Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 13 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Outside vs. Inside

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all rang in the start of 2014 with happiness, serenity and peace. I was actually invited to three different parties. I attended two of them, and then I rang in the New Year at my friend Wendy's house with Wendy, her pre-teen children, their friends, and wine glasses filled with grape juice. It was a very nice evening all the way around.

It was great, and unusual, to have the energy to get dressed up and get out of the house. I was so happy to see running friends I hadn't seen for a very long time and to meet new people through other friends. After all, I've been in and out of the hospital or cooped up at home since mid-September. Being out with others, while totally normal, was quite a unique experience for me.

I felt good while out. I smiled and laughed and participated in conversations. I ate too much, drank too much diet soda, and laughed some more. For the most part, I felt a part of, rather than apart from the crowd. I truly enjoyed myself.

The fact that I found my experiences at both parties so enjoyable made what happened afterward so confusing. I ended the night sitting on the edge of the bed sobbing. Wendy comforted me, as I was overwhelmed with sadness. I also felt angry at this illness. I remember saying, "It's never going to let me go." But coming on the heals of such a fun evening, the sadness and hopelessness was very confusing.

The low mood, lethargy, and hopelessness has unfortunately carried over into today. I'm not sure why this began last night, or why I'm feeling this way now. My best guess has to do with the huge gap between my outside presentation and my internal struggle. I think the dichotomy between how I presented myself to others last night and how I still feel internally is gigantic. Later, sitting quietly and reviewing my evening, I think realizing that difference between my outside and my inside just plain hurt.

I realized I could pull it off for awhile. I could be the person I used to be. I could socialize, be humorous, and present myself confidently. But I am not yet back to being that person. Being out last night highlighted that fact. And that makes me sad.

My brain feels so fragile right now. Even joyful events and feelings seem to take their toll. I accomplished nothing today. I'm hoping to bounce back soon. And I am not letting the sadness take away from the fun I did experience last night. Being out was way better than sitting home. I'm still glad I went.

8 comments:

A said...

Hi Etta,

I know how you're feeling. The holidays have been pretty overwhelming for me, too. It's been exciting to get gifts ready for people, and then actually spending time with family and friends, but unfortunately underneath it all my depression has also been very intense. I swing from feeling suicidal to feeling like maybe things will be okay and I can make it. It's very jarring, as you are aware. I wish we lived closer together, we could share some time together with our issues. Unfortunately, you are up North, and I am in the mid-Atlantic region. But I am so thankful for your blog, it's so good not to feel completely alone.

Anonymous said...

I think that the holidays are like a magnifier or a multiplier. They take what already is and make it more. There are often increased expectation, increased socializations, increased exposure, increased exhaustion, along with increased excitement, hopefulness, and then more. I have had Christmases where, at the end of the night, I simply break down into tears. Suddenly I feel alone (after a day of being surrounded by loved ones). Suddenly I remember things are the same now that I am a 30 year old mom as when I was once a fairly carefree child. Suddenly I am left feeling less than and like I may have disappointed people (when there is no such evidence of this). I think there is more of a come down for me on Christmas because I am more emotionally invested in that day. And it is typically a day that has more to it for me, traditionally- more family, expectations, and etc.

I know it can be scary. Going from being a guest at a party, laughing and sharing stories, to crying and sobbing at home to your friend. Two ends of the spectrum, for sure.

I don't know if sharing with you is beneficial. I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone. The holidays can be extreme. I will continue to pray for you.

etta said...

Oh my gosh, thank you both for your comments. I am so glad to hear (and sorry at the same time) that others can relate and/or have experienced the same thing as I did the other night. Your comments are very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

Anonymous said...

Hi Etta, happy new year! You've accomplished a lot. In your post, you describe exactly what I am feeling during my better days - I am trying my best to act as my easy-going, happy pre-depression self (and sometimes it really helps and feels ok) and in the moment I don't have to, I feel the scary huge gap between the acting and the inside feeling.
I hope for You and everyone dealing with this that this gap will be bit smaller in the most days of 2014. Thank you for this blog and everything. Michaela

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I can understand the seemingly polar opposites in feelings. I've felt the same way when I've been down inside but able to interact and socialize with others. I think it's tiring on us emotionally to do that, but I think it's good, too, to get out and socialize. I think it takes a while for the inside to catch up with the outside, if that makes sense. Happy New Year, Etta, and you will be in my prayers. :-)

Anonymous said...

You have described this so well. I really relate. It makes sense when the feelings keep me down and my energy is too low to socialize. But it is such a contrast and so hard to understand when I can be out and enjoy socializing and then sink again. I also often will be with friends or family and enjoy myself until a certain point - then I can feel that drop and I just want to get home as fast as I can. It is hard to predict and so frustrating. After being in periods of not wanting to socialize, though, I do appreciate that I am able to more now.

A said...

Etta,

I'm so glad our comments and posts help you feel a little better. I know your blog definitely helps me. It is a big reassurance to know that there are others out there who struggle with such deep blackness, which medication seems unable to touch much of the time.
It's so hard facing the "normal" world of smiley, happy people all the time. It's so hard to fathom how they can be so carefree.
Anyway, I hope you are still chugging along up there in the North, we are getting some very Minnesota-like weather here on the East Coast - seven inches of snow and 9 degrees outside, no idea what the windchill is, but it's Arctic out there. Brrr - as you said - outside AND in.

Imogen said...

Happy new year. I'm glad you went and that you had those positive experiences. I can relate to so much of what you write. I'm feeling miserable lately because depression just won't let go of me and I can't understand why nothing makes me feel better. Makes me feel so hopeless. I miss the person I used to be at social events. Merely a shadow of my former self, I feel pathetic and useless always sitting in the corner too afraid to speak. Thanks for your post. I hope you don't lose site of what you've achieved recently.



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