Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The blanket

Depression can feel like a blanket. It smothers me some days, burying me with its weight. It is oppressive. I feel desperate but I cannot find the edges. 

Other days I pull it closer around me, avoiding the glimpses I see of escape - a smiling face, or a friend's invitation. The blanket is restrictive, but familiar. I see opportunities to get out, but I ignore them.

On still other days, I imagine throwing it off in one quick motion and darting out from underneath: 

"Fuck you, blanket!"

Depression has flitted in and out of my life for as long as I can remember. I have to assume this will always be the case. Running makes it better. Talking with friends and interacting with others makes it better. For me it is manageable, but there can still be days that feel bleak. It can be baffling as ultimately nothing seems to be wrong, but the feeling remains.

It has not been too bad in recent months, which is nice. Just the fact that I can even contemplate throwing off the blanket or notice these opportunities is indicative of this. During times when it is worse, the blanket will feel so stifling and weighty that I can barely move my head. In those times it is all I can do to keep shuffling forward with the understanding that at some point, the depression will break.

Allie Brosh is a cartoonist who has written about depression on her blog, Hyperbole and a Half. Her first post about it can be found here. Her second post is here. I found both of these to be disturbing, funny, sad, triumphant, and very, very easy to relate to.

In these posts there is an analogy about having fish that have died, which I found to be fitting, but it was the expression on the little person she has drawn below that tickled me the most: 

It's still so funny.

I am posting about depression because it's hard not to talk about it. I also think we live in a culture where we're not supposed to talk about it because... it's depressing. This doesn't help people who feel this way feel any better, or get help. They only feel worse. 

If you do feel this way yourself, please talk to someone else about it. And if that person doesn't listen or get it, then you just didn't talk to the right person - don't give up. There are many of us out here who feel like this. We need to talk about it more, reach out, keep trying, don't give up. What we don't need to do is not talk about it or think we are alone or no-one cares.

Have a beautiful day. I've got to get up and throw off the goddamn blanket.


  1. Speaking as an ex-depressive: Depression is the child of thought. It's important to create good chemistry in the brain, by consciously practicing mind management during good times, so that it becomes second nature when we are challenged. Practice using your senses non judgementally, especially the visual, aural, gustatory and olfactory. The way I do this, is by "taking a picture" of what I sense, closing my eyes to see it in my mind. I have left out the kinaesthetic, because depression hones this sense. As we become better at this, we begin to will notice that thought disappears. Having the power to drop negative thought and to dwell on the positive all around us is magic. How wonderful would life be if, no matter what your circumstances, we only focus on the good, the beautiful and the positive?

    1. Hi Sue, thank you for your thoughtful response! I agree that to a certain extent, depression is fueled by our thoughts and how we decide to interpret our circumstances and the world - and that we can change that for the better. But I also believe there is a biological element and we can't simply not be depressed by thinking positive thoughts. We do what we can, but saying that if only we were more positive or more in tune with our surroundings, then we would not be depressed - I think that's a dangerous line of thought.

  2. Amazing metaphor and words. We all have our blankets, for better and worse. Thanks for such great honesty