Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On one writer and depression, aka life in the black pit of hell

So here I am, telling the truth for the first time, ever, publicly.

I have been ashamed to tell people about this for so long that I am –literally (and those of you who have heard me rant about the correct use of ‘literally’ know I really mean it) – crying at the keyboard. 
Because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to get over years and years of humiliation and despair to admit that I needed help.

So here it is:  I’m Alesia Holliday (and Alyssa Day) and I have battled depression all my life. 

Wow.  That was really fucking hard.  I can see why maybe AA makes you stand up and admit to being an alcoholic over and over.  Perhaps repetition lessens the terror?  Perhaps desensitization lessens the pain?  I don’t know.  I hope so.  I’m finally speaking up and speaking out because I can’t be silent any longer. I think my life might hang in the balance.

I had a birthday in November and it hit me hard.  So hard.  Because all I could think was: “How am I going to slog through so many more years of a life like this?”

I call depression the black pit, because it’s so damn dark down there.  It’s the horrible, hideous 4 a.m. of the soul, where all the worst bits of self-torment and self-sabotage and self-hatred throw a big fucking party and jump on my head. 

“You’re not good enough.”  “Your next book can never be as good as the last one.”  “You’re a terrible person, writer, wife, mother, daughter, sister, human being.”

I don’t think anybody really understands depression.  The doctors think our brain chemistry is messed up, and we can fix it with medication.  The therapists think it’s a behavioral issue and we can fix it with therapy.  Probably both are true, to varying degrees.  Maybe.  All I know is that it’s something that can kill people by destroying all hope, and that it’s probably going to be almost as hard, or even harder, to fight my way out of the black pit as it was to just lie in the bottom of that damn pit in the dark--hoping to disappear.  But I know I have to try.

I have the best friends and family in the world, but when you’re in the black pit, they don’t know how to help.  Because they can tell you it will get better, but you don’t believe them.  Or they can cheer you on to climb out, but it feels like the sides are coated with slippery oil and no matter how hard you try to climb out, you’re just going to slide back down.  Maybe they’ll even throw you a rope, but the thought of trying to climb a rope is impossible when you haven’t had the strength to take a shower for three days.

I actually had this conversation with myself once:

“You have to wash your hair.”
“I I don’t have the strength to do it.”
“You have to do it.”
“I can’t.”
“You have to.”
“Why does it matter if I have clean hair? I’m such a loser.”
“But what if you die here on the couch with dirty hair and everybody knows you were too much of a loser to wash your hair?”

So I washed my hair.  Because some tiny part of me wanted to keep everyone from knowing I was hurting so much and so far gone.  Because, thanks to society’s stigmatizing mental issues like depression, I was too humiliated to even admit that I was hurting. 

Until I hit that birthday and realized I didn’t have the energy to keep fighting, over and over and over. 

Until I realized my subconscious had been screaming at me for a while, because the last three stories I’d written all had main characters die.

Until I admitted how much I needed help.

So I told my family and my doctor.  I told my agent and my editors.  I told my friends.  I cried so many tears that I think my tear ducts are broken.  And a tiny, tiny, tiny miracle happened:  So many people told me that they’re on my side.  And that they love me and they support me, even though, deep down, I still felt like I didn’t deserve support.  Or love.  Because depression is an evil monster who gets his claws around our mind and heart and gut and never, ever wants to let go.

Well, fuck that.  I am getting help and, for the first time in a long time, I see a glimmer of light and hope.  For the first time in an even longer time, I don’t feel like a complete fraud who is pretending to be happy.

My editors have been amazing, but the next League of the Black Swan book had to be pushed back from May, 2014 because I was completely unable to finish it in time.  I promise to let you know when it’s rescheduled, and I appreciate your patience and kindness and understanding more than I can ever say. My novella I wrote nearly two years ago, Alejandro's Sorceress, is waiting for me to be able to look at it with clear eyes so I can finally post it for you.  I'm trying.  I hope it will be very soon.

I've started meds, and I've started therapy, and both are helping.  I'm trying to find my balance, and just feeling a glimmer of hope instead of being crushed under the weight of hopelessness is a miracle.  And today, another  miracle occurred.  I wanted to write.  I DID write.  And the words I wrote in my story didn’t lie there, flat and lifeless on the page, forcing me to delete them and start over like they do when I’m in the black pit.  Instead, they danced and sang like stories are supposed to do.  Quietly, still, and a little shaky on their feet, but there was definitely singing and dancing.

I’m  Alesia, and I have battled depression all my life. 

Hey.  It was easier, just by an infinitesimal bit, that second time.  Let’s try it again:

I’m  Alesia, and I have battled depression all my life.  But now I’m getting help, and I’m climbing out of that damn black pit.  2014 is going to be better, and I’m never going to hide in a corner, ashamed and hurting, again.  I know it’s going to be a climb, and there is no instant, magical cure.  But this is a start, and – just like that blank first page of any new book – a fresh start feels like it holds hope, and light, and promise. 

Please, please, let’s smash through this stigma about depression, so nobody has to be ashamed to ask for help, ever again.  Please, please, anybody else out there who’s hurting—please reach out for help, right now.  Don’t suffer in silence or shame for even one more day.  Let’s make depression our bitch, instead of the other way around.

With hugs, and love, and—finally—a little bit of hope,

Alesia

Here are some resources:

The National Institute of Mental Health - http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

PBS has compiled a list of resources here:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/depression/resources.html

And if you feel the least bit suicidal, please reach out immediately.  You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you are in crisis, and be connected to a trained counselor in your area, 24/7 or find further resources at their website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.



265 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Seriously. The more of us who do, the easier it gets for everyone, so thank you thank you thank you.

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  2. I love you, darllin.

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  3. Alyssa, Thank you for sharing your story. That took an amazing amount of courage. I will pray that God will give you the strength to not only crawl out of that pit for good but help you shovel all the S**t into the pit so you can bury it and put it to rest.

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  4. It might not mean much coming from a random fan (and I am a huge fan), but I'm very proud of you Alesia.

    I suffer from anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and a panic disorder but both carry along bouts of depression.

    Like you, I hid everything away until the debilitating panic attacks and breakdowns became too much and I asked for help. I did the meds, I did the therapy and I realized that even though millions of people suffer from the same thing I do, many of the folks I come in contact with on an average day don't. They don't "get it", they don't understand. But that's why I'm here. I can explain on behalf of myself and the other millions of folks like me what I have, how I deal with it and strive to make sure that the folks around me know the signs so they can go forth and help others.

    Keep saying it, keep taking away its power and regaining your strength. One day you'll be able to say you suffer from depression the same way you say what color eyes you have because it will no longer have any power over you. It will be part of what makes you who you are but you will be the master of it.

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    1. Sheila it means a great deal. Thank you so much and huge hugs to you.

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  6. So proud for you, brave and beautiful woman. <3

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  8. I am 30 years old and I have been suffering from bipolar manic depression since I was a little girl, starting to get help at the tender age of 16. I went through phases in my life where I wanted to get help and ones where I didn't. It took me getting divorced to give me that final kick in the pants that I needed. My multi-disabled son now had no father (his father's choice) and he deserved to have a somewhat sane mother. So I went to my doctor and told him I needed to be medicated and that I needed a therapist. That was 7 years ago and I have never been happier. I have even gotten to apoint in my life where when I meet someone new, I tell them upfront that I am bipolar because I am no longer ashamed of my condition. It may be a part of me, but it does not define me. One day you will be able to look at someone with no bad feelings in your heart or mind and say that you may have depression but depression doesn't have you. As a fan of your Atlantis series, I believe in you and I support you. You will overcome this. You are strong and you can do this.

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    1. Thank you so much and all my hugs to you. You are giving me hope!

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  9. I love you and I support you. You are not alone. And you never will be.

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  10. As someone who's been in a neighboring pit since I was a child, I applaud you for having the courage to talk about your problem and to do what's right for your. Whatever works best for you is what you need to do. And don't forget that is you need to talk, there are so many of us out here who have the same issues. You're not alone.

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    1. thanks so much, Stephanie! Let's tunnel through the pits to each other. xoxo

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  11. As a fellow depression victim, I hear you. You are a truly wonderful person who is worth the love and support that you are offered. You are a great writer, whose words just keep getting better with each book. You have to have faith in yourself and believe what everyone is telling you. It's a hard road to travel, but you can do it! You can do anything! Wishing you peace and love during this hard time.

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  12. It's really brave to get help and to talk about this so maybe you can move someone else who needs it to do the same.

    Love you. If you ever need anything, I'm here.

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  14. Thank you for sharing.Good job, on taking those first step.

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  15. Alesia, you are the bravest woman I know. I'm so proud of you and honored to call you a friend. I have a twin sister who's battled depression all her life. I've seen the pain she suffers when no one seems to understand. I've tried, but I know I have no real notion what it must be like to be her. Or you. Thank you for sharing a piece of your soul. I love you!!!

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    1. It took me way too long to be brave, believe me. Hugs to you and your sister!

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  16. Oh, do I recognize this. Therapy helps me get up in the morning, go to work, recognize that those horrible black periods will end and that ... and this is really important... depression LIES. It will tell you you're crap. It's lying. It will tell you no one cares. It's lying. When you feel like hell, reach out and talk to the people who will tell you the truth, who will be there for you.

    The drugs help, but they aren't perfect. And sometimes, the one you're on will stop working. So you need to remember that when you start to feel like crap, it's just the depression trying to sneak in on you again and tell your doctor.

    Take care of yourself. We're all here for you, no matter what.

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  17. Alesia, I'm so proud of you for telling your story! People in my family suffer from depression and it is painful. So glad you are getting help with meds and counseling. You are not alone. And having told your story, I hope the love and support you've known will be multiplied many times over.

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  18. Keep telling yourself that you are worth it everyday and start believing in it also. You have a huge fan base that adore you and your written word and now will stand at your side as you fight, and fight it will be. The first step of the rest of your life was admitting you had a problem, the second was getting the help you need. Now you can get on to accepting depression is a part of you but it doesn't define who you are. I don't think depression can be cured but it can be controlled and you can over come this. We, your fans and friends, love you and will support you in all you do, Ms Day, feel no shame because there is no shame to own. You are human, not perfect. We all have our burdens to bare, but we don't have to do it alone or in silence. May your struggle be short and your happiness be long.

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  19. I've been where you are, and it sucks sideways and upside down. You're not alone, you are worth the effort, and you're always awesome.

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  20. I battled my own demons several years back and am glad to see you so valiantly waging war. Just know you've got a badass team on your side. We all love you so, so much!

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  21. I'm very proud of you for admitting it "out loud" to everyone. I know how it feels to be in that black pit. I battle it almost every day. I say almost because I'm bipolar, so the feelings vary. It seems all my life that I constantly get kicked in the teeth for no reason. So much so that when something good does come along, I stare at it and wonder when it's going to fall apart. It's hard to pick yourself up after being kicked, but I made a promise to myself to keep getting up. Reading has really made a huge difference in my life. Whether it gives hope or just distraction, it helps so much. I'm also an aspiring writer and member of RWA, so these things have also given me an output for all the feels that seem to want to burst out at any given moment. Keep your head up and know that you aren't alone. I'm always available (yes, I'm a random stranger, but sometimes that helps) if you need anything.

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    1. thank you so much and hugs to you. Let's win this thing.

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  22. Thank you for sharing. Am thinking of you and it makes me feel not so alone.

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    1. thank you and all my hugs and support to you, too.

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  23. My Humblest Thanks for Your Post Today.
    I am also a casualty of lifelong depression.
    Today you inspired me to write a post on my blog
    Something unlocked inside me and the words came pouring out.
    Thank You
    helathquester.blogspot.com

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    1. www.healthquester.blogspot.com
      oops

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    2. Thank you so much and all my hugs. Let's fight this thing.

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  24. You are brave and lovely and nobody's bitch, not even depression.

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  25. I have never written or posted anything so brave. I'm proud of you. I'm getting help for my postpartum depression, and a day at a time, I try to wake up my mind and body and make the choice to sit down at the keyboard and write, or to spend quality, happy time with my children. This is so, so hard. But it gets better. I promise.

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    1. thank you so much and hugs to you, too. let's fight this thing together!

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  26. God bless you, Alesia, for sharing your story. It not only helps you, but all who read it. I am so sorry you have suffered but am glad you are finding relief. You have so many gifts to give the world, and right now sharing your tale - with so many who can identify with it, including this reader - is one of them. Having grown up in a household with three depressed people and suffering from anxiety disorder myself, I felt your pain while reading this blog and have tucked you into my prayers. Bless you, dear, and may you find your bliss.

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  27. Kudos to you! I'm here if you need anything ;)

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  28. Thank you for sharing this. As a long time inhabitant of the dark hole I refer to as "the dungeon" I can relate. I think a lot of people can. We suffer in silence but that doesn't mean we're alone. *hugs*

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    1. thank you so much and hugs to you! let's climb out together.

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  29. Hugs. And thank you for sharing with others. Your doing so will, no doubt, help other start their own climb out of that dark pit of depression hell. Stay strong.

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  30. Bless you, Alesia, for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear you have suffered like this, but am so glad you are finding relief. You have many gifts to offer the world - and right now sharing this with those who can identify, including this reader - is so important. This post really hit home since I grew up in a household with 3 depressed people and have suffered severe anxiety disorder myself. I have tucked you into my prayers, hoping and praying for you to discover all the right avenues to healing. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do. Sending a hug.

    Blessings, Heather

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  31. Pride for you and strength to you, Alesia. You're not alone in your battles and, in the writing community, you are very much loved.

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    1. Thanks so much, Lauren, for this and for being my friend.

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  32. I'm sure you will hear this a few times, but I've fought depression since I was a teenager. I'm 39 and also deal with anxiety disorder. It is definitely hard, but my friends, family, and hubby all are supportive. Keep fighting!

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  33. You're awesome for being an example to others. Please remember you have chapter sisters who will plop down on the top of that hole with our laptops &'camp out, thrown food down, or haul you out as required. When you feel like the hike out is beyond you, jus look up & that hand dangling chocolate is mine. Proud of you!

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  34. Ugh, depression sucks! I have battled anxiety/depression for years, and I will say drugs helped me so much, as has talking to a therapist.

    It is a chemical condition -- even if it starts out as emotional, your changing emotions then affect your chemical balance -- and it is hard when you think, "My life is good. What the hell and I so upset/sad about?" But you have to let that go and realize something is just off balance and you can't think your way out of it.

    So glad you are seeking medical and talk help so you can get back to feeling GOOD and loving LIFE and writing AWESOME BOOKS!

    Deena, from the TeenLitAuthors List

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    1. thanks so much Deena.
      and hugs to you too!

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  35. Just wanted to say .. WTFG! It takes some major strength to open up about depression. I understand how you feel. I have been living with bipolar disorder for 26 years(there are a few more disorders as well so that my bipolarness is not alone). It's not an easy journey, but sometimes you just have to reach inside yourself and ask for help. Letting people in can help. ♥

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    1. Thank you - it was very hard to come clean. Hugs to you, too.

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  36. Sending you hugs, Alesia!! I hope bringing this problem to light will lift a huge weight off your shoulders. None of us our perfect, nor will we ever be...but that doesn't mean we aren't awesome and lovable. You're a wonderful person, and I'm so glad you're getting help to improve your situation. Hang in there, and I believe in you. <3 <3

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  38. (Oops! Didn't mean to comment twice! Thought my first post disappeared. :))

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  39. Bravely, honestly and beautifully said, Alesia.
    You are definitely not alone. Especially among fellow authors. So glad that you are getting help.

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  40. Your voice (your beautiful voice!) will help so many others who are suffering--thank you!! There is depression in my family like so many others, and it helps to have people speak up, though I can't even imagine how difficult this must have been for you. May you never see the inside of that black pit again!
    With gratitude and admiration and my best wishes.

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  41. Alesia, please know that so many are in your "corner" and holding out love and hope to you. I lost my husband to suicide and I can only imagine that this is how he felt. He never shared his demons, and while I knew he was troubled, he would not even discuss going to a doctor, therapist or any other help I mentioned. I never suspected that his pit was so deep. He died at 35 and broke both my heart and his children's. I am so glad to see you standing up and looking the demon in the eye. I just know the woman who wrote the books that I love has a wonderful shining soul and will see he way out of the dark. Much love and hope is being sent your way.

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    1. Oh honey. I am crying for you. Yes, it is so hard to share the truth. All my hugs and love to you and your children.

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  42. We've never met, but I could have written your post. I came to your blog post because your agent who reps one of my good friends posted about it. I am so heartened that you are fighting. I am fighting as well. The support of others is invaluable. And yes, sometimes you have to tell your agent/editor that the book won't ready or tell your spouse that dinner needs to be take-out. And it's okay. It's okay as long as you remind yourself that today's a bad but tomorrow could be better and it's worth getting to tomorrow. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Sarah, thank you so much. And yes, please get help if you're not already. hugs to you and thank you so much.

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  43. My name is Cheryel and I've also battled depression all my life. I have major depression and PTSD (from childhood trauma). Over the last three or so years I've been on medication and I have a therapist. I slowly came out of the `pit, and you will too. I'm here if you need me.

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    1. Cheryel, thank you so much and hugs to you.

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  44. Thank you so much for articulating what I have not been able to express for the past thirty years. It is remarkably easy to tumble into the abyss and think that you aren't lovable, that you are unequivocally alone, that the 4 a.m. self-persecution will never subside, and that non-interior life is eternally paralyzing. Reading this blog post, however, *does* help. Truly. So, thanks for being brave.

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    1. Thank you so much. Please tell someone and ask for help - let's fight this thing. Hugs to you, so much.

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  45. You're not alone, Alyssa. In fact, another writer posted about her battle with depression back on the 10th: http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/552693.html

    I can't pretend to understand what either of you are going through, but I just wanted you to know you aren't alone and now I'll go post a link to this in her comments so she can see she's not the only writer going through this, too. :hugs:

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  46. Thank you so much for sharing this, Alesia. Trust me, some of us KNOW. I don't think anyone can if they've never experienced it. Perhaps imagining PMS on steroids. I've dealt with it on & off my entire life and 2013 was the worst thanks to my generic prescription being swapped around at the pharmacy's whim. We met at RWA in July when I was in the thick of it. (I'm the redhead from the Twitter pic you shared of us.)

    I know one thing: those thoughts that circle like sharks telling us we aren't worth it and that we only inconvenience others lie. Damn Lies. It's biology gone askew and nothing more. I know b/c it stopped within hours of fixing the medication. This after months of falling apart! Sometimes it's enough to just take one deep breath, hard as that is when buried under. Just know you aren't alone. Those of us who know are aware that we don't know how to pull anyone from the hole. What we do know how to do is sit at its edge, or even sometimes within, and remind you that you aren't alone. Ever. We know the illusion and sometimes knowing that someone else has experienced the oh so real illusion helps.

    Thank you for helping you. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone. And neither are you.

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    1. Oh Wendy thank you so much for sharing this. It really gives me hope.

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  47. OH Alesia, I"m so sorry you've battled this on your own. Huge hugs. Be safe. And know there are people who care about you. I'm looking forward to meeting you in Texas, then I can hug you in person.

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    1. thank you so much. I'm looking forward to it too.

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  48. Thank you for giving me the tools to help some of my friends who also suffer from depression, and I am very proud of you for making a confession about your depression. I had an addiction, I attend NA meetings and the more that it is said, yes it does come easier to deal with with recognition. I am sending love and hugs to you and your supportive family and wishing you all well.

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    1. Chantel, thank you so much. I was only brave enough to post this in the hope that it would help someone else. hugs to you too and to your friends.

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  49. This is so timely. I've just now come from the doctor's office with my almost adult child who suffers from bipolar depression. I had to articulate that today--to say those words out loud. I used to believe nothing could be more terrible than dealing with my own demon. But something is. My heart goes out to you. I understand. Thank you for sharing your story. Hugs & hope, LBG

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    1. All my hugs to your and your child. This is so hard, but we can fight it.

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  50. Alesia, you inspire me. Thank you for sharing your story. You've taken the first step in the right direction. I am cheering for you all the way. Hugs.

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  51. Alesia...You are amazing! I have been on that dark path and know how hard it is. I am so glad you shared and are getting help. I don't know anyone one this planet who doesn't need help with something. There is ALWAYS HOPE! my prayers are with you. All I can say is HOLD ON because you books are totally awesome now. I can't imagine what the future holds for you...please keep writing you are one of my favs!
    Laura

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    1. thank you so much and hugs on your own tough path. we CAN do this!

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  52. Alesia, I have always thought you were amazing, intelligent, and now I know you are also brave. HUGS and cheers to you for getting the help you need. I know you can do it!

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  53. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult this was for you to write. Congratulations on finding the strength to reach out, to speak up, and finding light at the end of the tunnel. Here's to a healthier 2014.

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    1. Thank you so much. This has been such a hard slog and you were kind to me for so much of it.

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  54. I left a comment earlier but my iPod ate it. Trying to remember what I wrote. I am definitely down in the black hole of depression right now. I started a new med and it seemed to be helping but last night I was deleting junk from my computer and ran across emails from my ex husband and his family calling me every vile name in the book for leaving him when he was abusing me and cheating on me. It threw me right back into the downward spiral. Writing is the only thing that really helps. I don't kill main characters but my characters have gotten harder and colder over the last year. I work from home in addition to writing books and leave the house about twice a month. I've gained 20 pounds over the last six months. Social media is my only connection to the outside world besides my mother. Everyone that knows me knows about my ex and how he terminated all contact with my stepdaughter and I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about it but it's eating me from the inside out. It's like having a child for seven years and suddenly one day they disappear and you know they're out there but you can't reach them. I've never been shy about discussing my abusive marriage, my depression, my anxiety and my OCD which has been GREATLY worsened by all of these personal problems. And he still cyberstalks me. And so does his third wife. They think it's funny. I talk about it so that people in the same situation will get out and get help.

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    1. I'm so sorry you've had to suffer through so much, that is awful. All my hugs and support to you.

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  55. I'm cheering for you, Alesia, and appreciate how very much your post is going to help a lot of people! ((hugs))

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  56. It takes great courage to admit you have suffered from depression. You are an inspiration to others! Your words will help other folks seek help.
    ~Michelle

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    1. thank you so much. It took me too long to be brave, so I hope someone reading this takes some courage from it.

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  57. Hi, I'm Max, and I'm an author who also battles with depression.

    A short while ago I did the same, wrote a post and thought 'fuck anyone who can't accept who I am - I'm tired of hiding'.

    Good on you! And keep slugging along. I won't lie and say it will all be better, because there will still be days you just want to cocoon yourself in bed and pretend the world doesn't exist. But treat every day as a fresh start. Try, and when you fail, try again.

    If you're interested, here's a link to my post. Please, feel free to get in touch if you want a kindred spirit to talk to...

    http://authormaxhenry.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/write-about-what-you-know-this-shits.html

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  58. It is very brave of you to come out and talk about this. You are not alone. I battled depression throughout my teens and was suicidal at times. I have a brother with bi-polar disorder and a sister with bi-polar disorder and dissociative identity disorder. My sister has attempted suicide numerous times. My cousin attempted suicide numerous times. I know all too well the black pit you're talking about. These days, I'm one of those loved ones looking in and not knowing how to help. Asking for help like you've done is a huge first step. Talking about it is another. Keep searching for your answers. Hugs.

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    1. Catherine, thank you so much and all my hugs for you and your family.

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  59. A very touching and very courageous blog. I just wanted to say you're not alone. I've been there, too. I suffer from PTSD, which for me was a combination of that dark hole depression (that's exactly how I describe it as well...the black hole) and anxiety. At one point I was on three different medications just to get from one hour to the next. I know this sounds so...arrogant (know-it-all? I'm honestly not sure of the right word) of me to say this, but there IS light at the other end of the tunnel. I'm so glad you're fighting and that you've had the courage to stand up and fight back. I remember that moment. And every day until I felt like I'd climbed out of the hole enough that I finally stopped taking those meds was the same struggle. And there are a lot of times when I still succumb to those voices in my head. When they beat down on me and I have to struggle to climb back out.

    Anyway, I don't know if this helps or even if I'm making any sense. But just wanted to say you're not alone, and I agree...it takes a lot of courage to not only stand up and say "this is where I am", but also to fight back. Sending you ((((HUGS)))) and lots of positive thoughts!

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    1. Joanne, thank you so much. It doesn't sound arrogant - it sounds hopeful. huge hugs.

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  60. Thank you for sharing! What a powerful post.

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  62. You are an amazing Woman and don't let anyone, yourself included to put you down. I also suffer a form of depression since Oct. 2009 with the death of my oldest son, whom was only 27 at the time, from cancer. I have 4 others sons that I have to be there for, so there was times when I felt like giving up. Very good friends and family have helped but no one knows what you are going through unless they have lived it themselves. Talking about it does help and try to laugh a lot because it does make you feel better. Thank you for sharing and please be strong and true to yourself. Blessed Be

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    1. Oh, Dawn, all my hugs and love to you. Thank you for your kind note.

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  63. Hi Alesia,

    This is an extremely well written post on depression and it helps others understand the depths of depression. This is especially informative and eye opening to people who go around telling others sanctimoniously, "Oh,come on and snap out of it".

    I have forwarded it to everyone I know. Never know whose life can be saved by reading this and realising that they aren't alone.

    If everyone in darkness,tunnelled from their pit to another,one day sunlight will enter everyone's lives.

    Sending very,very tight hugs and know you aren't alone.

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    1. thank you so much. Yes, it is hard for some to understand but everyone has been so kind to me and I am very grateful.

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  64. I'm Stacey and I too have battled depression since I was a teenager. I didn't know what it was at the time and actually had two breakdowns, one neither of my parents knew about. I was 27 when I realized what was wrong. My turning point came when I nearly back handed my beautiful daughter when she was five. My hand was raised when I suddenly realized what I was doing. I sat down and cried for several hours and called the doctor the next day. It turned out I was also border line bi-polar which was what was causing the major mood swings at random moments. Meds have helped, but it's also helped to stop pretending everything is ok all the time. I've learned it's ok to tell my mom that today sucks and I just want to curl up in bed and hide. One of the biggest things for me was to discover I'm not the only one and I'm not crazy and it's ok. It also helped my mom realize what was wrong too. Once I started telling her about it and making her understand she realized she had been going through the same thing and brushing it off as "just a bad day". I'm so glad you reached out. So many of have been there and are ready to chat and share to help someone else. Stay strong Alesia. You can do this. You are not alone. <3

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    1. Stacey, thank you so much for sharing and I'm so glad you're getting help too. hugs to you and your family.

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  65. Thank you so much for sharing. This should be posted in schools, everywhere. You're a bold, brave, beautiful and talented woman and it's good to know things are better. We'll be happy to know how things are going. So wonderful that writing is a joy for you again ! Lots of hugs !!!

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  66. You are such a strong woman. I cant' say Ive gone through depression but my youngest daughter now 23 has had it since she was 16 along with a fear of people, going out .. She is like a hermit. I have now gotten her the help she needs and pray daily . Thank you for your post as I know in my heart it will help so many others As well as you :) And it is true.. Any issue always feels better when spoken and not bottled up.. Very very brave you are !! Hugsss

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    1. thank you so much and all my hugs and support for your daughter.

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  67. I battled depression,and panic attacks so bad I thought I was dying.I lived is fear for years.I finally asked for help and it is hard sometimes but I am getting better.Hang in there. you are not alone!!!!!

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    1. thank you so much and all my hugs and support to you. I'm glad you got help!

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  68. When I was diagnosed, just admitting it was so damn freeing. scary as hell, and the hardest thing I've ever done, but what a moment. By opening the doors and letting some light into that sucking evil darkness, it made me a little teeny tiny bit stronger. I hope that what light you just shone into the world helps you realize you ARE worth the struggle. I send you a huge warm virtual hug...

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm so glad you got help, too.

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  69. I could have written this blog. It's hard, but there is light on the other side. Hugs.

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  70. I can't even describe how much this post means to me, as selfish as that might sound. I've longed to be a writer all my life, and all of my life, I've battle depression. It took me 4ish years to finish my first book, and 2 years later, I'm just now editing it. Why? Because I've always been afraid. What if I can't be a published author because of this depression? What if I have deadlines and a depressive episode hits?

    Now to see that someone as talented, awesome, and successful as you has depression, too? It's hard to express how encouraging that is. I cried reading this post. For you, for me, for everyone who struggles with this disease or whatever the hell it is.

    Well, we can do it! Maybe we should form a depressed writers club. :-D

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    1. Beth, thank you so much. Please don't give up! We CAN do it! Huge hugs to you.

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  71. Thank you so much for sharing that. I have suffered with depression since my teens but didn't get help for it until I was in my mid-twenties. After I had my son, I started slowly spiraling downward until I hit rock bottom. Thankfully, I was finally able to get help. I am finally able to talk more openly about it, although I still struggle to talk through the tears.

    I was in a conversation with a friend recently discussing the suicide of someone in our community and the mentality behind it. I told her it was like being at the bottom of a deep well. The walls are all slimy and someone is slowly sliding a top covering the well. Ropes might be thrown in, but because it's dark, it's hard to find them. And if you are lucky enough to find it, it quickly becomes as slimy as the walls. I think she has a better grasp of what it is, but unless that monster has gotten ahold of you, you can't really understand.

    BRAVO to you for sharing!!!! The more we all talk about it, the better others will understand, or more importantly, get the help they need.

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    1. Michelle, thank you so much. I'm so glad you got help. hugs to you.

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  72. Alesia,
    I've lived in that black pit too. It's a crappy place to live, I'll tell you. I was borderline suicidal. I wasn't making a plan to kill myself. I would think every time my husband came to pick me up from work that maybe we'd get in an accident on the way home. He'd be okay, but I'd die. It was the people I worked with who realized something was wrong. With meds, therapy and a great husband, I managed to crawl my way out. But every now and then the pit still beckons me. I found an herbal supplement that helps me get through those times.

    You're not alone. Never alone. It takes guts to admit this to people. It's hard enough telling people you know who love and care about you. I can't imagine sharing it with people who only know you through your writing. But the more you let it out, the better it gets. Depression sucks and we need to shine a big, bright light on it.

    Thank you for sharing with us. Just know that we're here for you.
    Holliday

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    1. I'm so glad you got help. Thank you for sharing your story. Huge hugs.

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  73. What an amazing story you tell. You had the strength when so many others suffer alone in silence screaming for help on the inside. My thoughts and prayers are with you as I am wishing you many more positive days.

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  74. I have also battled depression and panic attacks for years. When my kids were teenagers, I finally admitted I had to have help. Have been on medication ( and had therapy) for about 15 years now. My life is so much better. We love you and pray that you will get better soon!

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    1. I wish it weren't so hard for us all to ask for help, and I'm so glad you did. thank you for your kind note.

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  75. Congratulations to you on this beautiful and brave post. You're a shining star and an amazing light. Thank you! Here's to a fantastic 2014. You are definitely not alone :-)

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  76. I'm sorry that you have such a battle every day. It must feel like each day is a mountain. Sounds like you are on the right track though. I have a sympathetic ear, just so you know. Hugs!

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  77. My dear Alyssa...you are so brave to face this monster head on!! Only one who has walked the same path can truly 'know' what it took to admit that in so public an arena. I've been in that black cauldron, and risen from it. It wasn't until I came out of it that I realized my despair became a beacon for me to then recognize it in others and help them. My warmest wishes and support are yours in heartfelt solidarity.

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    1. thank you so much. I'm so glad you came through to the other side. hugs!

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  79. *hugs* You have made me smile, cry, and laugh, sending you positive vibes with knowledge that you will defeat this monster. *more hugs*

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  80. *hugs* Thank you for sharing this, Alesia. I think that by reaching out for help and finding a bit of hope for yourself, you will give hope to many others. Wishing you peace and joy...

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  81. Thank you for sharing this. I have many people in my family who suffer from depression. It's an ugly monster, but it is beatable.

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    1. thank you and hugs to you and your family.

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  82. You have the courage of a lion. I bow to your bravery. I have also suffered from depression my whole life and only my family has known and my critique partner. I started having panic attacks in 2000 and have been on medication for many years but didn't start meds until after college back in the stone age when all they had was something called Norpramine. I can relate to that black hell hole and wondering how you are ever going to crawl out and stop the negative thoughts. I have beat myself up countless times over my writing and all due to depression. I didn't start therapy until a few years ago but it was one of the best things I ever did for myself. I am so glad you are getting help because it truly is nothing to be ashamed of. I wish you happy, brighter, joyful days and even though we don't know one another you have my complete, undying support. I salute you! Lots of hugs!

    Cheryl Gorman

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    1. Cheryl, thank you so much and hugs to you. We can beat this!

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  83. Thank you for sharing your story. I am battling tears because I have lost a brother to depression and that hurts a lot. Even more sadness because a friend's 16 year old daughter is struggling to overcome depression, other anxieties, and life. You are one of many people who are an inspiration! You are a survivor, congratulations for being brave for many.

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    1. Thank you so much and all of my condolences on the loss of your brother. I'm sending you huge hugs.

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  84. Sending you love and hugs. (plus a private email just for you in your mailbox.)

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  87. I know you have an amazing support network, but I want you to know I'm part of it too. I think you're so very brave. I love you and I'm so happy you're seeing a glimmer hope. It'll become bigger and you'll spot it easier. *big squishy higs

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  88. Thanks for being brave enough to share! Anybody with depression, fight to get the help you need. Don't let the doctors give you a subtherapeutic dose of meds. Tell them what is and isn't working. It's a process, but it's a process that can end with you feeling good!

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  89. Go Alesia! We all need to kick Depression's ass. No one should have to suffer in silence. Shine the light! Hugs, my friend.

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  90. Oh Alyssa you are so brave and you made me cry. Depression hits so many and no one likes to talk about it. Life is freaking hard and some days harder than others. Thank you for taking time out to share and I do believe not giving power to secrets helps - Renee

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  91. Thank you for sharing, Alesia! You are definitely not alone. :-)

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  92. This was the bravest most courageous thing you have ever written IMO. I have been in the pit too and now I am not there anymore... with help... that I KNOW takes an unbelievable amount of humility to ask for. You are headed away from dark and into the light. And it is worth it.

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  93. Yeah, when you not only can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can't even see the tunnel. Been there, done that! I am so proud of you that you have gotten help and even more proud that you are talking about this openly. Our mental health system is horribly broken and people who have these problems are still considered pariahs by many people who simply don't understand. Clinical depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, not because you "just don't feel like it."

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  94. I would love to give you a big hug and tell you..'you are not alone'. There are so many of us who live with depression every day. Good days will come and so will some bad. Just hang on to that glimmer of hope, that moment of joy and you'll get thru it. Just remember you are not alone. :-)

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    1. thank you so much for that hug. I'll take it!

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  95. Thank you for sharing your story. That took a lot of courage. Now I'm going to share it with members of my family who battle alongside you every day. One step at a time. One day at a time. One tiny miracle at a time. My prayer is that all who suffer from depression will find the help and the support and the hope to keep them on the path to a happy, balanced life. You are not alone, Alesia. My prayers and support and hugs go with you.

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    1. thank you thank you thank you! I needed to hear this.

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  96. Virtual hugs across the intrawebz. Been there also and recognize what you have achieved so far. One step, one hour, one day at a time. You are not alone. Blessings to you!

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  97. Alyssa, we've met briefly at conferences. I SO admire you for coming out and talking about this. I have had times of depression, and several close family members have had long term times of depression, so I can relate to what you've been saying. During those times I keep repeating to myself that things WILL get better. Please know that your friends care about you and we are cheering you on...even when you don't want that cheering, or can't hear it. We care!

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    1. Roni, thanks so much. I'm so glad to hear that things have gotten better for you. xoxo

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  98. Alyssa this post of yours is/was so brave of you. It reminds me why your heroines are as they are because of you. Continue the steps and know that your fb friends care

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  99. Thank you for sharing this! I share your struggle and just an FYI, 1/2 a Xanax helps me a lot. Depressions meds worked for a bit but gave me migraines. I'm also adjusting to a newly dx'd depressed bi-polar daughter. I'm trying to put on a brave face for her and cry alone. Keep fighting the monster!!

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    1. Hugs to you and to your daughter. Be sure to ask for help! We can beat this. I know it! xoxo

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  100. Alesia, you don't deserve to feel so terrible. You don't. I've been where you are and stared suicide in the face a few times. I've taken the medications that helped me turn my back on dying. Somewhere in there, I finally realize that the world is in color (no one told me!) I am so glad you asked for and are getting help. I hope the color comes back into your world swiftly.

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  101. Thank you for being so very strong and posting this, Alesia. I've been in that dark place and you describe it perfectly. I don't think there's anyone who isn't touched by it somehow, whether personally struggling with it or have family or loved ones. We need to break the stigma. (Hugs)

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