Posted by: Kate | July 2, 2008


I had forgotten that feeling, when the alarm starts to blare some almost-recognizable radio-friendly song at your mostly-unconscious head, and you roll over to beat the clock into submission.  That feeling of heaviness and almost-dread, except without the adrenaline and spark and life that actual dread would have.  Instead of the normal, good-natured fake whining that fills my head on most days, when I convince myself that I’ll take a nap later in the day as reward for getting up on time now (and conveniently forgetting that naps are not my best thing), I just feel wooden.  Heavy.  Dark.

I had forgotten the routine plodding toward the shower, the slowness inside my head and throughout my body, such that I take what feels like a normal shower and stare bemusedly at the clock when I step back into the bedroom, somehow having lost fifteen minutes in the process of a typical daily routine. 

I had forgotten the simple not-caring about what songs come on the radio, about what world events are reported by a perky-voiced DJ in 60 seconds or less.  I couldn’t, for love or money, tell you what I listened to on the drive to work today.  It didn’t matter enough to enter my consciousness at the time, and certainly didn’t become encoded for recall later.

It’s depression, I understand that.  At least a psuedo-depression, brought on by increasing anxiety and stress around situations that will only get better with time; no intervention in psychotherapy or chemistry can make the days roll by faster, and really, it’s a short little blip of time in the bigger picture.  Ativan helps take the edge off that jittery, miserable sharpness which is a lot more like actual dread, but the problem is that when the edge has been taken off, there’s not much else to take its place.  I just feel dull and flat, and so I get to choose between twitchy and sharp or slow and lifeless.  This isn’t a chemical depression, an onslaught from my brain onto my wellbeing.  Starting an antidepressant today certainly wouldn’t help (four to six weeks until the medicine reaches clinical blood levels, and how’s that for a cosmic joke?) and starting it six weeks ago wouldn’t have been the right answer because a 12-week chemical intervention (six weeks up, six weeks down) to deal with a two-week trigger seems wrong, too. 

A part of me holds a wish to be able to wave a white flag, to indulge in a day of Pride and Prejudice on DVD and lots of chocolate and low-key knitting, as though perhaps a day off might provide a buffer for the formless cloud that I can’t quite define, and therefore can’t quite deal with.  Such a day is an impossible luxury at the moment, with a full-time job and household chores and weekend plans, but maybe next week. 

I had also forgotten how much better my life has gotten, in the past three years.  The first year after Jacob’s birth felt like this every single day.  It was so dark, so dull, for so long, that after a while I couldn’t quite remember what it felt like to just roll out of bed and start the day; each day was a long stretch between sleeps with an unbelievable amount of energy expended on just going through the motions, remembering to smile, providing some competence in front of my colleagues and clients, some fun and light for my kids.  It went on for so long that I stopped trying to imagine what it would feel like without it. 

When it lifted, that post partum depression, as though such a succinct, clinical phrase could contain the breadth of the experience, it was slow.  Or, rather, my belief that it truly had lifted was slow; I didn’t dare realize that I was honestly having two good days in a row, and then three, and then thirty.  I refused to count.  I refused to acknowledge that I was feeling better, because that created an opening for hope, and hope is just another vulnerability toward disappointment. 

Eventually, I did pull fully out of it.  I started going to bed feeling confident, every night, that I would wake up feeling myself the next day.  I learned to conceptualize myself as someone who was not always depressed, someone who did not accept a lifetime of not-quite-good-enough as inevitable.  It took longer for my husband to share that confidence; he had watched me hurt in a sort of mute, lethargic way for almost as long as I had felt it, long enough that he had begun to assimilate that dullness, that depression, as part of his perception of me.  He continued to see it in me for a while after I stopped feeling it, just as you continue to see patches and shadows of darkness immediately after a light has been turned on again.

It will pass.  I know what is causing this, and I know that it wil fade.  I will not forget that it will be good again.


  1. Wishing you peace and strength to get thru this, as I know you will.

  2. I just blogged about this very thing yesterday. I’ll be going to my doctor soon… I stopped taking Ativan months ago, so I’m out of everything. It will get better – for both of us.

  3. Love to you, my friend.

  4. You’re a very brave woman. In a way you’d be “crazy” not to be depressed, given what’s coming up.

    You will triumph, or at least make it to the other side mostly intact. And that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.


  5. This too shall pass. Here’s hoping sooner rather than later.

  6. ((((hugs)))) It’s a good thing that you understand and acknowledge what it is. I hope you get through this quickly.

  7. This sucks. I know the feeling, believe me. I hope it lifts sooner than later.

  8. I dont really have anything to say other than your post mirrored how I feel right now.

  9. Oh Kate. For once I cannot empathise. I’ve been depressed but never enough to need or want medication . . .hope you’re picking up already and it’s good that you talk about it, so many don’t. Chin up girl!

  10. Hello Kate,

    I just came across your site and start reading it because of the “deoderant.” I continued to read because you really have a gift of articulating your thoughts. I haven’t gone any farther than this post because I must tell you that my heart is with you. I don’t know what is looming but you WILL get through it. As moms we will get through anything. I have two older sons and one of them, 19 yrs moved to the big city last September and my “worrystone” is what alleviates the depression and worry. I also have two worry dolls (one for each of my sons) in my pillow case :)…seriously…anthing to keep me calm,,,superstitious but it works. I have put you in my bloglines and hope the continue reading your trials and TRIBULATIONS. Something that that my MIL told me when my son moved and I was always crying….was that our children have been to lent to us….I keep telling myself that.


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