The Most Difficult Post to Write

Hello everyone. The following post has been sitting in my drafts since Christmas Day. I have been very reluctant to post it for a number of reasons: Firstly, I categorise my blog as a humour blog. This post is not going to be funny or light-hearted and I suppose I didn’t want my readers resenting or becoming confused by a sudden change in tone. I also don’t want any of you to think of me differently after reading this, and part of my has felt like that will be inevitable. Secondly, I saw a conversation on Facebook recently where somebody was complaining about the amount of people who blog about depression and anxiety. Their argument was that it has almost become trendy to claim that you are suffering from some kind of mental illness and while I don’t agree with what they were saying, I would hate to think anyone thinks I’m posting this to jump on some kind of bandwagon. I think it’s essential to talk about depression and to attempt to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Today, I just want to tell my story.

This is not going to be an easy post to write. Usually, I think of an idea for a blog and I draft it up pretty enthusiastically. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that my posts tend to be quite silly and immature, because I have never been fully comfortable with embracing adulthood completely. We often write posts with a specific goal in mind; this goal is often to elicit maximum engagement from readers, or hoping that it will reach as wide an audience is possible. In short, we want our posts, and by extension our blogs, to be popular. This post is different. Personal posts are ten a penny on the Internet and I will admit this upfront: this post isn’t going to be brimming with philosophical or enlightening thought; there will be no moments of catharsis or life-changing epiphanies. I am sharing my experiences with depression because maybe there is one person out there who reads this and thinks “that sounds just like me.” Maybe one person will feel even a fraction less lonely and isolated after reading this. Maybe, just maybe, one person reading this will see that even those of us who others would refer to as funny or good-humoured experience dark and lonely times. And that it’s okay to feel like this. So let me begin.

I am lonely and I am sad. I’m not lonely all the time, but loneliness is a feeling I experience far more often than I would like. The most frustrating aspect of it is that I can’t quite pinpoint why I feel like this. I have the most supportive and kind boyfriend. He makes me laugh in a way no body else can. I have wonderful friends, even though the majority of them live far away. Sometimes I feel like I could have more friends, but I’ve never been one for maintaining several relationships at once. I prefer to keep a small, close knit group of friends. I’ve had the same friends for the majority of my life. I do make friends easily, but I’ve moved jobs quite often, and have moved away from where I attended school and college, so contact has naturally ceased with many people I had been close with. Over the years, I have found that I have been subconsciously isolating myself from many people in my life; it definitely has not been deliberate, but I do like to spend time alone. As the years have passed by, I think I’ve gotten used to living quite a solitary life. I spend the majority of my day with Jack, but I live far away from my family and childhood friends, so I do often find myself keeping myself company. I have great work colleagues, who frequently ask me to come for after work drinks. Years ago, I would have attended any social gathering without hesitation, but nowadays, I choose to stay at home more often. The thing is, I don’t think that this is the source of my loneliness. I have always been comfortable in my own company. What makes me feel really lonely is the fact that I feel like nobody really gets me. Doesn’t that sound woefully arrogant; as if everyone out there should care enough about me to attempt some kind of in depth study of my character. I don’t expect anyone in my life to spend copious amounts of time considering the complexity of my emotional state. I also do not want to sound like some teenage EMO, clutching a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and lamenting the fact that “no one understands me”. Of course no one really knows me, when I spend so much of my time making jokes and not taking life seriously. In school, I was the class clown. I’m the joker in my family. My friends know me as the funny one, always ready to crack a joke or laugh outrageously at the silliest things. This blog is a reflection of that side of my personality. Some would consider it my entire personality. And don’t get me wrong, I love it. I’m not going to pretend I don’t think I’m somewhat funny. This isn’t a time for false modesty. It’s a great trait to possess and I have embraced it wholeheartedly. The thing is, it has led people to erroneously assume that I’m immune to sadness or misery. I think people in my life think that because I smile a lot, or because my laugh is ridiculously jolly, I simply must be fulfilled and continually happy and gregarious. Do I blame people for making this assumption? Of course not. It’s nobody’s fault, but it’s frustrating when I’m in a bad mood and someone pipes up with “but you never get moody, Jane”. Of course I bloody do. I’m human. And it goes far beyond being moody. I sometimes fear that if people say the tears and the sobs that wrack my body and the days I spend lying in bed refusing to get up, I would have no friends left.

So is that just it? Do I just feel a little isolated by my sense of disconnection from my friends and family? I know it goes far beyond that.

As a child, I suffered incredible mood swings. When I was happy, I was positively jubilant. But when I was angry, or sad, I was hysterical. As is the story of my life, I did not make this known to anyone in my life. My parents would never have put up with it, as they loathed any kind of emotional outburst and would have branded anything resembling one as attention-seeking. I would lie in my room or sit on the edge of our bath tub, overcome with sadness and dejection. I felt at odds with the world around me; like I was crazy and no one else seemed to care.

As a teenager, my mood swings worsened. On the surface, I appeared carefree and happy. Most of the time, I was okay. I had lots of friends, I performed well in school and I had a lot of fun at weekends with my fun-loving companions. I drank too much alcohol, I stayed out too late and I wore really awful clothes. All in all, I was like a lot of other teenagers: full of angst and uncertainty about my surroundings. But there was something else. I felt a profound sense of loneliness and isolation, even when I was surrounded by dozens of people. I didn’t want to be out partying and drinking. I didn’t want to be talking to boys or dancing. I wanted to be alone. I felt this inexplicable sense of impending doom; I was always on edge, even when I appeared to be having fun. At home, I spent a lot of time purposefully detaching myself from my family. I was quite an introspective teenager and I could have happily spent hours lying on my back, overly-analysing issues that I perceived as major problems. 

It was in college that the problem started to get out of control. I skipped lectures, avoided social contact and spent days lying in bed with the curtains closed. I cried easily and I was extremely sensitive. I felt that my friends were ignoring me and that my boyfriend wasn’t as committed to our relationship as I was. I fought with my friends and my family. During one shouting match with my sister, she called me “unstable.” It hurt. It hurt because I knew that it was true. I had become completely unbalanced. You might assume that was the turning point; that I suddenly revealed all of the dark and anxiety-filled thoughts that I’d been having. But I didn’t. Even though my mother was a psychiatric nurse, I knew she wouldn’t react in the way I would have wanted. She was amazing at dealing with the problems of strangers. She viewed all her patients as exactly that: patients. She was a fantastic nurse but her job frustrated her. She didn’t want to see the problems that she encountered at work reveal themselves at home. My family have never been the most affectionate or open with each other, and my parents were only a few years away from their marriage breaking up. Our household was continuously tense and only added to my feelings of isolation and anxiety.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a major seizure and I was hospitalised. When I recovered, I was sent to a consultant neurologist. I brought my mother with me for support. I had a long conversation with him about my lifestyle and my medical history, and he discussed anti-seizure medication with me. I will never forget him looking up from his notepad and fixing me with a look of sympathy and understanding. His voice became softer, as he said “and this medication is also used to treat depression. So you’ll find that you’ll feel a little less…anxious.” I was flabbergasted. I hadn’t said anything to him about what I considered my carefully concealed secret. My mother stared at him, then at me. She shook her head. She didn’t want to hear this. He was still looking at me, and he seemed to be mentally saying to me it’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. He then continued “around a third of people with epilepsy experience depression. It’s very common. And-“

“Can she not drive, so?” My mother interrupted him, and we didn’t speak any more about depression. I don’t want anyone thinking that my mother is neglectful or selfish; it’s worth pointing out that her sister had just been diagnosed with cancer and her marriage was falling apart. 

After that, the situation continued to get worse. I began studying for a Master’s Degree and Jack and I moved into a beautiful apartment. I knew that I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. The pressure to appreciate what I had just served to make things worse. I pushed myself to appear okay; I painted a near constant smile on my face and continued partying and drinking to try and block out the emotional pain. There were a number of days where I sat alone in my bathroom, feeling that life would never be different and I would never be normal. I wondered what the point in carrying on would be. I was exhausted from pretending and from lying. I was not okay, and I felt like I never would be. That’s when I started to think about suicide. I realised that I didn’t have to feel this constant sense of dread. I didn’t have to lie awake every night, worrying about how abnormal I was compared to all my friends. I could just fade into blackness and everything would be gone. 

Although I want to be honest with you all, I don’t want to describe in too much detail what I attempted to do. Truth be told, I was never going to do it. I knew that deep down. While I did hurt myself, I didn’t cause any real harm and I just sat in my bathroom, cursing at myself for being so pathetic. I was a mess and I knew I needed help. 

The epilepsy medication did help somewhat. It stabilised my mood swings and the feelings of self-loathing and doom were never as extreme as they were before I’d been on the medication. I found out that a close family friend, who had been suffering with severe depression for most of her adult life, was on the same medication. Although mine was primarily used to treat my epilepsy, I began to fear what would happen if I stopped having seizures and would have to come off it. I knew that treating the problem went beyond medication. I needed to change my lifestyle and my attitude. I needed to talk to people and open up about my problems. 

Eventually, I did come off the epilepsy medication. I made the decision very carefully but I know that it was the right one. While I still have mild, infrequent seizures, they are never very debilitating. It was the feelings of dread and anxiety that I was afraid of. I still hadn’t properly or formally discussed my feelings with anyone, in the medical profession or otherwise. I didn’t want a formal diagnosis, because I dreaded a label. I had had health issues for a number of years, and I was tired of feeling like a victim. I know that sounds almost callous of me, but I just wanted to move on with my life. I was also afraid that my meantal health struggles would go on record and that I would find it difficult to secure a job. I tried to just ignore the feelings and convince myself that if I just didn’t live like I was depressed, then it would just disappear. Unfortunately, depression doesn’t release its grip when you want it to and pretending there wasn’t a problem only made it worse.

Since I moved around a bit, different GPs did notice that I seemed anxious and frequently recommended anti-anxiety medication, which I always turned down. I’m not anti-medication at all, but I had spent years on different medications and I had gotten a little fed up. I knew that tablets would help me, but I also knew that I could help myself without them. 

So I started to open up. I had long talks with my sister and my mother. My boyfriend was a huge help. I cut back on alcohol. I stopped staying in bed all day on weekends. I started to freely admit my struggles and my fears. I visited doctors and I discussed my feelings.

Did the depression go away?

Well, no.

And it never will. And that’s okay. I will never be completely free of these feelings of fear and dread but I can learn how to live with them. Somedays are good days. I get up out of bed and I go about my business and I feel fine. I can have a laugh with my friends and I can have fun. Conversely, some days are bad days. These days seem to be during periods where I don’t have much going on in my life; like school holidays. It is usually during the summer that I struggle most because I don’t have work as a distraction and I feel pressure to have a good time and enjoy myself. When I have bad days, I feel inexplicably exhausted. I’m hyper-sensitive and I cry. I feel anti-social and useless. I don’t like looking in the mirror. It feels like no matter what I do, or no matter what happenes, nothing can cheer me up. It could be sunny, I could have won the lottery and I would still feel anxious and sad. It feels like I’m wearing an invisible and heavy cloak around my neck, that only I notice and I have to drag it everywhere with me. I can’t take it off, I have to live with it. I guess there are just days where I notice it more.

But most importantly, I have hope. I know now that these dark days are inevitable, but they will pass. The darkness gives way to light and I have good days again. Hope has been the only thing that has helped me to get through all of this. I have a tattoo on my wrist (a place I need this tattoo) that simply states, in Latin, While I Breathe, I Hope. This is an important life motto for me. Every second I am alive, I have hope. Coincidentally, it also happens to be the motto on my family crest. 

I have come to embrace my struggles. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I try to keep a close circle of good friends that I can trust. I stay in touch with my family. I maintain a strong relationship with my partner. I spend time with my pets. And I blog. You guys have no idea how helpful this blog has been and how happy and appreciative your support and love had made me. I hope that you all realise that the humour and immaturity isn’t a front; it’s a part of who I am. But so is my depression. I will continue to be weird and awkward and all the things you guys expect, but I think it’s important to discuss this side of me too. It’s a side I used to conceal, but I don’t want to anymore. I’m not ashamed. 

Lastly, I want to thank anyone who read this far. I hope that this piece hasn’t come across too self-pitying or self-indulgent. I just wanted to be honest and open with you all and if I could reach anyone, then that’s a bonus. If you do find yourself struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, it’s important that you don’t just close up and ignore these feelings. Confront them. Share them. Or, like me, embrace them. I spent so much time vainly attempting to appear happy and well-adjusted that it just became exhausting. When I finally realised that I could stop, that I could just become okay with not being okay, I felt relieved. In many ways, my struggles have helped me to become a more compassionate and empathetic person. I choose to see the good in my situation instead of the bad. I truly hope that this post has been even a little helpful to someone out there. Finally, here are some words to live by if you are struggling:

I will live with this.

I CAN live with this.

This post was inspired by a number of fantastic bloggers who encouraged me to find the courage to post this. I don’t want to link to anyone else because I feel that their stories are very personal and they may not want me to but I have to say thank you. This has really helped.

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87 thoughts on “The Most Difficult Post to Write

  1. Jessie Reyna says:

    Wonderful post. It’s certainly not an easy post to share and I applaud your bravery! Those who think it’s attention-seeking don’t understand the state of depression.

  2. Michelle R. Eastman says:

    You are incredibly brave to share your story. I can relate to much of what you’ve shared. I think funny people (people who notice the “off” bits and ironies in life) just see things and feel things on a deeper level, a different level. Humor is an art, and people with a wry sense of humor have the same type of sensibilities as artists. In addition to being very funny, you are a talented writer, hence you are an artist. An artist’s sensibility can lead to incredible high’s and desperate low’s. Have you noticed the low feelings intensified after weaning off the epilepsy medication? If so, maybe it is worth considering starting it again. Struggling through depression is no way to live. You deserve to live a full life. None of us is happy all of the time, but it is not okay to feel sad all of the time. Be kind to yourself, and treat yourself as you would treat someone else in your situation-with patience and tenderness.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Michelle. This is such a thoughtful and perceptive comment and I really appreciate it. I do often notice that the most cheerful or humorous people I have met seem to be the ones hiding the most misery.
      I did actually feel quite low after coming off my medication but I have improved since. I have no doubt that I will have lows again, particularly in the summer, but I think I’m more equipped to deal with them now. If I was to go on medication, I would probably lower the dose. But you are right; I don’t have to live like that.
      Thanks for your concern and for such a touching comment, I really appreciate it 🙂

  3. Carol says:

    Carol’s Little Mom here. I didn’t find this self-pitying or self-indulgent at all. Having lost several close friends and relatives to suicide after struggles with depression and bipolar, your honesty is welcome and appreciated. Especially online where social media all too often gives a false impression that everyone has happy, perfect lives. It’s easy to get bogged down in comparisons and start to feel like you are alone when the reality is that we’re all human and we all struggle. Just differently. Anyway, thank you for sharing.

    • janeybgood says:

      I’m sorry to hear about the people you have lost; it seems no one is safe from depression’s insidious grasp.
      You are so right. It is easy to pretend our lives are ideal or perfect, when really I think everyone struggles. Thanks for commenting and for your kind words, it’s much appreciated!

  4. hugsxheart says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! Even thought it’s might be a touchy subject for many people. I think it was very brave of you and the post was not you feeling sorry about yourself, it’s just how you feel/felt.

    I myself had rough period of time when I was in deep depression and had anxiety attacks some times, that’s the loneliest time in my life even if I had loving family around me. I managed to get through it and today I’m happy and my funny self again.

    Stay strong and know that you are a wonderful person. You don’t have to be someone that you don’t want to be. Always treat yourself well with respect and never forget that! Also know that we are here for you âĪ

    • janeybgood says:

      Thank you so much for such a heartfelt comment, I really appreciate it. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. You are right, it is a very lonely thing to experience even when you are surrounded by others, although the support certainly does make it easier. I’m glad that you got through it and feel better 🙂
      Again, thanks for commenting and it’s great to know the support is there if I need it! 🙂

      • hugsxheart says:

        No worries! We all have our own thing and that’s ok. We grow and learn from it! Thank you for the kind words. You’re right that things are easier but not when you have destructive thoughts and dosn’t see the good. But somehow we learn to cop with it. I hope you feel better and I’m here if you ever want to talk! Take care of yourself! Lots of hugs/Nad

  5. The V-Pub says:

    Your story is very touching, Janey. I don’t suffer from depression, or at least I don’t think so. But I have experienced some very dark days, during which I didn’t want to continue. But those dark days are temporary, and life is punctuated with some really wonderful and precious moments. I know that, through your blog, you have made me laugh out loud and have inspired me to continue to blog, and you inspire others as well. With your post today, you give hope to others who may not see the rainbow up ahead.
    💗💗💗💗💗

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Rob. This is such a lovely comment and it’s moments like this that really make everything worthwhile and really make me smile.
      I have come to accept it as just another facet of my personality and I think it has actually helped to shape my character.
      Honestly, reading your blog and others helps me with my day and gives me a sense of escapism. I love it. Thanks for reading and for being so caring x

      • The V-Pub says:

        *hugs* Janey. I love our community that we have here. I know, as do you, that we can come here and find so many shoulders to lean on. I’d better stop, or I’ll break into “That’s what friends are for”. 🙂

      • janeybgood says:

        Ha, it’s like we’ve all been sitting around a campfire singing songs and holding hands, we’re all on a big love buzz 😀 it’s lovely though, I do love this place!

  6. dweezer19 says:

    Congratulations Janey. Peeling back the layers to expose your most tender parts is huge. I always sense, most especially in those who like to clown around a lot, that there is much more that is not being expressed. We all love to laugh, but more importantly, we all need to acknowledge and honor all the parts of ourselves to feel whole. I love you for every part and have experienced so many of the same emotions you have described here. Feeling distant and apart is the most painful kind of loneliness and often so very inexplicable. Sending love and hugs best that I can via this internet. Thank you for sharing yourself with us here.

    • janeybgood says:

      Oh dear, this comment made me well up. But don’t worry, they were happy tears! I really am so lucky to have made such wonderful friends here and your support means so much to me. I hope you all know that I would unquestioningly offer the same support!
      You are very right about acknowledging all the aspects of our personalities. There is nothing to be gained from pretending these don’t exist.
      Thanks again for such a lovely comment 🙂

  7. Cotton Boll Conspiracy says:

    We’ve never met but I have incredible respect for you after reading this post. I’ve been through and still go through what you’re experiencing, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m blessed to have a wife who is very understanding.

    When I’m in an optimistic mood, I tell myself that my depression has helped shape who I am. I’d like to think it’s made me a better writer, a better father and a better person. It has certainly given me a compassion for others that I might not have had otherwise.

    Keep looking up; you have much to offer, as evidenced by this post.

    Dum spiro spero.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thank you very much for this comment. I am sorry to hear about your struggles, but I agree with you; I think depression does shape who we are. I have certainly found myself much better able to read people and much less likely to take people at face value. Like you, I definitely feel that I have better compassion for others.
      Thank you for commenting and for sharing your own experience with me, I really appreciate it.

  8. brittabottle says:

    Honestly, that person who complained on Facebook about too many people blogging about depression or anxiety either has never experienced how painful it can be or is uncomfortable with talking about their own issues so chooses to bring other people down, too.

    This is an absolutely beautiful post; it doesn’t seem self-indulgent or self-pitying at all. Writing about this kind of stuff is GOOD, it helps, in my experience, it has only made me stronger. I experienced the most debilitating anxiety of my life last spring and at my lowest, I felt so alone, like I was the only person in the world with these problems. Now I know that I’m not, and I always do a little cheer when I see someone else opening up about their issues. Because it’s good to talk about these things, it’s good to know that other people have similar experiences. Thank you for sharing.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Britta! You’re very right; I don’t think that person could ever have experienced strong depression because if they did, they would know that the most important thing someone can do is talk about it.
      Thank you for telling me about your experience. It is a truly awful experience, but also character-building. I am so glad I wrote this now and your comment has really made me smile! THANK YOU!

      • brittabottle says:

        I’m glad you wrote it too. I just really believe that each time someone new speaks out about their mental health issues, the world becomes a better place. This stigma around mental health is sooo unhealthy for humanity so it really really does make me so happy to see others share their experiences. As awful as it is, it truly is character building…I learned so much about myself while going through that dark time.
        I’m glad I could put a smile on your face, too! You’re so welcome!

  9. Erica Herd says:

    It is good and not self-indulgent of you to write this. I know where you’re coming from. I have grappled with both depression and anxiety — panic attacks — for years. Thank you for your eloquence and honesty.

    • janeybgood says:

      I’m sorry to hear that Erica, but like I said, it’s important to talk about it and to confront it. When you hear someone else has been through it, you pity them but you also feel a connection through your shared experience. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Karen Rees says:

    Such a brave post to write – I can completely understand why it would be so hard to put those words out into the big wide world, but you done it and through your experiences others that are feeling the same may find comfort in your story too, knowing they are not alone.
    I too have suffered from anxiety (still do) and had horrendous moods in my childhood teens which wasn’t helped by developing Grand Mal epilepsy. Life seemed so unfair and similiar to your feelings filled with doom.
    You’re right it doesn’t go away – no point sugar coating it BUT learning to live & cope with it is a major milestone. I found the ONLY thing that helped me really deal with issues was signing up for a course in Counselling at the local college. It was amazing, and also fascinating to learn how we react and our coping mechanisms. I’m not saying the same will work for you but it really did help me and if it’s something you’d like to look into then go for it – I’m certainly so much better for it.
    Sometimes turning our negatives into positives is one of the best ways to move forward. Thank you so much for sharing your story – it really was incredibly moving to read and sympathise with. XXXX

    • janeybgood says:

      Hi Karen, thanks for such a thought-provoking comment. I’m overwhelmed by the support and also by the amount of people who have had similar struggles. Of course it’s not nice to know that the struggle is common, but like I said in a previous comment, I feel that all of us sharing our experiences here is a very positive thing and very heart-warming 🙂
      You know, I actually would love to study counselling. That’s actually a fantastic idea! Hmm, maybe I’ll look into that. I certainly could do with learning some coping mechanisms.
      Thanks for such a lovely comment, it means so much to me xx

      • Karen Rees says:

        So very welcome Janey, I sincerely hope you didn’t mind me suggesting the Counselling… it’s only because I noticed alot of similarities between our experiences and it was the only thing that really did help me from the core I thought it may be just as amazing for you too.
        I met such an amazing mix of people, I genuinely can’t recommend it enough 🙂
        All the very best for moving forward huni & once again thank you so much for sharing your story – such a brave & courageous thing to do *hugs* XXXXX

      • janeybgood says:

        Not at all, I think it’s a great idea 🙂 And thank you for being so kind to me and understanding! It’s great to get such nice and genuine advice. Xx

  11. Gary Lum says:

    Wow Jane, there is a lot there to digest. Thank you for sharing such a personal and in depth description of your struggles both physical and emotional.
    I’ve always been happy in my own company, even though I have some interests in things most of my friends and acquaintances don’t get or like, I find blogging such a release. I get the odd smart arse comment but mostly it’s supportive. Keep blogging Jane *hugs*

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Gary! You’re right, blogging is such a great release. I have found it so therapeutic. We’ve got to do what makes us happy 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  12. motherhendiaries says:

    Janey, thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story. I know it will very much help many of your lovely readers. Mental health issues have been considered taboo subjects for too long, and so, so many people suffer. My mom has been on antideressants for decades now, though she was not diagnosed until after I left home. I tell you, I know my childhood would have been so much different if she had been treated earlier… Truthfully, I am not surprised in some ways to know you have this depth of suffering in your soul. Most of us class clown types have depths, often disguised by comedy. It is the best mask we know. You have dealt sensitively and sensably with a very difficult issue, and I thank you for raising and explaining it… you are a beautiful girl inside and out, and we love you warts and all. 🙂 Mother Hen

    • janeybgood says:

      So many of your kind comments have made me well up tonight, this included. I have such an ugly cry face haha!
      Thanks for sharing this with me. It was just different in the past I suppose. My own father definitely struggled too, although I don’t think he ever really understood why. It’s difficult to watch a parent suffer because you expect them to be your pillar of strength as a child in many ways.
      While I do love having such a sense of humour, it can often be difficult to laugh or smile because sometimes I just don’t feel like it. You have all helped me so much this evening, I wish I knew how to thank you all 🙂
      You really are a great friend to have met MH. Ok, I need to stop before I well up again!

  13. Charlene Spillane says:

    Jane, this is one of the most courageous, insightful, sad, yet incredibly hopeful posts I have read in a while. I am not ashamed to say that it actually made me cry a little. I am an emotional mess at the best of times, but when it comes to these things my empathy gets the better of me! I was also the introspective teenager. I was painfully shy and anxious as a child, but I discovered a love of theatre at a very early age and have used acting as a coping mechanism ever since. At 6 years old, I considered myself very lucky to have found something that brought me such joy, and I still do (it’s where I get my fairytale outlook of life from 😉 ). Having said that, I still suffer from panic attacks every so often which stem from my inability to control certain situations I am in (this last New Years Eve was not one of my happiest memories!). While your post was certainly not self-indulgent, this comment is turning out to be! The point of this comment is that my anxiety and panic attacks were, and still are, something I am embarrassed/ashamed of, and it is somewhat cathartic to discuss them here, albeit very briefly and somewhat anonymously. So this brave post of yours has helped ME to open up, even if it is just a little, and it feels good! âĪ

    I am a huge supporter of shining a light on mental health and dissolving the stigma that surrounds it. One of my best friends was diagnosed as bi-polar a few years ago. She used to keep so much bottled up inside of her, afraid that no one would understand due to the stigma that still surrounds mental health, but she found her outlet and release in poetry. This blog, this post, is YOUR poetry! My Dad also suffered from depression for years and opened up to me about it a few years ago when I was a teenager while I was going through some of my own self-absorbed teenage problems. He was very cautious in his approach and his words, but he doesn't know how much listening to his story helped me see that I was not alone in this word and I was not weird for the way my brain was wired. Your story brought me back 11 years ago when my Dad spoke about his depression with me for the first time. I was proud of him when I was 15 years old to trust me with his feelings, and I am very proud of you too! As you said, truly personal posts are far and few between in this medium, and I am happy you felt comfortable sharing your story and trusting us with it.

    I'm sorry for the word vomit – but you are the type of person who makes other people want to share and open up!! Like the moon, there is a part of each person that you rarely get to see; But sometimes, when the timing is perfect and you finally catch a glimpse of that other side, it makes everything that little bit brighter! This post was heartbreaking in a most beautiful and inspiring way. Just know that it has already made a difference! Xxx

    • janeybgood says:

      Aw Charlene. I’ve really welled up here. This is such a kind, considerate comment and I’m really touched.
      I am sorry for your struggles but I am glad to hear that you have found your own ways to cope. Theatre is certainly a lovely outlet and very therapeutic. I think I could do with finding an outlet myself, other than blogging, which has been great.
      I understand how debilitating panic attacks and anxiety can be. I hate hearing someone else suffering from these because I know the horrible effect they have on someone.
      Isn’t is so sad to see a parent suffer from depression? And there is such a stigma surrounding male depression in Ireland. My own father also struggled, yet has not really been able to express himself as well as your dad. It is so important to talk about it!
      I can’t thank you enough for opening up like this. Your comment, and all the others, have made me see that I’m not alone and that no one is judging me. Your friends and family are lucky to have someone so supportive and compassionate in their lives xxx

  14. The Indecisive Eejit says:

    I think that’s an incredibly brave post, it’s not easy to put yourself out there. I’ve experienced a lot of the things you describe, like you I’m seen by my friends as the funny one, but I feel sometimes like I almost wear a mask, humour hides a lot of turmoil. I look on my blog the same as you do yours, I want it to be funny, but I promised myself a year ago I would write the good and the bad, I did posts in relation to caring for the Ship with dementia, but still everything was done with a laugh and a smile to take the sting off it, some of my family read my blog, I am scared of inadvertently causing offence by saying how i really feel sometimes, how stupid is that.
    Here’s the thing, anyone worth their salt will love you for the person you are, and that’s all parts of the person you are, very few of us are perfect and fewer still could say they have never felt something akin to what you have, although perhaps not on the same scale.
    Me, well I think you’re amazing, perhaps even more so after reading your post, and I’m always here if you need a virtual hug 🙂 x
    (Holy cow batman, this might be the longest comment I have ever written!)

    • janeybgood says:

      It’s funny that those of us who have a good sense of humour often end up being the ones who struggle most.
      I completely get what you’re saying about your blog; this is why i haven’t shared it with my family. We’ve never really been the most open with each other unfortunately. I also felt that my post would offend them, even though I know it’s silly.
      I must have a read through your posts 🙂
      Thanks so much for being so supportive. I honestly am blown away by the supportive comments. You are all amazing! Virtual hugs all around! 🙂 xx

  15. Norm Houseman says:

    Thanks for writing this post and being brave enough to share it with us. I appreciate it. I admit that I started reading your post for the humor you’ve shown, but now I consider you a more total human being. And I must admit that I’m envious that you have a family crest. As you can tell from the other comments, you have touched a large number of people. I’m sure that you will continue to do so.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Norm. I felt like it was important for me to share this story because while it’s fun to blog about lighthearted things, it’s not completely reflective of my everyday reality. The support has been so heartwarming and I am really touched. Thank you for your comment 🙂

  16. cheergerm says:

    Bravo Janey. The more we talk about depression, the more the stigma is lifted. Being part of a family whose various members have and still do, experience different types of depression, (anxiety, clinical depression, panic attacks) the dialogue needs to be kept open. I have had very down times in my life where the ‘black dog’ nipped at my heels and influenced my life decisions. Through therapy, I worked through a lot of stuff, that’s not to say I am ‘all worked out’. Who ever is? You are doing good because you are talking about it. Thanks for sharing.

    • janeybgood says:

      The thing about Irish people is that we really are reluctant to discuss these issues, and are even more reluctant to do anything about them. Seeing a therapist would be considered very unusual, which is sad really. It is something that I definitely think I could benefit from. I am glad that it has been of benefit to you, and you’ve given me something to think about 🙂 you are very right about keeping the dialogue open, I try to talk about it with Jack whenever I feel down.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for being supportive 🙂

  17. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I was just speaking with another blogger about this yesterday…that we are good at putting up the front to appear happy, funny, etc. and we are excellent at helping each other out when we are down…but why is it that we feel we don’t deserve the same happiness we want others to have? Or tell ourselves the things we tell our friends when they are down? Depression, anxiety and so many other things do just that. Our friends don’t deserve to be down because they are awesome, great people…but I must have done something to feel this way myself…so I must deserve it for some reason or another.

    I say speak from where you need to, when you need to. If i wanted to read a blog that was all one-tone, all the time, I would find more of those. I think this forum online is safer than most to share experiences such as these because you may not really know me. I don’t have to see you look at me during lunch and worry if you are feeling sorry for me or not. This is a safe place for me to go, personally, to run my mouth (seriously and not so much) when I am feeling my lowest, to keep from doing things I shouldn’t. Those who don’t see that can just not follow me; more than likely they weren’t already and I doubt I was following them back.

    In other words, keep being you. I am glad you shared this, though I know how difficult it is too âĪ ((Hugs))

    • janeybgood says:

      What great advice this is. While writing the article was very helpful, I think the comments people have left have helped me the most. I was actually really fearing peoples’ reactions, I’m not sure why. I suppose it’s just all part of the struggle; being full of doubt of insecurity.
      You are so right. I offer my friends all the advice in the world. I’m the one they call when they need help or advice, but I’m very reluctant to do the same when the situation is reversed.
      It’s very refreshing and reassuring to get comments like this because it does remind me that people are not always as judgemental as I assume they are. And like you said, if someone doesn’t like it, they can just unfollow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for helping me see clearly. X

  18. Chelly says:

    I’m glad you told us. At least now when you’re having a bad day you’ll have even more people you can talk to ☚. I was on two tablets (epilim & topamax) that were meant for epilepsy but that i was using for migraine. When i came off them both and switched to a new tablet i experienced two or three weeks of feeling really down and scared. I dont know if it was the withdrawal of the tablets or the fact that my pain started to improve slightly after switching but i missed more lectures and tutorials then, than i had when i was worse because I was afraid of getting worse again and also because the enormity of what had happened to me just hit me then. I cried and slept a lot, and kind of wallowed in my pain, and also lost 2/3 of my hair which i know isnt that bad but i was really upset at the time. It’s only lately I’ve been thinking back to that time and wondering if it was depression, and it’s actually a good 2 years ago now.

    But after those couple of weeks, those feelings just lifted (i dont know how i got better really) and it hasnt happened since so my point is, just be careful with tablets, sometimes they don’t help your mood. just wanted to tell you that cos you found it harder when you came off them first! And I’m not saying they cause problems or that you shouldn’t take them, just that your body can sometimes react a bit weird when you’re coming off them.

    I’m very lucky that i am able to talk freely with most of my family members and i have one friend who i find it easy to talk to.
    I get what you mean about not wanting to look for attention. I know it’s not the same but it’s kind of how I feel about migraines. You want people to understand exactly how you feel but at the same time you don’t want pity Or people feeling sorry for you because when they react like that it seems more tragic than you want it to be. but then you dont want people to brush off what you have either, like you want them to take you seriously too, which I guess is kind of contradictory 😁
    I dunno if this would help you but it has helped me to think of the good things that happened as a result of being sick. So, I never would have joined a migraine support group and made tonnes of online friends like me, I never would have become so close to my friend from my hometown because we both couldn’t go to college due to different illnesses and we have so many things in common like piano! i never would have had the time to teach myself guitar. I also wouldnt have made a twitter account to keep up to date with new research being done on migraine, so I would never have followed you on twitter and discovered your blog, which always puts a smile on my face. Even today, it was different but I’m happy for you, being finally able to talk about your struggles. I hope you feel some relief now x
    sorry this got so long 😁

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me. You reminded me of a time when I had to take antibiotics while on my medication. It was a few days before a girl holiday with my two close friends and I just freaked out. I started having panic attacks and anxiety and one day, I cried in the bathroom for hours. I just couldn’t stop. I came off the antibiotic because it just wasn’t worth the feeling of anxiety. I get travel anxiety too though, which I hate.
      Although medication does help (and it’s essential when you have epilepsy or a related disorder, like migraine), it can also cause a lot of problems, particularly when you have to come off it for whatever reason. I have suffered from migraine too and I know how awful it is. I actually prefer not being dependent on the medication, because, like you, when I had to come off it, I had weird feelings of depression.
      You’re so right to focus on the positives 🙂 that’s a wonderful attitude. I think I have been able to express myself better because of the fact that I suppose depression often makes you more creative and introspective. I’ve always kept diaries or written about it and that’s really helped. I also have amazing friends and talking about my issues has brought me and my boyfriend a lot closer. I’m so glad that you have great support, it’s so necessary!
      And thanks for such lovely comments and for sharing your thoughts with me. I really appreciate it and I’m so glad we have “met” 🙂 I hope your migraines aren’t causing you too much trouble x

      • Rachel says:

        I’m glad we met too! 😀 i still have daily migraines but they’re nowhere near as bad as they were two years ago! I can manage the pain better now with new meds (which only make me sleepy 🙂 ), a new diet and keeping a good routine. I think once I accepted I might never get better, things started to look up, because then I was more focused on just living with it than trying to find the next cure! That doesn’t mean I’ve given up though. Staying hopeful is really important to me. I’m now waiting for botox and hoping it’ll work! And that comment choosing to be happy is something I only learned to do lately, it makes such a difference when you realise it’s a choice. Not that you can’t be sad but that you can choose to get back up again 🙂

      • janeybgood says:

        Great to hear you’re doing well. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is actually one of the best ways to avoid depression and it really does pay off, but it’s also difficult. I know when you have health issues, like migraines or IBS in my case, that living healthily becomes essential.
        You’re right; it’s important to remember that a lot of how you feel is up to you. I know that if I make certain choices (like drinking alcohol), I’ll be down in myself, so I’ve tried to avoid alcohol.
        I’m hoping you continue to feel good 🙂 and I’m here for a chat whenever you feel like it!

  19. pensitivity101 says:

    Honest and painful to write, but brave too.
    In the 80s, I suffered severe depression after years of trying to be something I wasn’t and putting up with everyone else’s shit without thought for myself. When I went ‘over the edge’ it was dramatic and frightening to the extent that I couldn’t even dress myself, I was shaking that much. I had an excellent Boss and doctor, both of whom were supportive. Family was too far away to be of immediate help and the relationship I was in was the catalyst. It took six months to get myself sorted, a further 6 months to get away and another 6 months to get off my medication.
    That was 28 years ago, and I turned my life around. What you see is what you get, and if you don’t like it, that’s OK, but it’s not my fault that you don’t.
    I still get sad and depressed, but know the signals and won’t let them beat me. I have a good husband who knows about the mess I was recovering from. He has his own problems, and our ‘deal’ has always been that we can have our off days, but try not to have them at the same time.
    You have my utmost respect for writing this post.

    • janeybgood says:

      I’m truly sorry to hear what you have been through but you seem like a very strong person and I am glad that you have come through the other side, no doubt a much stronger person. I often wonder myself what the future will be like, and this has given me more hope. I know the road ahead isn’t easy and that there will be many more dark days, but it seems like I’m getting a handle on things. I think opening up and talking about it is the best thing that we can do.
      Thank you very much for sharing this with me and for giving me that hope.

      • pensitivity101 says:

        I was given a chance to rebuild my life and in doing so, I turned things round. I learned a lot about myself during those dark days, and it wasn’t very nice. My doctor said to find something about myself I liked and build on that, then find something else and add that too. I actually like the person I am now and accept that I cannot be or make everything ‘perfect’ (Hubby loves me warts, excess weight, moody fits and all). Life will always throw challenges at you. I certainly found writing things down helped, and if you are able to talk things through with your partner, that’s terrific. It is self destructive to hold everything in and try to hide what is tearing you up inside. People who have ‘been there’ understand and don’t pass judgment. There are many of us out there, and we are all rooting for you.

      • janeybgood says:

        Your doctor gave you very good advice. It’s important to start small. Some days, when I’m very down, I praise myself for even getting out of bed. It sounds crazy, but it’s an achievement.
        I think it takes actually going through the experience to really understand someone else’s pain. It’s great to know there are always people here who understand.
        You sound like you’re in a good place and I’m glad to hear it.

  20. Darshan Gajara says:

    I could connect to this line of yours, “I choose to see the good in my situation instead of the bad”. Once my Junior College professor had told me a story & concluded with explaining the concept of “Choosing to be Happy”. I’m very thankful to him for sharing this life lesson.
    And it’s good to see you do so well after being through all of this.

  21. A Cookbook Collection says:

    For some reason Jane I have only seen this now. I want to find you and give you a big massive bear hug! This post is so moving. You have such courage to put yourself out there like that. I hope you continue to get all the support and love you need because you very much deserve it. x

    • janeybgood says:

      Aw thank you 🙂 It did me the world of good to write it and I’ve been feeling good. The support has been lovely. Thanks for commenting, it’s very kind of you 🙂

  22. Spence's Girl says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your blog since discovering it. Today, I have a new appreciation for you and your candor. Every word had meaning. I’ve been there with depression for many years and you’ve articulated your struggle beautifully. I have to believe that so many people will relate to what you’ve shared. So thank you, I read every word. You are gifted and I’m grateful to know you through your blog – your funny and serious sides are both compelling.

    • janeybgood says:

      This is one of the sweetest comments I have ever received, thank you so much 🙂 I’m floored by the amount of people who have had struggles, and I’m so glad people have shared their own experiences with me. It’s always good to talk about it.
      I hope you are in a good place now and I’m glad that you read this. Your support really means a lot 🙂

  23. V says:

    A fantastic and inspirational post. I hope you’re suitably proud of yourself, because you should be. It takes a huge amount of courage, not to mention self-awareness, to write something so open and honest. I know I’m late but I’m thinking of you and wishing for you all of the wonderful things you deserve, and more. Stay delightfully nutty (I was going to say eccentric, but thought that way too PC) and brilliant. All the best, V.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks so much for reading V. It means a lot. I don’t really know why I felt like I had to write it but it just seemed like such an important facet of my personality that I almost felt dishonest not sharing it.
      Ha, you reminded me of what I always tell my students when they ask me what eccentric means: “that’s just the name for when someone rich is crazy. When you’re not rich, you’re just crazy.”
      Honestly, thanks for such a lovely comment 🙂

      • V says:

        Sometimes it’s good to write out all of this stuff, it’s kind of cathartic, and it helps to sort some stuff out in your brain. Well, it does for me, anyway! You actually published it though, and that’s much better. It’s not just brave, I know that even reading about someone else’s story, what they’ve been through and how they process it, can help other people to deal with their own struggles. It’s like reaching out to someone and telling them that it’s okay. It’s so simple, but it’s unobtrusive and so effective.

        Ha! I love the definition you give your students. So true. If we were rich we’d definitely be eccentric. You’d definitely have a lot more animals. And you’d probably will them all of your earthly possessions.

        So would I. Like in that Disney film, The Aristocats. That aul lady was leaving her fortune and estate to her cats! LOL, her CATS!

      • janeybgood says:

        It definitely was cathartic. My boyfriend read it, and it made him see how low I was and I suppose he was able to see a side of me that I had never really let him see; it was nice.
        Haha, I’d have ALL the animals. I’m probably one of those crazy animal hoarders except I don’t have enough money to get any more. Man, I love the Aristocats. Yeah, I would totally leave my animals most of my stuff. Cause I’m sound like that. And so are you. That’s what we are: sound. Not weird. Ahem.

  24. Oscar Relentos says:

    Wow that was an incredibly deep post, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that to show others they’re not alone. I struggle with the same feelings at times, for whatever weird reason it happens mainly in the winter even though I prefer the colder weather. You’re a tremendous writing talent and from what I’ve read you’re very, very funny and creative. It’s fantastic. I wish you nothing but the best as you navigate through this world, and it’s amazing that you’re able to sublimate your struggles into something as great as this blog. It takes a lot of will and courage. Nothing but the best to you 🙂

    PS I thought catcher in the rye was a good book though haha

    • janeybgood says:

      Aw thank you for your comment; it’s lovely. I really appreciate it. I am overwhelmed by the amount of people who have shared their personal struggles. I suppose we all feel a little down now and again, but it is so important not to let it get on top of us.
      I know the winter can be tough. I suppose it’s the shorter days and the darkness. Even though it is nice in a way, it can also feel very lonesome.
      The Catcher in the Rye is actually one of my favourite novels 😀
      Thanks so much for your comment and so glad to have met you 🙂

      • Oscar Relentos says:

        No prob at all for the comment, it’s true we all have our highs and lows I think, and we can’t let those lows keep us down. The shorter days and the darkness and the endless onslaught of snow don’t help one bit, it does make it easier to feel lonesome. And that’s awesome I love the catcher in the rye haha jd salinger really connected with that sense of being young and without clear direction. Definitely glad to have met you too! Keep positive and keep up your fantastic blogging! 🙂

      • janeybgood says:

        I read that book as a teenager and I remember really connecting with it.
        It’s one of the first books I ever read more than once.
        And thanks again, you are awesome!

      • Oscar Relentos says:

        You’re definitely the awesome one haha I read it as a teenager too and connected with it, I’ve read lots of books since then but for whatever reason it always stuck with me. I think it’s the idea of him being the catcher in the rye, and keeping kids from going over the edge. I’m still not sure what Holden meant by it, but it stuck with me. I think it sort of made a visual of the way the book was keeping younger people from going over the edge thinking they were alone in their lonely wandering through the world having no clear guidance or feel for what was right, but in reality people before had experienced the same and were there to keep them from making the wrong decisions. I don’t even know if that’s right but that’s what it always meant to me, I don’t know. Thank you for your blog posts!

      • janeybgood says:

        I actually think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I actually teach secondary school (or high school) and this book is on the curriculum. It’s a difficult one to teach because there’s so much to be taken from it. I think you’ve done the best thing; you’ve read it yourself and reached your own conclusions. That’s what I encourage my students to do.
        I never did quite fully understand what he meant by being a catcher, but I do think you’re explanation is correct. I think he just felt powerless and lost and like he was going in the opposite direction to everyone else.
        Now I want to read it again!

      • Oscar Relentos says:

        True I like it best to take what you can from a book on your own before trying to see everybody else’s interpretations, I figure art speaks to us all differently. I think that was what he meant that he was lost and he might be able to help the lost as well, I’m going to have to read it again too it’s been years haha forever a classic though!

      • janeybgood says:

        There’s another book that I think is really similar called “Engleby” by Sebastian Faulks. It’s a lot darker and longer but such a great read. I recommend it to my friends and they’re always like “what the hell, Jane?!” cause it is quite dark but I think if you like Catcher, you’ll really like it!

      • Oscar Relentos says:

        Sweet I haven’t found a book quite like catcher in the rye haha once I get a chance I’ll check that out! I don’t so much mind dark I just don’t like horror if it’s Game of Thrones type dark I can deal with that thanks for the recommendation!

      • janeybgood says:

        It’s dark in a more psychiatric sense. My mother gave it to me cause she couldn’t finish it, she hated it and she’s a psychiatric nurse lol!
        Anyway, great talking to you and enjoy it if you do find it 🙂

      • Oscar Relentos says:

        Ahh okay I can see that sort of eternal sunshine of the spotless mind dark? I don’t know I’m rambling haha I’ll be sure to give it a read sometime! Definitely great talking to you too look forward to more hilarious posts! 🙂

  25. Wordifull Melanie says:

    Not at all self indulgent or off putting to read more of your truth. We all have our demons to fight and you are brave to reveal yours here. Bravo to you! One part of dealing with depression is acknowledging it…there is no shame in that.

    Huge hugs! oh and side note… I loved Catcher in The Rye and always considered The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath the female version of sorts.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thank you so much. I’ve been going through a difficult few days again but I’ve found that I’m able to open up much more now.
      Both great novels. Catcher in the Rye will always be one of my favourites. I loved The Bell Jar too, but I prefer Plath’s poetry. It’s very difficult to read, though. It’s so intense and dark.

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