Revisiting Frozen – an old post about my old friend depression

I was talking to someone recently about my old friend depression, and was reminded of this post. Funny thing – when I went looking for it, I realized I’d written it at the end of February 2011. Something about this time of year…

While I’m happy to say I’m feeling tons better these days, my dark friend still has a way of whispering in my ear. Staying aware, and taking steps to shush her, helps keep me centered.

And since this is longer that a typical #MicroblogMonday post (sorry, Mel), I figured I’d give an abbreviated version here, then anyone interested can read the rest.

Depression sucks. It’s like this picture, but not as pretty –
Frozen, old friend depression

February 2011

After feeling like I’ve been in a deep freeze for the better (or worse) part of a year, I think I’m beginning to thaw…

I’ve learned very few people (myself included) understand depression. I’ve had very well-intentioned people tell me that I just need to snap out of it, that with all the blessings I have (great husband and amazing kids being the top two) I have no reason to be sad. Depression doesn’t just express itself in tears – I slid down the slope into the arms of my dark friend at the end of 2009, but didn’t recognize it until the spring of 2010 when my family gently suggested to me that maybe I should live somewhere by myself for a while, until I got in a better space in my head (and thankfully, that was enough of a wake-up call, so leaving wasn’t necessary).

At first, when my husband pointed out all the tell tale signs that I wasn’t myself (not showering for sometimes a week at a time; not noticing mess and clutter; falling behind on usual chores because I was *too tired* to deal with them; fobbing off making dinner on the eldest; having hubby stop by the grocery store on the way home from for “a few” things on a regular basis, because I couldn’t handle being around people that particular day), I scoffed and said that if I were depressed, why had I been able to get my book on the Ed Desk of Harper Collins, and almost single-handedly upload all the content to a local political information website? He said I was using those projects as excuses to hide from the family and from my feelings… and he was right.

I had some people question why it was then necessary for me to retreat from things that I once spent so much time on (Authonomy, social networks, book club, andmy writing group), saying my happiness was important too. While they were absolutely correct (which was something my husband and kids agreed with) when I find myself doing it to the extreme, and neglecting my family in the process, I know my depression has gotten the better of me.

In the year since, I’ve exchanged those obsessions for a somewhat healthier one – while getting my Draenei Pally on World of Warcraft to level 85 hasn’t necessarily helped the family, it’s been something I can distract myself with without shutting myself away. For example, I can farm for Fel Iron ore in Hellfire Peninsula while on the laptop in the living room, watching TV or hanging with the family. It’s also something the younger two and hubby had been asking me to join in with for the past few years, so now we can do dungeons and quests together. Plus, since I’m pretty good with the auction house, I’m keeping the family guild flush with gold.

For a while, I kept a journal, writing like a mad woman about my struggles, until I realized I was spending more time cataloging them than actually solving anything. After that, I stopped, and have barely written anything since (other than a brief attempt at NaNoWriMo 2010). My youngest said recently, “but you’re the writer in the family mommy” and I cringed. I still don’t feel worthy of calling myself a writer, but it gave me such hope that she was able to without hesitation. Nice to know some people in the world view me that way, even if I haven’t given myself permission yet.

I’ve been super busy in my head, coming up with to do lists, and goals and ambitions, writing emails to people and thinking about what to say during phone conversations. But I haven’t gotten to the point that all of that happens outside of my head. When I looked at my desk, piled high with papers and clutter, I wonder how that could be, given how many times I’ve organized it in my brain.

Today I sat at my messy desk, freezing as usual (stupid drafty apartment), and thought, “I should light a candle. Even though it’s not a great heat source, it will still *feel* warmer in the room.” Usually, I end up talking myself out of it – it’s been forever since I’ve even done the simplest candle ritual, and I feel like I don’t deserve to just jump back in if I haven’t prepared for it. I need to clean things first, and smudge, and vacuum the floor, and make the space sacred so that I honor my intentions in lighting the candle… and I get so bound up and overwhelmed by such a huge project that I end up simply shivering at my keyboard, promising myself that I’ll get an early start on it the next day.

Earlier, I had a discussion with my eldest, who hopes to make a name for herself on Youtube, about how she hadn’t posted new videos lately, and how her fan base would be disappointed. She said something to the effect of the videos hadn’t been coming out the way she’d hoped, so even though she had enough content, she didn’t post them because they weren’t good enough. Funny how kids can shine a mirror on things you’ve said without even realizing they’re doing it.

So, back to being at my desk – today I decided to stop stalling, picked up enough of the clutter to make a clean safe spot for a candle, and lit one up. There’s still dust everywhere, and I didn’t even bother to wipe down the clean spot, but the sight of that tiny flame warms my spirit to no end. And after telling my daughter that she’s over thinking things, and gave her all the reasons why she shouldn’t let that perfectionist penchant stop her from posting, I started working seriously on this entry. Hopefully her inspiration can inspire me to inspire her….or something like that. Baby steps are still forward momentum, right? Time to trade my frozen existence for passionate living…

Frozen, old friend depression
old friend depression #MicroblogMondays
“Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?
Read the inaugural post which explains
the idea and how you can participate too.”
~ Melissa S. Ford, Stirrup Queens

Old friend depression. First, this is not a passive voice. Next, I am writing in an active voice. Therefore, my SEO will stop telling me how to write. Furthermore, these sentences are also shorter than twenty words. Rather, stop being so controlling. Especially since most of the sentences in this post are not mine. I will keep going while until you turn green. Old friend depression. I can’t believe this is still orange. Finally, it has turned. Success! First, this is not a passive voice. Next, I am writing in an active voice. Therefore, my SEO will stop telling me how to write. Furthermore, these sentences are also shorter than twenty words. Rather, stop being so controlling. Especially since most of the sentences in this post are not mine. Next, I am writing in an active voice. Old friend depression. I will keep going while until you turn green. I can’t believe this is still orange. Finally, it has turned. Success!

27 comments for “Revisiting Frozen – an old post about my old friend depression

  1. February 27, 2017 at 9:42 am

    You describe very well the rabbit hole of depression and the way that it doesn’t discriminate – people on the outside can think you have everything to live and be happy for, but you cannot control it when it comes knocking. It’s a horrible, nebulous thing that people don’t really understand until they experience it. A great piece of writing.

    • February 27, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Thank you so much, Different Shores! After reading your latest blog entry, I know you’ve had your own experiences down that black hole. I hope you’re finding your way out into the light. *hugs*

  2. February 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    There’s a quote. “Tis better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness.” Baby step? Yes. But a good step.

  3. February 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Traci, I relate to this so much. Sending light and love your way today, and I hope the depression lifts soon.

    • February 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you Stephanie. Sorry to hear you can relate. Appreciate the love and light – while this is an old post, and I’m doing better (although I still have my moments), it still helps to hear there are others out there who understand. *hugs*

  4. February 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Hugs and I want for you to feel better. Know that you have friends on the other side and always around to help.

    • February 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Awww, thank so very much, Parul! I am doing much better these days, and I greatly appreciate the hugs and the support. Know that I’m always here to help in return! *hugs*

  5. Jo (Fallen Angel)
    March 2, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I can only imagine what depression feels like, but I love the fact that your daughter’s experience and views about her Youtube videos were able to help you reflect even though she probably didn’t realise. Sometimes it’s not about doing the big things, but making tiny steps, one at a time, that can benefit. I guess because the tiny steps can feel huge x

    • March 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      I know in my case, the big things (for example, cleaning the kitchen, which used to be such an easy task for me) get overwhelming when my depression is in high gear, so focusing on the small steps (like, just clearing one counter) makes a huge difference. Of course, it’s getting the noise in my head to quiet down enough to focus on anything. I appreciate your kind thoughts, Jo!

  6. March 5, 2017 at 6:56 am

    It can creep up on you without warning…great post.

    • March 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Agreed, Matt – and thanks!

  7. March 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

    You write so eloquently about your experience with depression, and I just want to give you a massive hug! I could really feel myself there with you, empathising and nodding along with every word. Your family sound so warm and supportive too. You’re making massive strides by taking little steps, and that is awesome

    • March 5, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Awww, thanks so much, dear Em! I’m doing much better these days, and you’re right – I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family. Appreciate the virtual hug, and the encouragement! Many, many thanks, lovely lady! <3

  8. March 5, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Quite some things resonate here. Thanks for sharing.

    • March 5, 2017 at 10:09 am

      You’re very welcome, Denzil. Sending lots of good thoughts your way.

  9. March 5, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for sharing so honestly your experience with depression. It is a slippery slope that most people, including myself don’t understand. But I did experience a bit of it during my bout with chemo and I know how horrible it is. Kudos to you for pulling out of it! πŸ™‚

    • March 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      So sorry to hear you have experience with it, Lisa. I can imagine chemo must’ve knocked your feet out from under you all in ways – I hope you’ve recovered fully, and kudos to you as well!

      • March 5, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        Thanks, Traci. Yes. I’ve recovered and I’m enjoying life. I hope you’ve recovered and are enjoying life, too. πŸ™‚

  10. angelanoelauthor
    March 5, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I absolutely love that, as you worked to keep your daughters spirit alive, you found a way to light your own. And so glad you are feeling so much better! I have family and friends who struggle with depression, and the more people can write about it, sharing their experiences, the better we understand and can help.

    • March 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks so much, Angela! I really appreciate your support, and I’m so happy to have crossed paths with you here in cyberspace! Sending tons of positive thoughts to your friends and family who also wrestle with the darkness, and passing along bright blessings to you!

  11. March 5, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I really enjoyed this Traci, which seems a slightly inappropriate word to for me to use, but I love people’s openness & bravery when discussing their depression. It’s very well written too xx

    • March 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Awww, I really appreciated that Hayley! Thanks for your lovely comment!

  12. March 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Traci, I have to say you gave me great insight into what depression really is. I, myself, do not fully understand what it means to be depressed. I admire your bravery in writing this post and sharing your experience. I’m glad you are taking those baby steps to inspire your daughter and to let your daughter inspire you!

    • March 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you in return, Lilian!

Feel free to shout out!