TMI Tuesday: Have you ever been sad? Like…REALLY sad?

Mental health is a topic that many of us don’t discuss. Which is so sad because a lot of us suffer in silence. Like taking care of our skin, our reproductive health and staying up on good eats and exercise, I am a huge believer in taking care our mental health. Because what good is a new mascara if you feel…off?

I’ll start this post off by saying I have never been diagnosed with clinical depression. I respect the seriousness of it. So much so that I don’t even like to joke around and say things like,

“I’m so depressed that Sephora sold out of that palette that I wanted.”

I know people who suffer with clinical depression and don’t like using the word so loosely.

Even though I haven’t been diagnosed, I think I can safely say that I’ve had some pretty down moments in my life.

Moments where I felt….numb. Moments where I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be positive but I just…couldn’t be. Some people think that depression is an attitude. That you can just shake it. Or pray it out. Or just…get over it.

Lies. All lies.

Depression is not an attitude. I don’t think it’s an emotion. It’s a feeling that suffocates you. It envelopes you. It’s overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. I believe I’ve had several bouts of depression. And most people didn’t know about them. I’d move go along throughout my day and keep it to myself. Someone would ask how I’m doing and I’d say, “Fine.” Even though inside I felt like I was dying. And the saddest part is – I could not even begin to tell you why. Because life isn’t THAT bad. I have a roof over my head, a job to go to, money to pay my bills and friends and family members who love me. In theory, I have no reason to be depressed.

Depression doesn’t care.

I say all of this to say, if you are struggling with what you think may be depression, seek help. Churches, universities, community centers and clinics often offer free counseling and therapy sessions. If it’s depression, anxiety, stress, anger issues, substance abuse or addictions, know that you DON’T have to suffer alone.

I know. This is such a heavy post, uh? I wanted to shed some light on a topic that often gets ignored. And maybe some of you can share your experiences with mental health concerns and awareness.

Have you ever dealt with depression or any kind of mental illness? Do you know anyone that has?

  • felicia yvette

    You couldn’t be more accurate.

    Depression is the most overwhelming feeling that I’ve ever experienced. After the loss of my child, I couldn’t eat (refused to), couldn’t think straight, couldn’t focus on work… I completely shut down until a few months later. I had shut all of my friends and family out because no one could do/say anything that would help me through that.

    It’s sad stuff… sometimes stuff that can’t be handled alone. I refused antidepressants originally, but ended up taking them months later when I felt like I just wouldn’t make it. I didn’t take them for long, but I sure can’t knock ’em.

    I say all that to say that mental is so very important. Support groups help, family helps, friends help… don’t shut them out. Just let them be there — even if there’s nothing they can do/say.

  • Touchy subject but necessary to talk about. And you are very right about depression being more than just an attitude or emotion that will pass. To me, so much of how we handle/mis-handle depression and other related issues goes back to the stigma associated with mental health professionals. Even in this day and age, people are walking around with the belief that counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are for crazy and unstable people, when their work goes far beyond that. And due to that, a lot of folks who need help with their personal thoughts don’t seek it. Not all issues can be fixed on your own through self-help books and audio from motivational speakers.

    I hope your post encourages someone to consider putting their trust in a good mental health professional. It makes a world of difference IMO.

  • Depression also takes on different characteristics in different people too. About 5 months after my first child was born I felt absolutely overwhelmed and cried over EVERYTHING. But I never had those symptoms we had all heard about so much: sleeping all the time, abandoning day-to-day duties, calling in to work, etc. In fact, I found myself in an overload of tasks, I would run around doing everything ALL THE TIME, to the point of going in circles. The extreme change in my life with a new baby set off this reaction in me.

    I had no other choice but seek help with a local mental health counseling center. If I didn’t do something, I felt like I was going to really lose it. I knew there was something WRONG. I started seeing a counselor twice a week and I was more than open to meds if needed. I was diagnosed with severe depression, I believe I saw my counselor for about 6 months and they did not recommend meds at the time. I needed to talk things out and get to the bottom of all of the changes that had occurred and ask for help from those at home! Counseling helped me in ways I cannot even express and I did it in spite of family members who were against it. Seeking help was the best thing I ever did for ME :)

  • Claire

    Thankyou very much for this post. I have depression along with a host of other mental illnesses and I’m so grateful to see this important issue being raised on a blog that some may call ‘frivolous.’

    People who think you have depression or another mental illness, PLEASE get some help. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

  • I was diagnosed with clinical depression over 10 years ago. I’m not offended by people lightly using the word in the least because I know what they mean. I’ve been doing a “Free Therapy” seried on my YouTube channel for months now touching on this (and other) topics. Great post.

  • Blythe

    I have had some traumatic things happen to me in the past (as many or all of us have), and I thought that I could deal with those things alone so I never talked to someone about it more than just my family and friends. And because of that, I now have an anxiety disorder that was being managed with medication and therapy, but then my insurance got cut off so trying to deal with the anxiety alone and being cut off from the medication so abruptly has left me depressed. You are right – it’s almost an indescribable feeling and although right NOW my life is just fine, that doesn’t change how I feel and how my body feels.

    If you do not have clini cal/chronic depression or anxiety and something life-changing happens to you – it could do you a world of good to “prevent” something later on by talking to someone for a few sessions. Definitely churches have or provide counselors or Universities – just talk to someone that is neutral and won’t bat an eyelash at whatever it is you have to say.

  • OSHH

    I struggled with clinical depression as a child and teen, I sought therapy then and still may have an occasional bout. I don’t wallow in those bouts but I work through them with plenty of exercise, prayer, positive thinking and venting. They say depression is rage turned inward, so having an outlet to express those emotions is vital for our well being. In life there will be times when we all may feel depressed, which is normal,the key is recognizing it and working through it not staying in that space and knowing that til this too shall pass.

    • Brittany

      I totally agree! Working out and yoga have been enormous stress relievers for me. While running a mile won’t change my situation, it can help change my outlook and sometimes that makes all the difference.

  • As one of your bffs you know this home all too well…Depression is very overwhelming, have I be diagnosed…no. But I self-diagnosed myself when I get sad. The doctor says I am completely fine. Except for the time I lost the baby and Chloe :/

  • Aj

    I just wanted to quickly thank you for this post. I’ve been dealing with a form of depression for nearly my entire life and it is because how we are taught to look at the illness that, after nearly 20 years, I have just recently sought help for it. Most don’t take depression seriously until it’s too late. You’re right that it is not just an attitude, although we tend to treat it as such, like something that you can just snap out of. I look forward to the day when we treat mental illness as we treat any other health problem

  • Cinnie

    Love you for blogging about this, because it’s not easy to admit and express with other ppl.

    I’ve had a pretty shitty life, altogether, having bad things forced upon me that I could not control (deaths of most of my family, health problems, moving 13 times growing up, being raped, being abused by my husband, multiple miscarriages, mentally ill mother, blah blah blah).

    Consequently, I suffer from depression pretty consistently. It’s one of the reasons I focus on makeup and my other hobbies, because it takes my mind off how I’d mostly rather be dead.

    No, no, I will never kill myself. When I took refuge (became a Buddhist) I made a serious vow of nonviolence, and that goes for hurting myself, too. My thoughts of death are more wishes I’d die in my sleep. Or reactions of jealousy when I hear that others have died.

    I’ve been to therapists (the last one blamed me for all my problems. because boy howdy, I sure did enjoy being raped! and those miscarriages? SO fun. not.) and support groups and blah blah. Only thing that’s helped is Buddhism, meditating and practicing and breathing through it all.

    My main problem is handling the anger and anguish. There’s a lot of it, and I don’t know how to get rid of it. Repressing it hasn’t worked for a while now. So I put on this funny girl act so that people have a reason to spend time with me, cuz otherwise I’m a pretty miserable shambles of a human being.

    Not expecting outpourings of support or anything with this comment, btw. Not trying to be emo or attention-seeking. Just feels good to express a little of what’s inside me.

    • OSHH

      I think as a survivor myself of some of the same traumatic experieces and then some others, the first thing that helped me get past the anger was forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of yourself will release you. Anger and resentment bounds you, whereas forgiveness frees you. A relationship with GOD has helped me tremendously.

  • When i was 19 i was diagnosed with severe depression. And at 28 years old i am still battling it. I was on an anti depressant when i was 19 after i was diagnosed and when i was taken off it i was even more depressed than i was before. I dont know if i will ever get rid of the depression. I think right now i just want to control it so that i feel somewhat normal again.

  • I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 15 and ever since then i’ve been in and out of relapses. It’s not even something I could describe; it just feels like this black hole that sucks every single emotion out of you and although at the moment i’m doing a bit better, it wouldn’t take a lot to tip me over to that edge again

  • thanks for writing such an honest post…still unsure as to why this issue is not discussed more these days. To me, it’s just another form of health preservation….one of the more important ones too! I know for some, the reasons for not talking about it can outweigh the reasons FOR….but in the end you should just do it. Even if family, friends don’t understand….just do it for you. Getting better and not apologizing for the way you treat your illness/or ‘down episodes’ is so necessary. Feeling better is always an option….but you must work at it;)

  • Jessica

    Thank you for this post (: I was diagnosed with clinical depression in high school, and was put on antidepressants throughout it. I kept switching the types and dosages of pills I was taking, only to later learn that nothing ever worked and made everything worse in the long run because I actually had cyclothymia, a type of bipolar disorder. I’d never even heard of it before. So I have my constant ups and downs, and I can be quite ridiculous to be around. I remember once my friend told a joke about me that I thought was hilarious, but when she repeated it to another friend just a few hours later, I found it incredibly offensive and I blew up at her. I’m so glad I have a network of understanding & supportive friends. I would definitely not be here today if they weren’t around.

    And yeah, I totally get pissed when people use mood disorders and mental illnesses to talk about trivial occurrences. The one that enrages me the most is OCD. OCD is not always (or only) about arranging your socks by color or freaking out over asymmetrical hems. How can people be so insensitive?! I also really hate when people jokingly reference suicide (“If I fail this test I’m gonna kill myself” kind of thing). I’ve done it on occasion without thinking, and I always feel like a horrible person after I say it.

    Did you know that October is Depression Awareness Month? 😀 Its color is green!

  • I have dealt with depression before. The times when I feel like I can’t do anything, everythings gone wrong and all I can do is cry. I cant eat properly, sleep properly or even smile. All i can do is pretend everything is fine but deep inside I know its not and people who are close to me know it too.
    For me, its usually onset by stress. I tend to get suicidal thoughts during my bouts of depression. I’ve had counselling and luckily, i have a very supportive and understanding partner who holds my hands during these times.
    I’m 17 and no, its not me just being sad. Depression is when you’ve had these sort of negative feelings for 2 weeks or more. I’ve always had these bouts for longer than that. I dont pretend to be depressed or lie about it.
    There are many types of depression and theres not always a necessity for medication. I’ve not had to take medication yet… all I’ve had to have is counselling. I’m glad I’m not in that black hole right now… its the hardest place to be.

  • MaryB

    I live with Atypical depression – a more chronic condition that standard depressive episodes. It comes and goes. I take medication and participate in ongoing talk therapy to manage it.

    At best, Depression is like going through life with sunglasses on your soul. There is no color, no vibrance, no joy. At it’s worst, depression can feel like the earth is about to open beneath your feet and swallow you into utter darkness and despair.

    Depression is not a “blue mood”. You can’t just “snap out of it”. Depression is a real, physical, bio-chemical illness of the brain. It ranges from situational and acute (like coping with the death of a loved one) or it can be pervasive and chronic.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone dealing with depression. I live with it and I live in spite of it.

  • Mochacashmere

    Thank you for this post B, it was right on time. My entire life I have had this overwhelming sadness that has loomed over my life. I didn’t know how to explain it to people and my family and friends would always say”just turn it over to god”, or “you’ll be okay,pray about it”,”get a hobby” but of course none of that worked.
    I was diagnosed with depression this year after I attempted to take my life. I’m in therapy now, and it is helping, but it is a slow process.

  • Thank you for posting this, B. I agree, we don’t talk about this enough. There is still shame associated with needing help, asking for help and getting it. And there shouldn’t be any shame at all.