Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why so sad?

I'm going to have to stop going to church. This morning, as has happened several times, I got really sad upon leaving church. Really sad... And for the life of me, I can't figure out exactly why. It's a heavy sadness. It washes over me and settles like a leaden cloak upon my back. It weighs me down. It makes me tearful and tired. It negatively effects the rest of my day. If this continues, I'm going to have to stop going to church.

I don't understand the sadness, nor why it happens upon leaving church. It may be connected to loneliness, but I hate to admit that. That sounds so pathetic. But loneliness is the only thing that even remotely makes sense. I go to church alone, and there are lots of families and couples there together. Maybe those reminders are just a little too much? I don't know.

I'm curious to know if anyone else ever experiences this. And by this, I mean sadness upon leaving a group, or an event, or anything which shouldn't evoke sadness. It bothers me. I don't like feeling sad, especially when the reason is not clear. Does this make sense to anyone else? I'm curious, and confused, and, well, sad.


The Girl From Back Then said...

Maybe your heart is not fully in it, and that hurts you because deep down you do care so very much. You know it should stir up so much good feeling, and when it doesn't, it feels like a great loss. There's such a capacity in that environment to bring people closer. To bridge gaping chasms, and instead all you do is feel separate somehow. Like peering through a window covered with condensation. And that's hard to deal with I think. The reminders of other people's togetherness too much.

I get the sadness too. And I have to play the role of detective to suppose why that must be.

Divas said...

Sometimes I feel that way, but I try to focus on why I'm there and sit close to the front and with other ppl so I don't feel so left out. Most of the time, though, church is the only place I feel peace.
Have you thought about what you have instead of what you don't have? Is there another church you can go to with more singles?

Hang in there.

Lunagoddess1 said...

I have the same feeling after some of my family events. A million people that know that I am married, with 3 children would look at me as if I were crazy. I'm not suppose to feel lonely if I always have people around me, right?? Well it isn't the case, I have a big family and on many occassions, feel I am surrounded by wonderful people that love me, but I still feel alone. I'm understanding more and more every day that these feelings are due to my depression. Something I battle with daily. There are good and bad days but as long as you understand that. You will be ok.

Kelly said...

When I leave my family, or even a night out with friends, and I come home....I experience something similar. A feeling of, here I am. All alone. Again. So alone.

And I have a kid, but somehow it isn't the same as being around my big family (parents and three sisters) or my friend. I think that conversation and connection are different with adults than with a four year old.

For me, it is loneliness. But, I don't stop spending time with others, I just muddle through the aftermath the best I can.

I'm sorry you're feeling this way.

Julie said...

I feel the same way. It seems as though people don't reach out to me now as they did before they found out I have depression. My phone doesn't ring and I don't get out with others at church like I used to do. I wish people would practice what they preach and come alongside others who are hurting and help them bear their burdens instead of ignore them because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. I'm tired of being the one to always make the effort. I understand the lonliness and emptiness you feel. The very place that should encourage and uplift us isn't doing that. How sad!

TSB said...

Yes, yes I DO feel that way, quite often. I have been trying to figure it out myself. Pretty much any social gathering will trigger some serious sadness. Like you, I have also thought it has something to do with loneliness. Happened to me just lats week, in fact. A gathering of some friends at someone's home, the wave of sadness comes over me, and the trip home is horrid and painful. I have long avoided such situations but am trying to expose myself to more social contact in hopes I will be able to do it without the dark wave coming over.

Short answer... yes... this happens all too often. I know exactly how it feels.

Holly said...

I'm curious as to how you're feeling DURING church. It seems like that might be the key to the let down afterwards...I feel sad after supposedly "happy" or peaceful events, too. Maybe it's just transition from one part of your day to the next, though? What do you do after church that you have to look forward to?

Kelly said...

I feel the exact same way when I leave larger group social settings. I'm usually fine with one or two friends, but if I'm together with a group from a bar or at a music show, I feel this huge comedown once I leave alone.

However, if I travel home with a friend or roommate, I usually feel fine. Maybe that is what you need. Instead of going through the drastic change of being part of a large group to alone, is there any way to have some sort of transition period? Does your church have any sort of after-services socializing or is there any way for you to connect with other solo parishioners? Maybe that is something you could suggest or initiate.

I think this feeling is common whenever I see 'normal' people able to have these really basic relationships that are so impossible for me to keep. Seeing other people being able to go about life so easily is painful and lonely to watch when you struggle with the same things that come easily to others.

Kat Speeckaert said...

I have sometimes felt that way in church as well, both while there are upon leaving. I think sometimes it can be because you expect to feel something from church, are told that you should feel something, some sort of emotional response to being in the community and having a relationship with Jesus. In some church communities, this emphasis on an emotional response to worship can alienate people who simply don't respond that way.

It's also true that most church communites are largely comprised of, and cater to, families, which can make those of us who attend alone feel somewhat isolated despite everyone's best intentions. You are not alone in this!

Many of the greatest Catholic Saints describe feelings of darkness, despair and emptiness that accompany their worship during certain points of their lives (St. John of the Cross talkes about the Dark Night of the Soul, for example). You are not alone at all. The important thing to remember is that if church-going is an important part of your religion for you, you have to keep going and keep praying even though there are times when you feel nothing, or even when it makes you feel bad.

It may be you need to find a different way to pray, or a different community. Or you may need to just ride out the storm.

Anonymous said...


Sarah said...

I can relate to that. Sometimes I think it's loneliness and sometimes it's feeling alienated when confronted with lots of 'joyful' Christians. I think sometimes just seeing people happy can be tough when your struggling yourself. I'm having to make similar choices as to whether to keep going to my Christian Union meetings. It's horrible leaving supposedly happy situations feeling sad. Know that you're not alone. Whatever you decide to do, know that God's still got you in his arms however you may be feeling.

toodeep said...

I feel this often. After a great family weekend, after church, and after vacations. I always thought it is the "let down" from what was expected to what really became. I get so excited in anticipation and then deflated when it is over. I have 4 beautiful children and so much but feel so empty.