a blessing to know that we are not alone, and I am going to bookmark this post so that I can quickly refer to the tips mentioned, particularly those regarding self-harm.

    Thank you again. For all the darkness that I know you battle at times, you shared a lot of light today.
    Much love to you.
    sharstephens at twitter

  237. I’m not depressed. I don’t have the illness, but I have a bi-polar 2 husband (that means more depression then mania) and a daughter that suffers from depression. I am in the monitor position all the time. Is my husband slipping again to the point of suicide? Is my daughter sleeping too much and not seeing friends? Is she happy? Is he functioning? I go to appointments with booth to monitor their meds. I have looked to find support for people that care for the depressed people and I cant find anything. Maybe just a site or two with people venting to the universe. It is a tough road, both will probably get worse. I feel completely responsible for whether or not they make it. Also, it is largely a secret. I help each with excuses on why my husband will never participate in social functions and keep my daughter close and busy. I never really see comments from the care givers. It’s really hard. You feel really helpless and responsible and you don’t really get much support.

    (I think it might be harder to see someone you love suffer rather than going it through it yourself. I’m so glad they have you, but you need support too. There are therapists that specialize in that. Also, you might want to check out NAMI.org. They have resources and discussion groups for care-givers. You have to take care of yourself too. ~ Jenny)

  238. Dear Jenny,
    I just adore this post. You give people community – hope and courage. I belong to a group of PPD bloggers and am part of the editorial staff over at http://www.postpartumprogress.com. I hope anyone who stumbles on your post who is struggling with postpartum mood or anxiety disorders will reach out – when you have others who completely understand where you are coming from, recovery is that much more bearable. (is it “bare”able? Bearable looks like that thing when you are able be a bear. Huh.) I’m on twitter @learndhappiness and mamas can always find help on the #ppdchat hashtag, night and day.

    My favorite coping technique is my rainy day letter. I wrote one for the PPDtoJoy blog back 3 years ago and I continually return to it on my worst days. It reminds me of the truth when the depression lies and tells me that I’m unlovable, that the world is too chaotic, that I cannot cope. It holds just enough hope. A shard of hope is all it takes.

  239. and that is where i am now, self check out grocery store-no need to talk to anyone; read books on line-no need for the library; live alone-no need to answer the phone or the door. anonymous comments and emotionless emails..isn’t technology grand..being a nobody is easy

  240. When my illness ramps itself up I wrap up on the couch, snuggle up close to my son and watch Psych. I now give myself permission to feel bad. I use to beat up myself for having anxiety attacks and felt like I was loser. Sometimes I’m down for days, other times it’s hours.

    @serial_writer

  241. That is such a great album! I forgot I had it in my CD changer in my car and it came on the other night. Glad you’ve found something that speaks to you and helps quiet your mind. Hugs!

  242. Thank you, Jenny! I have a friend who is going through a rough patch right now and I’m sending her a link to this post. Love you!!!!!!

  243. uncanny how your depression posts seem to pop up just when I am falling into that fucking dark hole. wish it were fucking, then at least i’d have something to do down there. I’ve followed you for eons without a single comment, and i’m still too chicken shit to be anything but “anonymous”. have to start somewhere. So… just sayin’, well done. i mean really truly fabulously well done. Your ability to use your pain to help all of us out here feeling some version of that same pain? Strange and beautiful indeed.

  244. I had spent the morning writing about my own troubles, Upon reading this I felt better still. I know I have bad days and I have to work to get out of them but not being alone helps. I also find that writing is the one of the best ways I have to address things, it gives me the space to feel things with trying to hide them from my peers. Thank you. Also I got my sister a copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened for Christmas, and there was much rejoicing.

  245. This is exactly what I needed to see. I am doing okay right now, except for some major trouble sleeping recently. (Now I can blame the moon! Woo hoo!) However, I found myself in a seriously dark place over the holidays, and when I am down in that hole, it’s so hard to believe that anyone else feels the way I do and has to fight the same sort of battles I am fighting. Posts like this one, and so many of the comments, remind me that not only am I not alone, but that truly amazing people struggle with the same issues I do.

    Tricks that help me when I am in that dark place: Paint my nails. Read one of my favorite books, even if it’s for the millionth time (that includes your book, Jenny). Take a walk. Turn up the music in my car until the whole thing rattles and thumps and I fear getting arrested for disturbing the peace. Also, back when self-harm was an issue, my therapist recommended putting an ice pack on the back of my neck. She claimed it shuts down the “lizard brain” that operates during moments of serious stress. It really does work stupendously well.

  246. Brighter than Sunshine (from the same album) was my wedding song (kind of a theme song for the hubby and me). He was coming out of a really bad spot when we met (about the time the album came out), so it’s has always been special to us. I smile and tear up a bit every time it comes on my mp3 player.

    So hug your young’un and your husband, and smile because it makes people wonder. I’ll have to try the pencil thing sometime.

    “What a feeling in my soul. Love burns, brighter than sunshine.” – Aqualung

  247. Jenny:
    1. Hugs. I hope you find yourself a nice shriveled piece of corn soon.
    2. Thanks for this. I don’t have the depression, but I do have friends who have struggled with it and so I RT’d for them and anyone else it might trickle down to from there. I also appreciate that your insider perspective makes me feel more able to help them if I’m ever needed.

  248. Dear Jenny, You make my heart smile and break at the same time. I have been down that hole many, many times. Each time I had to claw my way out. When I couldn’t get out by myself, my kids would throw me a life line and help pull me out. When I am in the hole, sometimes I think is should just stay there. Whats the point of clawing out, I know I will be down again. I confess I allow myself to wallow in it for a while and do nothing but sleep. A wise woman said “Depression Lies”. Now when I feel myself falling, I tell on myself and always have my Captain Kirk Pez/ Zanax dispenser on hand. I watch my fav episode of TV shows, go on Facebook, Twitter and read. I also like to stare off into space. Some of my best ideas come to me while doing that. I am JoeMamma6_2 on Twitter (that’s how my kids refer to me when they talk to each other.) I have 6 adult kids and two grandkids plus one granddog. I have no clue what triggers these episodes, but I am so glad I recognize when there is a Funk Acomin and prepare accordingly. So I will you well Miss Jenny and a quick recovery, The world has big plans for you.
    Sincerely,
    Karen

  249. one last comment, my new psycho med dr, cur-ass, (who i saw last week) had not even scanned my file, doubled dosed a medication that makes me want to take the “selfish” way out (which i told him wasn’t going to work), and asked me if i went to church and did i believe in god WTF. i’m through now..i am going back to listening to the police scanner for the many suicide attempts that my “happy” little village refuses to acknowledge.

    (Ugh. I’m sorry. Shrinks are like teachers. Great ones change your life. Bad ones make your life miserable. Keep looking. I had to go through a lot of doctors to find the right ones. As my doctor-friend tells me “Every graduating class of doctors had one doctor who finished at the very bottom and who we all thought was terrible. Trust your gut and switch if you don’t have confidence in them.” Find the doctor you deserve. Some even do online Skype appointments so you don’t have to stick to the few choices in a small town. ~ Jenny)

  250. So refreshing, and encouraging, to read honest words written by a real live human being who’s not afraid to show herself, underbelly and all, to the world. I applaud your honesty. I applaud your boldness. I applaud your ability to see through to the humanity of what some call insanity. Thank you.

  251. Thank you so much for posting this, not only for those of us who share the bowl of cherry pits that is depression, but for those who have never experienced it, or may live with someone that wrestles it. {{{hugs to you}}} And YES, that shit about the moon is definitely true. I worked for a medical answering service, and whenever the moon was full women would go into labor left, right, and center, and the emergency calls to the psychiatrists on our service would skyrocket. I hope you feel better soon – I hope we ALL feel better soon. sneeks off to check out Wil Wheaton’s blog

  252. I was commenting to my boyfriend last night how happy I was that John Green and Wil Wheaton both talk about their mental illness, and taking meds for it, and getting worse and better. And they’re great, especially because they reach a lot of kids, and I wish someone had told me when I was a geeky teenager that it’s ok and I wasn’t weak or damaged.

    But hon, you are the one who just kills me so hard with your posts, because they are so close to how I live. You’re the one that, as a grownup (of sorts), reminds me that it’s ok and I’m not weak or damaged.

    I’ve been having a really rough week too, what with the moon madness. Here’s hoping it rolls on by.

  253. I love you, and this. I won’t qualify it simply because after years and years of readership, I feel I’ve earned the right to love you unconditionally, 🙂 Now I’ll go tell 5 more people because you said it was right, and you are important.

  254. I found a website that helps me with my depression. It’s called Emotional Baggage Check at http://www.emotionalbaggagecheck.com. You can ‘Check’ your baggage, meaning type out everything that has been bothering you (and it gives you a lot of characters to do so in) and you check it. Then somebody else comes to the site and chooses to ‘Carry’ your bag. They put in a song (usually as a youtube video link) and send you encouraging words. The last time I did this, it made me feel ten times better, so I ventured in the ‘Carry’ section and spent an hour searching for the perfect songs for people’s various situations and sending them as many words of encouragement and love as I could. That made me feel a hundred times better.

  255. Magnesium made me feel amazingly good, like I hadn’t felt in years, right up until the unpleasant (and sudden, and surprisingly violent) digestive side-effects kicked in about a month later. If you’re going to try it, be aware that it’s a possibility, even with a low dose or a topical application.

  256. Your authenticity is appreciated and valued! You are not alone. Thanks for helping others understand they are part of a powerful tribe as well. For what it’s worth… regarding full moon cycles, there are theories, some of which bear consideration. Many people are carriers of toxoplasmosis, a parasite spread by interaction with livestock, wildlife and domestic cats. Animals who are infected show bizarre, life-risking behavior, such as mice walking up to cats, raccoons crossing busy highways. The science theorizes that the parasite reduces self-preservation in order to spread the parasite to other hosts. Toxoplasmosis is one of many parasites that show active cycles around full moons. It is postulated that the ‘madness’ symptoms seen in people and animals around full moons are a direct result of toxoplasmosis infections (usually in the brain). People usually feel itchy, achy, agitated, depressed, fatigued when their toxoplasmosis is active. Yes, it really IS “in your head”, but not because you are broken, just because you might be infected. (It is detectable, though not easily, and it is treatable.)

  257. Very rarely do I read blogs but this one was posted to my fb page and I felt like I NEEDED to read. I was skeptical of course because s many people write a lot of meaningless crap.

    The first thing that jumped out at me from your blog was the mention of medication and how it can stop working. That’s when I decided to keep reading and have now bookmarked your blog.

    Everything you wrote makes complete sense to me. This is the first time I have read anything that does.

    I appreciate your openness and honestly x

  258. Thank you, Jenny.
    My boyfriend of 7 years left me at Christmas by disappearing and then giving notice on our apartment – no goodbye. My landlord let me know. I’m also out of a job now and feel like such a failure, and so very alone.So many bad things have happened this past year that people are amazed that I am still ok, but inside I am not. I feel like I am drowning and can’t save myself. I’ve been having a continuous mild panic attack for weeks now.
    But for the first time in a month your words made me feel a little less alone, so thank you. I hope things get better. It’s really hard right now.

  259. I don’t suffer from depression or mental illness, but many of my family members do. and I totally agree with what last woman standing wrote. it’s hard to see someone you love going through such blackness. it’s hard to know what to say, it’s hard to know what to do, it’s hard to figure out how to pull them back. sometimes I miss my sister so much. it sucks. I miss the person she used to be and I hate this half-ass life she’s living. your posts about depression have given me another glimpse of what she might be going through. thank you for that.

  260. Jenny,
    Come on, babe! Snap out of it and get back into the fun, funky mood you were in when you wrote that awesome book and your 5×5 installment. I love Sad Jenny because she’s a part of the Happy, Madcap Jenny we all fell in love with, but we need Happy Jenny to emerge from these dark periods happier than ever.

    Never forget, dear sweet Jenny, you are loved and love is the key to finding your way out of the darkness. And that goes for everyone hurting out there: stay strong and hold on for one more day. My God, I have become a Wilson Phillips song. What have I done?
    I have to go and punish myself now…
    Hang in there, Jenny.

  261. Sounds like you incorporate some DBT tools – I have just started with that process after years being diagnosed with of all the acronyms and dealing with substance abuse (self harm run riot). It has been my light at the end of the tunnel to have techniques I can do for myself to feel better alongside medication and counseling.

  262. I found knitting to be very helpful on the days I can do much more then get off the sofa to feed my kids three times a day. I can say my kids save me everyday. When I don’t feel like caring for myself I know I have to care for my kids. Back to the knitting. I find knitting on the sofa while watching silly kids movies with my kids both therapeutic and productive. I was so down last week that I knitted 3 hats and a set of hand warms which then lead my carpel tunnel to act up and know I have been unable to knit for the last week which has not helped my depression. Thanks for reminding me I am not alone.

  263. I just learned in yoga class yesterday that it’s a good mood booster to outwardly rotate your upper arms. (If they’re inwardly rotated, you slump your shoulders which can make you sad. Outwardly rotated gives you better posture and cheers you up.)

  264. I love your tips honey. You mention it at the top (hell, it’s the basis for your whole post really) but it’s my first tip. Create a jam with all of your “get me the hell out of these dumps” songs on it, and play it. LOUD!

    Oh, and Dance. I don’t care if you are in a wheelchair, quadriplegic, stuck in bed or in so much pain you can’t move your eyelids. Dance with whatcha got honey! For me, (and I’m all of the above except a quad) that means bopping my head a little, or imaging a beautiful ballet. (Sometime that depresses me worse though, so know yourself. If that’s gonna make it worse, don’t!) or even on a good day just wiggling the little big of control I have of my body. WIGGLE DAMMIT! laugh

    And read other great bloggers (or bloggesses) like Jenny.

    WE LOVE YOU, JENNY!

    Good, now come read my blog and feel better about your own life. laugh No, really. 😉

    (PS. I’m the girl from Phoenix in a wheelchair who got your autograph, your picture, made you cry, then left. But hey, they were happy tears… I hope!! Right?) laugh

  265. Thank you Jenny. I really needed this this week and it all makes so much more sense now. I can’t offer words of advice today but when I can I will. I will however share this for those who are going through the same horrible week. Thank you doesn’t really cut it but it’s all I have for now. You make a tremendous difference to the little people like me.

  266. Two of the most treasured tidbits of wisdom I endeavor to be mindful of (on my darkest of days) I owe to you my dear Bloggess:
    1.) Vampires of the soul are not immortal
    2.) Depression lies

  267. Thank you.

    It’s probably weird that these types of post often are my favorite when everything you write is pure gold, but you always remind me I’m not completely alone. And even though I personally don’t have anyone to talk to or anyone who can relate in my own life, there are people like me out there. So rock on. I can honestly say that a few years ago (a year? wow I don’t have any concept of time really… it was probably like, last month) a post like this saved my life. Forever grateful. 🙂

  268. Warmest thoughts and hugs to you and everyone who has ever been touched by this disease. Lifelong sufferer here, as well. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to find the right doctor who, in turn, found the right combination of medications. It was an absolute life saver.

    Maybe others can find an anthem in Keri Noble’s “Hell of a Year,” as I have – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGezCYArG5E

    And should anyone ever wish to lean on an empathetic ear, please don’t hesitate to shoot a message my way – @VivienneMathews or VivienneMathews at live dot com.

  269. The encouragement here is unlike anything else. I’ve only ever commented once, but I like reading other people’s, so I am going to try to be more involved and hopefully make some new and sincere connections. Thanks for the love, jenny, fellow readers.
    Like many of you, I also have a mental illness in the form of depression. The darkness is consuming, but the good times are so much lighter because of it. If anyone ever needs an ear or a chat or just a new friend, my email is rld3x@mtmail.mtsu.edu. I’m on the facebook.

  270. I have a mantra that I put on repeat in my head that helps me to get through the dark times. I even got it tattooed on my ribs backwards so I can read it in the mirror every day. Its something that never fails to let me breathe even if it is for a few minutes and the more I say it the longer those calm minutes last. Mine is “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and bring you peace”. Heck every little bit help during the dark times.

  271. I needed this today and probably every day till I can find my way out of my own hole. Thanks for writing and thanks for the tips. You don’t know how badly I needed them.

  272. My daughter brought your blog to my attention and I have great admiration for you. The way you don’t let your troubles weigh you down. I have had a very difficult past few years and yet I have much to be grateful for. I just need a little reminder every now and again.
    Thanks.

  273. Thank you so much. Everyone here who has commented or shared their story, thank you too. It’s so wonderful to know you’re NOT the only one and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Each one of us is unique and special and even if you know it or not, you ARE loved. And to help bring a smile always remember this: YOU are someone else’s masturbation material! Always makes me laugh 🙂

  274. “imagine your younger sister or your best friend or your child having these same doubts and realize that that same sense of angry disbelief that the world would ever be better without them is the exact same disbelief that your friends and family would feel if they lost you.”

    This turn of perspective joins my merry band of wolf-riding elves who love and support me when the goblins come to feast. They show up on the days leading to full moons; my sleep gets compromised too.

    Thank you for opening these dialogues with empathy and authenticity. When the world is overwhelming, the brave speak up.

    xo
    Lysette.

  275. Thanks so much for this post Jenny. I have been dealing with mild (can it be called mild?) depression since right after Christmas. And then just last night, my hubby and I had to move into a hotel with our three cats who are severely traumatized by the move because there is a lot of water damage in our condo; the result of the neighbor who owns the unit directly above us having a huge water leak. I am trying to be brave, but only manage to cry. Sorry for rambling. If anyone has encouraging words or experience with a situation like this, my Twitter handle is @maggishelbourn

  276. Haven’t read your posts in a while. This was the perfect post on the perfect day.

    ^^ turtles help too.

  277. My mom is going thru a rough time this week too and I’m taking these tips back to her. Love you for being there for others even when it’s hard!

  278. When you thinking bad things about yourself, imagine yourself as you were at age 7 or another young age and whether you would say those same things to a child. If you or someone did say those things to a young child, wouldn’t you console that child and hug them? Sometimes, that’s how I imagine myself. That way I can stop the cycle of thinking negative thoughts about myself.

  279. The full moon stuff is not crap. It’s absolutely true. I teach in a Kindergarten class with 4 and 5 year olds. Full moon weeks are HELL. Add to that a windy day and nothing gets done. You are an inspiration and a hero to many, including me. Thanks for the laughs.

  280. thank you so much for this and all your posts. I have recently been diagnosed with depression after refusing to acknowledge there was a problem, let alone seek help. I have lost friends and loved ones as a result of this and this last week has been the hardest of my life…. I feel like I am at the bottom of a very deep hole at the moment and this post gives me hope (even if only for a minute) that things can change. and thank you to all your generous readers and commenters for sharing their thoughts and experiences… its nice to not feel so alone for awhile

  281. Thank you for this post. I don’t think I’m into the depression stage yet but I feel myself going into that direction. I read before that depressed people tend to sleep more and actually that’s what been happening to me. I just feel everything is not worth it and nothing I do makes sense and I just want to sleep and sleep and lie in bed the whole day, denying my existence. I do have self-harm tendencies. Not extreme ones like cutting myself but just scratching and using my fingernails, etc. It just feels like my heart hurts too much. Much more than the physical pain I have. I have suicidal tendencies too but at the same time I do dealise that if I do jump off a building, that is really the end of it. I’m thinking maybe pills are the easiest way to go. I can’t confide in anyone. It’s confiding in very secret matters that got me in trouble with a beloved friend/boss. I feel so alone in this fight. No one is fighting for me. I’ve always been independent and strong in fighting for myself but now, I’m just tired of it all.

  282. My daughters have both been diagnosed with depression and I’m pretty sure my dad would have been as well. Your blog is of great help to me in understanding them.

    On the turkey front – when I first read that Google help, I thought it was going to tell you how many people would feed a turkey — in other words, how many people could a turkey eat before it was full! I was curious about the answer to that one.

  283. @schmolzanderson
    Ok this… wow. This – just so helpful. I read through a ton of comments and there are great suggestions. A few that helped me…
    I work from home and a schedule is the only thing that keeps me from floating aimlessly from one day to the next and keep me on track.
    The app/website Unfuck your habitat – http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/
    My happy play list of up beat singing music
    My youtube bookmarks of uplifting/funny videos
    leaving the house
    showering
    being honest with my friends
    taking my medicine and seeing my doctors. therapist. psychiatrist. it’s a must.
    eating.
    sleeping

  284. I love your suggestions. Here are a couple other things that help me:

    I’ve found that St. John’s Wort (300mg at breakfast and 300mg at lunch every day) helps to even out my mood and the depressive “dips.” It doesn’t erase my depression, but it helps keep the dips from getting too bad. It also seems to make it easier for me to get out of them. Fun fact: at first, St. John’s Wort gave me HORRIBLE stomachaches that were impossible to “fart out.” I’ve pretty much adjusted to it now, though.

    Besides the St. John’s Wort, volunteering at an animal rescue helps me a lot. It forces me to interact with other people and LOTS of cats. (I love the dogs, t