I got better

“Is everything okay?” Anne asked me. She sat at our counter, and I stood on the other side, next to the microwave, watching my bowl of soup slowly turn around inside it.”

“No, it’s not,” I said, “I’m having a terrible day, and I know it’s because my brain is fucked up and I know it’s going to eventually get better but right now I just want to fucking scream because I feel irritable and anxious and overwhelmed and I know that there’s no logical reason to feel any of these things, but I also know that it’s my fucked up broken brain and I can’t do anything about it so I feel helpless and angry.”

I am, as you can tell, the master of the run on sentence.

“I’m trying really hard not to blow up at you for something you didn’t do, or yell at the dogs for barking, or just freaking out at everything … but it is really fucking hard and I’m just sick of this shit.”

The microwave beeped and I reached in to take the soup out.

“OUCH GODDAMMIT MOTHER FUCKER SHIT COCK FUCK SHIT FUCK!” I shouted, which is “Wil’s having a bad depression day” for “This bowl is very hot and I should have used something to protect my hands before I touched it.”

I yanked my hands out of the microwave, and took several deep breaths. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m really struggling today.”

“It’s okay,” she said.

“It’s not okay, but I appreciate you being patient with me.” I thought about the years — at least a decade — we were together before I got help for my depression. I thought about all the years that Anne and our kids had to deal with me freaking out at stupid things for no rational reason. I felt guilty, like I always do, even though I know that it wasn’t my fault.

I got a hot pad, and took my soup out. I waited several minutes for it to cool off, and I ate it. It was delicious.

Anne went to bed a little earlier than I did, and Seamus was snuggled up next to her when I got into bed. I slept soundly through the night, and woke up to Marlowe’s little puppy face just a few inches from mine. I kind of love it that she gets it into her head between 930 and 10 every morning that it’s time for me to get out of bed, so I get to wake up to a happy puppy every morning.

I pet her little face, and took a sort of emotional inventory. I noticed that all my systems were running normally, and the Very Bad No Good Day of Depression had passed. I felt as close to normal as I can feel, which is probably about 97% of normal (but who really wants to be completely normal anyway? Normal is boring.)

I got out of bed, made some coffee and oatmeal, and started my day. A few hours later, I went to a very important meeting. I can’t talk about the meeting I had, but it’s for something I love, something I’m super excited and proud to be part of, and something I hope I can talk about soon. The meeting could not have gone better, and as I walked to my car after it was finished, I was grateful for the incredible creative team I’m working with, and excited for our future together.

So I got better, and that’s the reason I’m putting these words down right now. I have depression, but depression doesn’t have me. I have bad days, I have really terrible days, and I have MMMMMARRAAAHHH days, like I did yesterday. Those days suck, but they always pass, and knowing why they happen, even if I can’t control them, gives me a great deal of comfort on the truly awful days.

If you’d told me yesterday, when I was at the nadir of my MMMMMARRAAAHHH that I would spend significant time today sitting in a room with people I like, alternately laughing my ass off and marveling at how clever and creative they are, I probably would have told you to stop being mean to me, because there was no way I’d ever be happy again.

And yet.

Thank you, hundreds-of-thousands-of-people-I’ve-never-met, for being kind to me when I was having a really MMMMMARRAAAHHH day. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

247 thoughts on “I got better”

  1. Wil, I will always send you good messages on your not-hot days, because when I was a moody teen just beginning to struggle with depression for the first time, there were episodes of Star Trek TNG for me to watch with my favourite ensign, and an ST:TNG fan-fic of doom about that ensign that I’d lose myself in when I needed to go to sleep at night. Humans help each other out in weird ways. It’s the beauty of the species. All the best, darling. <3 PS. The fanfic did not involve Wesley being rogered by any member of the Enterprise, promise.

  2. You and Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half) could easily do an internet PSA on depression. Nobody can know what it’s like unless you’ve been there, but you and Allie both describe it better than most authors.

    Thank you for sharing with us and best of luck on your new project.

  3. I totally know where you are coming from. I am use to having my SO * significant Other* with me most days for most of the day. He recently started working full time after getting a much needed knee replacement! My days are getting progressively meh, which means try and cut them off before they happen! I have my UV light which I don’t know if you use but I totally suggest that you do it helps especially for folks like me living in the Midwest where the sun just says see ya! For a good chunk of the year. Work helps too and so does reading your blogg and a few others. So thanks and we totally got your back! :)

  4. Thank you for speaking up. The more people who are willing to speak up about illness and remove the stigma, the more people will consider getting the help they need so that they can feel better, and they all DESERVE to feel better. As a society, we need to be better about addressing depression and other illnesses as we would any other medical situation, and encouraging people to take care of their health. People like you with the courage to speak up with honesty are a HUGE step towards that. Thank you.

  5. Having been hospitalized for depression, I can say with 100% honesty that I’ve been there and I wanted to say thank you for making a post about how it’s in your head that you’ll be better soon, but not now. Not many people understand how the bad days work. Hang in there and continue doing what you love, because so many of us love what you do as well.

  6. I’ve suffered from on and off depression and anxiety since I was 14 (about 13 years, now), and I can really relate to this. There are days when I don’t leave my house. Sometimes two or three consecutive days. I’ve been on and off meds, shoved into inpatient, yelled at by friends and family. I finally worked up the courage to not be on medication for anything, even the physical ailments, and go the natural way to see if it would help. I’m in the transition period, so I can’t give a yay or nay, yet. But I’ve spent more than a decade trying to not yell at people for things they didn’t do. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve come to accept my bad days (or weeks) and limit my interactions with people when I do have them. It’s an awful roller coaster.

  7. you make a difference. thanks so much for sharing what i struggle with so very much myself. you’re run on sentence makes so much damn sense to me and i can’t express what kind of relief that is and how long it’s been needed. thank you.

  8. Oh if only someone could have told me that 20 years ago! But then I probably wouldn’t have believed it either. And yes, that is exactly how it feels.
    Fortunately for my hubby it has gotten better and I don’t have those days that often any more.
    Here’s hoping everyone who has those days, have fewer in the coming years.

  9. I tried to kill myself this past Sunday. My depression had beaten me. I had been spiralling round the drain for a couple of weeks, just barely hanging on. I don’t have a large support network. In fact, I have just one person I can really reach out to when I need help. It had been two, but the other has cut me out from his life. That act in itself had been enough to kick me further into the hole…

    I’d been pacing myself for a little while – ‘if I can get to a couple of days from now, and I can ask him if he’s free’, that kind of thing. I got to ‘the couple of days from now’, and asked. But he wasn’t. He was away for the weekend. But he immediately suggested getting together the following Wednesday. That was ok. I just needed to get to Wednesday…

    By Sunday afternoon though, things were too bad. I could no longer wait until Wednesday. I waited a couple of hours, knowing he was on his way home from his weekend away, and contacted him, asking if he was home. He said he was, but he was going to have an early night as he was exhausted. And I bottled it. I chicken’d out of asking him for help. My brain instantly went ‘well, you can’t ask him now, it’s not fair on him. You can’t put him out like that’. So I just said ‘I was going to ask if you could come and get me, but it’s ok if you can’t’. I think I was hoping he’d read between the lines and see that it was me reaching out – I rarely ask for anything, so when I do, it’s important. But for whatever reason, he didn’t see it. And I was alone.

    I tried calling the various mental health bodies I’ve been put in touch with, but it turns out that it’s impossible to get hold of someone on a Sunday night. And when I did eventually get through to an actual human voice, and I cried down the phone saying that I “just need somewhere I can go. I don’t need to talk, I don’t need anything. I just need to be not-here”, to be told that there was nowhere I could go was the final straw.

    I hung up. And sobbed. My mind filled with the voices that tell me that no one cares, that there really is no point to being here, that no one would miss me. And then suddenly, silence. And a clear thought of ‘ok, it’s time. I’m done’.

    So, I took a ton of medication, washed down with alcohol – I’m not a great drinker anyway, so the large amount of alcohol on an empty stomach worked fast. A little too fast. I had a plan – take the drugs with the alcohol, and then call some service to let them know. Not so I could be saved, but so they could collect the body, as I know I’d end up being one of those people who is only found after the neighbours complain about the smell. That no-one would notice I was no longer around. And I didn’t want that. I didn’t want my neighbours to have to deal with that, or the landlord have to deal with the clean up after there’s been a forced entry to the house. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. So, I had to make the call when it was too late to be stopped, but while I was still conscious and coherent enough to make it.

    The alcohol worked on my system quickly, so I knew I had to make the call while I still could. I told them what I had done, and where I could be found. I also told them that my front door would be open so they didn’t need to force entry.

    Paramedics turned up, while I was still actually conscious. And that was the end of that. I knew there was no point resisting. That they were going to take me to hospital whether I liked it or not. So I went. Didn’t want to cause a fuss…

    I was treated, and after a couple of days was declared ‘medically’ well to go home. Back to my empty house.

    I’m still here. I’m not sure I’m happy about that fact…

    I thought I’d share with someone…

    1. I don’t know you, but now you are in my head and a real person. And I am glad you didn’t kill yourself. I have know people who did.

    2. Now I care. I’ve known two people online-only who have killed themselves. I had a friend in college who may have killed himself. Twenty years ago. Ten years ago. Two years ago. I think about them and feel sad. Now you are in my head. Please don’t kill yourself. Depression lies. You are being lied to. In truth you are a unique light in the world. You make the world a better place just being here. I believe in an afterlife. I believe in a really boring afterlife where we know everything and the only thing to celebrate is our limited lives here on Earth. I want to celebrate your full life and will be extremely sad if you cut it short. I don’t know what I can do to help other than beg you to please keep trying to get help. And come back here. Keep posting. I’ll be watching for you.

    3. VioletPhoenix,
      I don’t know you. But I care about you. Sincerely. I’m sure there are many others reading these comments who can relate completely to what you are going through. You are loved!!
      I don’t know which mental health facilities you called, but here are two numbers for you if you feel this way again:
      National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
      Kristin Brooks Hope Center: 1-800-442-HOPE
      Be kind to yourself. You are loved, because I love you!

      1. Just as an FYI – I’m in the UK, so while I appreciate the numbers, they are no use to me.

        And in actual fact, a phone number is no use to me when I get there anyway. I don’t need to talk, as talking doesn’t help me. When I’m like that, I need to either be somewhere else, even if it’s just somewhere I can be given a cup of coffee, or I need someone to be here.

        I have many, long standing issues, but a big one is soul crushing loneliness. I would give anything I have to give to have someone to hold me. I crave physical contact. And I don’t mean in an intimate way (though yeah, that too…). Just someone I can cuddle on the sofa with watching TV sometimes… Things like that

        I’m here. I don’t know why…

        1. Have you ever thought about volunteering at some sort of children’s organization, or an animal shelter? I think it might help you, the dogs there are craving physical touch and affection as much as you are, and they never pull away or get tired of it. Just being with animals is also therapeutic; many service animals now are there purely to be emotional support for their owners, who see lots of benefits.
          Volunteering is also a good way to meet nice people and feel like you’re doing something significant.

    4. Please take care of yourself. I don’t even know you, and I care. Maybe there is a mental health support group in your town or medications that could help. Keep yourself busy with social activities. Sign up for a class or a book group. Become a mentor or find a roommate. Maintain human interaction.

    5. Thank you for sharing that. We’ve obviously never met, but I’m glad you are alive. I hope things get better for you soon.

    6. Please please please stick around. And please never be afraid to ask for help; you are not and can never be a nuisance or an inconvenience; you are a person who deserves help and deserves happiness. The world is better because you’re here- please don’t leave it

    7. Violet,

      I don’t know you, don’t know any if your story beyond what you said here or if you’re interested but as someone who is always struggling with her own depression and anxiety and with very few people who “get it” if you need someone to reach out to to talk feel free to email me. I’m happy to listen and talk. I know it’s not physically there but if it’ll help at all my email is shannon730 at gmail dot com

    8. Don’t ever do that again. I don’t even know you but it upsets me to think of someone being like that, mostly because I have been the same. If you ever feel the same, go on my link on my username to my facebook, and message me. I may not know you, but an un-involved, sympathetic ear can often help.

    9. I don’t have much smoke to blow up your ass here, can’t tell you when things will get better or anything like that.

      I find myself feeling much like you do from time-to-time. I’ve been able to carry on so far, it’s a struggle, but it’s doable.

      Wil’s posts about what he has gone through and the wonderful community that follow him are a reminder that I’m not alone, getting through it can be done, and the same applies to you.

      It’s hard, it hurts, and holy fuck am I ready for a good day to come along again…

      Hope you have one soon as well.

      You do have people to talk to, if you choose, even if we are only names on the internets. Most of us are real, and if we’re hanging out on Wil’s blog, chances are that we aren’t dicks.

      Sorry to hear about your less-than-helpful experience with the mental-health system. Hopefully someone here can help you with quality contacts.

      1. “Most of us are real, and if we’re hanging out on Wil’s blog, chances are that we aren’t dicks.”

        Just so you know, that made me smile… :)

    10. Violet,

      First of all, the fact that the person you reached didn’t help you infuriates me. There ARE resources. I’ll get to those in a minute. Hear me out, okay?

      I’ve been in that place where it seemed like the only way out. I felt that my life would be a perpetual downward spiral of hopelessness, isolation, being misunderstood, and failure, and the only thing that kept me from doing it was because I figured I was such a failure that I’d fail at suicide, too, and then I’d be an exponential failure, and everyone would know what I’d done, and… you get the idea.
      I have severe anxiety (but almost nobody who knows me casually would ever guess it), and PTSD (I was in the Army). I also have a nasty autoimmune disease that almost destroyed my life for two years before the doctors finally got me on the right meds, but in the meantime, I was nonfunctional and felt like a failure, a blight upon the planet, and a burden on all the fabulous people who had been patiently tolerating my presence.

      I finally got help. I was in a horrible pit of perpetual depression and anxiety. I thought about suicide multiple times every day. I couldn’t stop. I just wanted to die. Desperately wanted to cease to exist. It was then that my incredible, wonderful wife (who has put up with my emotional roller coaster with the strength of a Grecian demigod) finally convinced me to get help.

      I’m doing better. I’m not perfect, and I still have rough patches, but I’m doing a whole lot better. I’m also well on the road to a career change, now that my autoimmune problems are better-controlled and I don’t feel like I’m going to fail at everything I do. What am I doing with my life? Well, I’m an EMT now, and I’m training to be a paramedic. Why? Because I want to help people. Because when someone is on the edge, I want to be there to help them take a few steps back. Because I’ve needed help, and people helped me, so it’s my turn to do the same for others. And… because… quite simply… I give a shit.

      It’s a blessing and a curse to actually give a shit about every single human being on this suffering planet, and to actually wish I could do something to help all seven-freakin’-billion of them. I can’t, of course. But I can help the people who cross my path because I DO give a shit.

      This also means that I give a shit about you. I don’t know your life details, so you could say, “How do you know you give a shit about me?” Easy: We’re all broken, beautiful, unique, weird, bizarre, fabulous, twisted, angry, joyous, sad, brilliant, stupid, creative, fucked-up human beings. You could tell me every messed-up thing about yourself, and I would still value you. Read that carefully: YOU HAVE VALUE.

      And read this carefully: There is no pile of emotional bullshit that is too big for you to dig yourself out. YOU can dig yourself out… but you might need someone to give you a shovel. You might even need a backhoe. Still, I promise you… you CAN dig yourself out.

      So, I promised to tell you what you can do. If you get to the point where you can’t get through to someone who will listen, and you’ve reached the point where you decide there’s nothing left… you can ALWAYS do this: Call 911.

      Call 911.

      I’m sure that sounds extreme and crazy, right? And, of course, you’d be a burden on those people on the phone, right?

      NO.

      Do you know why people become 911 dispatchers? Do you know why people become EMTs, paramedics, and other emergency workers? BECAUSE WE WANT TO HELP PEOPLE. Because we GIVE A SHIT. Because we absolutely believe that when someone calls for help – day or night, rain or shine, hell or high water – there should always be someone who will come running. People like me WANT to come running.

      There are counselors, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who went into that field because they WANT to help. There are people in this world you would never expect to be in therapy, and yet, there they are. For most of them, taking the step to go into therapy is the hardest step of their lives.

      Don’t have insurance? Be proactive. There are nonprofits that can help. Look in your area. Some areas have free clinics and mental health services. IF you are religious, there are religious organizations that can help. Personally, I’m an atheist and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We’re a liberal, humanist religion, and I know that if you went to ANY UU church, they would want to help you without preaching any sort of religion to you.

      First and foremost, though… if you find yourself on the brink again, and you can’t reach anyone… call 911. That dispatcher has dedicated his or her life to helping people when they call out into the darkness. Someone will come. Someone will help. I don’t know where you live, but for all you know, it could be me who knocks on your door. Even if it isn’t me, it’s someone else whose entire vocation is to help people.

      Let us help. You are not alone.

    11. @ VioletPhoenix: I really do understand how you feel; 11 years ago I was you. I remember the feeling of being so utterly alone; the timid attempts to reach out to others for help; the absolute despair when those I reached out to were unable to perceive what I needed from them. I can still remember so painfully and clearly that moment you described when that switch flips in your head and you just “know” that suicide is the only reasonable course of action. And all the logic, the concise planning–how do I want to be found and by whom? how can I make this most convenient for everyone else?–this is all so familiar, it could be ripped from my own journal. And like you, a miscalculation resulted in my survival. And I am so grateful that it did! I know this feels impossible to believe right now–I know it did for me when I was under mandatory suicide watch, locked up with “crazy people” in the local mental health ward–but better days are ahead. The important thing I had to do was learn to ask for help, unashamedly. To not just put out feelers and hints and hope the person I was talking to was intuitive enough to figure out what I needed, but to come right out and say, “I am hurting. I am in pain. I need your help, and I need it right now.” There were so many people in my life who cared and who would have gladly helped me had I asked them, but who had absolutely no clue that I was suffering. A lot of us have a much better emotional poker face than we realize. So what I would tell you is learn to shout. Sometimes you might have to be louder than all the other noise going on in a person’s life, but they will help you if you make your needs known. And I know this sounds like it’s so much easier said than done when you are where you are right now, but try not to limit yourself to one and only one person who you go to when you are in need, because there will be times when they are unavailable for you, as your friend was, not through any fault or omission of their own, but just through coincidence and bad timing. I know you said you had recently lost another support person. I get that, I’ve alienated more than a few! Perhaps if they understood, in light of recent events, exactly what you have been going through, they would rethink their decision to end the friendship. Or not, depending on the circumstances. But either way, you should seek out others. If you look around, you might find you have friends you didn’t even realize you had. I had several coworkers who rallied around me during my ordeal; not one of them was a person I had considered a friend prior, just acquaintances. People around you may care a lot more than you think.

    12. I am glad that you had bad judgement in your timing. I feel as you do at times, however I am so blessed to have a small support system. I have a wonderful daughter that I could never leave behind willingly. I also have a wonderful best friend that I can call at anytime and tell anything to. I have a husband, but really he is not someone I can talk to about stuff like this. Whenever I feel like I need to be not here (it usually happens in the summer when I have less of a purpose on earth) I try to get out, go anywhere, even to a poker room (we have a few that are open 24/7) and that is enough social interaction to help. Find a purpose in life, something that truly makes you happy and lets you feel like you are needed. I found mine with my daughter and her school. I feel like I am needed and am making a difference for the future. Plus, kids are happy and happy is good. Animals may be another good place to volunteer. Give your life a purpose and things will get better. :) (I still have really bad days, but I usually have something to look forward to)

    13. Please, Violet, hang in there. I know that sounds fatuous, it’s not meant to be. People do care, I promise you that.

      My youngest daughter had a friend in high school — just a nice guy that she had fun with — who had been abused as a child, suffered from depression, then one day when he felt like you did, did what you tried to do. Except he didn’t go with the alcohol and pills, he used a bullet in his brain, so there was no coming back for him.

      My daughter has taken this so to heart. She spent weeks after his death crying with me on the phone — she should have seen his pain, she should have known — and she will never forgive herself. Every time she comes home, she goes to visit his grave, but she would be so much happier if she could visit *him*.

      Believe me, even when it seems untrue, there ARE people who love you and would miss you, and those people will blame themselves for the rest of their lives if you should go. Please don’t.

      I hope you have read the posts here and will use these suggestions to get yourself through the dark times. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for posting and I wish you all the very best.

  10. I think the worst thing about anxiety and depression are how alone they make you feel. Then a stranger, a celebrity, posts nearly the exact thoughts that you battle with every day. I appreciate you sharing this side of yourself. It can be hard to talk about and hard to understand. Thank you for your openness and letting me feel a little less alone in my own mmmmmarraaahhh. I’m glad you got better. :)

  11. I’ve been diagnosed with reoccurring clinical depression. I do understand so well. I can’t take meds and write, there’s not enough of me to write anything when I’m on any kind of med. So I take lots of time for myself, I don’t do drugs or alcohol and I do my best to not stress myself out with anything. *grins* Been doing ok for many years now.

  12. Hang in there Wil. And take courage.

    But take note of this:
    You have Anne, The pets, you earn a good living, and you have a zazillion friends.
    There are a lot of people not even close to that. They struggle just to survive.

    There are tons of us out there who know Depression. We know it kinda like Wesley Crusher knew the, um, er, Cardassians? Ferengi? I hope you get my cr@ppy analogy….

    Now you see, if you admit to it, and you fight it, and you tell of the small victories, and you tell how you go them, well, you may be encouraging thousands of people. So you are doing good in the world. So people need you.

    I remember once night, when I had a hook and a rope. I was pretty down I guess. I decided I wanted to hear Nena sing 99 Red Balloons, one last time. So I went on the internet. Well, I screwed up the youtube search, and never got Nena. But I found some other videos by accident, and they fascinated me… So about 5 hours later, I was still here, in the world, but I was exhausted and went to bed. So, a good thing happened.

    That is the thing about depression. You go through a lot of sh!t, BUT something is wrong in your head, and you either want to leave this world, or you get mad, or you do something else…. But if you are lucky, and “a little good thing happens”, then you can make it through. Some people get talk help, some people get drug help (I’m not big on that, but it does work for a few people. But it is dangerous.) But the thing is finding the thing that helps with the pain. It is an “inside pain”, not the “Oh I bumped my knee!” type of pain.

    Anyhow, hang in there. You have found some good things to help you cope. And your “silliness”, spreads some of those. Thanks.

  13. I think its a wonderful thing that more and more people are opening up about depression and anxiety. It becomes a chain reaction of people realizing that they’re not alone and that other people feel the same/similar; it makes it easier to ask for help and less like you’re a freak. But it takes courage to speak up, so thanks Wil for being one to speak up and spread that courage.

  14. I’ve had those days, as my “name” suggests. It’s always encouraging to see that it’s not “just me”. I’m undiagnosed and untreated, but I self-treat with writing and cooking. It’s days when the very idea of food disgusts me that worry me, that I can’t even do what I enjoy. I’m sorry you go through that, too, but I’m glad it’s not “just me.” Keep doing what you’re doing. =/\= Katie

  15. Thank you Wil. I have similar issues, and have been going through some tough days myself. Sometimes it’s nice just to know that someone else understands what it’s like.

  16. Recently I found myself during an anxious-depression episode watching back to back episodes of Star Trek. Amazing how much focus a person can have when they’re anxious. Normally I can’t focus on the TV unless I’ve got food in front of me. Anyway, I’ve been there many times: reluctant to even enter the kitchen because I don’t want to be near people and when they talk to you you try your hardest to not lose your shit but then you still do. Who cares if it was a cat. It meowed. It was annoying. It was standing there. Go away. Stop existing. Now I hate myself for thinking that.
    ETC.

    Today I’m doing better. So so much better. Though I’ve got an incompetent doctor so like you I have to learn all about why this happens to try and deal with it the best I can. Watching sci-fi, reading comic books and playing video games – are pretty much my temporary cures. Oh yeah and hanging out with friends and going out to see a live band are good too but when alcohol is consumed – and it is – I’m just right back where I was, or even worse. Also, I find writing about it in blogs or in my 20 million journals helps.

    And to those that deal with the really crippling suicidal thoughts all I can say is try to get a hold of it before it gets any worse. Look for the signs. It’s easier said then done and all throughout yesterday I was on my bed for hours thinking similar thoughts. Sometimes I just let it happen and learn from it. I mean, it feels great when you start seeing something that so crippled you in a whole lighter way (I’m not explaining this properly. I mean you may actually come to a solution to your problem; a better way to deal with the issue without getting so depressed to the point of suicidal ideaton), and then when depression hits again it might be about the same thing – so I use what I learned to decrease the amount of suffering – or it’s something completely different and it takes more distractions and problem solving.
    Just remember, to not try to rationalise your depressed thoughts because that’s never right and it just digs you deeper into that pit of despair. I jump between hypomania/mania (and anxiety) and depression (and anxiety) so I have to really monitor my thoughts, and the only time I think my thoughts are actually really reflecting what’s really happening is during that all too brief normal mood.

    But it was great to find out someone I’d admire can actually relate to something I go through, especially those outbursts that outsiders see as an overreaction. A lot of people have tried to relate to me but I wouldn’t let them because they don’t know what it’s like to have such extreme highs and lows or any of the other disorders/illnesses I have. I have a few: Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, bipolar, epilepsy, PTSD, sensory processing disorder etc. Those are the things people don’t understand even if they think they do, unless they actually do have them too.

  17. Thank you. I have hormonal depression, which means I have about three bad days a month. I’m about to go into that. (Thanks to a series of medications I know when it’s going to happen.) I know right now that there is another side, but it’s hard to remember when I’m going through.

  18. I know what you mean, Wil. Before I got my depression under control, I had serious anger issues. I would get so mad sometimes that I would throw things and scream just to try and get some of the awful, frustrated feelings out of me. My poor husband was an angel, and it’s only in hindsight that I see how miserable he must’ve been at times. :(

  19. I actually shared this idea on one of your earlier Facebook posts, but I think it bears repeating: There’s a nice Yoga metaphor of “The Drawing of the Bow” that speaks to me of how depression is really a time of “drawing back”, which, as in the practice of yoga, portends an accelerated “leap forward” once you have “bottomed out”. Even the most exciting possibilities and goals of life carry with them the requirement of effort and sometimes struggle to realize or accomplish, and sometimes, your subconscious knows this even more than your conscious mind. Consequently, your subconscious mind’s way of preparing (you, your conscious mind) for that effort, that struggle, is to “Draw Back”… And…now that I know you were on your way to this important meeting for your new project, your episode of depression just prior to that meeting makes even more sense. (By the way, like many people here, I too am speaking from personal experience. Understanding this concept has helped me not to resist that “Drawing Back” experience, and instead to let it run its natural course as I know it will be helping me build energy to move forward into whatever lies ahead.)

  20. Wil, you don’t know how much I needed to hear something like this today. I’ve been struggling officially with depression and anxiety since March but was struggling even before then. It’s been a rollercoaster trying to get to a place where I feel relatively ok most days. I’m still figuring it all out. I still have my bad days too and it’s hard to explain to family members that it’s just not a good day for me. They don’t get it. They figure that I shouldn’t still be having bad days since I’m getting it taken care of. It’s hard to explain to them that it’s just my broken brain and that I can’t always control it. I’m glad to know you’re feeling better.
    I just also wanted to say, that I’m grateful for you and anyone else who talks about mental health struggles. It makes me feel better. It makes me feel less alone.
    Thank you.

  21. Wil, you are such an amazing person. After reading this, all I wanted to do was offer a hug. I hope I have the very great fortune of being able to meet you some day.

  22. Thank you, Wil, for your courageous post. My husband suffers from MARRRAGGGHHH days such as you & I have been, as your presious Anne, patient & as empathic as I am capable of for many many years. I appreciate your words that help me to know that there are other families that share our challenges. I look forward to a future where Mmaarraghhh Days no longer exist. I commend your courage to speak up.

  23. Long time reader first time commenter (sigh not sure that is even a word),

    Hi Wil,

    I have been following you on twitter for a while now. I do not even know how to write this right now. Mostly I am just shooting from the hip. It is nice to see that even people that we have admired for good portions of our lives suffer from the same things we do. I have been struggling with depression a good deal of my life for reasons I do not fully understand yet. It had gotten worst since my father passed away when I was 23 but I continue to try and stay strong for his memory and also for my sanity. I am a professional cook and sadly in our industry health insurance is not a sure thing so medication and even therapy have never been a sure thing. This year I met a lovely women and found out I was going to have my first son beginning of next year. I am scared to death. I am not financially stable, I am not emotionally stable and I fear everyday that I will be a sallow example of a father to my son.

    But I fight these feelings. I fight them everyday and sometimes I lose and sometimes I win. Why am I telling you this?? Because I look up to you more then anyone at this moment in my life. I do not know you personally and you have never met me. But what you say in your blog and on twitter resonates with me. I hope someday I can teach my kid about all of my nerdy hobbies. I hope someday I can run his first campaign in D&D and someday I hope that I can introduce him to my favorite comics and watch his eyes light up with wonder.

    All in all I just want to say thank you Wil. Thank you for expressing these feelings and showing me that even though on my worst days I might feel like I am the only one in the world with this sense of my brain fighting against me and no one understanding it that in fact I am not alone and people deal with it also. So thank you Wil Wheaton and god bless you.

    (sorry for rambling)

  24. I’m having my own “MMMMMARRAAAHHH” day, reading about yours was a nice bright spot in it. Thanks for sharing it.

  25. Wil – I think you have a lot of courage to be able to talk about your depression with the hundreds-of-thousands-of-us that you’ve never met. Many of us have struggled with it, and many of us have hidden it away because there is still so much stigma associated with depression, although it is better than it used to be. Also, so many celebrities seem like these amazing untouchable magical perfect people, and you seem like this awesome, approachable, down-to-earth guy it would be fun to catch some beers and play board games with, so thank you for sharing so much of yourself with so many of us :)

  26. I just wanted to say thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in this world of people who look at me strange or are afraid of me because I have days where I just can’t stand being in my own skin. Thank you for giving depression a voice, for today was a very bad day for me and this helped me remember they are not all going to be bad days.

  27. Hi Wil, I’m glad you’re feeling better today. I noticed a comment you made about normal being boring. I totally agree with you there, but it also reminded me of something. You had the chance to work with Whoopi Goldberg. She made a fabulous quote way back, and it’s still one of my favorites:

    “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on the washing machine.”

    I never felt normal growing up. Hell, I was the nerd who was reading Star Trek novels in junior high while everyone else was reading Goosebumps and listening to New Kids on the Block. (Yeah, I just slapped an age label on myself.) But yeah, I wasn’t “normal.” You’re not normal either. If you were normal, you wouldn’t be nearly as awesome as you are. I think the hardest I’ve ever laughed in my life was when you did your Cape of Dicks routine at Dragon*Con a few years ago. THANK YOU for that. If you were normal, you wouldn’t have done that.

    Everyone is weird. Nobody is normal. I just know that I can guarantee that your brand of “not normal” has brought you to a level of fabulous that few can hope to achieve.

    I’ve had my fair share of psych/emotional issues, so I sympathize with the ups and downs. Just remember that we’ll all still adore you on the bad days as well as the good days, hang in there, and keep being fabulous.

    (On a completely different note… the Stone Farking Wheaton beer is still the most incredible brew I’ve ever tasted. How the hell did you guys achieve perfection?)

  28. Hi Wil, thanks for sharing this, I too have those days and then a few days later all is fine. It’s only through people like yourself being so honest to share this in public that I have figured out that I’m not a lone crazy but many people go through this. Keep up the good work.

  29. I would like to be able to say it’s comforting to know there are others who’ve felt what I feel as a person with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder, but when I’m going through a relapse and am at that level of depression, honestly it really doesn’t matter that there are others. Depression relapses with this illness leave me fighting to find a reason to stay alive. It is only the awareness, however dim, that it is a recurrent relapse and will end eventually that inspires me to get up and try to do something. Coming out of a depressive period is nearly as painful as being at its depths because I can see the effects of the weight on my wife, who is my lifeline when I cannot function. The people who fight beside us as we struggle through the episodes are the true heroes in this saga.

    How understandable would it be for a caretaker to leave, to surrender, when faced with that intensity of pain endured by a loved one? Yet they stay. Time, after time, after time, when I diminish, my wife steps up, steps in, and sees to it that the world will still be here on the other side. She didn’t ask for this responsibility, but she never shirks from it. Wil, I don’t know you or your wife, but I have an idea of the strain depression puts on a relationship and I’m happy for you that you have a dedicated caretaker. I don’t know if caretakers have any real grasp of how essential they are for people with depression. If whoever is reading this comment provides for a person with depression or Type 2 Bipolar, please know that you are the most important person in the world to that one. They may not be able to tell you so, and in fact they may lash out at you for wanting them to stay alive, but please know that you are the hero. As a person with a depressive disorder, I’d like to say thank you for all that you do as a caretaker. It has been the difference between life and death for me.

    1. I have a husband who struggles with depression and anxiety, and I really needed to read your words today, so thank you so much for putting this into words in a way he never has.

  30. I am right in the midst of MMMMMARRAAAHHH as I type. It has gotten pretty awful lately, and I’ve been feeling close to despondent today.

    Then I read that Wil Wheaton has been going through the same, at nearly the exact same time.

    Somehow, that made me feel a bit better. That even someone as awesome as you has bad days. Despite being miles apart and not knowing each other at all, it made things better for me.

    Thank you, Wil.

  31. I am seriously debating printing this post out and leaving a copy on my brother’s desk. The poor guy has some issues with depression and PSTD that he refuses to acknowledge; I’ve been hoping that seeing someone he admires in the same boat might help him cope and seek the help he needs.

  32. I hate that I put my husband through the same kinds of things. I don’t know how he has managed to put up with me for the ten years we have been together but he seems to have figured out plans for the different levels of depression. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through the rougher college years without his help.

  33. Thank you for sharing this, Wil. Thanks for making a difference.

    Today I get to donate a bottle of your Stone Brewing Co w00tstout, brought to me all the way from Texas, to the Irish gaming convention, Gaelcon (www.gaelcon.com, but Murphy’s Law, the site crashed two days before the con so all you can get is the pdf of the convention programme). This’ll be auctioned in tomorrow night’s charity auction, and will eventually help Irish children’s charities. So thanks for that, too!

  34. Thank you Wil. Thank you for showing people that depression is something that can affect anyone. Thank you for making it known that it’s ok to need and ask for help. Thank you for helping people understand that depression does not come from a weakness in a person, but from a person’s brain freaking out and throwing out wonky chemical combinations. Just…thank you.

  35. Thank you.

    I hate those days, where it feels that nothing will ever be right ever. They pass. Then life is fine again but it is good to hear someone else – someone a world away acknowledge that it is fine to not be ok all the time.

    OK, that made more sense in my head so I’m just going to reiterate my original point – thank you.

  36. Thank you, Wil, for sharing your life with us. Your candor is both inspirational and encouraging to everyone…especially someone like me who also has a “broken brain.”
    Keep on keepin on Wil! Thank you for allowing this 90% (on good days) girl into the inner-workings of your 97% brain!

  37. So many times the comments section of any blog is filled with nit-picky petty bickering negativity. It’s inspiring to see so many people NOT be that way about this one! Thank you peoples…it’s moments like these I feel we as a species are worthy of the dreams of great people (MLK, Rodenberry, Bill & Ted, etc.)

  38. Thank you. I’m having a ‘good day’ today, a lot in part due to reading this blog post this morning before I got up. When I’m having a bad day the words stick in my mouth and I really struggle with saying how I feel (and conversely when I’m having a good day, trying to describe what a bad day feels like, feels ridiculously melodramatic), so reading someone else’s description makes me feel like ‘yep, I know that, I’m not alone in it’, although I wish no one ever had to go through it. I know of course the stats, how common it is, that I can walk down a crowded street and there’s a good chance there’s a whole group of people feeling just as shitty as me, walking alongside me, but no one ever talks. Thank you, you make a difference.

  39. Don’t know why my first post here describing my experience didn’t get approved, but it is nice to come back and see that other people think and feel a little like me.

  40. I don’t think I commented here yet, but as I said on Twitter: Hell. Yeah.

    And if I may borrow a phrase, because it’s really what that hell yeah wants to say: I love this the most or one thousand times.

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