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. I’ve suffer from panic attacks for close to 11 years now. It’s impacted my life, my work, my family… I’m ashamed by it. I hide it from most of the people in my life. My fiance has accepted me for who I am and is great, I couldn’t be any luckier. My father knows about it and he tries to help. Even though they are understanding and try to help I have never been able to convey what it really feels like. I missed work yesterday because I was laying in bed, heart pounding, breath coming in hard ragged gasps, stuck in a constant loop in my head of “Why am I so fucked up and broken?” “Why can’t I beat this?” “How long do I have to fight?” “How can I live like this?”. I’d look at the woman than has agreed to spend her life with me and I could only whisper I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not better. I’m sorry you deserve better and I’m not. I’m sorry as much as I know I have to get up and move and get over this… I can’t. I can never explain how helpless and lost I am because people don’t understand what it’s like to be at war with your own mind.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. As hard as life is, hope isn’t dead. I hold onto the hope that I’ll be a good husband, that I’ll be able to help my father when he gets older, that I’ll be a good friend, and that tomorrow I’ll be a better me.

    1. And she tells you every time that it’s all going to be ok, and we’ll always get through it together… its never something to be ashamed of and you’re not broken.. you’ll get to do all those things in life, and I’ll be by your side to see all of them… forever and always with all of my heart… we’ll beat this baby

  2. I get so frustrated when people see me in a minor rage and then laugh when I call it depression. Apparently, the only way to be depressed is to curl up in your closet and cry. But it’s seriously a real thing – aggravated depression. It’s when you are so down that breaking every dish in the house seems like a good idea. Or taking it out on the door that intentionally clipped your shoulder by kicking it until either the door breaks or your foot does. I wish there were days that “MMMMARRAAAHHH” would be enough. And on those days, I breath. And do my best to isolate myself from those I love. And bite my tongue a LOT. Because I refuse to hurt my family, friends, co-workers, or anyone or anything else with my words or my body on those days. Because depression lies. And when it passes, I’m so grateful when I have nothing to regret (other than a broken dish – or two). Or, in your case, burned fingers.

  3. I’m catching up on my RSS feed this morning and saw this post. I have a had a really hard time with my depression recently (even lost my job yesterday because of it) and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your candor about your own battles with depression. You’re only a decade or so older than me, so it’s easier for me to relate to your experiences and see the possibilities for positive change in my own life, while keeping my expectations realistic. I actually feel remarkably free today since that job was suffocating me and making my depression worse. After reading your post this morning it made me think of how patient and supportive my family has been. They have had to learn how hard to push and when to back off and I know it can’t be easy for them. Even though I have told them before how much I love and appreciate them, I don’t think there is anything I can say or do that will truly convey to them how important their continued presence and support is in helping me keep my depression under control and not letting the feelings I can’t control dictate all of my feelings.

  4. We’re all afraid of the dark that no light can scatter, Wil. Some of us simply find it too hard to live in the light when our souls are overwhelmed by the prospect of a never-ending night.
    Fortunately for you, there are millions of strangers who love you in their own way, to say nothing of your friends and family who would die for you.
    Be well, good sir.
    Better days lie ahead.

  5. Thanks for being so open about this, I have been battling depression for over 30 years and more recently anxiety attacks. I had a really bad one today.

    I often feel like every time I am getting better another part of me trying to attack me as well.

  6. I’m still waiting for that day to be over. I’ve tried countless antidepressants, and I finally found one that helps… a LITTLE. I’m still stuck in this dark endless tunnel, but I have a little firefly friend with me. That’s it though.

  7. I’ve been suffering from depression since I was around 7 years old. I have been able to see it coming and usually control it, or at the very least, notice it for what it is and get myself out of within 24 hours. On a good day.
    I also have days where I’m raging and nothing goes right and I’m impatient. Figured I had anger issues. Seeing your post and seeing myself do the exact same thing has made me pause and rethink my outbursts. If I can see my depression for what it is, maybe I should look a bit harder and see all aspects of it. Maybe this will help me to get over the rages. Then I can also communicate what it is and have it just be an ok thing, instead of something that upsets those around me and has me feeling guilty if I happen to rage and need to go calm down before I spend time with my two month old.
    Tears came to my eyes reading this because I saw myself so clearly and it’s one of those, wow, I’m not the only one moments that really helps you get through the day.
    Thank you for being so candid and open and as always just plain nice.
    Feeling better already :)

  8. As a fellow sufferer of depression, I am proud that you willingly put an aspect of your struggle in the public eye. I have always tried to be open about my struggle, in hopes that my story will help someone else. if we all speak out, the stigma around mental illness will continue to be lifted. Well done, my friend. I pray that your continued improvement shines a light for the rest of us!

  9. Thanks for this Wil. It’s nice to see the MMMMMARRAAAHHH days lucidly laid out when words sometimes fail those of us who can’t seem to voice them properly. I’m thankful for my support network in those times. I’m glad we both have good people behind us.

  10. Thank you for giving me hope, and reminding me that I am not alone. I wish I had someone in my life that was as understanding as your Anne. I am going through a rough patch where my medicine (Effexor) has lost it’s magic. I have a new mantra, thanks to you: “I have depression and anxiety, but it doesn’t have me.”

Comments are closed.