Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Grateful and Depressed? You Can Be Both

posted by Beyond Blue

Love gratitude 3.jpg
In his book “What Happy People Know,” Dan Baker argues that you can’t be in a state of appreciation and fear, or anxiety, at the same time. “During active appreciation,” Baker writes, “the threatening messages from your amygdala [fear center of the brain] and the anxious instincts of your brainstem are cut off, suddenly and surely, from access to your brain’s neocortex, where they can fester, replicate themselves, and turn your stream of thoughts into a cold river of dread. It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.” Other studies have also highlighted how gratitude can buffer you from the blues, promote optimism, and, in general, make you feel peachy.

However, I do hereby swear that it is possible to be grateful and depressed.

Simultaneously.

For example, I’ve articulated on several posts that I have been in a depressed cycle for about nine months. I have good days, and I’m able to write my blogs, do a little publicity, arrange play dates for the kids, and help with their homework. But I have, for three seasons now, woken up with that nausea in my stomach and the familiar dread that most depressives feel in the morning, of wondering how I’ll make it through the day with what I call “dark vision.”

Today I woke up incredibly grateful for my husband. By the time I got downstairs, he was brewing Godiva chocolate coffee and had the table set for breakfast. He was making the kids’ lunches and making sure our son had his lacrosse stick for practice afterward. I was grateful for my kids: for the creative and sarcastic one who left a poster for me last night that read “I love Daddy more than you,” and for the other one who has a beautiful, sensitive soul and the discipline and determination to–in my opinion anyway–succeed at whatever he wants to do in life. For my family I am incredibly grateful.

However, if learned this afternoon that tomorrow would be my last day on earth, I would be immensely relieved.

I know that seems wrong … that I could be grateful and want to die at the same time. But I guess it’s the difference between a physiological pain–a quiet desperation, or a plea for relief–and the virtues of love, commitment, and appreciation. Professor of Psychiatry Peter Kramer explains this quandary best when he says, “Depression is not a perspective. It is a disease.”

A Beyond Blue reader caused me to think about this. On the combox of my post, “Never Place a Period Where God Has Placed a Comma,” she wrote:

I know how hard it is to fight for sanity when your brain chemistry is askew. However, I sometimes feel you don’t realize how lucky you are. Perhaps I’ve missed posts regarding the blessings in your life, but you have a husband who loves you and supports you and two children, a boy and a girl even. The people you’ve loved, the people who’ve loved you, the joy and heartaches you’ve shared … relationships are where it’s at.

She’s absolutely right. I have so much to be grateful for. And if I haven’t articulated that enough in my blogs, I’m remiss. However, expressing the anguish of depression doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. The love I have for my husband and my kids can’t and won’t stop the pain of depression. And considering that 30,000 Americans kill themselves every year, I would imagine that I’m not alone in saying that. Good and healthy relationships are certainly buffers against depression and anxiety and can aid us in our recovery. But gratitude and appreciation can’t interrupt my mood disorder any more than they can relieve the pain of arthritis. 

If I sound defensive, I guess it’s because I used to beat myself up over and over again for not being grateful enough to stop a depressive cycle. And based on my mail from readers, I know that is the case with lots of folks. So, while I continue to record all my blessings in my mood journal each day and say them aloud right before dinner and at bedtime with the kids, I now know that gratitude is a separate animal to my depression, and that sometimes confusing the two, especially while in a depressive cycle, can do more harm than good.

So I take note of my blessings. I thank God many times throughout the day. But if, at the end of my prayer, I’m still depressed … well, that’s okay. Because, as Kramer says, depression isn’t a perspective. It’s a disease.

Illustration by Anya Getter. 

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.



  • Donna

    Well said. Being someone who suffers from depression, it is often hard to not beat yourself up for feeing depressed when you have soooo much to be happy for, yet cant feel happy. I too struggle with that. And when you obsess(as I do) over that exact thing, it can make it worse. “why would I be depressed?” etc. I love reading your blog every single day!!!!!

  • http://gaylieo.blogspot.com gayle

    Exactly! I feel guilty for being depressed because I AM so blessed. Sitting here, well drsesed, made up and waiting for the boss to hand me some work at a very good job – kids healthy, happy and at school. Still, I would give anything to just disappear. Love your blog and how you articulate my feelings so precisely. Thank you for being here.

  • Ann

    As always, you say exactly what is in my head. People don’t get it. I posted on Facebook last night about having to fight for recovery and doing it alone. I get a reply back, “since when are you all alone?” Well, most of the time actually. I live alone, so in my darkest hours I am physically alone, which often leads to a feeling of being mentally and emotionally alone. It’s difficult to get people who have never experienced depression first hand to realize that I can think happy thoughts all day long, but it doesn’t change anything. The most difficult concept is the acknowledgement that I can be having an awesome day doing thing I love with people I love. Yet, at the high point of the moment think to myself, “now would be a good time to die. It would be better to go out on an up note.” Who does that?
    So, thank you so much for putting forth the effort to write your blogs and to share with all of us, healthy and less healthy. It’s needed and so very appreciated.

  • Meghan

    Therese,
    I’m with you on the grateful/depressed simultaneously thing. While being grateful may not turn off our depression, it can provide us with reminders to keep fighting, keep working, and keep holding on.
    Even if that’s not the “turning off the fear” thing the author mentions, I think it counts for something.
    Keep holding on.

  • Scott

    Wow! Great blog article!
    I have absolutely nothing useful or helpful to add, but I can tell you, my daily experience is exactly similar to yours … and the guilt that you describe is a particularly vile feature of our experience … and, for me at least, that guilt is followed by the further guilt brought on by wanting to throttle the friend who is trying to express their perception of the many blessings in your life…
    Oh well, buck up! Just think how fortunate you are! (*wink*)

  • Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey

    http://www.OptimisticJourney.com
    I believe that we can all make a choice to be grateful. It’s not always easy and sometimes rather difficult but I don’t think it’s impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time. I’m glad that you honed in on this, Therese.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://happysadthoughts.blogspot.com Aysel

    I am grateful because I know that without all the wonderful blessings that I have in life, my family being the main one, these periods of darkness would be much longer and heavier. My family is my lighthouse: even when I am in the dark and they are in the distance,they are still my light, they give me the direction to move toward to get out of the cold dark water.

  • Agreed

    Bravo for a great posts, and some great comments, too. I, too, have been working on gratitude and then beating myself up because it (and so many other techniques) can’t make the “black dog” just go away. I think the gratitude has really helped me gain some perspective, which is hard when you live inside your head so much, so that’s a plus. And there is so much that most of us can list. But thank you, Therese, for once again getting it right. They are 2 different animals.

  • Rochelle

    Thank you so much for sharing. You really hit the nail on the head. When I’m really down is when I try especially hard to remind myself how many blessings I really have. Being grateful doesn’t bring me all the way out, but it does help lift me up so I can crawl.

  • parker

    I feel the same way everyday . I am grateful for my job , my friends , my beautiful new grandson . But wish this life could be over so I don’t have to feel the pain , lonliness and failure anymore .

  • http://Wow Danielle

    I came across your blog purely by accident, and I’m glad I did. I don’t feel so alone anymore, even though I have a good support network and a great family- I know how you feel. And its nice to know you know how I feel.

  • Ralph Bormet

    I don’t know how you feel. I KNOW how you feel, but I just don’t FEEL how you feel. I am fortunate not to suffer from depression. Yes, I have had negative mood swings and at least once in my life when I seriously thougth of suicide (more than 40 years ago) and many times of feeling unhappy, but nothing as severe as what you describe. Thank you for enlightening me and giving me some thought-provoking opinions. I admire you faith, courage and honesty. God blee.

  • dee

    Oh how I agree that you can be in a world surrounded by the darkness of depression yet still are grateful for the world it surrounds. Personally I am struggling very hard to not drown in the dark pool of negative self talk, loneliness and what I see as a hopeless but realistic view of my future. Above this I am truly grateful for what I do have and try to keep those thoughts moving through my mind, soul and words spoken to God all day long. After becoming suddenly permanently disabled 8 years ago, ending a 25 plus year career I absolutely loved and lived for, my future seemed to go splat on my windshield of life. Yet I am grateful I was not paralyzed, am I grateful things was not worse, say resulting in a deadly accident.. Well ask me later I may have a better answer.
    As I look to my future I cannot dream because I cannot work to add to my income, Social Security does not give you the ability to work overtime to increase your earning, no it is the same each month. Financially I cannot live on my own without help towards monthly living expenses, which means I cannot dream of a future to retire… this is it. My health future looks just as bleak with ever increasing problems popping up. There is not companion in the loneliness, well except the depression I am immersed in.
    However, as bleak as life seems to me, I am so grateful I have a home, no matter how old, it’s paid for and it provides adequate shelter, I am grateful my Dad lives with me, that he helps care for me as I care for him, his great cooking and the fact after 45 years we are finally getting along and I am truly grateful for Beliefnet and Beyond Blue for letting me speak my truth like this. God Bless Therese, thank you for your continued honesty and encouragement

  • http://www.abbyhasissues.wordpress.com Abby

    I often struggle with this myself, as I start to wonder why I can’t be happier considering the fact that I am alive and able to (attempt) to make a living, walk on my own, etc. There are times I feel selfish and ungrateful, as people with “less” seem to be so much happier than me.
    But like you, I realized that it doesn’t have to be either/or. I can be appreciative, but that doesn’t change that I can also be simultaneously sick. This doesn’t make me selfish, but rather struggling against something that is often out of my control. I appreciate my family. I appreciate nature. But if you gave me the option to continue numb and isolated with no consequence, I would. That’s just how I feel.
    When the weather gets nice, I often feel this way a bit more. I love the sun and love being outside, but I feel a “pressure” to be active, happy and social because the weather is so nice. I’m grateful that it’s nice, but that doesn’t mean I’m not depressed and secretly wish for clouds, just something to match my mood.
    But I’m rambling…I am just grateful that someone else gets it. I can be happy and OK one minute, but then slip back down in the blink of an eye. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the blessings in my life, it’s just that they alone cannot cancel out my chemistry.

  • Kathy

    I know how you feel. I too have woke up with that feeling in the pit of my stomach and wonder how to make it through the day. I also have a great husband, 3 wonderful grown kids and a grandchild, and 4 granddogs. But in the end, even with gratitude depression has a life of its own. As does anxiety. You expressed it beautifully.tunny

  • http://peacefulbeingbalance.blogspot.com/ Michelle Carras

    I’m not so sure where Baker is coming from with his comment that grateful thoughts and anxious thoughts can’t coexist. Perhaps he is looking at neurotypicals, those whose minds haven’t been shaped by years of chronic low mood. Or perhaps he is talking about living in the moment. Yes, as a person with bipolar II, even when I’m suffering from low mood I have plenty of moments where I feel gratitude. But if 90% of my moments are colored by a pain that feels even more irrational with the recognition of all that I have to be grateful for, those moments of gratitude seem to perhaps even contribute to the pain. It’s only through faith in mindfulness that I keep up with my loving kindness meditations, choiceless awareness meditations, etc; just as I keep up with the physical exercise I know helps me stay even as sane as I am.
    But please, don’t give me even more evidence that I can twist into “again, it’s my fault for not being ___________ enough” that x, y or z intervention doesn’t solve the problem.
    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful interpretations, Therese.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve also struggled with depression & guilt & stigma from well meaning or impatient family & friends who wanted me to choose happiness & gratitude. From the bottom of my heart- Thank you for confirming what I felt but couldn’t express.

  • http://www.deborahstevenson.com Deborah

    Dear Therese,
    You know so much about this disease, it’s hard for me to think of anything useful to say, which is the impulse I have upon reading your posts, and those of others here.
    I guess I will simply act on the core impulse, which is to reach out and to extend love and comfort.
    You know about taking inventory. I think what you are able to accomplish while feeling as depressed as you do, is amazing. I hope you – and others here in the same mood – give yourself credit for your endurance and your ability to be active throughout your day. It is no small feat.
    I agree with what you say about gratitude, and its tinge of guilt, inadequacy. Maybe it’s useful to also mix in to that attitude the thought that the Universe is grateful for YOU, just as you are.
    Something I don’t see talked of much, is the effect of music on depression. There is music I can listen to – if I remember in my depressed state – that will always always ease me. I bet others have this too. For me, it’s Stevie Wonder who is at the top of my list. His music has the power to penetrate the dense mood and to actively inspire joy in me. So I wish you music today.
    And I join with everyone who reads your pages in thanking you for what you do for us by writing and sharing.
    Take care.

  • Cindy Bailey

    Thank you so much for this blog today. I have always felt guilty for feeling depressed when I have so much to be thankful for. I never understood it. But the fact that you again pointed out that depression is a disease reminded me of the fact that I can indeed be both sad and grateful at the same time.
    Thank you so much – I read you every chance I get – and you have helped me in so many ways. I wish you well.

  • Ike

    As others have said, you have articulated what I have felt, and do feel (regularly, though on medication, because nothing helps my depression pre-period). Thank you, and I agree. You can be thankful for being here and having landed on your feet time and time again despite difficulties, but still be daunted by facing the difficulties day after day. Sometimes get tired of swimming upstream, yet get tremendous joy from my family. Thanks.

  • Samantha

    I am all of the above. I feel that I have the perpetual little black cloud over my head and things that should make me happy and be upbeat are overshadowed by doom and impending nastiness from everything around me. My ex, my life in general seems to just rain on me constantly so that when I do get a moment of happiness, I honestly don’t know what to do with it! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I should be grateful that I am still walking upright, but there are so many days that that dream of being happy is so distant, I wish I were 6 feet under! Thank you for telling me that it is ok to feel how I feel!

  • Dee

    Is it possible for a breast cancer patient to feel grateful for the kind people attending her and still be conscious of the pain of her disease and aware of potential threat to life? Of course! Depression is a disease, no different, no less “life-invasive” than cancer, so let’s get this straight with those who want to tell us that there is just something wrong with our approach to life.
    During my long spans of good health I am a kind, considerate, gently grateful person, and that doesn’t disappear with the onset of depression in any greater quantities than it does for the woman fighting cancer. We are still the same people, just people fighting a fearsome health threat.
    Last week my neighbor who is a “trained mental health worker” tried to give me a dirty dose of guilt because I’m not of her religious faith, knowing full well that I’ve been fighting severe depression for nearly two years. I’m ashamed for her, ashamed for her Christian religious beliefs, ashamed for the college which supposedly educated her on this illness and gave her ethical training on how to appropriately treat people with depression. I am ashamed for her self-righteous hypocrisy toward someone (me) who has been kind to her and to her children. Save us all from those who have the slick “answers” to this! If they were right, I would have recovered a long time ago and so would you, Therese!

  • Rita

    Counting my blessings helps. Even if all I can find is “a roof over my head and food on my table.”
    Even the most blessed can be depressed. I once had a massage therapist ask “What have you got to be depressed about?”
    Sometimes people ask “Why are you depressed?”
    “Because I have manic depression.”
    I suppose they ask in case they can help. I don’t know.

  • Barbara

    I think your messages are clear about your love for your family and your gratefulness for your life. The depression you so eloquently describe can certainly coexist with the things you are grateful for.

  • Maria Carasco

    Hi,
    Wow .. well said, Been there myself sometimes, and know it is hereditary . My son is 33 and also suffers from ADHA, & depression.
    What can be done for him. Want to help him, but at times he is so down am afriad because he does talk of suicide sometimes. He has no medical insurance to cover any treatments, is there a place he can go for help. He lves in Sylmar CA.
    Thank you
    Maria

  • Iric_S

    Thank you for writing this. I thought that I was alone with this dichotomy. It is really helpful (I can’t say nice because I wouldn’t wish serious depression on anyone!).

  • Jacqueline

    I now know that I am not the only one who can be depressed and grateful at the same time. I can say out loud that I am truly blessed and grateful for my 2 wonderful children, my great support system of friends, wonderful job, beautiful home and still want to commit suicide because I feel like I can’t be in the dark place another minute.

  • Lexasmom

    This article speaks to exactly where I am in this moment in time. I am so grateful for a good job and my beautiful daughter. I am grateful for my family friends. But at the same time, I want to go to sleep and never wake up. My rational mind says that is STUPID!! But I still feel sad. Sad and blessed and grateful. It’s a weird place to be.

  • Barbara H

    Oh, Therese, I thank you so much for this post today . . . As a recovering alcoholic and addict, I am surrounded by well-meaning counselors and friends in the AA program who try so hard to make me well, but they “just don’t get it” as you so succinctly put it in one of your previous posts. All they succeed in doing is making me feel even more guilty, more “not good enough” or strong enough or having enough faith in my Higher Power whom I choose to call God to overcome the darkness that makes me want to hibernate in my apartment, shut off my computer and my cell phone and refuse to answer the door if someone should knock. I have spent several days in dark rooms, crying and wishing God would take me from this planet . . . and other days rejoicing that He has not . . . Thank you for your insight, i am printing this blog to help my dear friends and family to understand what my life is like . . . God bless you, Therese, i thank God for your insight

  • Niki

    Thank you so much for posting this. I really needed it today. Like Lexasmom, my rational mind is asking what my problem is. I should be extrememly grateful for my husband and kids, but still I am “stuck” in this foggy cloud. Thank you for making me realize I am not alone; that other mothers deal with this as well, and I’m not crazy! Depression is a disease, not a perspective

  • deegee

    I agree, you can be grateful and depressed at the same time. I have been there. Just last night, in fact.

  • http://chipur.com Bill White

    “It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”
    Interesting observation from Mr. Baker, but I respectfully question it. First of all, I would not presume to know what the brain can and cannot do. His description of the interrelationship of the amygdala, brain stem, and the cortex may be accurate by design; however, if we knew precisely what this axis could or couldn’t do, I’m thinking we’d have a lot more on-the-mark relief alternatives than we do.
    I can personally attest to the fact that I have (and at times still do)suffered badly. And I can also attest to the fact that I am grateful within and without my pathology.
    Thanks for the post, Therese…

  • Winter

    Funny how I ran across this, and I was thinking the same thing just a couple of nights ago. I too, am aware of how blessed I am, and very grateful for my husband and son. But I struggle sometimes with days where it feels like weights are tied to my limbs and the very thought of going out among people makes me panicky. It’s hard to explain to even my husband why sometimes I’m brazen, assertive, with razor-sharp wit and creative highs, then the next day I can’t make it from the bed to the shower. Thank you for making me feel a little less alone and odd.

  • Alberta Gobin

    JUST GETTING STARTED WITH THIS PROGRAM. MUST SEARCH IT OUT FIRST, THAN COMMENT. ALL LOOKS GOOD SO FAR. THANKS MUCH FOR BEARING WITH ME.
    ALBERTA GOBIN

  • Lori

    You’re Amazing, Theresa – a gift to us All – Many thanks for sharing your inspirational insight, awareness, courage and sensitivity.
    By doing so, you are truly strengthening tons of us who challenge our purpose every day!!

  • Jodi Major

    This was so refreshing to read!!
    I, many times, have been told…..”Look at all the blessings you have in your life…..you have it so good…be more positive!!”
    Afterwards, I felt not only the weight of depression, but also now ungrateful and guilty!
    I know more than anyone, the blessings in my life………4 beautiful children, loving family…..but it doesn’t change the fact that I have Depression.
    Thank you for giving voice to my thoughts!

  • http://www.thechristianmom.blogspot.com/ Christine Andrews Anella

    Let me begin by acknowledging how much your blogs have helped and enlightened me in the past, so thank you.
    Now, I agree that depression and gratefulness are NOT mutually exclusive. You are right, if that were the case there would be far less suicides each year, and most mother’s- who do truly appreciate their children- wouldn’t ever suffer from depression. But the truth is, depression and sadness are NOT the same thing! I often use gratitude checks to ward off impending sadness from the inevitable ups and downs of life, and it helps because sadness is a feeling, an emotional state of being; depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain- which more often than not requires medication to treat. Unlike sadness, it is NOT a feeling that ebbs and flows and changes with the wind- sadness is affected by your state of mind, depression affects your state of mind.
    But, whatever the reason for manifesting more gratitude in your life, the outcome will always be a positive, more joyful existence. I use a ‘gratitude journal’ to help me see, in black and white, the blessings in my life and to keep me accountable to focusing and thinking about the positive, good things that surround us all!!!

  • ShariD

    You have been such a blessing to me during one of the darkest winters of my life. I lost my job in October, after my husband had lost his the year before, and reading your blogs has helped me get through this long, difficult period. I have so looked forward to reading your thoughts and feelings through this long cold winter. I have just found work so there seems to be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. I will continue to follow your blog as I love your wit and humor, and wish you all the best. Thank you so much for the inspiration you have given me.

  • sulmaria

    Jesuschrist shed his blood for our sins and sicknesses (disease), we have to have faith in order to be healed….its written in the bible. With all due respect—I disagree with you, we cannot be both(grateful and depressed). I am not saying that we will NEVER have any negative feelings whatsoever during our lifetime; but we do have hope, which is our Jesuschrist. I no longer accept my depression; I believe we are healed, even if whatever is ailing us doesn’t go away instantly. We have to continue believing, praying, hoping and looking forward to our eternal life, with HIM. I’ve been putting my mind and heart on trying to help others, by simply talking to people about what I know about HIM—like I’m doing now! Reading the bible is helping me develop a personal relationship with Jesuschrist; I mean look at all the miracles he made happen, even raise the dead! Now I ask you, comparing death with depression–which is worse? I take trials and tribulations as a blessing, because God is giving us a chance to develop our wisdom when it comes to the Devil and his dirty ways of trying to makes us feel and or see something or someone beautiful when in fact, he is using that someone or something against us; I apply this fact to disease also….I say praise the Lord, and thank him for everything good that has happened in my life so far, and I pray for those that are worse off than me; and then afterwards I tell him of my pains– either spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, every single day. My motto is “You can’t feel what you don’t know, and if you don’t know Jesuschrist, you won’t feel the healing. In the name of Jesuschrist, AMEN!

  • Rebekah

    Thank you. It doesn’t matter what you have or who you have when you’re depressed. People that aren’t depressed can’t understand this. You love your family, but they can’t help when you are depressed. Thank you for being honest with your readers.

  • Lisa

    I have a son who is depressed. Thankfully he is in AA and NA and has stopped self-medicating. He takes Lexapro…but he still feels so depressed sometimes. I try telling him all the great things he has in his life. All the things he should be so thankful for. And I believe he is thankful-but it is not enough to over-ride the depression. It’s so hard as a mother to not be able to make your adult son’s depression go away. If gratitude could do it, I’m sure I would spend all day every day working to do things he couldn’t help but be thankful for. As it is, I love him, I pray for him, and I try not to fall into the trap of having my own emotions rise and fall on his. I do find my hope in Jesus…but that does not mean I am happy everyday. It means that I know there will come a day when all our suffering will be a thing of the past. It means I know there is a God who loves my son more than I am able to, and will one day comfort him in a way that only He can. “There will be a day…”
    Thank you for helping those of us who have “the blues” from time to time have a better understanding of our loved ones who suffer from true clinical depression:]

  • Tom Jones

    The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

  • Grace

    Oh, Oh, Oh, such darkness we endure. My late husband was a psychiatrist, and I’ve been on psychotropics for 20 years, plus I’ve volunteered in the field of mental health. Yet, even with a great deal of lay knowledge, which has taught me that there *will* be interludes of freedom, I sometimes feel as though this darkness of depression will never loosen its grip. During my freedom-from-pain times I can almost forget what it’s like to live under the cloud.
    The last few days I have awakened with that wretched feeling of doom, oppressed by a diminished capacity for finding joy in my 5 children, appreciation for my home, and health.
    I’m just so sick and tired of this cycle. Although I think of suicide, knowing it will condemn me to an eternity of hell, and because I could never abandon my very young fatherless children, I’ll never choose death as an option.
    Even my deep faith brings no relief. I know this will pass, but, my dear, it’s just so hard, so hard to even cook dinner, and roll with the punches of having 3 special needs kids, including an angry, autonomy seeking 17 y/o.
    While gratitude may be my conscious attitude, it, as you’ve written, really just doesn’t regulate abysmal seratonin and dopamine levels.
    So, like Faulkner’s Dilsey, I endure.

  • Niamh

    I am so sorry to hear that you have been in a depressive cycle for such a long while. I am so grateful to you that you find the energy and motivation to continue your blog, which inspires me so much. I appreciate your humility and honesty…maybe some feel that a person who writes a blog such as this should be “cured”, but I personally find more of a connection to your posts because although you do have times when you are pretty much symptom-free, you are still fighting the battle against depression. I have recently been diagnosed as bipolar and with new medication I have had about 2 weeks of relief…for this I am incredibly grateful, having felt suicidal for approximately 8 months before this. Through your posts I find strength to contine in this fight and am so grateful to YOU for reiterating that depression is not a state of mind, it is a disease. Good luck to you at this difficult time!

  • fitness

    Somethings really off.. When did trying to be grateful for each day have anything to do with balancing the yin/yang of ones self and curing depression. A starving african child on the streets of zimbabwe can be greatful for a bowl of rice but that won’t make them happy.
    It sounds like you’ve just fallen into the humdrum of after marriage life: with work, kids, husband, chores. You probably limit your goals and your dreams by saying –
    I don’t have time.
    I have kids.
    I have bills.
    I have to make whomever happy.
    Sounds like despite all your academic learning and life lesson. You forgot that in the end people want to be happy and thats why they go on to the next day. Gratefulness doesn’t mean happiness. This entire thing you wrote feels wrong.
    Learn to be happy, you need goals, you need to dream again, you need a challenge you live to overcome. You need to live!!
    Good luck and remember a good parent should be able to share some wisdom with their children on how to be happy and there is no perfect answer but I think if you start a life long pursuit toward happiness you’ll be fine.
    It also sounds like you need to listen to your 17 year old then ship them off to a foreign country for a few years so they can learn to appreciate you more ;)
    Other then that – lots and lots of exercise, sunshine, tanning, nutrition, out-door activites, playing with pets, and learning to dream like you did when you were a kid should get you moving toward a positive direction.
    All I got out of this was a cry for help and someone saying they were doing “what they were supposed to do”. I have no idea who taught you that to cure depression you should learn to be “Grateful”. This is nonsense.
    Gratefulness is about putting things into perspective and or respecting and honoring those that help you out in some way shape or form. It doesn’t counter depression.

  • JustAnotherReader

    Mr./Ms. Fitness,
    Bravo…and thank you. Simply, well-said.
    God bless…

  • http://www.gmail.com Milton

    The comment from “Fitness” really was out of love and concern for you, but it really burned me up.
    It sounded like what I hear from my family and friends. That how lucky I am in life and how blessed should snap me out of it like God is a magician I ask a wish to be well from. My friends and family want me happy and the love me dearly.
    Your blog for that day meant more to me than any others. Finally someone who feels the same way, and like othe DISEASES, being grateful for a family is not going to snap me out of depression, cancer, M.S., or a runny nose. I am grateful yes. I am still sick, yes.
    And if I hear another person tell me to increase the workouts to feel better I’m going to eat ice cream instead (I uesd to work out 2.5 hours six days a week to deal with depression, but that was just to wear me out…tough workouts…looked like a hunk. Still depressed as hell anyway. Just more tired and unable to sleep still.
    I am glad for your help. I no longer believe, when suffering from this disease, the family and friends who tell me there is nothing wrong with me except feeling sorry for myself. And I have always fought to heal (still do), b/c I have to want to not be depressed to get better. Even on the worst days. And I do that, but still I am seen as the one who plays a victim (which I do not).

  • Bobbi

    I have to agree with Terese and Milton. People who have never had depression don’t understand the disease they continue to think it’s “will power, luck, love, or gratitude” that is lacking. It is physical it is not a moral defect. Thank you for always telling the truth with honest and humor Terese you are a blessing to so many people. Thank you.

  • Bobbi

    opps, sorry, I always spell your name wrong.

  • http://uppity-crip.blogspot.com/freedom-is.html Cheryl

    I wrote a post about this recently, when I was finally enough out of my fog to be able to articulate. See link above. OOO stands for On Our Own, I’m hoping you’ve heard of the organization. I just wish the person who is supposed to be a major part of my support system wouldn’t have said, on that very day, “all you have to do is think good thoughts.” I’m sorry, I was thinking good thoughts after I finally got outside, and it did not make me one bit less depressed. I tried to explain to her that it’s the actions that change the thoughts, not the thoughts that change the actions, but I was so instantaneously furious with her that I don’t think I got my point across at all.

  • patricia

    Thank you SO much for articulating what I’ve felt for so long. You are a gift to so many. As a therapist I reccommend clients read your site regularly and they are helped tremendously ! Your insight, references and wisdom are REMARKABLE !

  • Shannon

    Therese – I made the comment regarding the blessings of your family and I want to explain where I am coming from. I have suffered from depression/anxiety off and on for almost 20 years and I do understand. I’ve looked at friends/colleagues for years and thought, “What is wrong with me. Why haven’t I achieved like my friends? Why did my first marriage end in divorce? Why do things bother me so much? Why am I SO indecisive?” Why? Because I had a traumatic event that brought about a longtime struggle with anxiety and depression, and mental illness runs in my family (my grandfather committed suicide/great grandmother committed suicide). I can totally relate to that feeling of waking up nervous and just wanting to go back to sleep and have it all go away.
    I’m sorry if I came across as judging you…that was certainly not my intention. It’s just that when I hit 40 and I realized I would probably never be a mother my entire world came apart, and the anxiety (intrusive thoughts) and depression came back full force. When I was three, I told my mother, “All I want to be is a mommy.” So, it is difficult for me to see people so blessed with families struggle with depression because I mistakenly think they should be happy. And I’ll admit it is still difficult for me to think of depression as an illness. I often think I need to quit feeling so sorry for myself.
    All that to say, I apologize if I hurt your feelings. And the comment about arthritis helps me, once again, try to see depression as an illness and not a choice.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment sarah

    HELLO EVERYONE

    Am giving this testimony because someone out there may have similar problem My Husband doesn’t think polygamy is wrong. He has been seeing another girl for about four months now. I told he needs to stop, but he says he is in love with her. They’ve talked about being together “forever” and eventually her moving in with us. My husband still loves me. He regrets getting into this in the first place, but is not willing to just break up with her. He says if they so break up then thy will be it and he will not pursue another relationship. i contacted DR ANUNU a spell caster who cast a 24 hour spell for me surprisingly my husband came home on his knees begging me to forgive him that he has broke up with his mistress all thanks to DR ANUNU I pray that God will continue to use you to help people.friends don’t die in silent because someone like DR ANUNU has a solution to your problem am living happily with my family.contact him via ANUNUSPELLTEMPLE@YMAIL.COM

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment STEPHANIE

    Hello everybody. Am STEPHANIE from FLORIDA i want to share my life experience to every body on this site. i was in a serious relationship with mike i love him so much we have dated for almost 6 years now. until he meant another girl called charity he told me that he is know longer interested in dating me any more. i was so confuse i don’t know what to do so i told my friend about what my love just told me and he told me that she can solve my problem i was doubting her how can that be possible so she directed me to a spell caster called DR voodoo .so i contacted him and i explain every thing to him and he told me that my problem will be solved within 2days if i believe i said OK .So he caste_ a spell for me and after 2days my love came back to me begging me on his knees on the ground asking me to forgive him. And I was surprise just like a dream and today Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body incase there is anyone out there that have such problem should contact him via voodoospiritualtemple@yahoo.com

  • http://Thankyou Tina

    I struggle with this issue all the time. I know that my family means well when they say things like…but you have so much to be thankful for…I know that they do not mean to hurt me, but those words are like salt on my wound. I’m caught in a horrible cycle of guilt and depression and being grateful and not feeling like I deserve those blessings because I cannot appreciate them enough to “get over it”. I look at some of the “real” struggles of people around me…cancer, death, loss of job or home….and it just adds guilt on top of guilt and feeling what an ungrateful person I am. I pray everyday for those people around me that are struggling, and I pray for myself too, but I always feel like I don’t deserve to have my prayers answered when compared to others. It’s so hard to try and explain this to my family…they don’t understand, but how can they??? I don’t understand me either. Your post gives me hope. Thank you!

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild wind can rage through your life leaving you much like the

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed f

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer is difficult? What if, instead, everything looks dark,

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.