I stepped outside into the beautifully hot, humid sunny summer afternoon and my heart absolutely soared. It felt like it was only a moment ago when I was deeply immersed in the dark, bitter chill of winter, wondering if I would ever feel the warmth of the summer breeze again.

Depression is like that. When you’re up to your ass in it, you can’t accurately remember what joy really feels like. It’s this elusive, far off place, what while you have clear memories of it, you can’t actually feel it. Sort of like when it’s snowing, cold and bitter outside. You remember what the summer feels like, but you can’t actually feel it when the wind is chilling you down to your very bones.

Depression is a silent thief – robbing you of joy, pleasure in even the smallest things. You become a shell of a person, you may even look “okay” on the outside at times, but on the inside you are an empty vessel, devoid of anything real and good.

A common comment made to me when I was drowning in depression (by those without any true understanding of the illness, I might add) was that I wasn’t “present” or “real” with those around me. Well, duh.

That’s what depression is.

I wasn’t myself for a very long time.  When I count back on my fingers and am truly honest with myself, the depression went on for 18 months. Sometimes I was able to function as normal, and make it look good on the outside, when really, on the inside I was dead to practically everything and everyone around me. For a while there, I tried to make it look like I was alright, because I desperately wanted to be, even though I had no real idea how to do it. It took a long time for it to become obvious to me (and everyone around me) that I needed help. It took me even longer to a) get the help that I needed and b) to truly act on that help.

It’s so sad to me that there’s not more resources and assistance and – most of all – understanding out there for those of us struggling with depression. The isolation and stigma attached to this disease is sometimes more devastating than the disease itself.

Depression changed my life. Depression led me to end my marriage. It prompted a re-examination of my entire life and belief system. It saw the end of decade-long friendships.

Oddly enough though, I have come to realize that depression served a very real, very useful purpose in my life. It brought me to a point where I lost almost absolutely everything. And for me, that was necessary. It wasn’t until I hit absolute rock bottom that I was able to start rebuilding from scratch. Building the life that I really want. And while I may not be finished the re-building process, I am happy and content with my progress. I know now what I have to do in order to keep it from returning. And like the winter winds on this gorgeous day, depression is but a vague, chilly memory for me.

I have a feeling that it’s going to be summertime in my heart for a very, very long time.

14 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Truly. Thank you.

  2. […] Excerpt from: Depression « Sunshine upon My Shoulder […]

  3. […] Excerpt from: Depression « Sunshine upon My Shoulder […]
    BTW I love your blog!

  4. Beautifully written!

    Maybe I’m just in a very receptive mood right now, but the images you used almost took my breath away.

    You ARE a writer girl!

  5. […] This post was Twitted by KimPossible40 […]

  6. Thanks for sharing this. As someone who suffered from depression for 20 years, I can say you described it perfectly. Am curious as to what you do to keep it from returning. For me it is an Rx for the past decade. Its kept the underlying depression from surfacing for 10 years! But I know its still there – for if I miss a dose, I can feel that old familiar feeling starting to creep its way back out…. very odd…

    • I was on medication for a while, but found that the side effects were too difficult for me to overcome. Also, my depression was very much situational, and once I was able to change the circumstances of my life (including my own attitude) then it receeded. I do understand that it’s not as easy for many sufferers of depression, and that I am, indeed, one of the lucky ones.

      For me, I work on keeping my attitude positive (and it does take work) and I make sure that I take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  7. that was inspiring and beautiful.. I hope the summertime in your heart and soul continues forever. Keep up the good work!

  8. WONDERFUL post – thanks for sharing. I miss “joy” very much, too. I hope I find her again before long.

  9. I’m with ya here. I’ve been fighting that demon for over a year now. It amazed me one day that I woke up and was actually happy. I really thought something was wrong because I hadn’t felt that in so very long.

    It’s a nice feeling. Hard to hold onto during the battle, but it’s always there.

    Glad you’re surviving with the rest of us, cause you’re pretty awesome. 🙂

  10. I, luckily, have never had to face this battle and I hope and pray I never have to. BUT, I know that I can take inspiration from strong women like you who have been there and come through it a stronger, better woman!

    Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Great post. Beautifully written and what you said made complete sense. Sometimes, as you say, it takes hitting rock bottom to realize what we really want from life. Glad you’re in a better place now.

  12. “Summertime in my heart” – I like that. And I hope it’s true.

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