New year, new day, new hour…but the fight continues

depressionI haven’t posted anything on my blog since September 2011. I have started several posts, but never finish them. I think I have to face the demon that haunts me before I can start blogging again.

I told myself that I was going to make a new start this year. I told myself the same thing last year. Other than a few small changes, things remain pretty stagnant.

I have this hill that, at some point in my life, grew into a mountain. When I am able to climb – hands in the soil, nails full of dirt – and get near to the top, I slip back down again. It’s a recurring nightmare, but I’m never asleep.

It may seem cliché. Everyone knows someone who claims to have this malady. Those who don’t understand say: “It’s mind over matter, so get over it.” I wish it was that easy. Even with the intervention of medical remedies it never really goes away.

So no matter what people think of me I’ll post it. I suffer from depression. More often than not it’s well hidden. When it’s not I am usually alone – by choice. Everyone feels sad some times. But those of us who suffer from depression feel it tapping us on the shoulder even on ‘good days.’

To most people I look ‘well adjusted.’ I smile when I’m supposed to. Often it’s because I want to, but when I don’t, as I said, I prefer solitude.

Sometimes I swim – constant and unending laps in a pool; trying to clear my mind, empty it so I can start fresh, or refreshed. It helps, temporarily.

For me, depression has been a prerequisite for writing. Poetry was my medicine when I was younger. It helped. But now depression impedes my desire to write.

I want to write something that people will read and connect with. I want to create words that have meaning, quoted and remembered long after I’m gone. But I don’t have the faith in myself to believe this will happen. This may just be my legacy – the sadness that envelopes me in a dark shroud.

So, now that I’ve written about it maybe I can start writing something again.

My finger hovers over the ‘enter’ key. I hit it. This blog is up and posted. My soul is revealed. And tomorrow, hopefully, will be a better day.

25 comments
  1. Suzanne: You know how much I, and many others love and respect you. We cherish your friendship and admire your achievements. Wow the world with your awesomeness. Don’t let the dark spirits drag you down. Hit them with the broom handle and then sweep the remnants away. Your time has come to shine and nothing will get in your way if you believe that.

  2. I had to read your blog on New Year, New Day, New Hour…..and I saw so many likeness to my feelings. You are not alone even if you feel that, as someone, somewhere in another part of the world is probably going through the same as you.

    I too used to resort to poetry in my younger days when I felt my depression knocking on my door and it helped relieve the frustration that was building inside me. Unfortunately with time, my depression bouts became more frequent like demons possessing me on Hallows eve.

    I lost my dad two years ago and to date I have not yet been able to mourn his loss – I argued and broke up with my family, and every time my life turns around a good corner, there is always something there to counteract it all.

    If writing is the food you can offer your demons in the hours of darkness, then you must use it and think of it as a powerful tool which will give you that light at the end of the tunnel, just like a storm at sea that comes when you least expect it then leaves behind a clam mass of wreckage.

    I believe you will finish the other blogs and get back into writing soon – it’s just a matter of finding the soft spot for your demon that is hovering around you at present.

  3. Suzanne — your biggest hurdle is probably over now and I know you will be able to move on with the help of your friends and family. We are always here for you.

  4. I too suffer from depression. It is impossible for others to understand the pain that we experience. When I touch the keyboard to write, I need to make ME satisfied, no one else. Blogging is an extremely lonely and personal activity. I have sat there wondering whether someone – anyone reads what I write. I’ve asked myself what is the point. Then I remember that it is what I am, it is what I love and what I’m am good at – I NEED to write – for me. If someone – anyone sees it and says something – great. If not, and this has taken me years to accept, then so be it. I recently lost a blog assignment that I’d been working on for three years. It helped pay the bills. The corporate sponsor decided to that I was too “honest”. I went into a major depression. After a month of nothingness, I decided to blog again. I was so angry. I had to hold up every post for a few days then edit out my fear and anxiety. It was cathartic. I went out to eat and reviewed the restaurant. I went on a trip and wrote about it. I adopted a little dog and am writing about it. I’m writing to you. Try to remember that to blog is to journal. Even a small post about how great your coffee this morning might help you. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but thanks to Twitter and Suzanne Boles perhaps we can all help each other out and grow our support network. Good luck to you,

  5. Beautiful post, Suzanne. You say you want to write words that people can connect with. You just did. Do it again and again.

  6. I hope you have started to feel some of what you keep hidden lifted, and you feel safe. It’s not easy talking about this, but talking about it, writing about it, and sharing your experiences and feelings does help. I know–I’ve been there, and I still am. I don’t often recognize when the depression is, as you put it, tapping me on the shoulder. Sometimes it has to hit me over the head and I realize that I’ve been in the depression doldrums or “well” and not realized it. Sometimes I have to get angry at myself or Jim gets angry at me and that snaps me out of it. He really tries to be understanding and supportive, but it’s not easy. So he gets angry. I understand, because I’m angry too. Writing has been my salvation. Journals have been a lifeline, and then burning them has been so therapeutic. Swimming is a wonderful escape too, and I wish I could do it more often. We’ve lost our local pool and the cost of joining a club or the Y, plus the cost of having to drive to Kingston or Belleville is prohibitive. So I do other exercise. It’s really easy to come up with excuses not to do it–especially when I’m feeling low. It’s easy to come up with excuses not to do a lot of things, or be with people. But taking that first step, and putting yourself out there really does help. You’ve taken a giant leap here, Suzanne, and I couldn’t be prouder that you are my friend. Your eloquence helps more than you know.

  7. I don’t like to weigh in a lot on my own posts but I did want to thank everyone. I have also received phone calls and cards and was treated to a nice evening with a friend. I didn’t expect any of that. These acts of kindness, posts here included, mean a lot to me.

    Thanks to all who have also shared your personal stories. Christine, it’s especially touching to hear from a friend who experiences the same as me. We have been discussing this on Christine’s blog as well: With Humour and Hope http://christinepeets.wordpress.com . Someone said to me “you seem so strong.” I see that in you too, Christine. But I know that what we show on the outside isn’t always what we’re feeling inside.

  8. Suzanne, you wrote “Someone said to me ‘you seem so strong.’ I see that in you too, Christine. But I know that what we show on the outside isn’t always what we’re feeling inside.”

    Very true. But I think that we don’t just *seem* strong; we *are* strong, even when we’ve slipped deep into the black pit. The fact that we’re still here is proof. We struggle and struggle and we somehow keep on going. Also keep in mind that, in depression, the opposite of “strong” is not “weak”; it’s “overwhelmed.” There’s a difference. Here’s to all of us!

  9. Dear Suzanne,
    People who say to those of us who suffer with mental health issues, “Get over it,” clearly have no clue what it’s like to struggle with such illnesses. Thank you for writing a candid piece about your own struggle. Mental illness will continue to be shrouded with stigma until people like us stand up and speak up about it.

  10. My opinionated nature gets me into all kind of trouble, but I’m learning how to use it to my advantage. When I get fed up with yet another politically correct moderate, I take it out in my blogs, journals, et cetera. I exercise daily, not because I want to, but because I have to in order to keep balance in my life. I just came back from a walk (I do that to relieve stress too) and saw the following two quotes on a billboard at Forest City Storage: “Hope is never lost, it’s just refueling,” and “To look on the bright side, polish the dull side.”

  11. I know exactly what you mean. Exactly. And you’re not alone. There’s a reason a lot of us end up as writers (and why so many of us are also heavy drinkers); and it isn’t because we’re trying to say something to the world. We do it because we’re creating worlds we can control, entire abstract universes in which we are the omniscient deity who sees and orchestrates all according to our desire. All characters and elements shall bend to the will of the all-mighty Author. And so long as we put words to pages, we can rise above all the petty things that trouble our mortal lives. For a little while. Until we have to go shopping for bagels or go work at our day job. But even here we can steal from the real and give to the abstract, changing those parts that displease us, adding what we felt was missing. That is the real beauty of being a writer: we are architects of reality.

  12. Awesome blog post. Keep writing. Every day. You are a good writer (I was reading your post on FLX, too).
    What has helped me: 20 years of meditating every day. Someone told me to buy a ticket to listen to a guy called the Dalai Lama. Totally changed my life, in that I realized I had to reevaluate everything I thought and held as true because even my strongest beliefs might be false or erroneous. Did not really note the major change until after a decade of meditating and making small progress. Been incremental, and today people think I have always been the way I am now and get upset that I can be so calm and deal so well with chaos and bad events that leave them bummed out and cursing. But getting there included some very painful years in which I embraced the pain and used it as a basis of meditation. Odd, but I tackled it head on with no drugs of any kind and wrestled with it for a very long time and now welcome it as an opportunity for learning. Reading what those red-robed Tibetan monks had to say, and reflecting on the pages slowly was also part of it..

    http://biocontrolbeat.wordpress.com

  13. I’m sorry, my dear friend – somehow I only just saw this. I have no wisdom to offer, alas. You and I are very different personalities and different too in the ways we cope with the ups and downs of freelancing in particular and life in general. All I can say is that you know you have friends you can count on, and I know that helps. I wish I lived nearer so I could just ring your doorbell. Sending love and hopes for a better day.

  14. Suzanne, I hope that re-reading your post, and the comments, has given you some strength, joy, love, and peace. Take care my friend. As Pippa said, we don’t just “seem” strong; we *are* strong. Hold on to that.

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