Friday, June 14, 2013

The Valley of the Shadow

It seems like every blogger I love has had their fair share of demons riding their backs.  I once said that bloggers were those children on the playground sitting atop the jungle gym screaming "LOOK AT MEEEEEEEE!" but in actuality, most of us were that child sitting off wondering "What's wrong with me?"  and some of us never stopped.

Many of you, as I, are fans of the bloggers Dooce, Hyperbole and a Half, and the great Blogess.  All of them brilliant, all of them talented, all of them plagued by depression.  While I in no way equate myself with their level of brilliance, I too have struggled with depression in the past, and because of some recent events and a "where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from?" recurrence of my PTSD, I am struggling with it today.

For me, my depression does not (fortunately) affect my daily life.  I am still extremely productive at work, care for and provide a loving and safe environment for my children, and maintain a facade in public that belies what is simmering underneath.  Last night at my neighborhood market, a favorite employee hugged me and said "You always look so happy! And you are always doing nice things for other people!"  And I thought, yes. . .I always LOOK so happy.  I smile, I laugh, I joke, and if you ask how I am, I am always "fine". . .except that I'm not.  I smile and laugh so that people won't ask me what's wrong because in truth, I don't know.  I have an amazing life.  I have two beautiful children, a loving and supportive family, friends who will go to the mat for my any time, and I job that I adore.  And yet there is this emptiness inside of me that yanks at my heart and is slowly draining my spirit.  I find myself crying at the oddest moments, and in the middle of a crowded room I will be hit by a wave of loneliness that sucks the breath from my lungs.  "Yes," I want to say, "Yes, I look so happy because I don't want you to know how I really feel.  And yes, I try to always do nice things for other people because I can't bear the thought of anyone else feeling this worthless and alone."

Some people have asked me who my blog posts have been so sporadic, and while I hedged around with "I've been busy. . .I've been travelling. . .Mercury is in retrograde. . .blah, blah, blah. . ." in truth I just don't feel like writing, or eating, or sleeping, or doing much of anything these days.

I know these feelings will pass, as they always have, but in the meantime, please be patient with me.  I will still be here; I'll still be writing, but maybe just once a week for a while, until I can shake this monster, and remember who I am again.

Be kind to yourselves.

xoxo,
Jen

25 comments:

mistyslaws said...

You know I know exactly what you are talking about. You need to take care of you, and don't worry about the blog. It will be there when you are ready.

Talk to somebody, don't try to do it all alone, and as always, I am here if you need me.

Love you, girl. But you know that already.

TheChickIsRight said...

I am so sorry that you are hurting. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Just don't forget that depression is a lying motherfucker. If I could kick its ass, I totally would.

And... Whenever you are able to wrestle that monster into submission, I will still be here, waiting patiently for you to share your hilarious brilliance.

Thank you - and don't forget to be kind to yourself too. :-)

Laura said...

Be kind to yourself Jen. Hang in there!

Killer Cupcake said...

I never talk about the fact that I can't function without an antidepressant (and even sometimes with one) because I feel guilty, largely due to the fact that there are people in this world suffering with far worse horrors that I will ever know (as my mother never, ever failed to point out when I was in the middle of a crisis/meltdown). I was the child sitting on top of the jungle gym screaming "Look at meeeee!" while thinking "I'm not right..." Amazing how much we bloggers all share and them hide behind the funny.
love you, mama.

Frances Gronlier said...

Understood mon ami. I know you were moving to your new place and attributed the posts because of it. But even so.... Take care of yourself first. All your hardcore readers will wait. At least I will. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


BIG VIRTUAL HUG!!!!!

Claire said...

Sending you love and light x Claire

Kelly said...

Ye olde blogg will be here when you are ready. WE will always be here. You are loved.

Mandy said...

Thinking of you, my twin. I'm glad I can keep up with you on Facebook, too. You're an inspiration. And I mean that.

Abby said...

Yup. Especially when you write a humor blog, please just assume things are always happy and funny. It's interesting to note though that a lot of these writers--myself included--actually struggle with depression a lot and use humor to try and escape.

What I'm saying is I get it. Lord, do I get it. I've written about it a TON before and could write about it every damn day. I also know it will pass, but when it hits, it knocks me out. Hang in there and don't stress about writing or anything extra. Do what you can to tread water and come back to the surface whenever you can. XO

Jaime S said...

sharing a hug... I know the feeling of having to present a facade.

Jen said...

Thank you, guys. Just...thank you.

mothers little hleper said...

Hang in the and we will wait, patiently for you to blog.

elmirathudd said...

we <3 you. we will wait for you. :)

Fyre said...

Jen ~ Have you been spying on me? Sorry...there I go again, hiding behind jokes.

What you wrote really hit home...because it described so many parts of my life. While I don't have a job I like or a full life (yet!), I so know what it is like to, what I refer to as, walk on the dark side from time to time.

Thanks to genetics (yea for inheriting depressive tendencies) coupled with years of childhood molestation (can you say off the charts PTSD?), I find myself battling stretches of such deep depression that I argue with myself daily about ending it all.

There have been many times when your posts have given me the only laugh/cheer/hilarity in a day or week. So, thank you. Thank you for pushing through your own battle with the darkside to share your blog with the rest of us.

Take care of yourself and know you are not alone...

Andrea said...

(hugs) Gonna leave it at that for now...

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh balls! So sorry. I've been there. Called off an engagement, lost my job, alienated friends. All because I couldn't force myself to get out of bed.
It will pass, as you said. You'll make it through but in the mean time, know there are so many of us who can empathize with you and are rooting for you.

Anonymous said...

we'll still be here when you're ready and able. I don't have to deal with that demon but I've got mine. I also don't have small children,live on the west coast or a college degree and my dream job but I look forward to your posts. You are funny, engaged in life and a really really great writer! That is something else you have in common with the Blogess.

Chillin'Villain said...

You've got people who care about ya! Take care of yourself and only come back when YOU are ready...we can wait.

Peace, love, and hugs. :-)

Tabitha Crow said...

I feel your pain. Well, not exactly, as we all feel and are affected by this monster differently. I have struggled with depression/anxiety for many years. Through 2 stays at the "loony bin", addiction, rehab and every medication known to mankind, I am clawing my way out. I have (finally) found a medication that keeps me from clawing my skin off. I am almost 6 months clean. I have damaged, but thankfully not ruined, my relationships with my family. I am on the mend. You, too, will come out the other side. Wiser, softer and stronger. Maybe a little less "you" (my experience), but you WILL previal. Not just because you are strong and awesome, but because you have all of *us* behind you to hold you up when you just can't do it yourself. XOXOXO

Cheryl Soler said...

I have been on an antidepressant for over 10 years. I could always function as well. Always held a job, went out with friends, etc. And was completely miserable. Lexapro changed my life for the better, but like a poster above said, I'm always a little afraid to admit it.

Like the beautiful Bloggess says "Depression lies."


Hang in there!

Maggi Shelbourn said...

Hugs and prayers for you ALWAYS! I and so many others will be waiting for your next post, whenever YOU feel like posting it. My way of describing the depression that plagues me is by just saying "I'm feeling blue..." You are not alone. Take good care of yourself.

Valerie said...

And this too shall pass, my friend. I think that was a quote from someone, like, way famous...

I'm always here if you need a talk. I swear I'm not always the hot mess that you chatted with last time!

Hugs!

Valerie

Suniverse said...

Oh, honey. I KNOW. I'm just coming out the other side of this. There were weeks upon weeks of just bone numbing exhaustion with the world, while I went about my business, unable to deal.

You are so amazing. Truly. You make everything better. And depression can suck it for taking that knowledge away from you for even a minute.

Xo

Erica B said...

I had a bout over the winter and it was just. not. cool.

Hang in there. You're blog can wait. Find your corn under the fridge and remember that depression lies.

Pat said...

Warm hugs to you, dear. I don't have any wisdom to add to all the advice above, but know that I'm there in the trenches with daily doses of antidepressants myownself and am intimately acquainted with that deep, dark hole. Know that we all love you and are here with outstretched hands to support you back to the light.