I’m Going To Be Brave

I’m going to repost a post that I published about a month back before shame washed over me and I took it down, embarrassed.


Sometimes it just goes this way. Things will be okay then they get a litte grey and then all of a sudden, blackness. The dark place. The Black Dog has me tight in his jaws this time. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I want to escape this dark world but instead I am trapped because I can’t do that to my kids.

I will leave this post with my favourite quote describing depression.

“I’m tired…Tired of being on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I’m tired of never having a buddy to be with, to tell me where we’s going to, coming from or why. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head, all the time…”


I know I have posted that quote dozens of times but it absolutely sums up what it feels like for me. I should have it written on my gravestone. Or keep it as a wallet card in case I ever get really desperate and decide it’s too much. I should write my obituary in advance and just have that quote.

Am I okay? That is what you are supposed to ask someone who is depressed. Well, no. I’m not. But I have no way out. I can’t kill myself in December because then I will ruin Christmas for everyone for the rest of their lives. And really, I can’t do it ever because I don’t want to leave that legacy to my beautiful children. Life is full of enough pain and they don’t need me killing myself.

Am I okay? Well, no. I am as far from okay as I can possibly be and I tell a therapist that and unless I have immediate plans to kill myself I get a, “There, there. Breathe. Go have a cup of tea and try to get a good night’s sleep”. I wish there was a place for me to go when I am in the darkness. A place to rest. A place to think. A place where someone will listen. I could go to the psych ward where they put me in puce pyjamas and I have to ask permission to use the bathroom lest I try to hang myself.  And I have to watch the same channel on the communal television because I’m not trusted to hold a remote. And every item around me is bolted down. It shames me. It belittles me. It causes me to go to an even darker place.

So, I will hit the publish button and try to not have the shame that hangs over me cause me to put this post in the trash. Maybe there is one person that will read it and they will feel less alone. If it’s you, please let me know. Because I need to feel less alone. Because I’m not okay.

21 thoughts on “I’m Going To Be Brave

  1. Truly sorry to hear you are suffering! Other than that all I can say is the path you walk is crowded, you really aren’t alone, there just isn’t enough light to see all the others, and they probably feel the same way you do. One foot in front of the other until you get to the other side, until then, you don’t have to be OK, you just have to keep groping through the darkness, watching for the light. And while you entertaining that black dog take care of yourself, eat as well as you can, sleep as regularly as you are able, do what you can for yourself, your worth it.

  2. Birdie- you absolutely have to speak with your therapist. This is not all right and you should not have to suffer like this. I swear to you (and I hope you trust me) that you can feel better. That feeling the way you do is NOT what any god would want and NOT what any human should have to feel. Please. Please. Call for help. A psyche ward may not be the answer but there are medications which can help you as you live at home. A change in what you are taking. More. Different. Just keep breathing. Keep living. Call your therapist. Now.
    You are loved.

  3. Birdie, you are very sensitive like me. It is a strength and a weakness but it does make life hard. Your writing about this helps me. I go through some tough periods and feel as you describe. I don’t necessarily think there is a medication that works for everyone or even if it works, it doesn’t take it away. I think I have a background kind of depression. Holidays are not great for me. It’s all so complicated and just hard. I do know hard times pass and then I feel better for a time… keep writing and talking. Don’t feel shame with us. We are family. I love you, Birdie

  4. The poem is so accurate. I think one of the reasons I felt I wanted to continue to read your blog and have this peace of you that you offer to the world in my life, was because of your light. You are like this beautiful white lily in a dark rotting forest. I feel the dark too much so often, but knowing shining lights like you are out there make me feel it all could be okay.

  5. Never, never, NEVER Shame. There are people who care but I’m sorry to wonder whether your therapist is one of them. I’m sorry for the darkness though it has never visited me in a substantial way I can only imagine what it must be like.

    I’m just saying I care. I care that your here and that your trying so hard. I care for your stories and for the people that you care for. Love and hugs and a long chat over coffee or tea.

  6. Oh dearheart. Feel. No. Shame.
    You are not alone. And because of your courage a lot of us realise that we are not alone.
    In the dark hours I often tell myself that the worlld would be improved if I left. And yet I am still hanging on.
    Heartfelt hugs. Always. Of gratitude and caring.

  7. I’m sorry your thoughts and feelings were belittled on account they weren’t novel, or whatever. That’s crap. You deserve a brigade of reassurance and support, no matter the frequency or extent of the darkness.

    #metoo (And #metoo, but whatever- see if you catch me copping to it outside the confines of these comment boxes.) But you’re not alone. I marvel at the extent so many of us are able to get ourselves up out of bed in the morning and carry on about our lives given all the terrible news and devastating accounts of human suffering we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.

    And YES, you’re right – that’s not the sort of legacy you’d ever bestow upon your kids. The world *needs* more compassionate people like you. The need may not be audible, or apparent at the given moment, but please hold tight to the fact that we really, truly do (not to mention all the other important and outstanding things you bring to the planet). ❤

  8. Ok, my love. This isn’t a comment, it’s a conversation. You might as well be in my head. And I cannot even begin to tell you how less alone this makes me feel. Nobody, NO BODY, can understand this unless it is happening to them. Probably most people understand that! It’s constant, the ocean is rarely calm. Wave after wave, it hits a rare patch of smooth and then there it goes again, eternally. Yeah, therapy is good, medication is good, yoga, prayer, affirmations, have I left anything out? And they are not good enough. Although we keep trying. You don’t have to tell us, it’s part of the road. And if we know what’s good for us, we will never get off that road. God bless the people who care enough about us to keep saying it, if even only to show us their love!

    This is not your garden variety depression, anxiety, angst. This is a whole different animal. I never write as raw as you’ve just written here. I’m so afraid of being stigmatized, judged, rejected.

    I want out, just like you do. I want out a lot. I have periods of time when that seems far away. But it’s there in the back of my head, if only a whisper – 24/7. Who can get that?? People don’t want to know that, because they don’t know what to do with it. Yeah, it’s sick, it’s an illness. But it also just is, it’s our lives. I’m like you, sometimes the desire is overwhelming. I sit with my head in my hands and I think, how do I even eat. I’m like you too, in that I would never do it….there’s Liz. Could I ever, in any way, no matter how bad things are, justify doing that to her? Ruining someone else’s life, changing her life forever. So no, I don’t do it, just like you. And that thought, when it comes to me actually makes it all a little better. Yes, B, I know how it feels. I’m not in your shoes, but we are toe to toe.

    American’s, especially, always want to fix things. And we do fix things, a lot, there are a lot of hero’s out there, a lot of really feel-good stories. And sometimes there’s not. Sometimes, and I know I am going to get a boatload of shit for this, — but sometimes, things just can’t be fixed. We can get a good enough handle on it to survive. We get happiness, joy, love, but this…I’m not sure it ever truly goes away for some of us. The best way to make a dent in what we feel, the way we live our lives, is to do what you do with helping others, but it’s a dent. If you read this and you want to help us……just fucking hold us. That’s how you make a dent. I would hold you, B, if I could, and I know you would do the same for me.

    I give too much love. I need too much love. And just like you, I am sure, we feel bad for that. And it is a burden to us and to others, but that’s what it’s like – I am “inappropriately” too much in need, or so I’ve been told. Shaming our need does not make us any less in need. Thank god, again, for the people who love us and stand by us. Where would we be without them? We who go through this, who live with this, live in a different kind of world. We can help each other. You helped me, you understand. I hope very much that I have helped you to not feel bad or ashamed for not feeling ok. It will pass, you know that just as much as me. You do have times of light and you will get another one, this will pass.

    I am so sorry for your suffering and I am so proud of you and I am very, very grateful to you. You are brave, B, we can never go wrong being brave.
    You are precious and very, very loved.
    I love you.

  9. I know the absoluteness of this awful. But that ABSOLUTE part is a LIE.

    It’s a wave. And like every wave it will ebb and flow. And like every wave it can drown you. It can beat the shit of out you. But it does change. It does move out and then you can breath. If you remember that it is moving. It is changing. And you survive until you can breathe.

    This moment is not forever.

    As impossible as this moment feels, it only requires time to change. And you can survive this moment and when the water recedes you can figure out where to manage the future waves. But this wave is survivable. Remember how many previous waves you survived.

    The key, for me anyway, is to focus on the thing that won’t get done if I don’t survive. If that doesn’t make me take the next step, then I just focus my entirety on the next tiny fractional step of normal life. Those are battlefield conditions of course. But it sounds like you are on a battlefield again.

    Survive. Do the next thing. Shout the reality out the windows that you will survive and fuck everyone who thinks that the method of your survival is anything but a fucking battle.

    I could write a whole post on that goddamn feeling of shame you mentioned – but today you are just about surviving and kicking out the shame is for when you are standing on the ground not being tossed around inside the wave.

  10. The psych ward isn’t that bad at least not the one my daughter was in. They can wear whatever clothes they like or they can wear what the hospital supplies. They can use the bathroom when they wish and they have a bathroom in every bedroom. There is a communal shower room and you can shower when you wish also. There are several tv’s and the remote is not hidden or glued down. The only thing you can’t have is anything you can hurt yourself with and anything you can take pictures with so that rules out most cell phones and computers. If you are well enough you can get day passes as long as you come back by the agreed upon time. The Dr comes around in the morning and sees each patient and there are morning activities and group things. You can have visitors anytime as long as it’s not while the patient is sleeping. I was impressed with how the Dr. said that most people are at the ward to get a “tune up” with their meds and it’s easier to adjust meds quickly and watch for reactions if you are already right there in the hospital. It seemed like a much less shameful and threatening place when you think of it like that. But if you aren’t suicidal, psychotic or having a problem with your meds then of course the psych ward is not the place you should be. But suffering so much isn’t ideal either. I wish we knew more about how our brains work and why so we could lift some of the suffering from people with mental illnesses. Unfortunately I can’t slay the dragon for you (I’m working hard to slay my own dragon) but I can send you my well wishes and hopes that your good days outnumber your bad ones some day. Hang in there, your are strong, you are loved and you are important.

  11. Birdie, it makes me so sad to read this. I do know the hopelessness of depression. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. I have no answers, but we all care about you.

  12. I will hold you in my heart, Birdie, at this moment and for the future. I totally understand the shame thing. My own struggles are the result of barely surviving in a house with a brutal alcoholic father and and a chronically depressed mother. The damage wrought can never be undone; however, it can be managed. I came to understand the shame was not mine. The shame belonged to the person who damaged me. You are not alone, and you are loved by many.

  13. Me too Birdie, but you know that. And no, I won’t kill myself either because it would hurt so many people. And yes, I’m so tired of this endless, grinding depression.

    It will get better. That’s what I hang on to.

    Ten years ago I saw a bumper sticker that helped me then.

    “Don’t believe everything you think”

    It’s so true.

    Hang on Birdie. We’re survivors.

  14. As a former psych nurse who worked on a locked ward, I know what you mean when you say the psych ward doesn’t solve your problems. It’ll keep you safe for a few days but it sure as fuck isn’t a cure for the disease of mental illness (or the mental pain of chronic physical illness). Psych meds can be tweaked and adjusted and they help some people feel a lot better, but they don’t work for everyone (didn’t do squat for me). Still, it makes sense to try that route.

    My husband tells me there is some honor in the ability to endure and press on…to keep pushing for some quality of life for yourself and those you love. Most days I believe that to be true, but some days I can’t even grasp onto that. Those are the days to practice extreme self care, which I know you’ve done before. Get through work if you can, and then do nothing but love yourself. Take a warm bath, netflix and chill, or do something repetitive and easy with your hands (cross stitching, loom weaving, etc….some easy hobby you’ve done in the past). We know the darkest moods will eventually pass and you will see another sunny day in your garden. If nothing else, know that you are loved by people all over the world who read your blog, and have found you to be a worthwhile soul in this realm. ❤

  15. I can’t pretend to know how to help, but you are not alone. Not at all. I am so glad you reached out. Maybe the Black Dog can’t be ditched. Maybe the Black Dog will sit beside you for a little while and then wander away. Pet her fur, whisper in her ear and let her go.
    She will probably come back because everyone needs gentleness, even dogs.

  16. the “lonely sparrow in the rain” and “pieces of glass in my head” is how I sometimes feel. Not even my meds work for me when I get this way. I can be fine one day and then I hide in bed crying the next. It’s a roller coaster for me since my doctor took me off my happy pills and put me on something milder. I’m not going to talk anymore right now. I’m tired and my pain is bad today..

  17. So many amazing comments here I couldn’t even begin to say anything more eloquent or supportive than what has already been said to you. What I can say though is that I love you and I’m here for you and I understand.

  18. The thing I understand most of all, the thing I hold on to in this post, is that you will not choose to leave such a heartbreaking legacy for your children. I know. I know. That alone has got me through so many dark days. Please know we are here with you, holding your hand, holding you, praying the darkness lifts soon. I love you, Birdie. We need you on this earth. Your very presence makes it a kinder place.

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