This Is What My Brain Looks Like on Depression

Confession: I’m struggling with depression.

{Get over yourself Michelle, your life is great! You just want attention}

It’s really hard to write when I’m depressed. So after months of avoiding writing, I figured I should try to write about what it feels like to be depressed.

Trigger warning: depression, suicidal ideation.

{Why are you even bothering to write this? Why would anyone care about how sad you are? Everyone else is fighting their own battles and yours aren’t even that bad}

depression

I’ve gone through a lot of periods of sadness, but I never thought to label what I felt depression. It never really crossed my mind, honestly.

{That’s because you’re not really depressed, you’re just looking for the validation of a label}

I guess in the past I could always explain those sad periods away. I’d recently gone through a bad breakup or I couldn’t find a job or I was, you know, just a teenager dealing with the angst that comes with the territory.

{You just don’t know how to cope with life. Jump off a bridge}

But this time there’s no denying it. A lot of things fell apart after Bruce died and I haven’t been able to pick up the pieces. I kept thinking things would get better eventually, but it’s going on a year now and everything still feels so hard.

{But you’re fine! You have 2 jobs that you’re good at {but only because they’re easy jobs, not because you’re special} and it’s not like you can’t get out of bed in the morning. People with real depression struggle way more than you do, you’re just acting like a baby}

Depression makes me feel like I’ve completely lost my coping skills

When something goes wrong, no matter how minimal, it throws me into a tizzy. In the past 24 hours, these somethings have included:

  • Trying to cross the street with Taco as she was stubbornly trying to say hi to a baby while 2 cars were stopped to try to let us go ahead and my favorite neighbor was simultaneously getting out of his car

{Honestly you were kinda rude to your neighbor. You should’ve said more than just hello, at least asked him how he was doing. That’s definitely why he likes Conrad more than you. And you wonder why no one likes you!}

{Oh yeah, and you’re a terrible dog mom, by the way. You don’t exercise her enough and you’re always getting mad at her for things that are your fault because you haven’t trained her well. Never have children}

{Oh and also you probably really annoyed both of those drivers by taking your sweet old time with a dog that you clearly don’t know how to handle. You’re an embarrassment}

  • Realizing that Donut has scabs on her back and her neck

{Wow I wonder how long they’ve been there and you haven’t noticed. Do they have child protective services for pets? Because you really shouldn’t be allowed to be responsible for another living being. Throw yourself into the ocean}

  • Conrad’s had a bad day

{Why can’t you be more supportive while he adjusts to his new job? He’s probably actually upset because you asked him to do That Thing this morning. You’re so selfish, why do you make everything about you when you KNOW he’s having a tougher time than you are? His aunt just died and he works way more than you do, you should’ve just handle That Thing on your own}

On and on, ad infinitum

An endless feedback loop of what should be minor annoyances spiraling out of control until I’m curled up crying on the bathroom floor or fighting off a panic attack.

{God you sound petty. Nobody cares about your stupid problems! You’re just a failure at life}

I’ve known for awhile that I needed to seek outside help, but it took me a long time to get up the courage to find a therapist.

{Coward}

I finally went to my first session a few weeks ago and it crystallized  that I am, in fact, a mess.

{*A boring and lazy mess who no one likes and who’s failed at just about everything she’s ever done}

{But also why aren’t you happy? You’re married to a great guy, you landed your dream job after you completely turned your career around, you own a house… Nothing will ever make you happy. Go fall off a boat}

The weirdest part about seeing a therapist is how she validates my experiences. She spends a lot of the time saying things like, “Wow, that sounds really hard. And it sounds like you’re coping as best you can.”

{That’s just because you pay her to say that. Obviously you suck at coping, go drift out to sea and never come back}

Therapy has helped me realize that my inner monologue is really fucking mean

{I’m not mean, I’m just keeping you honest}

I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time in our sessions talking about how tired I am. And how on the one hand I hate myself for how anti-social I’ve become, but it’s because the thought of social interaction is completely and utterly exhausting.

{Just go to sleep forever. You’ve already let your friendships die by becoming a hermit and ignoring every Facebook event you’ve been invited to in the past year. Everybody hates you by now}

{Also, get over yourself, everybody’s tired. You’re not special}

I’ve realized I spend a lot of time fighting with myself. It feels like I’m constantly at war with my brain and it’s so fucking draining.

{Booooooooooooooooooooriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing}

I want to make it really clear that I’m not actually suicidal and I don’t have any desire or intention to kill myself. But when I realized that it’s maybe not normal to have a really mean and critical internal monologue going on at all times, I guess it’s not too surprising that I don’t have the energy to write. Or see friends. Or do much aside from keeping up with my jobs, trying to maintain a tidy house, and ensuring that my pets don’t die.

{🎶 It’s because you’re a faiiiiiiiilure!🎶 }

So I’m trying to learn how to be nicer to myself. I’m trying to let myself heal however I need to. I’m trying to be okay with the fact that the coping mechanisms I’d developed to help me through childhood trauma (like denial and forgetting) just aren’t working anymore.

{hahahaha “childhood trauma” get over yourself}

It’s hard. It’s painful. And it’s necessary.

{No it’s not}

3 thoughts on “This Is What My Brain Looks Like on Depression”

  1. That frickin’ voice is THE WORST. And the wrongest, and the meanest. And unfortunately because it comes from your sweet brain, it knows exactly how to push every one of your buttons.

    I’ve got no tips or tricks, but just need you to know that you shine SO HARD even when you don’t feel like it.

    I’m pulling for you.

  2. Ah. This sounds so much like how I’ve been feeling the past few months. Maybe it’s time to start talking to someone. Thank you for posting this, Michelle.

  3. You’re an incredible writer. This is exactly what that inner critic sounds like, and reading this I had a new thought. It’s the critic who is boring and a loser and lazy and should just float away forever. Because…..have you noticed how repetitive that voice is? Mine hasn’t had a new thought in decades. So, thanks for that.

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