Dealing with chronic mental illness is hard. A few months ago I finished TMS to treat my depression and anxiety and it helped but I still struggle. I have a friend who is in AA who talks about working the program…doing the steps you continually need to do to stay healthy…and I realized how much I relate to that right now.
TMS gave me a reset button but I still have bad days. I still feel myself dip back into that dark place. I have more tools now than ever and that helps but sometimes the only thing that I accomplish in a day is just surviving. It’s both an amazing achievement while also tinged with shame as you see others who seem to whiz past you as you barely tread water. Maybe they’re treading water too. You can’t tell. You’re just trying to breathe.
Today is one of those days for me. I think it’s the weather. It’s dreary and rainy and my joints hurt and it makes me not want to get out even though my doctor prescribed walking 30 minutes a day to keep my depression at bay. It’s part of my program. Today I took Hailey to school and then I went back to bed and stayed there until noon. I didn’t enjoy it. People without depression won’t understand that, but the fatigue of mental illness makes your very body a prison. The bed smelled sour. I couldn’t concentrate on reading. Victor is out of town so I have no one to make me get up.
But I have to work the program. So I got up. I walked in the cold for 10 minutes. Then I did another 10. Then I hit 30. I brushed my teeth and took a shower. I brought my light therapy lamp out of storage. I wrote this post.
This is a good day. As far as mental illness is concerned, that is. I got out of bed. That in itself is pretty amazing. It doesn’t always happen. But today it did and I’m proud of that. I will continue to work my program.
It’s a program I add to all the time, finding tools that work for me. I share them with others. Others share them with me. We get along. Together. And alone.
So today I’m sharing some of my steps. I’m not sharp enough to think of them all but for now I’m writing them down to remind myself that I’m worth following them. If you have steps that help you please share them.
- Follow your doctors orders. For me that means antidepressants and behavioral therapy.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.
- Get sunlight, or if you can’t, use light therapy. Do not over use even though you want to.
- Treat yourself like you would your favorite pet. Plenty of fresh water, lots of rest, snuggles as needed, allow yourself naps.
- Avoid negativity. That means the news, people, movies. It will all be there when you’re healthy again. The world will get on without you seeing it.
- Forgive yourself. For being broken. For being you. For thinking those are thing that you need forgiveness for.
- Those terrible things you tell yourself? Can you imagine if the person you love most was telling themselves those things? You’d think they were crazy. And wrong. They think the same about you. Those negative things you are thinking are not rational. Remember that depression lies and your brain is not trustworthy.
- Give yourself permission to recover. I’m lucky that I can work odd hours and take mental health days but I still feel shitty for taking them. Realize that sometimes these slow days are necessary and healthy and utterly responsible.
- Watch Doctor Who.
- Love on an animal. Go adopt a rescue or if you can’t go to the shelter and just snuggle a kitten. Then realize that that same little kitten that you’re cradling isn’t going to accomplish shit but is still wonderful and lovely and so important. You are that kitten.
- Get up. Go brush your teeth. Go take a hot shower. If you do nothing else today just change into a new pair of pajamas. It helps.
- Remember that you are not alone. There are crisis lines filled with people who want to help. There are people who love you more than you know. There are people who can’t wait to meet you because you will teach them how unalone they are. You are so worthy of happiness and it will come.
One day when I’m in a better place I will come back to this and fix the typos and add all the things I’ve forgotten but today I know that if I don’t publish it I will delete it and hate myself for not finishing it. So I’m publishing it. And I suppose that’s another step. Trust in your words, even when you second-guess them.
Sorry this is so rambly. It’s the best I can do.
332 thoughts on “Working the program”
Read comments below or add one.
The best you can do is the best. Thank you. xo
Lots of love, Jenny.
Thank you. I have been struggling a lot recently and really needed to read this. I hope you feel better. I don’t know if it helps, but this post brightened my day. It’s amazing that you are feeling bad and we’re still able to help me. Thank you.
Thanks, Jenny! I needed to read that.
A granola bar before bed gets me up in the morning. (Yes this is a poop comment)
Sending loving energy…
Love you, Jenny.
You’re doing amazing. Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks Jenny, for sharing this. There’s no need to fix typos. Your meaning is clear. Take care. You’ve got this.
Someone told me that moving from the bed to the couch helps. I haven’t had a chance to try it since they mentioned it (fortunately), but the bed can be a prison as much as the body. So maybe the change of location will help.
Ignore the people who tell you to “just get over it” or to “smile more” and seek out those who understand or who try to understand.
Music, sometime you just need to listen to music.
Make art or look at art when it helps.
Sing, even if you can’t: sometimes your soul just needs to cry.
Watch the birds, outside your window or at the park. They don’t care about anything other than that seed on the ground. It can be really liberating.
Read. Whatever it is, just read it. Help your brain find the words.
Touch something soft and fuzzy.
Remember that you don’t have to be happy to be ok, sometimes just being ok is enough.
Thank you for sharing your steps. I use so many of them every day to keep my anxiety at bay. Sending you love and support. <3
Fucken me too sister.
I can relate to this so much: “while also tinged with shame as you see others who seem to whiz past you as you barely tread water.” I’m constantly comparing myself to others my age/with the same schooling as me, looking at how much they’ve done. Meanwhile, I consider it an accomplishment if I do the very bare minimum required.
Exactly. Exactly this is my week.
Hang in there, and I will too
Some days it’s harder to remember that we can only do what we can do. But each day we do it, we find that what we can do expands a little. It’s not usually noticeable, but it’s there. And one day you look back and realize you’re miles ahead of where you were. And you got there a little bit at a time. Keep on walking. You’ll never regret moving forward.
For me I have to tell my support people when I’m not doing well ( my sister and two close girlfriends in our private group chat) they send encouraging v words and check on me. I watch Doctor Who and Miss Fisher’s Murder mysteries
Thank you – I am crawling back out of depression and remind in all of us that we are not alone, and that we matter is always useful. You matter. I matter. Everyone reading this matters.
I’m glad you posted it! I’ve been struggling more lately too, and these are great steps to follow whether we think we deserve them or not. My therapist just assigned me writing a list of 100- ONE HUNDRED- things I like about myself, which feels torturous and impossible, but is also probably going to be a good step. Just getting out of bed counts. Petting the kitten counts. All the things that let a tiny bit of light in. Might be worth a shot for friends who also struggle to feel worthy of everything.
Lots of love for you, we love you and every word you say helps thousands of people struggling!
I love all of your points. Writing about mental health/depression and the like is one of the best ways to work towards de-stigmatizing our conditions. Thanks for the article, and I look forward to reading more of your work
Thanks for the extremely well-timed post; I needed to read that. Since reading your post helped me, I think I’d add, find a way to connect with fellow sufferers, even if that just means reading their blog posts and never working up the courage to comment. Sometimes it helps just to know that there are other people in the world who understand why you can’t get out of bed.
Good advice for all of us, even those without chronic illness. Thanks.
You ARE that kitten!
One of the “tells” when I’m slipping is that I stop preparing and eating healthy food. Part of my “program” is to always have healthy food on hand that isn’t difficult to prepare or that I can eat right out of the container or bag – yoghurt, nuts, dried fruit, carrots, pre-cooked chicken, etc.
Odd as it sounds, washing my hair. When I’m in a bad place, taking a shower and washing my hair seems like SO. MUCH. WORK. So I throw in dry hairspray and try to ignore that my hair is turning into a helmet.
But once I get in the shower, the hot water feels so good, and washing my hair and conditioning it feels so good. And when I get out the feeling of light, clean hair feels sooooo good.
So if I can just get myself into the shower to wash my hair, it makes a huge difference.
Yes to all the things. We have a rule here that, no matter what, pajamas MUST be changed after 24 hours. No exceptions. Thank you for the kitten tool. I’ll put that into my toolbox.
Thank you for posting this. Today I came to the conclusion that I need to go on meds again because the world is on fire, and my usual ways of coping aren’t doing the job. And that’s okay. I’m going to share your steps to some people in my life I think it could do some good for.
Thank you, i needed to read this today. You’re the best, seriously.
♥ Thank you for being you and being there for us, as well as letting us be there for you.
Thanks for posting. This is a hard week, and you helped.
Thank you. I needed to read this today. My depression was telling me I wasn’t worthy of feeling better. It told me to skip therapy today. But I went to therapy anyway and I’m so glad I did. Love to all who are struggling ❤
You’re such an incredible resource and support for people–thank you for this absolutely not-rambly post.
Thank you for this. We all do the best we can, and little steps can mean so much. There are those who don’t understand how hard each little thing can be, but how each of those little things is a major triumph. Working my own program in solidarity.
Thank you. Everyone means something to someone – even if you don’t know it. It’s hard to remember sometimes… but I believe it. We are not alone.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss
And you are you, beautifully.
Hi Jenny, Sending you tons of love, sunshine and happy thoughts. You inspire me to be a better version of myself. You are awesome!
One of my steps is coming here because essentially you end up talking me through it.
Thank you. Only please don’t send me a bill because I am broke and poor. 🙂
I can pay you only in love and XOXOXOXs.
Thank you for this post. I need to be reminded today, and every day, that depression lies. It’s been lying to me for about two months. Unfortunately, I don’t have the option to stay home and get better…I am self-supporting so I have to go to work and pretend to care about anything. All I want to do is crawl in bed, prison and all…..
“Those terrible things you tell yourself? Can you imagine if the person you love most was telling themselves those things? You’d think they were crazy. And wrong. They think the same about you.”
This is actually what I use for my “Higher Power”. I’m not religious, so when I decided to finally get serious about “going medieval” on my depression, that’s what I decided to use as my “God”: The people who care about me.
They don’t want me to think I’m garbage. They don’t want me to think that everything I say is pointless or dumb. They don’t think I’m all the terrible things I call myself when I’ve fallen down the well. They want only good things for me. When I allowed that to be my higher power, and I turned my depression over to it, it was like someone started to open the curtains and let the light in.
Oddly, I found Russell Brand’s book “Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions” to be really helpful for battling my depression and anxiety. I don’t have any problems with addiction, but the principles of recovery did offer me a lot of insight. I’ve read it a couple more times just when I need a tune-up. I know, Russell Brand right? Who’d a thunk it?
Thank you. <3 I’m so deep in the well these days that I have no idea how to survive (can no longer afford therapy… can no longer afford meds… can barely afford to eat some days–it sucks rocks to be poor), but this helps. Today I did get out of the house. For the moment, I’ll hug the cats and Try.
Your words ring so true. I admire your ability to still reach out to others when you’re not feeling well. I am in AA again in a long time. I feel like a failure, but some how you always seem to say the right the right thing at the right time to keep me going. I am incredibly lucky to have people who have some of the same issues. It makes me feel so not alone when depression comes calling. You give me hope that things can be better. Thank you.
This is me. Yesterday I didn’t get out of bed. Today I managed a shower. I’m going to try and get a package to the shipping store to mail to my son who is deployed. I am supposed to go to a school meeting about colleges for my daughter. But I already know I won’t make it. I don’t have enough energy or motivation. I hate it.
Thanks. I needed that and need to save that list. It’s been a tough time for me lately. I do plan to go home and watch Doctor Who now that I know my daughter watched it without me.
And the sun is out today. That’s a bonus.
I hear you. I am there too. And we shall persevere and move beyond. Because that is what we do. Your strength in vulnerability inspires me and helps more than you will ever know. Biggest of hugs, much love to you <3
Much love Jenny. I have my rescue pup who I swear will hold his bladder ALL.DAY.LONG
just so he can spend the day being a pillow for my fat head when I cannot muster the strength to get out of bed. Kittehs are good for snuggles too.
Thank you for sharing this. Proud of you for turning it around. It is a comfort to know that others struggle with this, but that I, too, got to pick myself up and at least go brush my teeth, shower, and change my underwear!
I work an online crisis chat line. It’s hard. I’m broken, just like so many people. i thought that if I could help other people see that feeling broken was okay, then at least I was doing something with this awful feeling I always have inside of me. Our best friend died a horrible, cold death last month and I had to take some time off. I felt like I was too fragile to deal with the problems of other people when just getting up and showering and feeding myself felt impossible. I feel guilty for not going back yet. But sometimes taking care of yourself is more important.
My program includes getting enough sleep because my anxiety keeps me awake even when I’m exhausted. Taking more than cursory care with my appearance. Snuggling my cats. Connecting with people in some way, even if it is superficial. That is all I am capable of right now.
I was really depressed in high scool and my freshman year in college. I asked my uncle who was a doctor what was the most efficient way to commit suicide. He answered me but never asked why.
The insomnia I’ve been getting this week is making all my usual self-care stuff THAT much harder to do. I supposed I should at least brush my damn teeth. Sigh. Yes, it’s 3:30 in the afternoon.
A good day 🙂 Good work.
Your best is helping me. Love you.
You are fucking brilliant. And I found no typos.
Today was the perfect day for this post. I have been doing really well, but feel like I fell off a cliff yesterday due to some unsubstantiated gossip that rocked my world in a bad way. But I got to work, and I straitened things out, and maybe things aren’t bad after all. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This via my news feed today: doctors in Shetland can now prescribe nature
I needed this.
My daughter has been having some bad mental health days which usually turns into behavior issues at school. We’re trying different things, and I’m trying not to let my mental health beast react to hers.
I’m going to read this to her … even the swears to which she will say, “Lang-uage!”
Thank you, Jenny. Your posts, no matter how long or how short or what they are about, always add goodness to my day.
Thank you, Jenny. I needed to read this and share with my husband today. Sending you lots of love!
I am still working on #2 and #5.
#2 is great advice, I think I’ll adopt it.
#9 is advice I wholeheartedly approve of!
You got out of bed, you did stuff. Today is a successful day.
The best that you can do is so much better than you think it is. You are loved, pyjamas and all.
I realized I hadn’t taken my vitamins and supplements for five days. Which explains why I hurt more than usual, and am more easily upset too. I’m physically run down, but there’s still so much to do that I can’t stay in bed. So I got up, dressed, wrote my morning pages and sat with my seasonal light. Then I went off to do errands and was pretty proud of myself.
…of course, I forgot breakfast. And forgot to do my hair. But hey, the car has a new battery and the important paperwork made it to the post office. Maybe my messy bed head hair entertained someone. It may not be a good day, but it’s not a half bad one.
Good job on getting out of bed today ^^ I don’t know you personally but I’m still proud of you ^^
This is a great list, Jenny. My therapist told me (for my insomnia) that the bed shouldn’t be a place of struggle. Meaning that in my case, if I was struggling with sleep, I should just get up. I guess it’s an associative thing. I’m wondering if it could be applied to other things like depression, or comfort, or even just struggling with being able to read in peace.
And maybe this to distract you for a moment: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DnxbcFjXsAEjQ5z.jpg
Figure of a hornbill from Eastern Siberut, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia; around 1910.
“Wooden birds are made and erected to tempt spirits to participate in ceremonies and to entertain them. The name given to these birds is umat simagere, toys of the spirits.”
(Museum der Kulturen, Basel)
Thank you for this. My son is in the process of being diagnosed with anxiety and is really struggling at school and this helps me understand how to help him.
Love to you Jenny and everyone else out there suffering from depression!!
Thank you. Sometimes it helps me to make a list of things that I have already done that day so that I can cross them off and feel like I did something. Other times, it helps to just bury my face in my dog’s fur. Sometimes I get in the car and just drive. All of it helps and sometimes none of it helps. Every day is a struggle.
Thanks Jenny, I needed this today. You are so loved just as you are. You help so many of us by being fearless and honest. This post helped me today. I’ve been having a totally unproductive day and was starting to feel bad about it. Now I’m going to go take a 30 minute walk. Thank you.
Even though I am blessed not to struggle with depression myself, your words are such a help to me in better understanding depression in my child. Thanks to all for sharing your programs–we’ll be helping our son find a program that works for him.
Your rambly is just fine 🙂 Also, this post did not seem rambly to me. I have had 2 kinds of aphasia plus looping since having brain surgery 10 years ago to clip a brain aneurysm and let me tell you, I can ramble like nobody’s business. Your post is organized and well put.
I’m in the Midwest but I think we’re having the same kind of day only reversed. I have chronic, complex PTSD and much of what goes with that and today I just did not want to get out of bed. I told myself I had to – to attend to a few things and then, if I still felt like hibernating from society, I could. I fed my pets & the outside birds, went to the grocery, the post office, the bank and dropped off the recycle. Then I remembered that my county has early voting so I went and did that. Someone in front of me in line was quite annoying but I refrained from taking the bait. Came home, had lunch & am now in my pjs headed for some down time. If I have the energy after that, there is more I can do here at home.
I like your list. I have a similar one. It helps me tremendously. The only thing I would add to your list is an asterisk for #6. You don’t owe yourself forgiveness for who you are. You are who you are. You work with & around the things that you know need a bit more bolstering or kindness or acceptance. You are enough as you are. No forgiveness necessary for being yourself – even with all the wonky parts.
Thank you for your post today. I hope it helped you. It helped me & I appreciate it.
Copying list and placing it inside the door on my medicine cabinet with other favorite quotes and words of wisdom that I read at least twice a day. Thanks for sharing, even when you don’t feel like it … you make a difference.
I recently heard someone on a podcast talking about negative self talk and she said to imagine that it was a person standing next to you saying all of those horrible things to you. Would you believe them or would you think this guy’s an asshole? I’ve really tried to put that into practice. It helps take some of the power out of that shitty voice in my head.
We love you just the way you are. The post was better than fine, and you give me strength when you face the world/life/your problems head on. And, even when you “just” reassure me that I am not alone out here…
Good Luck for tomorrow….
I am literally hugging a purring cat as a pillow while reading this in my bed. He helps. All of these things you listed are amazing. I want to add one that helps me. I really like the tracking system on Superbetter. The site is free and it helps me notice if I’m lagging in an area of self care. There are science videos if that’s your thing, and little notes of encouragement which I like.
Thank you for this. My daughter is in a therapeutic high school for a whole host of reasons. Her therapist last night in our parent group reminded us parents that you never cure your depression/anxiety, you just get better coping mechanisms. And even then, you have days where it’s just hard. That resonated with me as a parent of a teen who is struggling, that admitting that you are having a bad day is progress in itself. Hopefully, the bad days will get further apart for you and for her.
Thank you for writing this post. I used too many spoons yesterday and one of my family members has been recovering from an injury for several weeks (family injured = giant trigger for me) and my PTSD is freaking out and causing hysterical crying fits today. My brain is now at least vaguely aware that there are some other options…
You will never know just how much I needed to read these words today. Actually, you do know. Thank you for helping me feel so n not all alone in this crazy life. Depression and anxiety suck. I’ve been pushing myself to get on the treadmill, get outside, etc. It’s a rainy day here in Tennessee today. It’s makes it more difficult to get motivated. Thank you for your honesty and humor. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!
I like this lady’s blog. There are good tips for dealing with depression.
Sent from my iPad
Thank you. I needed this today. Xx
Depression has ruled my life for what feels like an eternity. I have OCD, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and 3 years ago Young Onset Parkinsons joined my shitty little team. I tried ECT (electro convulsive therapy) for 10 sessions. I was booked for 12 sessions but I only completed 10. I stopped because I wasn’t feeling any better and it was fooling with my memory. I didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed of it, what would people think of me? When you’re in the deepest pit you can imagine and you take your last shot at feeling better and it doesn’t work? Where was I to go from there? I have a husband and two kids and feel like I’m failing as a mother, a wife, and as a person. You are not alone.
Thank you. I’m in tears of gratitude.
Amen and amen.
Congratulations on this post: for getting out of bed; for doing something; for helping others; for providing inspiration; for publishing (esp. because it was less than perfect); and for the myriad of other things you’ve done.
Bless your beautiful heart, Jenny! You are an inspiration and mean so much to so many. xoxo
Bless your beautiful heart, Jenny. You are an inspiration and mean so much to so many, so thanks for sharing all of you with us. Big hug and lots of love. xo
To add to your fabulous list, something I happened upon recently. I am a perfectionist sometimes, and I get down on myself for not being able to get things done or done well when I am sick. I feel like people will judge me (and some do >:( ).
But it is OK to half-ass things (or quarter-ass them) if you need to. Can’t do all the laundry? Just make sure you have something clean for tomorrow. Anything. One day’s worth of clothes. Can’t do dishes right now? Paper plates are fine. Can’t cook? Eat cheese and crackers for dinner.
Don’t shame yourself for having a cheese-and-crackers-in-your-ugly-shirt day. Accept that it’s what you had to do to get through the day. And then try again tomorrow.
Thank you. Take care and keep on stepping. I am trying to work on being nicer to my future self even though present me does not want to do the things…
I’ve saved this post because I needed to see it today and many days. Thank you for being you, and for making us feel less alone. I hope you have brighter, less ‘heavy’ days soon xx
Thank you. I just read the last four posts and I’m nearly crying with relief. Thank you so much!
Sometimes I mimic my pets and just lay in the sunbeam (when it’s available). I also like to sit where I can see nature, even if it’s just my back yard. A few minutes watching the birds lifts my spirits. Oh, and I give myself permission to eat something just because I want to (not, like, a whole cake or something, but a spoonful of cookie dough? Yes!). Just keep taking care of yourself. You’re doing great.
Thank you, sweetie, and all the others who have commented. Suffering here, too. Psych thinks I may be in a state of vital exhaustion. I can be a little flexible with my time and can sometimes work odd hours. And at least I am a crazy-ass runner (even EV can’t stop me from running). But, damn, everything else is so hard to get done, I am forgetting things I normally never would, rushing to do things last minute (which I usually effectively avoid), productivity is at an all-time low–and I am self employed, so that means a direct hit to income. Man, I am babbling. I will keep stepping. And, oh, I will be watching Doctor Who. 😉
My best friend in the world survives chronic depression and often crippling anxiety every day, and she apologizes to me all the time about all the things she doesn’t do for me (ridiculous), or that she isn’t a good friend to me (absurd), or that I deserve someone better (I have the bff I want tvm). Knowing what I know about what she deals with and reading about the things that you deal with every day, I hope you both know that no matter how “less” you think you are, or how “bad” you think others think you are, or any other negative LIE that depression tries to tell you, what I see is completely different. I see women who are stronger than they know, braver than they think, and more courageous just to get through another day than anyone else I will ever know. You both inspire me to keep being a better me. I have nothing but love for you and while Jenny, you and I may never meet, you have me to hold you up just like my best friend always will. Thank you for publishing today.
Celebrate the small things. Realize that mental illness makes something like taking a shower a huge victory, and that means people without it don’t get to celebrate those things, but you do. Simple things might be harder, but that makes the achievement greater.
<3 <3 <3
I’m proud of you. I’m proud of all of you who are still here, doing your steps or whatever.
I think I need to write a list like this for myself and post on my bedroom wall or something. Because I forget them when I need them the most.
Hi Jenny, all of your steps are excellent. And I try to do those, too. I meditate, but I use the term loosely. Kristin Neff has free self-compassion meditations (just google her name) online and they are helpful without being treacly. Sometimes, for me, just putting on bright lipgloss or makeup in general tricks me into thinking I feel better. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it is what gets me out of the door. Love and support to you. You help us all feel less alone, and, therefore, at least a bit better. Thank you for that!
Thank you so much for this post. Sometimes when depression hits it’s really really hard to just remember those steps, nevermind actually doing them. Your #5 is something I struggle with a lot, but not in the way most people have been recently I think… I’ve gotten good at ignoring the news, politics, etc. It’s the heated discussions on my favorite online game’s forum that really get to me. And I feel like it’s so stupid because I am literally in tears because of arguing over a freaking pixel game but it’s so hard to make myself walk away for awhile.
I’ve been struggling lately, and that feels weird to write because I’m not struggling the way I used to be, when ‘struggling’ meant missing work and staying in bed all day and harming myself. But it’s still struggling. Having more anxiety attacks then usual, getting anxious about small things that didn’t used to bother me that much, feeling like I’m constantly on the verge of crying and I don’t know why. Have an appt with my psych-dr today thankfully.
Thanks for the link to the Light therapy. Months ago, my doctor recommended trying that for my fatigue and for when the weather gets dreary (like it is now) and it starts affecting me, but the one I had went out of stock, so I deleted it from my wishlist. I’ve been meaning to look through your blog because I know you mentioned it and I figured you’d have one to recommend.
PS: You’ve been an inspiration to me lately because the fatigue has been bad lately and everything is a struggle to do, but I reread your books and your posts and it made me feel better, like I don’t have to do as much as everyone else because I’m me and I have to do what’s best for me and that means resting more often than the average person because my body just doesn’t get the concept of sleep.
Thanks Jenny. I am sorry that you have to experience any of this, let alone all that you do. Please know you are an inspiration to me and your posts help. Thank you.
I can so relate to this today. I struggle to take care of myself even when I’m having GOOD days because I was brought up to put everybody else first, that if I even thought about putting myself first it was being selfish. And being selfish is the WORST thing a girl (especially if she is a Southern girl of a certain age) can do. 🙁
I forced myself to do a power walking video on Youtube when I got home from work today even though I didn’t want to. Normally I would’ve gone to walk outside but it’s cold and rainy and shitty out. So I did the next best thing even though I was yelling at the TV the whole time because the hostess was one of those ridiculously cheery people you just want to slap because nobody is THAT cheery. Unless they’re on some kind of drug and they’re high AF.
I want to praise you for doing it while at the same time thank you for helping me to do it.
Thank you for your post today. I felt like I really needed something to get through through today. Today is another day of trying to fight going blind with another round of doctor’s appt. So, now it’s just breathing and taking it one minute at a time. And, yes I have gone through Al-Anon to get me through living with the craziness of my family. Bless you and take good care of yourself!
Blessings to you, Jenny. Needed this today.
Love an animal is a huge thing for me. I went a year without an animal and it nearly killed me (literally). Now I have an adorable crazy black cat named Sir Rutherford McBittyface the first. He’s my best friend and has saved my life.
That is a wonderful list. So great that I think I shall print it out and try to follow it daily. 🙂 <3
The phrase “depression lies” has saved me so many times and I thank you for that.
I needed to hear this today. Yay to you.
Keep it up Jenny, working your steps and self care is so important. You’re doing great.
Thanks for sharing, Jenny. Hoping for sunnier days ahead. 🧡
Thank you, Jenny. I’m not someone who has had to deal with depression in my own life yet but I have learned so much from reading your words over the years. I have learned to have compassion and respect for those struggling day to day with this disease because, thanks to your openness, I feel like I understand a little of where they’re coming from. A couple of weeks ago, we lost a lovely man from our small town. He struggled and worked for many years to cope with a brain that lied to him. He was loved and appreciated and respected and valued by young and old alike but, most days, couldn’t see past the lies to recognize his own tremendous worth. It breaks my heart that he didn’t know what a hole he would leave in so many lives when he decided it was time to end the struggle. I debated adding this comment when you’re having a rough day but I also thought it was a good time to say “thank you”.
Thank you. I know the struggle and you sharing your steps helps so much.
baby steps sweet writer, baby steps. Can someone please tell me what happened to Fall? We seemed to have skipped it here in Texas.
Thank you for sharing your tips. God bless ya!
This is a great list. Thank you for sharing. I shared with others who might need it.
Thank you for this. People who don’t struggle with mental illness don’t realize how hard it is to get out of bed some days. I work 1-1/2 hours from my house via public transportation and I love my job but every morning I bargain with myself trying to find an excuse to stay home because I dread going out into the (crowded, germy, noisy) world. It gets exhausting. I’m going to keep this post to remind me that there are coping mechanisms that I can use, and to remember that I’m not the only one fighting.
You just plain rock…
#10 Is. The. TRUTH. I am that kitten. And so are you.
Thank you. We love you, and your work is such a sweet nest of support to so many people.
I just had a consult with a new therapist today, who feels strongly that I need an integrated trauma support system, that general work is not enough. The words sound scary, so I’m just trying to think of it as a step forward towards a better place. I’ve been working so hard for such a long time, and I’m tired, and your words really help. Thank you <3
Jenny: this post is really beautiful, poignant and inspiring. I have chronic depression, ocd and anxiety, and you’re telling the truth: we need to work the program.
My sweet 15-year-old, who also struggles with anxiety and depression, shared a song that helps her. Written by an amazing young woman named Dodie, it’s called “Secret for the Mad”; in part, it says:
I’ve got a secret for the mad
In a little bit of time it won’t hurt so bad
And I get that I don’t get it
But you will burn right now but then you won’t regret it
There’s nothing to do right now but try
There are a hundred people who will listen to you cry
And I get that they don’t get it
But they love you so much that you won’t regret it.
Full song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vDdx1dba6c
Gentle hugs to all of you struggling.
Some days are diamonds, some days are coal. You’re doing just fine Jenny…always believe that. Thanks for being the perfectly wonderful you that you are. oxoxoxo
I put on my new slippers and didn’t cry, thanks to my fatty butt black cat. Just like putting on new pj’s. xox
Thank you Jenny,needed to feel not alone today. I got out of bed too!
I appreciate that you included Doctor Who. I 100% agree. Thank you for the post!
Thank you so much for continuing to shine a light on what it is like to live with mental illness, and thank you for fighting hard by publishing this post. As for typos, the perfect is the enemy of the good. I have been helped beyond measure by mindful self-compassion – Kristin Neff and Chris Germer have a wonderful new workbook out. May it help you as it has helped me. Love is the only way.
I feel you, Jenny. Today I managed to shower and wash my hair and eat a sandwich. This means I made the sandwich — which was a huge effort. So was showering, but afterward, I put my pajamas back on and didn’t fix my hair. I keep bumping into things and forgetting to put away messes and do laundry. Oh, I changed out the litter boxes today — that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Anyway, this is how it’s been since July, and I haven’t breathed a word of it to anyone other than my psychiatrist. My husband still knows, even though I don’t say anything, and unfortunately, my psych is sick with pneumonia going on week #3, and he’s elderly, and I am naturally (and unnaturally) worried for him (and me without him). I take medication, but I’m going through a lot of medication changes — we’re reducing dosages, which has been counter-intuitive but helpful. I think today, I’m going to ape your list — I need to walk for 30 minutes every day, and I don’t do it. Because: see sandwich making difficult. That’s my fit of honesty for the day. I love you for creating this moment for me. Thank you.
And there’s the good stuff — my cat didn’t have a seizure today, my husband (Dave) will be home soon, my brother is grilling for us tonight (he lives here, too). And I finally got rid of a bad freelance project, which will present a financial hardship, but regaining my spirit is on my task list for the week.
OK, switching back to Colleen Normal (where I don’t talk about these feelings, except that I might start blogging again tonight, because this felt good). 🙂
I’m sorry today was rough. You are an amazing kitten and I love you ❤️
Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone
LOVE. from me to all of you….
Exactly where I am today… And, yeah, I’m typing this from my bed, which needs clean linens but that’s too much effort and the dogs are okay with it, so it’s fine. I just can’t today. My brain keeps screaming that I’m lazy and worthless, and that makes me burrow deeper under the duvet. Life. Don’t talk to me about life…
A song by the IDLES starts with “if someone talked to you the way that you talk to you I would put their teeth through… Love yourself!” I’m not a fan of violence but yeah, love yourself!
And thank you for your honesty about depression. It helps me understand.
“the best that I can do” …. and hun that is AWESOME! We are telling our kids that they can only do their best. And if each of us achieve the best that we can do, every day (with the MH caveat of course!) then we are AWESOME too!
Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I am familiar with 12 step Programs and they do help…you’re doing the best you can with what you have. Be gentle with yourself. Many hugs.
I often say to myself “Just for today.” Recovery is recovery, and knowing that I ONLY have to do it for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Just for today.
Proud of you for getting out and doing it.
All 12 Step programs say to take on life One Day At A Time. You don’t have to be concerned about tomorrow or yesterday, just work your program TODAY. Sometimes it has to be worked one hour at a time. But keep coming back to it because IT WORKS!
I am eating Goldfish and buckeyes for dinner tonight because I have had a long day at work and I do not have the energy to make dinner for myself. We do what we can do one day at a time. xoxo
This is so true
Ugh, I’m all choked up. Simply, thank you for writing this today. I can only say I’m grateful.
This, too, shall pass … but knowing that doesn’t make it easier while it’s going on.
A couple of additional guidelines I try to remember:
Don’t say things to myself I wouldn’t say to a friend.
Remember that when I feel crazy while others look like they have it all together, I’m comparing my insides to their outsides.
Hang in there, Jenny – you have a lot of company. You’re one of the funniest, bravest, smartest people I’ve read.
Keep up the good work – that’s an awesome list.
I try to walk everyday and take a picture to post on Instagram. Just one picture to encapsulate what’s going on.
Sending love to all.
I am severely allergic to anything furry, so every time I see a list like this that includes caring for a pet, I think “There, that’s it! I can’t do that, and that’s why I can’t feel better.” But of course there are other things on the list.
Sending light & love to you and everyone else who is struggling right now.
Thank you Jenny.
Some days staying in bed just feels decadent. I don’t do it often and I get your reason for staying in bed is different than mine. You are an inspiration – broken or not – I love your posts. Thank you for being you.
I’m 72. A few years ago I realized that while I was not ‘healthy’, I was competent & always on track to make it better, even if no one else could see it. What I do now is “trust myself” – & that is what I say to myself & do – Trust Myself. It gives me back my intelligence, self-knowledge, & power. In paralysis, in if-motivation-were-blood-I-bled-out-2-hours-ago, in days’ old clothes & etc. etc., I give myself trust. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever done for myself – & my heart is with all of us.
The best you can do is always enough. Flowers to you. Or stuffed weasels. Whichever will make you smile the most.
Thanks for the list! I tend to forget my list steps (I almost wrote “always forget” then I remembered that words like that are self defeating.) It is so helpful to see yourlist. Maybe I will write mine down. Maybe I will bookmark yours if I can’t wrote my own. You’ve done an awesome thing today. Hugs.
I think it’s perfect just the way it is.
We all benefit so much from your honesty and your story. Thank you so much for sharing. Doctor Who is definitely a balm to the soul, isn’t it? I’m a few seasons behind, got to catch up. I’m curious what your take is on the new Doctor!
This was a terrific post, Jenny. I have a datum “Shower every day. Outside every day.” On the days I don’t make this, I’m always delighted to get back around it.
I’m editing the first draft of my book, recommitting to it. I just read someone advising, “Discipline over Inspiration.” As you know it’s a different job than the one of showing up and getting the word count into a doc. I’m just learning how different. Writing has given me a feel for the properly composed sentence. I use a measure of how musical it is rather than, Would it break down into a pattern my former teachers would recognize.
I don’t see anything in your post that would need editing! What I treasure in our life is a person who doesn’t edit themselves into a Social Media feed. I want their truth; I want their stories.
You accomplish this in such a singular way. I agree with dear Rolly; fist-bump.
I’m sorry it’s cold and dark in Texas today, in a way that tried to hold you. It’s thrilling that you went out anyway. Do you have a fall tea blend that will go with that weather? Are you a pumpkin-latte person? Cocoa with marshmallows? Those really only work with the weather you’re describing.
I’m autistic-artistic and fall weather in this land of sun means I make a ritual out of switching out my lovely Egyptian cotton sheet sets for my winter flannel bedding. Both are so tactile and a fresh set is such a delight to make the bed up with. I’m also a weighted-blanket-loving person and this weather finally allows me to get under my sheepskin bed throw. It’s made of four whole hides from a very long-haired breed. My secret joke is they are black sheepsies. Just like me!
It weighs a lot and I sleep so well under it, that it’s worth whatever large cash I paid for it. I’m going to take what I’d advise you to heart, and make-up my bed with clean sheets. Be well.
I have found that a 20-30 min nap time scheduled every single day as a mandatory task in my program has helped immensely this fall as compared to other falls. My therapist suggested it and it’s helping much more than I expected.
In my journal I used to make a list of “What Went Right Today” leaving room at the bottom for the afterthoughts. It’s not checking off goals, setting new ones or anyone’s agenda other than- – what went right.
It feels wonderful to write, and wonderful to read.
It means so much that you share your little secrets to getting thru sucky days, and that you are so real about some days still sucking and some not.
You help me forgive myself when almost everyone else in my life’s answer is “well, just get over it! Just don’t lie around! Just get some sun! Just smile!”
Yeah right… If only it was that easy.
I love you for your honesty. Please don’t ever change
I needed this today. Thank you.
I love you — number 4 is the one that resonated most – but they all did. You are amazing and I’m so glad to have found you.
Thank you for sharing your steps.
Here’s one of mine…spicy food. Maybe it’s how it forces me to FEEL or the rush of endorphins. But I find spicy food can be very helpful.
You said it, sister. And how. ❤️❤️
Thank you for that. So much. My bad days way outweigh the good ones right now. Your posts help me feel less alone.
I was going to pick one but could not……all are important. L O V E to Y O U!!
You’re doing great! Thanks for sharing.
you are so very awesome and i very much needed this today. thank you and your wonderful tribe.
Sending you love and saying AMEN! Needed this today as I also have been dipping my toe in the black pool…its so good to know others have the same thoughts and struggles. Thank you for sharing and for the excellent program tips. Much love and hugs to this tribe.
Even on your bad days you still manage to Inspire others. Thank you for that. Don’t give up, ever.
I love you Jenny.
You are not alone, Jenny. You are not alone, Bloggess Tribe. All those things on the list are good to do. Earlier this year I started going to the gym again which gives me variety in my exercise so I don’t get bored. I also got on new anxiety meds earlier this year and I feel braver than I ever have. But I still have off days. Keep going the best that you can. Don’t give up even though you may really want to. You are not alone.
Hugs to you Jenny & every1 else suffering. Great list but I would like to add 1 piece of advice & it’s given with the understanding that it may be impossible for every1 (maybe even most) to take, and it’s also given with the knowledge that you do sometimes carry your problems with you wherever you go, but not always; so finally the advice: if possible & you’re in an area where you do feel alone becuz you are indeed alone and know that you don’t fit in and you’re young enough & capable enough to get a job in many places, get the heck outta there & move to a place where you’ll be around people more like you or at least sympathetic to you. This is a harsh, depressing piece of advice, but I can tell you from direct experience, you do not want to strand yourself in your old age in an area in which there is apparently no one in your age group who agrees with anything that you do or care about. (A therapist here told me that if I was lonely & depressed, I should go to church…so you see what I’m up against…I figure they’re gonna be starting the witch hunts & curfews for women any day around here.)
rambly is real.
I tell my loved one frequently that having depression or anxiety does not mean she is “broken” any more than someone having the flu, a slipped disc, or cancer means they are “broken”. It bugs the heck out of me to hear her refer to herself that way. After a couple of years of gentle (and not so gentle) nudging, she is working on finding a nicer way of saying that she doesn’t meet society’s expectations; and she and I both agree with what society can do with its expectations. As I tell her, keep trying to be kind to yourself and trust those who love you. They see something worthwhile and wonderful in you even when you can’t see it yourself.
I tape notes to my mirrors that say things like, “You are not your productivity. Your worth is inherent” and “You owe health to no one” and “Is the voice helpful? If not, remember to breathe and reframe.”
I watch things like Doctor Who, The Good Place, Terrace House.
I write 3 good things about myself every night in my journal (a free mood tracking app called imood journal) and read them every day.
And if i have trouble thinking of the good, I ask someone I love, who I know loves me–my wife, my partner, a friend.
I have the Habitica app and use it to remind myself to: shower, use my waterpik (easier on my hands than floss, also less time-consuming), get at least some vitamins via v8, read the things I have been meaning to read and castigating myself for not reading, keep track of to-dos.
The most important step for me lately is to remind myself that I am NOT broken and there is nothing “wrong” with me. There are so many people living with mental illness — way more than statistics indicate since obviously not everyone reports it, and many more don’t realize it, don’t get diagnosed, and/or don’t want to acknowledge it. So now I just consider it part of being human. I guess it’s my way of accepting myself again and feeling less of a disconnect from humanity.
Hugs and love. Thanks for posting when it’s hard. I’m getting better at being honest about myself. I’m happy to be leaving for 3 days from work on college visits with my youngest.
I’ve been helped by Michael Singer’s book, “The Untethered Soul.”, and his audio downloads.
He shares a completely new way of looking at our thoughts and emotions.
All of your tips are excellent. Thank you for sharing your struggle. ♥️
Please don’t feel bad about typos or rambling, the newspaper is much worse. YOU JUST KEEP ON KEEPING ON!
Thank you. Will wash the fruit that’s in my fridge and eat it rather than throw it out because of you
Thanks for this. You’re not alone in the struggle. Here’s something that helps me: going outside & paying close attention to the ways everything moves: the clouds passing overhead, the waves of the sea, the branches of trees & the leaves. Remember feelings move too; even depression ia not always the same; even it passes in time. Love & light to you, to all of us.
I love this list. Thank you for sharing. You mean so much to so many people. You give us strength. We hope we do the same for you.
My dear Jenny: You accomplished a tremendous amount today, and I’m not even talking about all the things you did. You got out of bed. By yourself. Just because Victor wasn’t there to “make” you get up does not detract from you doing it. YOU. I’m very proud of you. With depression, EVERYTHING (sometimes even just breathing) is an accomplishment, some days. You
and me and my daughter all function in similar fashion, and I can relate to the self- flagellation!
I am sharing this with my daughter. I’ve been trying to encourage her to take a look at your book ( Furiously Happy), but at the moment she doesn’t feel worthy of even that.
Which is my way of saying thank you for doing what you do. Even when it’s hard.
( hugs) – Cynthia
Always wondering how you are doing. When we don’t hear from you, we worry. Keep in touch so we know you are OK. Lots of love.
“It’s both an amazing achievement while also tinged with shame as you see others who seem to whiz past you as you barely tread water. ”
I’ve never been able to put that above thought into words quite right, but it’s exactly how I feel when I get out of the house with my two babies on a bad day.
All my best to you.
Thank You. I’m in the middle of multiple crises, and you helped more than I can say.
“Treat yourself like your favorite pet” Best advice ever. I’ve been going through a rough stretch lately, so we headed to the mountains and lake and we walked in the clean air and when people got too much (me and the dog are both introverts), we went back to the cabin and snuggled on the couch.
Your best was exactly what I needed. You may have felt like less than, but to me, your beyond more than I could imagine. Thank you for being (and sharing) you.
Do you love the new Doctor? I find I already do. She makes me very gleeful.
Big hugs to you — you make us smile, 100% of the time. We need you!
Kudos to you for posting when you did not feel like doing anything. You are an inspiration. I’m so happy I read this today, as I have not posted for Months. Thanks for putting it all in perspective! You have been Heard!
The fact that you’ve always shared your dark places with all of us, is brave, unselfish, and amazing. You’ve brought more, happy, kind, empathetic tears than the schmaltziest romcom, ever. I have learned so much from you, not the least of which is that I can only do what I can do, and that has to be enough.
Sending you much love.
Aw, do I have to watch Dr. Who? I really don’t like it. Seriously, I love this and am going to print this out to hang on my bathroom mirror.
Favorite books, familiar, in case I can’t read. Favorite sitcoms. Cats. Acupuncture. Running or at least hiking or at least going outside. Showers. Thank you for sharing your program. May this be a very short (already over) dip into the dark.
Thank you. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We’re not alone. We matter. We make a difference. You, Jenny Lawson, make a difference. Thank you. Much love.
You probably know about this, but I always like to revisit the “21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed” post once in a while: http://www.diycouturier.com/post/47249603128/21-tips-to-keep-your-shit-together-when-youre.
Love it, it’s like you’re in my brain. Yes to all of those things (I was watching new lady Doctor Who only last night). Here’s a few things that help me:
I have a playlist on my iPod (yes, I still have one of those) called ‘Cheer Up Sad Clown’ full of pump up songs that I play to motivate me into showering or sing along to as a form of mindfulness when I can’t stop crying. Macklemore and the Hamilton soundtrack feature. I also listen to audiobooks when the voices in my head won’t shut up and they usually make me walk further because I want to find out what happens next in the story.
Sometimes I make a list of things I want to achieve that day and they’re literally ‘Brush teeth. Unstack dishwasher’ etc. but I get to tick them off with a fun pen every time I complete one and get a little sense of achievement. And then I play that scene from Friends in my head where Monica and Ross talk about getting ‘checks!’.
Bath bombs. This is my latest thing. Lush has ridiculously sparkly and brightly coloured bath bombs that I discovered by accident (normally I avoid Lush because it smells too much). I sit in the bath watching them whizz around spraying glitter and purple and then take photos of the bath water and text them to poor unsuspecting friends and tell them ‘today I’m a beautiful unicorn princess’ etc. They humour me. The next morning your clothes and undies will be full of microglitter which is both slightly disturbing and delightful. It turns out this is a whole thing so now I’ve started watching YouTube videos of people reviewing these bath bombs for ideas about my next purchase while I’m still IN my current bath. Which is exactly why I can’t do drugs.
Check your site. Seriously, you’re one of my ‘quick cheer up’ daily checks. Because even if the content isn’t always funny (though it usually is) it will be relevant to me like today.
Just keep swimming xoxo
Recover soon thanks
Good job “Kitten”! Loved that analogy and loved this post. Don’t know you personally but do love what you say. Please keep it up. You’re doing awesome
You are simply amazing to me. You share your life experiences, out of the kindness of your heart. You say many things in your life cause you physical or mental pain and hardship and you say you sometimes feel shame because you are living you, and yet you still share it with us, just in case someone else may benefit. And we do benefit from your life experiences! There have been days when I read your blog and connected to whatever you had written and it was just exactly what I needed to read, at that time. Your writing makes me laugh, or cry or understand life a bit better. I am so sorry that your life is sometimes hard and painful but I am selfish enough to be extremely happy that you were born! Your kind and loving heart, your bravery and strength of character and your talent at sharing is amazing! You might not realize how many lives you have touched in a positive and helpful way. You are a blessing and I am grateful for you. Just wanted you to know….
Sending love. I can certainly relate.
Jenny, this has gotten me through many black hole days and reaffirms just how awesome we depression and anxiety sufferers are: http://imgur.com/gallery/LjgQJSj
You are not alone.
The best thing I’ve ever done for myself is to remind myself that I have the same tools in my bed and at work and on an airplane over the Atlantic. No one place is safer or better than another.
This may not help you, but you will survive anyhow. Another second, another minute, another hour, another day.
You’ve been a beacon of light for me. I hope you find your own beacons along the way.
(PS: Allan Watts’ ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity’ has been my mainstay while coping with generalized anxiety disorder over the past few years. Your mileage may vary, but I find him incredibly soothing.)
You are not alone.
The best thing I’ve ever done for myself is to remind myself that I have the same tools in my bed and at work and on an airplane over the Atlantic. No one place is safer or better than another.
This may not help you, but you will survive anyhow. Another second, another minute, another hour, another day.
You’ve been a beacon of light for me. I hope you find your own beacons along the way.
(PS: Allan Watts’ ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity’ has been my mainstay while coping with generalized anxiety disorder over the past few years. Your mileage may vary, but I find him incredibly soothing.)
Depression lies and I love you. ❤️
I’m trying to drink more water. I never realized what a difference it makes. I also try to breathe and be mindful when I’m particularly upset about something. Watching Doctor Who definitely helps!
Boy do I need this today. I told my therapist yesterday that depression lies, (like he didn’t already know that) and that I started my meds again because I hated being sad, with no energy, and mad at everyone but especially myself. These are great rules. Especially the pajama one! Thanks Jenny
Me too sister!
I have had every possible treatment that I can get my hands on. I still struggle on daily basis. Going in tomorrow to check yet another medication. I get one good day out of many many bad ones. And that one good day is my hope and solace.
Bumping into your books and blog has saved my life. I have referred furiously happy to so many that I have lost count. I bookmark passages from your writing as a go-to place to keep myself going.
I needed this post today as I am scared to go in tomorrow. Another set of medications and its side effects. But good days I have, where I feel like I am myself keeps me going. I scream on top of my lungs to educate anyone who would still give me an ear about the importance of mental health.
To you I say, Thank you.
Lots of love and prayers.
Do not give up.
Keep doing what you are doing.
Every day is different – tomorrow won’t be like today.
You CAN do this.
I believe in you Jenny.
sending love…and virtually hanging out with you. it’s strange how i avoid that sort of thing in “real life”
Reading your list made me realize how hard I’ve gotten on myself, since I got away from the worst depression.
My standards are higher now, and sometimes too high.
A shower and change of pajamas is enough.
Maybe some face cream, too, to help with that pillowcase feeling.
Thank you, Jenny.
Doctor Who is always good, but I`ve missed the first two Sundays, argh!!!!!!
Go to acupuncture once a week
Take break to walk outside
Do not work on evenings or weekends (including any checking of work email accounts)
Read books by Tamora Pierce
Take bubble baths
Go to therapy
When I want to go back to bed I take a bath instead. I take a book or video player to try and distract my brain. Then it’s basically what I would be doing in bed, except it smells better and I can claim the Getting Clean win for the day.Sam
I love grey, soggy, chilly days. I snuggle up near a window with a cup of tea, (or a glass of wine depending on the time of day) and pretend I am in Scotland. I plan adventures and daydream wonderful dreams.
Envy eats at me
For those who are blithely
While I subsist on nothing
But a grim determination to
I wrote this poem 30 years ago. It is still true on many days. But here I am, 30 years on, still alive to tell the tale. We are truly valiant warriors. Jenny, you are a hero to so many of us. Thank you.
I didn’t know I needed this as badly as I apparently do right now. My loved ones have been telling me they are worried and I’m trying to convince them I’m fine. I’m trying to convince me I’m fine. I’m not fine. But I will be. One day.
I’m a “30 minutes a day” walker too. Sometimes when I’m walking, I mentally flip off everyone I see & for some reason that makes me laugh, which makes my dog think I’m crazy. Then she gets all happy & silly because she thinks I’m happy & then I actually feel happy, if only for that brief moment. I will think of you when I’m making myself go out & walk even when it’s the last thing I want to do. I am in a big time funk & feeling the weight of a whole lifetime pressing down on me, but I keep moving forward for my daughter & my husband, even though he will never understand my shadowy brain & I sometimes resent the hell out of his ability to just shrug things off. It’s not his fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. We’ll just keep walking….
you don’t need to fix the post – it is perfect just as it is. You are too. Sending you big love and warm fuzzies. Thank you for everything you did today. You are truly amazing. Honestly, thank you.
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you for the help, but exercising 30mins is a day is just torture some days. I admire your determination in being able to do it. I have to go get a new cat now because you said I could. If you edit your post, add “buy more books” to it please.
Thank you! Today was a mental health day for me. Your blog made it all ok.
This, so much this!!! Thank you….
Things I do to help quiet the negative voices and hold the dark st me:
1) listen to favorite music. Sing and dance to it, until you’re tired!
2) watch friends reruns. Watch more.
3) cuddle my dog, cuddle the dogs I dogsit. Cuddle them more and remember that they are living I. The moment, and they love life!!
Yes! Please do continue to trust in your words, regardless of typos or thinking you could have phrased something slightly better or whatever. Your courage in posting about your struggles has been so incredibly helpful to me for the last several years (and, I’d guess, tens of thousands of others, at least). When you celebrate your small, daily victories, it helps me recognize my own, which I might otherwise have discounted as negligible, and also helps me re-calibrate my expectations and believe that even small steps forward really do constitute progress. And it helps so very, very much to know, both from your posts and your commenters’ responses, that my brain is not uniquely f-ed up. Yes, it’s “all in my head”, but it’s not in my head only and it can be treated and ameliorated.
And having a community makes such a difference. Thank you for creating a place for us to come together and exchange stories and feel so much less alone.
I so get this. When my mind goes south & betrays me it’s hard to remember that I’m so much more than my screwy mind. I know now that it will relent & my mood will come back up, & I have to make myself do the things that help it to rise. I’m with you sister. You are valuable because no matter what you still have love to pour out onto other people, creatures & things. Thank you for making yourself move & share this. 💜💜💜💙💙💚💚💛❤️
Thank you for sharing your journey. Sending you love.
Sometimes it is too much for me to try and feel good so I aim to try and feel better just a tiny bit. Sometimes it is enough to simply do something to change the direction my mood is heading from downhill to just stable where I am at. To that end I have found little things that help – for example wearing pink or purple can move me away from that downward slide, especially wearing pink shoes for some odd reason. I also watch/listen to Critical Role – a bunch of voice actors who are friends play D&D and make each other laugh a lot. The DM spins a very good story and when I get too overwhelmed to read I let them tell me stories and make me laugh in spite of myself.
For years I have said that depression is like alcoholism: You’re never really “over it”, but you learn to deal with each day on its own.
For me, I make myself sing along to the music. When I’m not instinctively singing along, I know depression is on the attack, so I make myself sing. It’s forcing myself to do what I enjoy.
A friend who deals with chronic pain and rarely leaves the house puts on lipstick every day. Even if she’s just going to lay on the couch and nurse a migraine, doing something that makes her feel like she’s put herself together reminds her that she’s not a failure for being sick.
The weather has been uncooperative for my family a lot this year, and we have unavoidable reasons to be on computers…so we finally splurged on an exercise bike with a built-in laptop desk. Bonus, it adjusts high enough to be a standing desk.
Over the weekend my husband used it when it was raining — he biked while playing a videogame so he lost track of time and biked a lot longer than planned. He wobbled his way to the shower.
I don’t like going out in the dark and it’s dark early now — so I set the timer last night and biked for 10 minutes of websurfing, checked on the girl doing homework, and repeated twice.
And o frabjous day calloo callay, I slept through 7 hours last night, for the first time in weeks if not months.
“You are that kitten.” I love you more than peanut butter you lovely weirdo. Sending you all the spare good fairy light and hope I have. <3<3<3
Thanks for using your voice, your honesty and your humor to shed light on the reality of living with depression. As a therapist, I want to tell you how much of an impact you are having!! I can’t tell you how many women have come to session telling me how much reading your books and your blog helps them cope with their own anxiety and depression. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with others–you’re helping so many people feel less alone.
Jenny, I’m a therapist. Yes, I work in Shrinkville. I’m also one of your people. Lots of therapists go into this work because we’re trying to fix ourselves. It’s really common. I LOVE your stuff. I recommend your books and blog all the time. I give away your books…your wisdom with humor in the middle of the pain that so many of us experience. I’m so glad the dark days are mostly behind me – but hold onto the skills that keep them at bay….. some of the ones, and others, that you listed today. Thank you.
You are one of my favorite authors. I love your writing for its honesty. I recommend your books to my students and have used Furiously Happy in my creative writing class. I learned a great step listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer: when you don’t like a thought that is haunting you, tell yourself, “I don’t like this thought. NEXT!” And visualize turning the page. It helps. Hugs to you.
This post spoke to me so deeply. It reminded me of the things I should know but often forget (mostly that I’m worthy and that depression lies) I seriously can’t thank you enough for publishing this. I truly hate that you’re going through this, but at the same time it helps so much to know that I’m not alone. Keep working the program and be good to yourself. I don’t really know you so this may sound weird and hopefully not stalker-y ….but I love and appreciate you heaps!!!
Thank you. This was needed today. Be kind to yourself.
Thankyou for this. I’ve struggled with depression nearly my whole life. Great tips. I walk also, every day, and I have always felt guilty for feeling this way but it’s something I cannot control. I’m starting CBT in a week’s time, and I hope it works
Jenny, I adore you. <3 Sending you lots of love. I own hard copies of Let’s Pretend this Never Happened and Furiously Happy… and because my anxious mind makes it hard to make decisions, I also have both audiobooks. haha.
I’m 25 and spent the last 7 years being told I had generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks. Anxiety medications didn’t help at all… except Xanax. In the last 9 months it got completely out of control. I’m a chemical engineer and very passionate about my job, but I couldn’t think. It felt like my brain was quitting on me. I couldn’t focus or remember things. I had to take medical leave from work. It devastated me. It nearly killed me. I was incredibly lucky to find a new psychiatrist that determined I actually had ADHD. I never thought that was possible until I started to wonder, “Maybe it isn’t that I can’t focus because I’m anxious. Maybe I’m anxious because I can’t focus.” I started taking ADHD medication at the end of August. IT CHANGED EVERYTHING. I have my whole life back, more than I ever thought I could.
I have hesitated sharing my story. A part of me feels guilty because I got this wonderful happy ending in a world where that rarely happens with mental illness. I think it is worth sharing even if most people won’t get that lucky because I realize now that I have a unique benefit/perspective. I know beyond a reasonable doubt that all the good things I told myself when my brain was lying to me were all true statements. I know that the days I didn’t get out of bed really did take every ounce of effort I had even though I didn’t move. I know that those days I fought harder than days were I felt good and could do things. I know I was trying my very best, regardless of what it looked like. Most of all, I know it was not my fault. Those things are true for everyone with mental illness. I hope people can take comfort in that.
Here is my list of things for my bad days:
1. NETFLIX!… Okay Netflix is always on my list no matter how I feel, but crazy Netflix binges when I feel awful.
2. Snuggles with my two kitties and my favorite blanket.
3. Yoga – I love yoga and am so excited because my mom (a native Texan) bought me the Furiously Happy raccoon yoga pants! I cannot wait to get them.
4. Watch comedians
5. Cry because it’s my body’s way of releasing some of the sadness.
6. Naps because mental illness is exhausting.
7. Take a bubble bath.
8. Tell myself I’m trying, this is not my fault, and I will get through today… even if my brain tells me the opposite.
… and on the very worst and darkest days, just stay in bed and do nothing. I thank the girl I was two months ago for staying in bed those days. She felt horrible guilt for doing so, but I know now that it saved her life.
Oh and I forgot #9 for my list. Listen to Jenny Lawson’s audiobook because it comforts me so much. <3
You matter, Jenny. Even if you stay in bed, every minute someone is reading your blog or one of your books. You make them laugh and even more you give hope and help people feel not quite so alone. You make the world a better place, even on days you struggle. You matter.
Wasn’t rambly at all. Wonderful advice. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It makes mental illness easier to cope with. I send you many hugs (I can hug the outside of your personal space bubble; I don’t mind! 🙂 ) and good thoughts and lots of Hershey Kisses if you’re into that sort of thing. 🙂 <3
Writing an inspiring thing like this that reaches people who appreciate it is something many people never accomplish in a lifetime! These things may feel small to you because you’ve gotten so used to being awesome. So I guess I just wanted to say so!
I have a very professional technique I developed recently. When my brain gives me negative self talk I tell it, Bleh,bleh,bleh” in the accent of the “Despicable Me” vampire. You’re welcome.
Jenny, bless you for working your steps – we should all have those! I’m getting close to my retirement age – sticking it out at work to get the most of my Social Security, and not sure if I can even stop working, so might want to stay part-time to keep my insurance, which is very important to all of us these days, right? I’m a woman primary provider in my household, always have been for this marriage, and it’s hard to make sure we have enough when I do retire. But I know that working keeps me active and keeps depression at bay. You are doing so much to keep yourself mentally healthy, but PLEASE know that you are doing so much for all of us out here who read your blog and wish you the best. If there are days when you feel like you’re treading water, know that what you write is doing so much more for all of us, too! And remember, there are days when WE are feeling like you do today, and we pull up your site and read things that make us laugh so hard we cry, so know that you take us out of ourselves when we need it! Bless you, Jenny, you are an angel for sharing your pain, and we ALL hope we can help, and that you know how much your readers love you and wish the best for you!
This is awesome. And the self criticism at the end (“rambly? – uh – no – it’s great!) is just that nasty little mean voice – tell it to fuck off. You are amazing.
I turn to you on my darkest days. Your posts have saved me from trying to end my pain. Thank you for helping me again today.
Such excellent advice (and as a rambly writer, myself, I didn’t think this was at all rambly!). Keep moving (I relate the most to the exercise habit, which I feel directly, but the lightbox has been a salvation to me). The stigma of mental illness prevents people from discussing their struggles openly, and I deeply admire and respect your openness about your struggles and how you’re coping.
Taking a shower is the one thing I try to do. It always seems such an impossible overwhelming thing. Even if my shower starts with just sitting on the shower floor and letting the hot water run over me.
Thank you for this. Not sure how I’m going to make it through the work day with my heart jumping into my throat and my eyes welling up every 30 minutes, but I will come back to this when it all seems to much.
May I substitute puppies for kittens? I am not a cat person. And they are all trying to kill me. Literally. They are the harbingers of respiratory death.
Scrolling to leave a comment took forever. Your courage, your words, your experiences inspire and touch so many. You’ll probably never see this. That’s ok. You are not alone in space. So many share this space with you and your words touch us in our reality too. You survive and sometimes you thrive. You are in a rest period before your next flurry of growth. This is hibernation time. Still, when you need to remember, look around past the perceived “failure s” and see the triumph in them and even in recognizing them and owning them and being inspired by them. And remember ALL your successes. you are surrounded by the rewards of your love, your life, your laughter, your persistence. A loving family. Multiple communities online. 7 years later Beyonce still regards you with “knock knock mother fucker” in his regal, steely gaze, anchored by the hooks of laughter he/you inspired. Beyonce is you reminding you of who you are. Look past the three times washed loads (which everyone does, trust me) in your washing machine to the many times you fluidly ran them through, the lifetime of clean clothes you’ve provided your family. The love you’ve healed in them even as you struggle to love yourself.
Someone mentioned their lists. They do help. Decades of depression and loneliness and instability mean I have no real meaningful, daily habits.. I sometimes started the lists though, because I’ve got an analytical brain and sometimes it connects with some corner of my brain that is still connected to the will to live and see some dream realized and this is what you must do to start. I read a program that said every day you write your successes in the morning and you cross them off at the end or throughout it. Start with, “put your feet on the ground at least once today.” It doesn’t have to be big. Our subconscious checklists are quantitative not qualitative. Give yourself permission to tally the real successes of living a daily life. Go to the bathroom. Drink two glasses of water. Basic things like brush your teeth, change PJs or get dressed, eat something. Do three stretches. On really really hard days, give yourself a goal of crossing off one. Everything else is gravy. Then give yourself a goal of three. Everything else is gravy. What I found was that (being a bit of an over achiever) Some days, there’s a lot of gravy. Or pudding if you prefer pudding to gravy. Or ice cream. Or gold stars and glitter. Crossing off one gave me a little hope to try another. And then maybe one MUST do (like find a doctor, deal with a bill collector, do the stinky dishes.) Making calls was the hardest thing. Dealing with finances, making decisions, explaining my issues… my brain couldn’t handle at all. So I’d try to do only one battle a week. That was three years ago. There are weeks I have three good days of productivity – grocery store AND Doctor AND laundry in a day and talk to a friend. Sometimes four. But I have to have those recovery days. It just is.
I used to write creatively, until decades of stress, traumas and loneliness drained the life of my what I see now was a Very resilient spirit away. Recognize you are resilient. Because I didn’t, I just expected myself to be more than I was, words began to fail me, until life and words lost their music and light dancing and magic turned to dust, and my memory began to fail. I couldn’t remember or synthesize fully things I just did, saw, heard. It was HARD. In rare times I saw friends (few times a year)I had to ask my friends to repeat themselves because my brain blipped and their words weren’t making sense to me. Most horribly, I lost my capacity to learn. Id pushed and pushed and pushed too hard and didn’t understand how to balance. I couldn’t. I do not wish this on anyone. Love your vibrancy, honor your need to rest, keep engaging yourself just a little bit more but never to failure. Love who you are. Revel in the love that others give you.
Newly married now, the loneliness that was a cornerstone of my existence is beginning to shift. I have a home, a name, someone that loves me, respects my traumas and struggles and the fact that I own my bad choices and the ignorance and experiences that drove me to make them and is helping me to build my good qualities again. And now I can recognize that I did damn good with what I had because for all my errant destructive beliefs, I never quit trying to figure out how to love and love better. I never laid down and quit. Close. So close. I never stopped trying to love my children better than I knew how and even though I failed in teaching them how to avoid repeating many of my bad choices desire my best efforts (it’s so hard to teach something you haven’t really grokked yourself) they know, they know they know they are loved and I am here and I trust them to figure out their version of success and goodness because that’s what they are capable of.
Jenny, you are so incredibly beautiful and your life is a gift. You yourself are gifted and your joy and quest to nurture it is contagious and inspirational. I loved that picture of the blindfolded woman with candles in her hair blind to her own light. Take your blindfold off when you’re ready, dear one. Your light is still burning bright and it’s warm and bright outside with your family, your friends, and all of us around you. Thing is, you don’t have to burn yourself up to shine, you know. It comes… From the inside.
You’ll keep glowing, baby.
With all love
I am sure that after all that you do that you know how many people are on your side cheering for you when it is hard. Many of us have our own struggles with the treatment process as I’m learning to talk about in my own life now. Thank you for reminding people that not only is it okay to not be okay. It is okay to not be okay with the treatment process for not being okay. But it is important to do it anyway.
Thank you, thank you for posting. Your rules are so right. Especially #7. And by the way, not only would the people who love you (of which there are a ton, including us) know better than to believe any of the horrible things you might thing about yourself, but as for the rest of the slobs out there… They are too busy thinking about themselves to think about us.
My process for dark days is to pull the covers off my head and catch up on your posts. They will either make me laugh, and I remember life is funny and sad, or I feel like I have company and help. So don’t forget…you have company and help also.
Thank you so much for being brave enough to share with us. I so need this post this month. We are all a bit broken, holding each other together helps hide the broken places. Thank you for being a light in the world.
Fell into my own pit last week.
I’m functioning. I take a shower and work, I buy the groceries. I make dinner and do laundry. But it’s getting harder each day. Getting out of bed is taking longer and is more difficult. Going to the chiropractor or the gym just seems impossible. Isn’t it crazy (ha!) how the things that you KNOW will help always seem so hard to actually do? Exercise. I know I need it. I’ve been ignoring it and sitting a lot. A real lot. I’m getting achey and sickly and trying to convince myself I have some disease (other than depression/anxiety), rather than owning up to the fact that I need to make myself go outside and walk a little. Thank you for this, Jenny. You made me cry good tears and gave me hope.
I wish there was an AA like support group for people struggling with recovery from mental illness
Sounds like you are working the program to me. Thank you for posting today too.
Lots of love!
Needed this desperately today. My kitten and I thank you ❤️❤️❤️
I have been feeling extremely crappy lately. Mostly due to the weather(SAD) and decreasing my depression meds so i can start something for anxiety. Also, my birthday is coming up and brings up all sorts of emotions. This is EXACTLY what i need to hear! Thank you<3 You are awesome!
Yes! I have a list, and I even created an easy yoga routine for my hard days. Some days, the best I’ve got is drinking water, eating chocolate, and fuzzy slippers. Don’t worry about typos, they’re not important today. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thanks to you, I am handling my anxiety better.
Just what I needed to hear/read. Thank you.
Whenever I need to deal with being depressed, I always put on the anime ‘Problem Children are Coming form Another World, Aren’t They?’ and it helps
Remember to keep some pretzels and a jar of peanut butter by your bed so you don’t starve. Also, binge watch Disenchanted on Netflix. It’s about a princess who’d rather booze around and play cards than get married, joined by her personal demon aka weird cat (he was a wedding present), and a runaway Keebler elf. It’s extremely silly dark humor and you would enjoy it thoroughly.
I think you said a lot of things that I can relate with. It’s so hard to make it through some days but hope is a wonderful thing if you can embrace it, not choke it to death.
I keep trying to stay focused too, Jenny. Thanks for writing your coping skills. Thanks for writing your books. This week I finished your latest one. I think it’s your finest work. It is so encouraging and the artwork is something I need to play with. I’ve hesitated, because I know I’m not going to be able to keep from coloring outside of the lines, and then I remember your precious reminder…I can just light a match to the page. Two weeks ago I got lost driving to my psychiatrist’s office, yesterday I arrived for my talk therapy. A day early. I returned today. My therapist reminded me that depression robs us of more than just our joy, and like your list reminds us, there are those days where we have to celebrate those small accomplishments because if you’ve never suffered from depression, you have no idea how challenging the simple act of brushing one’s teeth or climbing into the shower can be. To a healthy person, it’s like summiting Mt. McKinley.
Jenny, (and for anyone else who deals with the double whammy of depression and a chronic illness) Weather not only effects mood, it worsens a lot of chronic pain/fatigue. Sometimes it helps to know that my body hurting drains me, and it makes it easier to regard my mood and my thoughts with compassion instead of buying into them-“Oh my brain is right everything sucks and I can’t do anything about it.” or beating myself up for having them “What’s wrong with you? Other people have it worse, get over yourself, can’t you be more positive.” Instead I can say “Oh, shitty day. Pain sucks. Do something nice for yourself”
Having a really hard time lately. Wondering why any of this, any of us, matters….but trying to hang in there because someday I will think of a reason.
I so needed to read this post & the one about your washing machine reminding you of what a bad house keeper you are. I thought I was the one who did that. Knowing I’m not alone makes all the difference being able to forgive myself. Thanks for sharing your brokenness. It matches mine 💖
The weather is awful, the moon (wherever it is) doesn’t help, we are mid way between this season and that season, and it seems as if the world and all its bits are conspiring in dark corners to pull us apart.
You’re tougher, and gooder, than you realize. You have done things I can only wonder at.
There is also the writer thing: creative people–writers, artists, performers, all seem to suffer from depression, from never feeling quite good enough, from never being able to bring themselves up to where they thing the world expects them to be.
My god, Jenny, you write BOOKS. the NYT best seller list. Neil Gaiman SPEAKS to you.
And I agree, on down days the couch instead of the bed. All the fluffy soft blankets and two pillows, and a pint of “something decadent” ice cream.
All those people whizzing by you are not you. Let them go.
Oh Jenny,, you make the universe a better place just by being in it. I’m so grateful that I found The Bloggess. Sending love.
Who can take a nothing day
And suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
(You. That’s who)
I have to report to my therapist that I’ve seen someone socially at least once a week. I fall down regularly on that one, especially when I finally notice it’s Thurs and I haven’t taken my hair down since Saturday.
So this week, it’s just going to have to be my nail gal.
#6: You are not broken. You are you and it is okay.
Dearest Jenny, you are simply the best. I am dealing with such a severely broken body that I despair. I got out a new pair of jammies, climbed back under the coversu, read a few pages of Harry Potter and try to drive those Wrackspurts out of my brain. Here a perfect song for us all: https://thelovegoods.bandcamp.com/track/wrackspurts
#6. Thanks. I needed that.Can’t do it yet, but you gave me a map. I’m so glad you’re doing this. Please keep on.
I always recommend hooping to people with depression. It always helps me. And I know it has helped a lot of others with mental illness. I think it’s exercise that doesn’t always feel like exercise. You get to play whatever music you like and there is something about the rocking motion that is therapeutic. And it’s hard to take things seriously inside a hula hoop.
You are awesome. Also, the whole “exercise 30 minutes a day” thing? It’s hard for EVERYBODY, so you are definitely not alone there. I’m going to do my thirty minutes of – oh, would you look at that absolutely amazing bowl of popcorn? I’m just going to investigate it… and… how about that, my favorite series has a new season on Netflix! Can’t waste a whole bowl of popcorn… yeah, the whole “exercise every day” thing is a huge speed bump on my fitness plan. Good for you, getting it done!
For me, what works best is to find the tiny things that make me slightly happier, and remember to do them over and over as much as possible. My things are having colorful toenails, doing my coffee-making ritual, and paying close attention to plants, birds, and insects. And sometimes planting a seed and watching it grow. Seedlings somehow look so hopeful.
All of this. But #7 is the worst for me. I would beat the crap out of someone if they were to say the vicious things that i am constantly telling myself.
Sunlight and peppy tunes on pandora work for me. I will listen to The Sound of Music in order to replace the negative recording in my head.
I have a question, tho: Barring an improper lack of sunscreen, hats, et al with the subsequent skin issues, I don’t understand #3, so I’m asking for clarification. Why would it be bad to have too much sun? Sunshine seems to help with mood, at least for me, and many others I know. People used to live outside much more, and it seems depression was much less “a thing” back then, so I’ve always thought perhaps some of our mental maladies these days come from being inside in controlled environments far too often (especially if you work in the corporate office world). Granted, I’m a bit biased because I live in Southern California, where our weather is 90% always awesome, which means being in the sun is a given here, but I can’t imagine overuse of sun (again, with care) – either from outside or therapy lamps – would be a bad thing?
(If you overuse a therapy lamp it can sometimes make you too “up”. I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but basically it can make you crash, like after too much sugar or too much caffeine. It feels good in moderation but too much can cause problems from what I was told. ~ Jenny)
<3 <3 <3
I know you’re a maker too, so maybe you do this as well. I love trying new crafts, but when I’m in a funk I will crochet because it’s the most comfortable for me. I will make something small and uncomplicated OR something endless but still uncomplicated. I’m currently working on tiny face scrubbies and a neverending scarf. Not having to concentrate on a pattern lets my mind relax into the rhythm of the work, and my hands are occupied so it keeps the rest of my body a little looser for some reason.
Stop reading magazines like People and US and watching recaps of whatever Royal Wedding is happening this week. All is did was make me depressed that my life was so useless compared to Meghan Markle’s.
OK, I still read US. I’m sure my prince is out there somewhere.
Much love to you Jenny for being the strong person you are and so compassionate.
Blargh, so so sorry to hear you’re still struggling after the TMS. I know how hard it is to just want to be better, like all the way better, because it takes so much effort to manage.
I don’t usually offer advice about other people’s illness because I respect that most people have tried most everything, and really, just need a gentle ear. But, not a lot of people know about neurofeedback, and on the off chance you haven’t looked into it, or heard about it, or tried it, I wanted to offer that up for something to look into if you want. There’s a pretty fascinating story behind it too (if interested, there’s a book called Symphony in the Brain).
More and more research is being done, and interestingly, I just came across this pilot study that is looking at the use of TMS and neurofeedback together. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03279913
If you ever want to talk about neurofeedback, hit me up on FB.
And thank you for being you. For continuing to work the program. For the love and awareness you put out there for so many people. And for all the laughs. xoxo
Jenny two things. The best you can do is always perfect. Sorry you hurt.
Second thing. Members of the church of the bloggess support your rambley style regardless if it’s funny rambley or serious rambley.
Ps I hate you auto correct.
But I am all alone…
Thank you. This is so true, and so, so hard to remember on some days. This is the mantra I repeat to myself (I don’t know the original source, but it isn’t me). “Get up. Dress up. Show up. Never give up.”
The beginning of every journey starts with the first step. So glad you took your first step to write this and publish today 😊❤️
I just realized you wrote this a few days ago and posted my comment before checking the date, hope things are better today for you 😊
This is so helpful to me. Thank you. I didn’t think it wandered at all. Also, I was just thinking last night about how AA helps people survive. I wish there would be an AA for just mental health struggles.
Hoping you are doing alright today, Jenny. It’s been a couple days, just touching base. Keep the faith. We’re right here with you.
Dax Shepherd talks about parts of AA on his podcast (Armchair Expert) and I’ve thought before that it sounds really helpful! I recently went on anxiety meds and am in the process of finding my own program.
The kitten comment is SO helpful. Writing that one down.
Thank you. I too struggle with Chronic Major Depressive Disorder. I just spent 3 weeks in the hospital and completed 7 ECT treatments. I’m scheduled for five out patients ECT’s. I also just had genetic testing done in regards to my psych meds. WOW! That was a huge eye opener. 4 of the 5 meds I’m currently taking are shown to not be effective for me and actually be more likely to cause adverse side effects! I have a list the length of my arm of psych drugs that I have had allergic reactions to. The genetic testing showed all of those as meds I should NOT take! I know some Price are still not convinced about genetic testing as a tool to help when prescribing psych meds; but, it beats the hell out of trial and error!!
Peace and Light!
Hey Jenny. I just started TMS, and was told by a friend that you had it awhile back, so I had to come and read your post. I just finished my first week, and it kicked my butt a bit, but I’m very hopeful it will help. It would be a dream to be off meds and feeling better, but after decades of this, it’s hard to believe it’s possible. I know being positive is super helpful, so I’m TRYYIIINNNNGGGG. Do you remember how you felt after your first week??
Thanks for all the good you do by being honest and sharing.
Late to the party because traveling, but sending love anyway.
I have been in a bad place lately too. They took away my Celexa because some heart thing on keg so I am trying other things. I had been better. Now I cry a lot and drag myself to work then withdraw and am exhausted. My husband does not get this. I am a mess. I understand when you say just getting through a day is a win. God Bless you. You give me hope and it helps to read all this and know even if I feel alone, I’m really not.
Watching Doctor Who, especially the new Doctor (or David Tenent) does wonders for my psyche.
You taught me that depression lies. For so long I believed all those bad things. Not to say they aren’t convincing. But now I really try to remember it’s always darkest before the dawn…and I will find my way out. Thank you so much for those little words I needed to hear. Depression lies.
Thank you for this today. It means so much. Hearing the list reminds me I am okay. I did okay today. And maybe I should drink a glass of water. 🙂
Thank you for reminding us that Self care is important!
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Thank you for reminding me that there is a light somewhere. I hope yours shines bright for you again soon xx
Yeah. Been there. Right at this moment I’m working a new program. I have bariatric bypass surgery next week and for two weeks prior to surgery there are a lot of special rules you have to follow. Especially diet, which happens to be a liquid diet. I’ve made it a full week in and I have another week to go and I cannot express the pride I have in myself for not minding the liquid diet and doing so well with it. I have actually been saying, ‘keep working the program’ in my head, an old Weight Watchers mantra as well as AA. So. Keep working your program and I’ll keep working mine.
(I’m sending you so much love. This will pass. And one day another beautiful furry soul will be saved by you and save you in return. ~ Jenny)
Thank you. This is perfect for me. Saving!
Thank you. When you share your experience of depression, I don’t feel so alone. I am in the thick of it right now so getting anything done (I cleaned the kitchen and took out the garbage – yay me!) is a miracle. Then I’m back in bed.
(It was annoying – particularly the first few days – but I got used to it. I just told myself it was driving the depression out of my head and it made it much easier to take. Also, distract yourself with tv or a podcast. ~ Jenny)
Thank You so much—it’s so hard to remember to be kind to myself. I hope you don’t mind but I think this is a post that belongs on the bathroom mirror—just in case.
Hay could I get that on a shirt. You know just the list not the full post. You have help so many.
ugh, number 6 got me right in the feels today
Thank you for just being you,for writing your amazing books,that help me deal with the crap that my father planted in my brain. The crap that I’m uprooting and throwing away a little at a time. I’m blessed to have friends who know me and accept me and know how to help me,and I hope I do the same for them.
Jenny, I hadn’t really had any depression since high school and now since 2016 election I’ve been so down. Trying to stop my steady slide any way possible. Recently listened to The Finnish Way by Katja Pantsar who has been using winter swimming to fight depression and seems to be winning. I’ve just started with brief cold showers so no results yet, but this was something I’d never even heard of but it seems like some people have success in combination with your other tools I hope it might be helpful. You’re my hero. Much love sent your way. Keep up the great work on little victories.
I just made this list my own, tailoring it to my life, writing it in my healing diary.
Thank you for it.
Jenny you are so incredibly strong! Thank you for your sense of hunor and sharing your journey
This is so relatable. Stay strong love. ❤️
You sure nailed what Depression is like and how to take the steps for working your “program.” I have Lupus and many of the steps and the forgiveness for self-doubt and self-blame are just as you write in this post. Bless you for sharing this. Dreary days are my enemy, too, so you brought light and love to me today. Thanks, Jenny. xo
This is totally my day today:
“If you do nothing else today just change into a new pair of pajamas.”
Over the course of this semester I have been helping a student that is being mistreated in ways that remind me too much of my own college experience. In the aftermath, my GI tract has forgotten what food is for.
“There are people who can’t wait to meet you because you will teach them how unalone they are.”
This is the thing that allows me to advocate for my students in ways that I have often been too terrified to do for myself. The depression hurts. The hypomania and anxiety and PTSD hurt. But maybe there is something I can salvage in the wreckage that will help someone else. It’s what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you.
(And thank you for writing “Furiously Happy”. It has joined the ranks of books I am not allowed to read in bed because it makes me laugh too much.)
First of, you’re a bad ass lovely lady that has had a majorly positive impact on people’s lives.
Second, I see the prescription for Doctor Who. I have found that show has pullede out of deep depressions in the past and I appreciate that it helps you too.
Take care of yourself. Sending positive thoughts!
These steps were difficult for me to even read, let alone do. I go to work every day, only because I am the bread-winner. All day I think about being alone in a dark room but because of family and other commitments I do not do it. As well, I don’t want people to worry about me (or know that I am broken because I am not that in their world) and taking a day to be alone in a dark room would send off major alarms but that is all I think about every day. I take pleasure in small things, like snuggling with my dog and hearing a good joke but the darkness returns all too fast. I need a program. 😐
I’ve only just found your blog and I feel at home. I never leave comments or reviews but this post speaks to my soul. Thank you for this wonderfully honest creation because today it reminded me that broken or not I’m worth it too. I hope today is an easier day for you.
I’ve found that if I notice a small thing that I normally like to do that I haven’t done or keep putting off, it’s a good way to course correct. Like if I keep meaning to paint my nails but put it off, or have planned to go see an art exhibit but haven’t, if you can spot those small things it really does help cause it can be so easy to backslide sometimes.
For YouTube Download, keepvid.digital is the impressive one here. Usually I can’t stream 1080 or even some 720p videos,
But I can actually download it and watch at the same time via keepvid.digital.
❤️ You’re a badass queen Jenny!