Thursday 11 August 2011

The thing I don't talk about much here (if ever) ...

After reading a post by Amy Saia, and replying to her via email, due to being hesitant about voicing my response in public, I've been wondering whether I should just put that dark side of my soul out there for you all to see. To be honest, as I'm writing this right now, I'm wondering how long this post is going to sit in my 'drafts' before I end up deleting it.

I'm not writing this to get any sympathy from anyone. I have plenty of support from my partner and family. I have people around me who understand and I'm so thankful for that. I'm writing this as a personal stepping stone to accepting the way I am, and not being afraid to let people see it on occasion.

I am, more often than not, very depressed. There. I said it. My gut is doing somersaults at the thought of clicking publish right now ...

I end up in tears at least once a day over nothing. I just have this sadness inside me that never goes away. Yes, it hides sometimes and opens the door for happiness on occasion, but it's always there. Lingering like a bad smell. Digging its claws into my back like a school bully trying to make my life difficult.

It gets worse when I write music. When I write music, I feel hollow. Writing music is not fulfilling for me, though, there is something that continually draws me to it. Something that makes me want to feel that hollowness. But let's look on the bright side. It makes for great songwriting, yeah? ;o).

I'm not going to go into much detail about what I feel. I think it's enough to simply say that I have dark days and leave it at that. I've learned to live with it. I have my own coping mechanism. It works. Though I do wonder how effective it is because I think I block too much of the real world out as a result. But, hey, that's a whole other kettle of fish.

I know I don't seem depressed on this blog. I fact, I think I do a damned good job of hiding it. But there is a reason I don't show that side of me on this blog, other than the simple fact that I don't want to burden my readers with melancholy content. I don't show that side of me because when I write, that thick, heavy sadness lifts. When I write I feel fulfilled. It is my medicine.

Thank you, Amy, for making me realize that it isn't so hard to talk about in public after all. And yes, as you can see, I did hit publish today. :o)


  1. Well done for posting this. I am glad that you find writing helps as well. It's a very good reason to carry on writing, as much as everything else. x

  2. You've done a brave thing, sharing and putting yourself out there. Thank goodness writing does help, and you do it so well, too! Hang in there on those tough days, Jessica. You are loved by many people, in many places, and your unique voice is a treasure.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I've got some bad depression and anxiety myself. But you're right, this is no place to air it and bring everyone else down. I'm damn good at hiding it simply because I am dealing with people on a regular basis but only have to face my computer monitor. My anxiety levels reach some high peaks and I have learned to cope with it and talk myself down. Same with being depressed. I had to find a way to change my way of thinking, to avoid the negative and focus on the positive. I cry for no freakin' reason and I hate it. But it is a part of who I am.
    You are not alone in this darkness. I'll make sure to flash a light every so often so you know I'm right there with you, girl. ;)
    Great step!

  4. Good for you Jessica, that's a very big step to take and never an easy one. I'm glad that writing gives you the relief you deserve.

  5. Jess, for all you know - putting yourself out there might also be giving strength to another person. Like me, for example. You and Amy. I don't talk much about my personal life on my blog. I do share some, let people have a little peek through a window. I'm scared of what people will think or say. But after reading your blog and Amy's, I think you are both right. Putting yourself out there is dealing with the fear. It's like saying to the world 'This is me. Take it or leave it.'

    I heart you more for this post, Jess.

  6. You aren't alone. Depression isn't something that can just 'go away'. It can be medicated in different ways but it's a part of who you are and you fight against it like you do any other sickness and pray for the best. If anything I agree that dark side is what is so deep and soul wrenching in your writing- and also the thing that people relate to and cling to because it tells them they aren't alone. I think you're a strong woman- I'm glad to know the little piece of you I know through the internet and respect the strength it took to talk about something you have to deal with on a daily basis. Thinking of you!

  7. We are all complex individuals and no matter how many commonalities there may be between us and others no one else truly understands what it is like to be you or what you mean when you say you’re very depressed. It’s like pain, we all can tolerate different levels and different kinds of pain and just because I’m a sensitive soul it would be wrong for me to assume that you are sensitive in the same ways as I am. Bearing that in mind I can tell you that I have suffered from four major breakdowns over the past twenty years. The first three I class as ‘depression’, the third, and by far the worst, I label ‘general anxiety disorder’ because there was a much broader range of symptoms. I’ve also blogged about it and you can read the post here: There’s something we need to talk about although I actually say more in the comments than I do in the post.

    The easy thing to say here is that I know what you’re going through but I don’t. I can imagine and what I imagine has a better chance of coming close to what you experience than someone who has never been depressed but that’s it. I’m not depressed now and by that I mean I’m not depressed-with-a-capital-d but even on a good day my mood is generally low. Never being in the best of health never helps and I mix up sore and tired and low and the truth is I’m always an amalgam of these three; stress, worry, anxiety, guilt and depression-with-a-small-d all come and go to keep me down. But just as I’ve learned to cope with my physical limitation so too do I cope with my mental ones. That last breakdown was a doozy and although I’m recovered I’ve also diminished; I’m not the man I was before it and it seems unlikely that I ever will be. Now, you can cry about that or you can just get on with it.

    Everyone has something, some load they have to carry that they’d rather not. If you didn’t have this you’d have something else. And there are a lot worse things out there believe you me. I had learned to cope with my depression. When the fourth breakdown came upon me I thought I knew what I was going to have to go through and I was resigned to it. I wasn’t prepared for the anxiety attacks or the memory loss (now that was scary), nor was I prepared for four years of it; I expected five or six weeks off work and maybe a year to pull myself together. Not this time.

    Depression isn’t nearly as debilitating as some people imagine though. I wrote my first two novels during by second bout of depression and I started this blog at the beginning of the fourth. I’ve never found drugs particularly helpful nor counselling. Work has always been the answer. Granted overwork has usually got me into the state in the first place but that’s another story.

  8. Hi Jess .. good for you for being brave .. I think what I like about this day and age - we can all learn so much more .. because we are more open - there's more of us in 'the big bad world' who are happy to receive, to learn and to be there ..

    Creative peoples it seems have always suffered from the lows and the highs .. it's great that you're managing yours and have found what works etc ..

    It's great to be a part of your online blogging life .. cheers Hilary

  9. While it is obviously nothing like what you go through on a daily basis I can relate to a degree. I had a dose of post partum depression that lasted for seven years and occasionally that dark devil drops in for a short visit. I make no apology for those days. I'm entitled to be who I am. I hope getting it out and on to "paper" was of some help to you. Hiding things usually hurts more than it helps.

  10. I go through periods of depression, too, as I think many creative people do. It's great that I just moved, because that introducing so many interesting new things to my life that I don't get down, but once thinkgs turn back to drudgery it will return.

  11. I have a continuing problem with depression as well. Get help, if you haven't already. It makes a difference.

  12. I'm sorry Jessica. I'm so even keeled that while I rarely drop into total depression, I never feel the highs I see so many express either.

  13. This was hard to do and I can imagine your stomach churning when you were wondering whether to hit Publish. You are not alone, as they say. You'd be surprised, or maybe not, at how many writers are depressives. Adds an edge to our work I hope!

    Thank you for sharing and I'll bet many who read this will think, 'Thank God, it's not just me.'

  14. I'm so sorry for your suffering, Jess. You're a beautiful person, and though on the surface it might seem to some that you have nothing to be sad about, in truth there is plenty of reason for sorrow in nearly every person's world.

    The wonderful thing here, I think (other than you having the courage to share openly about this), is what you choose to do with your depression. How you choose to express it. I think it's wonderful that you can write, and that seems to help.

    If I can say one positive thing about your depression, it seems to have made you into one damn fine writer.

  15. It is hard to share things like that, and you are very brave for doing so. I have friends and family who suffer from depression, too, and as much as we all wish it was just something that could be banished by a change of attitude, it's not. It's real, and it's hard, and it's scary. Thank you for sharing! I think it really helps others going through it to know they aren't alone.

  16. I love how you're so honest about it. I fight with depression every day too and it's a hard fight, harder than any other battle I have to deal with. I'm so glad you had the guts to talk about it here. Just know this, there are many here rooting for you, we're here if you need support. And any time you just want to chat, by email or face to face on google chat, let me know.

  17. Well done for sharing, and I do hope you don't delete the post, it might help others to come to terms with their own situation. Hugs and love, Carole.

  18. There are so many ways to handle our feelings, including depression. Some are constructive. Some are not. I'm glad you've found writing as your outlet, as have I. You're not alone, love. Hugs.

  19. I'm glad writing provides you with relief from the depression. And I'm glad you have a good support system around you. *hugs*

  20. You're so brave to be so honest. It makes me happy that you find light in the dark through writing. :-)

  21. Thank you for writing this, I can relate( or used to). I find writing and my music a great thearapy, living alone can be great but it has it's drawbacks.....bloody loneliness.
    Each person is different and the song "I Am What I Am" sums up people in a nutshell.


  22. You, my dear Jess, are an old soul and an artist. You feel much more than others because of your amazing creativity.

    ALL artists experience depression. I've had my bouts of it too. Writing is an incredible medicine. It has saved me on many occasion and keeps me going in my daily life.

    Sharing this with your blogger friends only shows that you do have it under control. You are NOT skulking in a closet. You are NOT overdosing on drugs. You are NOT drinking yourself into a stupor.

    You are, however, relying on support from your family and friends. You are going with your feelings and not letting them take of your life. You are a strong and sensitive woman. Keep writing, keep playing your hollow, dark, music. You MUST express who you are.

    No one has ever said it was easy to be an artist. If anything it is extremely difficult and we live very passionate lives. But we live ...

    Take care, and feel good about who you are .... an ARTIST.

  23. I think you're very brave for sharing it with us. I think this is something I've sensed from you from the beginning--some of it because of what you write and the songs you sing--there is a haunting that shows. And I say it with great love--Probably my two most important chosen loved ones (meaning not blood related) have lifetime depression issues, so though I'm not depressed myself, there is something in me drawn to it, and I know it doesn't always look dark outwardly, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

    I don't know whether you're lucky you have the ability to give it form or not--intuition would say you can get it out that way, but I think, as you said with the song writing, it may be more of a way to linger in it. Still, I think it is a gift to the rest of us that you can share it. I watch HWMNBMOTI and his inability to express it and I think without form, it can turn into a monster. I'm sending you a big hug for bravery, and another because I'm a good hugger and I just figure you could use one.

  24. Good for you for opening up about this. It isn't easy to put your soul out there when you don't know how people will react. And I truly feel that depression is real, even if it's a condition people can't see on the outside.

  25. You showed real courage in hitting that 'publish' button, Jessica. If it helps, I know all about those dark days. It can, at times, be almost overwhelming.

  26. Well done:-)
    The black dog of depression is unpredictable but it's good that your loved ones understand and that your coping mechanisms are working.

  27. didn't someone say the best comedians hide the worst pain? I hear ya, though. I think depression is a common thread among artists. You feel things too deeply or something...

    but at the same time, you've overcome a lot. And the fact that you can get it out there is huge. I say don't be ashamed of the tears. Feel them, use them. But never let it get so black that you ever believe you're all alone. Or that no one cares.

    That's simply a lie~ :o) ((BIG hugs))

  28. Sweetie, I am really proud of you for this post.
    I can understand how creation would also enhance this feeling, because I think YOU (many writers as well) write from such a deep place of emotion that you can't help but be fully "immersed". You have SO many irons in the fire - all from deep emotional places. Your soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, your writing evokes such intense emotional responses from your readers - I would be shocked if you didn't have some level of depression. Plus, I know life isn't EASY in Greece, given the financial climate.

    I am sending you GIANT virtual hugs. Missing you like crazy, babe. I'm on line tomorrow. Can we chat? xoxo

  29. Jessica, I'm so proud of you for writing and posting this. I think a fair amount of writers can understand, and like you, put the bulk of it in their writing—which is good. But it's also good to be honest about it. You're such a lovely, dear, talented person, and many people will be comforted to know that you struggle with this every day. Others might find depression a weakness. But don't think about those folks. It's not a weakness, and I think it was very brave of you to talk about this part of your life.

  30. I know I go through bouts of depression. My personality is half melancholy, and sometimes that takes over. My husband is the same way, so we've just made a pact never to be in a funk at the same time.
    I hope you can find joy, Jessica.

  31. I admire your courage; it's easy for us to share the seemingly happy things, or to come off as such. Perhaps this will be therapeutic for you. Will be thinking of you.

  32. It took a lot of courage to open up this way, and thank you, because hopefully by reading your post, others who feel this way will see they are not alone. I wish there was something I could do other than offer meager words to help, but thank you for posting this. I hope it was cathartic for you to do so. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  33. You are prolly a better writer because of it. Some of my best stuff comes from times when my heart was troubled.
    My mom suffers from depression and has for as long as I've known her. By having a creative outlet, you are channeling that into something so worthwhile.
    I admire you for this post today. It's not often we can let down the walls and show our trues selves, but you've done just that and it's impressive and it make you even more of a real person to us.

  34. So many of us suffer from depression, some more often than others, but rarely do we see anyone blogging on it.

    For a writer, I see it as rounding out the person, making them 3-dimensional in my mind. We really do need to share more about ourselves online, but that protective instinct sure is strong.
    Hope you have a smiling, happy day today, Jessica!

  35. hi miss jessica! a while back when i was feeling lots of doom and gloom all my blogger friends helped get me out of it. sharing stuff even if its not happy stuff is just real good but for sure its some scary. now you got past the scary and said how you feel and that sooooo brave. and look how much of your blogger friends got here and care bout you. wow! how cool is that! now im sending you lots of sunshine and big megamonster sized hugs and bunches of xoxoxoxox
    ...loads of love from lenny

  36. I honestly think people respect you more when you're open, just like you are now, Jess. You're brave to put this out there, but it's such a supportive community and I'm sure we can all relate - if not ourselves, at least someone we're close to, you know?

  37. Every single day / It won't go away
    . . .
    And it’s in my life, and it’s all the time
    It doesn’t go away when the church bells chime

    “It’s Life, and Life only”.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  38. the most important thing when being depressed is to talk about it. That's of utter importance, and I say that as a psychologist. If neglected and not dealt with, depression can slowly lead to some extremely difficult conditions ...
    For most people, the key to solving depression is finding fun and positivity and joy in small every day things - friends, food, books, nature .... appreciating the moment and using it as an energy source for later on.

  39. Jessica, it was so courageous of you to open up this way, and I'm so glad you hit "publish."

    I think that by blogging we realize we're not so different from each other after all. Dark moments, happy moments, confused moments. You're a deep, compassionate, thoughtful person and I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to share your inner thoughts with us.

  40. Life is never what we think- the journey that we are all on- and all. Ego loves to mess with us all.

    Finding our 'authentic self' is quite a process. To find that, I hear we have to die of our ego, of all superficiality. Some say you die -before you die to arrive at that authentic self.

    There's also something that tries to kill our joy. Don't let it steal your joy. Why, I don't know, but it's there. Fight it with happy thoughts. We have to catch it, watch it as it seeps its way back into our mind, body and soul. More often we wonder how did it get back in- that negative?

    It is a constant battle at times to think only positive thoughts, to say I am happy. Who needs to be on their guard all the time like a soldier?

    Enjoy life- They say it is fleeting.

    You are a wonderful human being.

    Look at the pearl in the oyster, it has struggled from the elements to become that beautiful pearl.

    I love You-here's a hug.

    By the way, I love the way you are when you talk like this. You speak for so many when you talk this way, and where others couldn't express it, you speak for them.

    I also have found 'growth' this way online. I think mine was called arrogant.

    Your wonder in the end -is between you and God alone.

    Isn't that nice to know, and that's where we are thankful for life.

  41. Jessica: I have a very close friend three years older than I (age 74, with whom I'm trying to write the story of her VERY disabled son) who has suffered most of her life with depression--or would have suffered if she hadn't found a medication that works for her, a low maintenance dosage. She says her depression is hereditary.

    Your reluctance at speaking out could be because there are some people who think that severe depression is something you should just "snap out of." (This happened in my father's case a long time ago when I was a child; I remember it well.) But I'm not one of those people. And nor it seems are any of your followers! Some of us have been there and empathize. Others sympathize.

    It was a brave thing to speak out, obviously not easy for you to do. But you did it. Yay! And I'm so glad your partner and family are supportive--and that writing works for your as "medicine." Keep writing! Out of anguish you produced some amazing poetry!!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  42. Putting yourself out there is such a vulnerable feeling. It's a brave act, to post your feelings, to write a poem, a novel, or a song. Bravo to you!

  43. The world's most creative people are often the saddest. It seems so unfair.

  44. good for you, jessica!

    my first major bout with clinical depression hit when my ex moved our kids from the west coast to the east... prozac eventually broke my downward spiral, climbed out of the hole on my own... took more'n 3 years

    she had a massive stroke, november 1997... still unable to speak, paralyzed on right side... moved east to parent kids, had not seen them in 7 1/2 years...

    another bout of depression, lasted some 2 years, or so

    they no longer need me, daily, so i moved to niagara area, place i grew up in... we keep in touch by phone/email...

    family, here, helps some

    new dog gets daily attention, now

    once i get more unpacked, will get back into creativity again...

  45. This post is one of the reasons why I started following your blog. Because I can identify with what you've said. My blog is actually my attempt to share some of these dark feelings with people... because it's hard for me to talk about them with people I actually know and love. It's an outlet. Anyway, keep on truckin' because you aren't alone. I don't even know you but I've thought about you today. Hopefully that's not meaningless.



“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris