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13 steps to hell | 13 steps to heaven

"If you're depressed, just take a pill and get over it."

My brother and I glance at each other in horror. "Mom," he says, "That's not how that works."

"I know," she says, looking a little guilty. "But that's not how I was raised."

A feeble excuse, I think, but I have neither courage nor heart to say so. I remember what happened last spring, when I tried to bring up the fact that I was not okay. She dismissed it, saying I could have it worse. Maybe true, but that's the last thing I needed to hear while in the middle of a breakdown.

My brother and I exchange another glance, knowing it's better to keep quiet. We don't like it, but we don't like getting yelled at, either.


"I'm not saying I'm depressed," I tell my counselor, "Just..."

He thinks he understands and maybe he does. "No, I know, we're not assigning labels here."

That hurts, but I don't know why. Still, I let it lie. I'm only here to learn how to feel again, to stop the overwhelming sadness. I don't need a label, just solutions.


I tell my boyfriend that me and my family aren't going to my aunt's and uncle's for Thanksgiving after all, making light conversation.

"How come?"

"My uncle's depressed."

His eyebrows rise, and this is a look I'm used to, though it's usually saved for when I'm messing with him. "Isn't being alone the opposite of what you're supposed to do?"

"Yes," I say. "But that's not how my family works."

My uncle is my mom's brother. The similarities are few and far between, but when it comes to dealing with feelings, well.

I change the topic and he lets me.

The similarities between me and my mom are also few and far between, and I wonder if she feels as guilty about ignoring my uncle as I do.


The counselor gives me solutions and I mostly listen.

I get out of the house when I feel the sadness settling in—I won't be able to drive until August and it's May now, but there's a park and bike trail a minute from my house. Without AC, it's cooler outside than inside sometimes. The bugs drive me insane but I think it's better than the dread.

I drink less caffeine and mention when I'm feeling low to my boyfriend (the only person, outside of my best friend, I bring this whole mess to).

The sadness does not vanish, but it dimmers and I can only pretend to be happy about that.


I don't stop using the solutions—the exercise, the drinking of less caffeine. I simply use them less and less as time goes on. The sadness grows and I tell myself I'm not content with this. After all, isn't emptiness better than sadness? Than dread and anxiety and all other bits of negativity? Is this silence better than the constant drone of i hate you i hate you i hate you to myself?

I tell myself it is, but I'm never convinced. After all, what else is going to convince me that I still breathe?


Waking up to my alarm and the fog in my head settles before I'm even aware of my surroundings. This has been going on for months, now, and I wonder if I should go see a counselor again. A new one, if not the one I had before.

When it gets worse, I decide, and pretend I actually mean it.



( 10 down the kitchen sink — wash it away )
Nov. 24th, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)

 "Isn't being alone the opposite of what you're supposed to do?" 

I calan relate to the family dynamics here

I was told my maternal grandmother didn't "believe" in mental illness but I believe to this day my mother went undiagnosed and I've hid my disorders from most of that side of my family

MH clinic counselors are tough especially when people are pressuring you to go on medication and wouldn't even understand the concept of talk therapy.

Be well and I hope you are finding simple joys in however you are spending this day

Edited at 2016-11-24 03:06 pm (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2016 03:07 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a terrible struggle and your writing of it is clear and painful. It seems that talk therapy could be an answer for you! I wish you the best.
Nov. 24th, 2016 08:33 pm (UTC)
This is such a tough thing to go through, and it sounds as if it may run in the family.

I'm wondering why medication hasn't been considered here, though. Chronic, persistent depression usually can't really be lifted through lifestyle change. All of that helps, but if it isn't going away then medication is usually the right next step.

The family dynamics described here... not helpful to the people in question, but really common, I think. And very generationally and regionally based, often.

Good luck with this, I do hope it gets better for you.
Nov. 27th, 2016 08:01 pm (UTC)
Oh man, it's so hard when family can't accept or deal with mental health issues. I have anxiety and I started medication, and it's been really good! Therapy can help too. Wishing you luck with all of this!
Nov. 28th, 2016 02:30 pm (UTC)
*Hugs* I hope you feel better soon. I think changing counsellor should help or taking help of meds if required is not bad. Take care. Seek support from where ever you can.
Nov. 28th, 2016 03:02 pm (UTC)
Depression is such a struggle. Nicely done.
Nov. 28th, 2016 10:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for being brave enough to share this. I'm sorry you're struggling. I hope writing helps, and that you have other outlets, things that bring you joy, even if in small doses.
Nov. 29th, 2016 04:21 am (UTC)
It's hard having depression in a family that never talks about depression.

I hadn't heard of cutting back on caffeine to help with that. I might have to try it.
Nov. 29th, 2016 12:20 pm (UTC)
::Hugs:: This write took courage, and I appreciate your sharing. Hug again, don't lose hope. Peace~~~D
Nov. 29th, 2016 03:50 pm (UTC)
I understand some of what you feel.

And—probably a trite thing to say to this, but still—I really like the way you describe it. Despite the subject, there is if not lightness but ease to your telling that I really liked.

Edited at 2016-11-29 03:51 pm (UTC)
( 10 down the kitchen sink — wash it away )


to be good again
a tale told three thousand years ago

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