Depression is…

I think I’ve told this story before, but it is a defining moment for me so I’ll tell it again.

I was living alone in college after having lived with a roommate for 8 years. I don’t remember many of the details about how this came about, but I was on the phone with my sister when I started crying. When I say crying, honestly, I was bawling my eyes out and hyperventilating. I was out of shampoo and I didn’t have the $1 that it would take to go to the dollar store that she suggested. I was a complete basket case…over shampoo. Something much bigger was wrong with me and I just hadn’t identified it yet.

This is depression.

My Depression Story: How I made the smiles, laughter, and music return

When I look back over my life, I was probably depressed for a long time (maybe always) but I just didn’t know what to call it. I was called shy and sensitive, probably emotional and withdrawn, but there are so many signs that I can see now that really lead to actual depression. I was a shy person, still am, and I held a lot of guilt and shame over doing something silly that caused people to laugh. I stayed embarrassed about my looks and my actions. I was a mess!

I don’t remember much of my childhood, but the snippets of time that I do remember, I feel that warm sensation in my chest that is embarrassment and shame.

I remember watching Cole Miner’s daughter with my mom and there is one scene where Loretta Lynn hangs a sheet up as a backdrop to take pictures for her album. Well, my aunt got a video camera when they first came out and my family was all getting in front of it to make videos. I came running out with a sheet and said they needed a backdrop and they all laughed. I was very young and this was probably something silly to them, but I was completely mortified that they laughed.

Once when I was in Junior High some girls and I were talking outside and for some reason someone suggested that we suddenly run in one direction and scream like we’re scared. (Don’t ask, who knows what this was all about, we were tweens and awkward). Anyway, the time came for us all to run and scream and only I did it. They laughed and other people looked. I wanted to crawl into a hole. I don’t think the girls purposely set me up, but I think I was just off cue or something.

Maybe these two stories don’t look like depression, but the feelings inside and the warmth I’m feeling at the moment these words are being typed, that feels like depression.

Depression is that feeling of “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never fit in” or “I just can’t”. It’s not a fleeting “I can’t”, but rather a full blown “I’m never going to be able to achieve in life because I just can’t and here’s why” type of feeling.

Depression is not always about crying and feeling blue. It can be exhaustion or sleepiness or a cloudy head feeling. It can feel like my limbs weigh a ton and my body can’t move. It can stop me in my tracks or take over my thoughts.

Depression is a voice in my head that tells me I don’t deserve nice things, a clean house, a happy family, a financially stable lifestyle…a break every now and then.

Depression is boredom when I could just be enjoying my family or enjoying my work or just enjoying my quiet time.

Depression is sleepless nights or restless nights when the dreams are so vivid that I wake up feeling less rested than when I went to sleep.

Depression is feeling hopeless when things aren’t going perfectly smooth in my life – I mean, really, are they ever?

Depression may be tears that come on for no reason, tears that come for “silly” reasons, or no tears at all because the shame, embarrassment, guilt, or lack of emotion is taking over.

Depression is wishing I had more friends and then realizing I have tons of friends who are waiting for me to just call or maybe just show up when they call.

These are just a few ways that Depression manifests in my life. I have to be honest and tell you that writing this post was not easy because I’m actually caring for my depression right now and life is good right now. I’m taking my medication like I should and I got a good night’s sleep. My morning went smooth and I’m happy with how things are going at home. Maybe if I wrote this post last week or if I needed to write it tomorrow things would have been easier because the depression was “around”, but today (and right now) things are good in my world.

Depression is sneaky and jumps when it has the chance to take over my thoughts and actions. It is triggered by many unknown things and makes me feel like I have no control over it.

Today is a #DayofLight and a dear friend of mine is shedding light on Depression.

Depression is not me and I am not Depression. I will take control of it before it takes control of me. And I will never stop talking about it because as long as I keep talking, it knows that I am in control.

What is Depression to you?

I’m linked up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.


  1. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

  2. Shell says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Depression is sneaky because it shows itself in different ways in different people.

  3. A good friend’s teenage daughter is going through treatment for depression right now. And it has been a rollercoaster ride. I feel so for both of them because I know right now they have more questions than answers. It is also good to hear the stories of people who have learned to work with through their depression.

  4. Mo says:

    Great post. I do not suffer from depression, but have family members and friends who do. I did suffer from postpartum and it is not fun. Very scary. Thanks for being real and honest.

  5. Thank you for open up, depression is very hard to understand, my daughter have it since she is very young, and I just trying to understand. Being on her side is not enough. I would do anything for her in order to make her feel better, and still I feel helpless. People with depression can’t see how much we care, we really care.

    • janet says:

      Laura, the best thing you can do for her is just continue to be there and listen. You can’t “fix” her and that is so hard when you’re a parent, but one day she will look back and know that her mom was ALWAYS there and that will make her feel better. We can’t see the love at the time it is happening, but we do see it eventually.

      • Thank you so much for your words, you are so right, I can’t fix it, and she is not a baby any more. Two difficult things to accept. But I am going to stick to her side forever, I will be here for her. What a annoying mother right? Best wishes for you.

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