Behind the Mask 0f Depression


 

image by misteraitchimage by misteraitch

 

The Lord turned to me and He heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, and out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on rock. He put a new song in my mouth……Psalm 40:13

 

—–I’ve been inside the black hole of depression.

 

 

And it hurts like triple hell.  Wait,  that’s not completely true. What I mean to say is–it hurts, but it doesn’t hurt.   It hurts because you know intellectually you are without sensation, without emotion, without heartbeat, without passion, without joy.  It hurts because you know life isn’t supposed to be that way.  It hurts because night has fallen even when the sun is shining & the shadows are killing you little by little.  It hurts because you’ve disappeared and you’re not sure how to find your way back home.

 

How do you find your way back home?

 

Sylvia Plath said,  “The silence depressed me.  It wasn’t the silence of silence.  It was my own silence.”

 

Silence.      Emptiness.      Vacancy.

 

I remember soaking in bathwater feeling nothing.  An absence,  a void,  something unfilled. How can one be immersed in warm water and feel nothing?   I sat there for a long time allowing the water to wash over me… ‘What good is this, what good is anything?’  So, I got out of the water to sit on the couch and still I felt nothing.

 

You see,  you can’t escape it.   It follows you.  It creeps inside of you.

 

Depression is like a death.  The only difference being you’re still breathing, walking, talking, cooking dinner, going to work,  pretending,  lying.

 

You’re still applying your vivid red lipstick deceiving the whole fucking world.

 

It’s exhausting,  but you know the world wouldn’t understand….might think you’re crazy,  insane,  weak.

 

After my sister’s murder, I confessed to one of my root friends,  “I don’t know how I can take anymore of this.  I don’t know if I want to.  I think of ways to kill myself all day long.”

 

She looked at me and said three words.  That’s all.

 

I.    Love.     You.

 

Surprisingly, despair and sadness can be unobserved entirely to the outsider.

 

A perfect example of this was Robin Williams.    How can somebody that cheerful, funny, talented, and remarkable be hiding a massive secret like that?

 

He was.   Just as millions of others are.  And by the way,  if you’re assuming people who are in a depressive state as weak,  you are mistaken. You are misinformed.  You are ignorant.

 

These individuals are strong simply because they keep on living,  breathing,  smiling,  loving.

 

I dreamed I was inside a black hole trying to claw my way back up. My fingernails were packed with mud and my heart was pumping wildly.   I kept falling backwards into the hole, and I heard a voice calling my name,  “Come back, Kim.  The light is up here.  Come back.”

 

I.    Did.

 

But that doesn’t mean I’m whole.  It merely means,   I made the choice to live.  Even if that means, yes,  living without my sister.

 

———Dear,  Reader, remember,  my story is not your story.  If you need help,  it is available.  You are cherished,  valued,  and loved.  If you want to tell me your story,  contact me above…. or say a little in the comments below.

Think Before You Act: Click Here

–National Suicide Hotline open 24/7:  1-800-273-8255

 


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117 Responses to Behind the Mask 0f Depression

  1. elizabeth says:

    I think people who deal with depression and thoughts of suicide (which I attempted twice in my teens) are strong and passionate people who have such sadness in them. I think they are so strong because they get up everyday and try to rise about the inner voices that are trying to convince to give up. A lot of people just get up and wonder what they are having for breakfast. For us, who have a twin named Depression, it is never that simple. But we do try. We write, we create art, we love, we hate, we fear and we try to help each other.
    So please give us a break and embrace us.

    xx
    elizabeth recently posted..The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything: a novel by Francine LaSala. The twists and turns are non-stop. Wear a helmet. The interview.My Profile

  2. Mike says:

    Freakin’ awesome kick a$$ post, Kim!! First off I’m so unbelievably proud of you for not only surviving but achieving, living and loving infinity beyond where you possibly once were. I’ve slowly taken baby steps into sharing a bit more of my depression that I actually suffer from far less and less. No medication. Just a Golden Retriever that is my natural remedy. Often for me when I start slipping down that slope; depression invites anxiety to join that dreadful trek which has always been halted. Why? Because of just what you said. An enormous friend base with the special few who say those 3 words. I. Love. You. I’m glad you mentioned Robin Williams and the uneducated….a topic that has affected millions of us this past week. A caller said on a show on Tuesday about it being a selfish act…which I’ve heard before. Pissed me off. When someone reaches that state of mind and being they are not capable of even discerning selfishness! You nailed it with that quote by Sylvia Plath and the last segment, “It was my own silence.” My very closest friends know that when I’m too quiet it’s time to put up some red flags. That was always discovered a few months back when my blog went silent and some folks from around the world starting sending messages. That was very moving. We love you, Kim. xoxo, Mike and Phoenix
    Mike recently posted..Woody’s Grille And Spirits In Sparks, Nevada For Top Notch Food!My Profile

  3. ladyfi says:

    Wonderful post. Depression is a horrible illness and we understand so little of it…
    ladyfi recently posted..Picnic skiesMy Profile

  4. Thank you. Depression is a soul-sucker. And a powerful liar. And in cahoots with fear and anxiety and loneliness. Other powerful soul-suckers.
    A beautiful post. A truthful post. And I am glad that you have (mostly) found your way back into the light again.
    Hugs.
    Elephant’s Child recently posted..Sunday Selections #185My Profile

  5. Hi Kim. You are so right that people who haven’t dealt with depression like you have, have a difficult time even imagining what you are going through. My heart can be sad for your experience but I STILL can’t imagine what you have gone through. I truly hope that anyone else that struggles with this terrible dis-ease finds help and support –and is able to make the choice like you–in spite of it all.

    And yes, I’m glad you were able and DID make the choice. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted..Why We Mourn The Death Of CelebritiesMy Profile

  6. Liz says:

    Such a powerful message, Kim. By revealing what you’ve gone through, you help many. And you also help those of us who haven’t been in your shoes understand a little more about the “deep hole” called depression. Thank you. xo
    Liz recently posted..Berry Topped Chocolate Silk Tart #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. totsymae1011 says:

    Probably you’re right that folk won’t get it. Your friend could not have stated words better.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..Ending A RelationshipMy Profile

  8. Keep clawing. That’s why women grow their nails long, Because we love deeply, so feel loss intensely, and need to claw often. But we love again, because we know we have those strong nails. And people are worth it. And we are worth it!
    Jodi @ Heal Now and Forever recently posted..7 ways to help someone stop thinking of suicideMy Profile

  9. Hi Kim,

    I am so glad that you could understand that you had to get out of it. I am so proud of you for voicing that state of mind because the more we share, the better we can defeat this demon. I have seen this monster from very close quarters – one of my colleagues and friend slipped into this abyss and we helped her retrieve herself, with professional help and love. Both count but somebody has to keep speaking those positive words of healing all the time. You are saying those words for many who would read this article. Love you for that!
    Balroop Singh recently posted..The Golden CageMy Profile

  10. Trish says:

    Great post Kim. I hope everyone keeps these things in mind every time they meet someone new. I feel like people are so quick to judge others the minute they meet without realizing that they may be struggling with something. Depression sucks and I personally hate when people say things like “snap out of it” there is no snapping- just like you said there is only clawing.

  11. lisa says:

    This is a wonderful post, Kim.
    You are truly an inspiration, my friend. xo.

  12. Red Dwyer says:

    A quiet thank you. I have been there. Still spend much of my time there.
    I love you.
    xxx
    Red Dwyer recently posted..Wake Me NotMy Profile

  13. Tia says:

    I Love You!

  14. What a powerful, poignant, and helpful post. Thank you for sharing this. I found myself look back many decades ago and finally getting a sense of what a high school friend went through and why she seemed so far away and unreachable after her brother’s death.
    Marylin Warner recently posted..NOW is the best timeMy Profile

  15. Yes. I know this feeling. Like you said, it takes so much strength to keep going and to put on that lipstick for others. Damn. Depression. I don’t even have more words. Damn.
    wild Child Mama recently posted..Beautiful and Loved Mother’s Day OutreachMy Profile

  16. Nikky44 says:

    Sometimes Kim even hearing people say how strong you are because you keep living and smiling and breathing and cooking, adds to your depression because you feel they just can’t see you. In fact, I don’t think they don’t, I know they don’t because I don’t show them, but also because they don’t want to see. If only you feel people want to know, you wouldn’t mind telling them, but no one wants to know, no one. i hate depression, i hate it
    Nikky44 recently posted..I challenged the FearMy Profile

  17. My mom had chronic depression. Thank God she talked about it to us kids and we knew it wasn’t our fault…kids take on the blame so easily. She told us we could do nothing. Nor did we need to worry about being any different. She said she just needed to be left alone and she’d find her way back.

    When I asked her what it was like, this intelligent, wise, loving mama said, “Well, darling, my mind grows its own legs and runs wherever it wants.”

    She told me she was sometimes afraid to let her imagination go during good times because the black hole of calcutta may see her off guard!

    My heart goes out to you. It’s important that you share these hugely valuable insights – just as you did. My friends who go through depression worry that they’ll seem crazy…and when people think they have to help to “fix” them, they DO want to go crazy!!

    Thanks to my Mom being open and honest about her depression, I believe I am a better friend to my friends who suffer.

    And all of these people in my life are bright, witty, beautiful, loving, courageous, determined and wickedly creative. Just like you, Kim!
    Amy@SoulDipper recently posted..Solitude – Entirely EssentialMy Profile

  18. Vidya Sury says:

    I have lost a friend to depression and subsequently suicide, Kim…and it hurts so bad! And I’ve seen others in varying stages who’ve survived.

    I love what you said “root friends”. I don’t know where I would be without mine!

    All I can say is, I Love You.
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Krishna JanmashtamiMy Profile

  19. Profound observations in this post, Kimmy. Like this, “Surprisingly, despair and sadness can be unobserved entirely to the outsider” and “I made the choice to live”. I’m so glad you made that choice and continue to make that choice every moment. My life is richer for you. xx
    solidgoldcreativity recently posted..With this bodyMy Profile

  20. slamdunk says:

    Thank you for courageously sharing your story, Kim. I hope that others find comfort in it and listen to your advice.
    slamdunk recently posted..Vickie Ellington Missing and the Linda Reed CaseMy Profile

  21. Monica says:

    What a vivid portrait you paint of depression, Kim. My heart breaks for Robin Williams and his family and friends, and all of us who were touched by him. I’m writing a post about him on Monday. It’s just so sad, so unnecessary. Thank you for writing this.
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  22. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve suffered from depression, Kim but with all you’ve been through I’m not the least surprised. How wonderful that when you were at your lowest you had a friend you could talk to and she spoke some words in season. What a great friend. Sometimes friends can be our ministering angels! I’m so sorry that Robin Williams didn’t have that blessing xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Fred Segal Mauro Cafe, Los AngelesMy Profile

  23. TheKitchenLioness says:

    Dear Kim, what a powerful post and what an important message – loved reading it again and again on this very cool Monday morning.

    Love you and your writing,
    Andrea

  24. Such a powerful message Kim. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for talking about these difficult subjects. Thank you for being you. You are amazing.
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  25. I love you, they are powerful words. I am so thankful you decided to live.

    I love you, too.

  26. So good and important, Kim.

    In a discussion with a woman (her daughter attempted suicide 5 years ago, and she worries daily there may be a repeat attempt that’s successful) the night after news of Robin’s passing was publicized, I mentioned the oblivion of depression at that level.
    I clearly remember being in that space. It’s like a vacuum in which I felt disembodied and void of emotion and completely disconnected from anything that may have hinted at the light of Spirit. There was nothing to matter to me, which meant I didn’t matter, which meant life didn’t matter.
    Thank God for the angels – earthly and otherwise – who reach into that vacuum just in time. xoxo
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  27. Jann says:

    You offer hope and help to so many people, Kim. What an important post. Sending a huge hug your way. xxx
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  28. Debbie says:

    Thank you for shedding some light on this illness. I’ve had a few episodes of situational depression, where every little thing is a major chore, but nothing as serious as what you and others have described. I’m so glad you chose to live! ((HUGS)). Robin William’s suicide shocked the world and it is frightening to imagine that level of despair. Here’s to “root friends” (wonderful descriptor!) and love.
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  29. Depression is a silent killer. I am so happy that you have decided to live and shared this powerful message. Thank YOU, Kim.
    Cheers,
    Angie
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  30. Susan Casey says:

    Kim,
    Thank you for posting what so many of us have felt in this lifetime…through love, through loss, and the waking up, the sigh, and asking God to help get us through one more day. The sun does rise and there is joy on the other side of deep loss…even when we don’t feel it, can’t see it, it’s knowing it’s there waiting for us when we rise up out of that hole. Love you my friend…your strength, your courage and your words. xo

  31. And you will keep on going, Kim. You will wake up, you will smile and you will say to yourself, I lived, I had the strength to climb out of the hole, from the darkness. Robin Williams gave us so much happiness, yet his pain was still so much greater than the joy he bestowed on the world. It is time to support not judge.
    xx
    Meditating mummy recently posted..Walking Around the World – Sri Lanka ( Part II)My Profile

  32. Chris Carter says:

    Oh am I so glad you heard the call… and reached grabbed, clawed, crawled, pulled, kicked,grasped, and stretched for the light.
    Oh how I thank God for that. Oh, how I thank God for that. Oh…how…I…thank…God…for…that.
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  33. You have expressed a powerful message so beautifully.
    Thank you my friend.

    Hugs
    Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..CCU Undercover: PappaRich Luncheon Part IMy Profile

  34. I along with the rest of the world was shocked by Robin Williams’ passing. I guess you assume someone so universally loved would be immune to depression but of course that isn’t true at all. I’m so glad that you chose life Kim *hugs* We love you. xxx
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  35. Kim Gagnon says:

    Love you Kimmy!!

  36. Marie says:

    You found the perfect words Kim to tell what depression is, what it means, how we feel when we are entrapped in it. I hate this state. I hate depression. But I have to admit that despite it all, we keep moving and it’s the worst part of it. We keep living when inside it’s all messed up and broken.
    I am glad you made the choice to live. It’s a hard one Kim. But it’s the one that gives us the chance to share, exchange, meet, the chance to move on, to let go of the wish to die, to fight for something better.
    I.LOVE.YOU.
    These words changed my life.
    xxx

  37. Debbie says:

    Kim, thank Heaven your friend said just what you needed to hear, just when you needed to hear it!
    Depression is such a frightening illness. I’ve known folks suffering from it, and what you’ve written here describes it perfectly. The clawing, the lack of feeling, the hopelessness. But it CAN be treated. One CAN come through it and survive, even thrive. You did; poor Robin didn’t. Perhaps having a lot of money or a lot of talent isn’t enough, at least for some of us. Perhaps we just need to find the strength — from within or without — to scratch our way to LIFE again — blessings on you, dear!
    Debbie recently posted..Itsy Bitsy SpiderMy Profile

  38. This is a great way to describe it. I understand you. I am glad that you came out of the hole.

    I still have days and moments where my mind just whispers to me, “Kill yourself. What’s the point?” You keep moving forward and acting effectively, but it does get tiring sometimes.

    Have a great day.
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  39. Dana says:

    Keep talking, Kim. You, and everyone who has shared their own experiences with depression, may be the one voice that reaches someone who desperately needs help. No more suffering in silence.
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  40. Sue says:

    spot on. well said.

  41. Alison says:

    Please always choose to live.
    I love you. xo
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  42. I. Love. YOU.
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  43. Lady Jennie says:

    Thank you for talking about it, and for posting the link. I was there in the black pit so I know what it’s like. But I am fortunate to have medicine that works for me, to be surrounded by love, and to have hope in God.

    It makes my heart ache that not everyone has that.
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  44. Kim, what a post… I know the feeling, its a real arsehole too, it takes almost everything you have to keep moving forward, yet nothing much touches you, so in theory it should be pretty easy to keep trucking along.
    I am glad you chose life my friend… You are inspiring and real, you make my days brighter and I am so grateful I found you. Lots of hugs and love across the oceans to you. xoxox
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  45. Years and years and years ago, my (not really but wanted him to be and he was later) boyfriend’s dad shot himself, in the bathroom of their home, during a football game that the entire family was watching. I was pissed, and I thought it was selfish. Because teenagers found him. I still am a little pissed for those boys, but I get it now. I get that when people feel like that, that nothing else matters. I get it, and have lived it, and have survived it, although I still do not really talk about it. I’m glad that you do, and I am glad to have read this tonight. You rock for writing this.
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  46. Hilary says:

    I think you are one of the strongest people I “know”

    Like anything, unless you experience it, you never fully understand….
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  47. KarenAnn says:

    Yes, you. are. strong…how difficult it must be to go on without your sister. But you MUST keep trudging on and renew your zest for life…so that all those special memories that only YOU have will continue to live through you. I’ve been in “that” place but not because I have suffered such a tragic loss. I can only imagine how you must feel….
    xoxo
    Karen
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  48. Sandra says:

    Once again you nailed it. It’s often thought that people who are diagnosed (or not) with depression are always sad sacks moping around with heads hung low. Robin Williams never appeared as anything but cheerful and upbeat. Just goes to show we have no idea what goes on behind smiles and cheery faces.
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  49. Dawn says:

    If there is any good to come out of Robin William’s suicide it’s that maybe depression can be talked about more, understood more, and out of that maybe the world can become more compassionate. Hugs to you. Sharing isn’t always easy but it is almost always helpful, to you or to someone reading. You never know who you save.

  50. Jhanis says:

    Love the writing, although I wish the circumstances were different. I only hope that we have more resources and help for those going through in our country right now. There are very little information on how to get help and where to get help.
    Jhanis recently posted..Text Abbreviations for MomsMy Profile

  51. I read this and all I can think of is what a lovely person you are, because at the end, after all your sadness, you reach out at the end of your blog post to help others.
    God bless you. I know he can help you out of this.

  52. Amen to this. You just said everything that has been in my head for a very long time. Thank you.
    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother recently posted..Fly On The Wall In WackovilleMy Profile

  53. Debbie Reilly says:

    I’ve lived with depression most of my life.
    People think you can just pull yourself up, act as if,
    And yes, you have to learn to do that, to survive.
    The depression then becomes hidden from others.
    I’ve used drugs and alcohol to self medicate, and after 25
    Years of sobriety(thank you God) and side effects from most all antidepressants I’ve tried, I use this analogy of my symptoms.

    With medication……I tread water, my head is above water.
    Without meds…….I’ve learned,I sink into the Abyss of Darkness
    I’ve also learned being chronically I’ll at a young age, is a challenge. I can certainly understand why the elderly are a high risk of suicide. They lose friends, spouse, health. A constant state of grief.

    Reach out and love those of you who have grandparents,aunts, uncles, who are alone everyone!!

    Kim?
    Have I told you lately that I love you?

  54. This was beautifully written. Depression springs from a deep pain. The wound of losing your sister as you did must be overwhelming. I’m so sorry. I too believe that the psalmist must have understood that darkness. And God does too.
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  55. Heather says:

    Thank you. While I don’t struggle with depression, I struggle with crippling anxiety. It amounts to pretty much the same feeling. . .anaesthetized, shut down, trying to feel anything beyond that hole. I love the Sylvia Plath quote too. Girl knew what she was talking about!! I’m so glad to have found your blog and will make it part of my regular rotation. xx
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  56. guyana_gyal says:

    What scares me is this – what do we do if we suspect someone we love is suffering with it, and will not admit that treatment is needed?
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  57. When someone dies in this way, the reason why can become clearer only in retrospect. In their life you just hear the jokes and see them playing around and diverting you from looking at them as a person too deeply but when they die or kill themselves you look at the photographs again, and you can pick up the sense of isolation within company and you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I notice that when I could do some good? But you didn’t. Misery and depression are often very private states, and we hide them against all enquiry. Any perceptive interest in the person seems painful sadly. Those in most need of attention are often the hardest to reach
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  58. Hi, Peter,
    True. The people who are that hardest to reach are the people who will not talk about the depression…You see, especially for men, it is a sign (by society) of weakness. What a shame. xxx KISS for you.

  59. sherill says:

    I loved your post, it opens our eyes to reality . Being surrounded with people who love us, those we can trust and seeking guidance will help us overcome depression. Thanks for sharing. Great post.
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  60. Tara says:

    Saint Augustine said, “Oh Lord, You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Whenever I’m feeling depressed, I think of this. We are not made for this world, but the suffering we experience molds us and shapes us and develops us into stronger creatures. I agree with you that depressed people are truly strong, for they fight in spite of their weakness. We should never judge another, for we have absolutely no idea what they feel inside. Thanks for this, Kim.

    Love,
    Tara
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