Depression Strikes Again: Leave Me Alone Black Dog

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I should have known depression was coming.

The change in weather. My crazy perimenopause periods these days. The fact that I have been overwhelmed with work lately. The fact that on top of Postpartum Progress and Babble and taking care of two children I’m trying to make all the decisions for the new house we’re building and will close on in early December.

I should have recognized it since I’ve been telling my husband for several weeks now how much our family needs a break. How much I want to run away to the mountains or the beach. I can’t, but I’d sure love to.

I should have recognized depression when my Trazodone stopped working to help me sleep. It has always worked.

Last week, I should have recognized it. But I couldn’t because on Monday I had a conference call for a new project and my son’s orthodontist appointment and my work to do. On Tuesday I had my dermatology appointment and my daughter’s OT appointment and all my work to do. On Wednesday I had to write my Babble Cares post about World Polio Day, along with all the other work. On Thursday I had the lighting appointment at 9:30, the landscaping appointment at 10, my kids school conferences at 1:30 and 2, a radio interview at 3, and then back to the house to type up my son’s book report. And there was still my work to do. On Friday, like Thursday, the kids had a half day, which means I wasn’t going to get any work done, but I still had my Home Depot post to write. On Saturday I was downtown most of the day at my sister’s birthday party.

And then Sunday. Sunday is when the levees broke.

We’re at a restaurant having lunch. Me, my husband and the kids. And I start sobbing. Out of nowhere, tears pouring down on my salad. It was so bad I had to excuse myself and go sit on a toilet in the women’s bathroom for a few minutes to compose myself. And then I went back to the table and wore my sunglasses for the rest of the meal.

That’s when I finally recognized it. Stress-related depression.

Dammit.

DAMMIT.

Even when you conquer PPD, it doesn’t mean life won’t become overwhelming again some day, like it has for me this week. I know I have first-world problems. I have a very happy life, and the world’s best husband and kids, and I love my work as the founder and editor of Postpartum Progress, and I’m grateful for all the other opportunities blogging has brought me, and I have a new house that’s going to be awesome and ours so no more renting finally. I’m so happy except for kind of not right now because I have this stupid illness. Depression. Again.

It has been a heck of a long time since I felt like spending most of my day under the covers. Years. I forgot how much it sucks. There’s something very appealing about hiding when you feel like this. If you hide, no one will see you or be disappointed in you. You’ll just be gone for a while and they’ll go about their daily lives and not notice a thing missing. I’m very tempted to hide, but for the fact that I know doing so will only make my feelings worse and not better.

I wasn’t going to tell you about this, mainly because so many of you are struggling and it’s my job to help you, NOT the other way around. I was going to back off from work a little bit and not say anything. But since I value honesty and authenticity, that’s just not going to work. Truth is, I’ve got a bout of situational depression. Nothing bad happened – I just got overwhelmed with too much going on at once. It’s all wonderful, but when you’re doing it by yourself and it gets to be too much and there’s no one else to do it for you, you keep going when you probably shouldn’t for a while. I kept going a little too long. God I hate depression.

For the last several weeks I’ve been telling myself, power through, Katherine. Power through. You’re tough. You can do all of this and more. Except I know we can’t power through. We tell ourselves that for a while, but whether it’s sobbing fits or days spent in bed or the first in a long line of declines to invitations to things you would have enjoyed, you know you can’t power through.

You need a break. Some rest. To stop thinking about ALL THE THINGS.

So I’m resting a little bit. Getting a little more sleep. Gonna blog a little bit less. Which is fine. It’s helping.

But boy, I really don’t need this right now.

Leave me alone, black dog.

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. I’m so sorry. Get lots of rest. Thinking of you! Let me know if I can help at all.

  2. You know I know.

    It is never good timing, and it always sucks when it comes back. It feels SO important to power through, but what I learned this year is that if I keep doing that, the crash will happen to me, and apparently this time it lasted longer. Surrendering control is a new thing for me, but it turns out it’s for the best in the long run.

    Thinking of you! Take care of you.

  3. Katherine – i so remember a time when out of deseperation I email you when i had a relapse and you were the ONE things that got me through it and helped me realize how normal it can be. There are so many of us who understand and think we can do it by ourselves – sucking it up for as long as we can before it catches up in some way. Let us be there for you – as you have been for us so many times. Today I will not be brave for me – but for you and for anyone else out there who needs it. Chin up and remember to be kind to yourself . Blessings to you and yours

  4. TWilliams says:

    Sorry to hear it’s crept back, but glad that you know what do to to take care of yourself. Thanks so much for sharing, even though you weren’t going to. Know that you’ve already helped one more person today (me) that’s going through the same thing. Thank you, as always! Keep it up!

  5. We love you and we’ve got your back. Take care of you!

  6. I’m thinking of you and cheering for you.

  7. This is EXACTLY what happened to me in the past couple weeks. I thought, what in the world? Why are my meds not working? I haven’t had any triggers. Except after talking to my doctor the overwhelming bits of life that have added up over the last few months ARE a trigger. So now I’m fighting again. I feel the exact same sentiments and told him the same thing: these meds have to work because I’m miserable and don’t have time for this.

    Thank you for sharing this! I hope you get rest and relief soon!

  8. I’m in the exact same spot!! It sucks!

  9. Oh, Katherine. I feel for you. It’s so hard to be Type A and have the depression lurking in the background. I know.

    Just had my first setback post-PPD/A and boy, was it a whopper. I’m coming to terms with the fact that this may be something I live with for years, if not the rest of my life. I *hate* that I can’t run at 120 miles an hour like I did for so long. Hate hate hate it.

    But you know? We’ve been doing this Supergal thing a long time. It’s time others stepped up. And we take care of ourselves. And realize that enough is sometimes (usually?) enough. Sanity is worth it. Our families are worth it. WE are worth it.

    Sending you love and good wishes that this passes quickly and you emerge stronger than before.

  10. Sometimes its just too much and we have to admit it. To take naps. To stop responding to emails and blogging, and, and, and. It’s just like what we tell all the other moms, except we need to take our own advice, too. Take good care, mama!

  11. Sending the biggest possible hugs I can manage. You have helped me so much, even with this post, reminding me that one can conquer PPD but still suffer the effects long after that battle was one. You help me keep fighting. I hope we can do the same for you.

  12. Thinking of you! Thank you for being so real and honest. You’re doing what you need to do to get well. Hang in there. This too shall pass. We’re here for you.

  13. ((((hugs))))) I’m glad you’re slowing down a bit. Sending lots of love.

  14. I’m sorry to hear that it came back upon you — but glad that you’re taking the steps you need to take to wrestle it into submission. I’m relatively new to you and your writing, but I’ve been deeply impressed by everything I’ve learned about what you’ve done and all you’ve accomplished… and this realization, this admission, and this willingness to step back and take a breath only reinforces everything I’ve seen.

    You’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. Now take some time to do some good for you.

  15. My friend, I’m so sorry you’re finding yourself back here, but I’m so glad you’re not hiding. . . not letting the shame win. Take all the time you need. We’re here for you just like you have been for us so, so many times. We take turns lifting one another up, and that’s the way it should be.

    Sending so much love. Should you need anything at all, please ask. You saved my life, Katherine. I’d do anything for you. ;)

  16. I’d like to drop a lot of eff words in your comments about how much depression sucks. But I’ll keep it classy instead.

    You are awesome. And strong. And brave for speaking out with honesty when you’d rather be silent. We’re here for you, Katherine. Much love.

  17. I saw a quote on the Postpartum Depression Hope Pinterest board that I’ve been telling myself for the last few days.
    “People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.” http://pinterest.com/pin/264797653062000200/
    I feel like I’m in exactly the same boat as you – I’ve been trying to power through for far too long. And the hardest part is not seeing an end in sight. I have no other option but to power through. I’m overwhelmed. In some way, it’s comforting to hear someone else describe what I’ve been feeling and to know there are other people out there who feel like I do. I’m going to try and get some rest too and figure out what I can cut back on. Thanks!

    • You’re definitely not alone Ashley. I’ve been getting more rest and doing less the last few days and I have to say it makes me feel better. I’m grateful this depression seems mild enough that things like that are so helpful.

  18. Hugs to you Mama! I’m starting to feel myself slipping too, it happens to me every year around this time. Sigh. We are strong. Stronger than we realize. I agree, Stay away black dog!

  19. I’m sorry. That sucks. It’s hard to try to do it all. And it’s even harder to be waylaid by depression. I hope you feel better soon.

  20. Clara Haycraft says:

    I SO needed this. I just called my Dr. about my stress and how I cannot sleep… it made me feel so dumb. When I get overwhelmed and my co-workers and other mothers seem like they can do it all with out the stress I feel even worse. Thanks for posting this. I always come to this blog when I feel my worst-reminding myself I am not weak because of this illness.

  21. Sister, it’s okay. This will all still be here when you feel like you are ready. We are on your side. You are not alone– I feel the black dog creepin’ around the edges of my life right now, too– I always do this time of year. I pull out my full spectrum light, I add in more vitamin D, more fish oil… but still the sleep sometimes eludes me, and I become scattered and forgetful and slow. You are so wise to stop and honor where you’re at; that wisdom is of experience, and that is a gift. Keep us posted xoxoxo

  22. Kim Rogers says:

    WE LOVE YOU KATHERINE!!! {HUGS} You have done so much for all of us, for women that are hurting and confused. Thank you! I am glad to hear you will be taking some time to care for YOU – taking a few steps back to get the distance you need from your breaking point and get some mental and emotional and physical rest. Bless you as you slow down to enjoy the coming season of thanks and Christmas Holiday. Let us know if we can help! I’m happy to guest write a post or two – or whatever!!

    Kim Rogers

  23. Oh, Katherine, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I admire your courage to tell us about it since, here at Postpartum Progress, we all “expect you to be the strong one for us”, not the other way around, but really, we are all here TOGETHER, FOR EACH OTHER!!! You’ve got a strong army of women here supporting you, Katherine. Hang in there, and take some time out for yourself, and feel better soon!! {{HUGS}}

  24. Biggest, biggest hugs. Ain’t nobody judging you around here! At least you can recognize it and now have some idea what to do when it occurs. That’s light years ahead of falling in the hole with no clue you’re even in the hole, let alone how to climb out! <3

  25. Sending you so much love, Katherine. This post right here is why you’re awesome. YOU. GET. IT. Big hugs to you!

  26. Sending hugs from Project Healthy Moms!! We love you!

  27. I know exactly what you mean Clara. You just feel dumb. And frustrated. Like why should you need any help? But there it is. It’s an illness. I just have to shrug my shoulders and keep on going.

  28. See? You are helping even when you reach out for help! Thanks always for your honest words :)

  29. We are all here, cheering you on, believing and knowing that you will beat this swiftly.
    I’m sorry that it’s happening, but I’m not sorry for my utmost faith in you!

  30. Thanks Isha!

  31. I wish I could give you a HUGE hug and some chocolate covered bacon right now. Hang in there and take care of YOU. You absolutely rock. <3

  32. You gave me hope when I had none. So I will say back to you what you said to me, “it will get better. IT WILL. I promise.”

    Hugs, mama.

  33. It’s funny you say that you feel bad because you’re supposed to be helping others and NOT dumping your own problems on them. This post was so helpful and meaningful to me for exactly that reason. Knowing that someone else, someone who really looks like they have it all together, STILL falls apart sometimes (it wasn’t just a past tense struggle), and goes through the same stuff I do is comforting beyond words. Not that I’m happy you’re going through it, but it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone…which is what this site is all about. And often giving is the best medicine. I will pray for you today, and by offering you a token of caring, you have provided me a sense of purpose and success in tending to another’s need…which makes me feel really good. So please know that even in your time of struggle, your words, your honesty, your transparency are making a meaningful and positive impact on lives around the world. God bless you for your courage to be honest…which is the most powerful way to help others…and it’s working!

  34. Thank you for writing this post. We all think we can power through but eventually our bodies and our minds will say STOP. I hope you are able to eat cereal for dinner every night and cancel a few appointments and not feel guilty about it. As much as I love your website, I would be fine to see you not post for a week, just to know that you are taking care of yourself and resting.

  35. Catherine, you are an amzing woman who has saved me! During my darkest time, you replied back to an email I sent you and I appreciate that so very much. Post Partum OCD took away so much from me and you helped to get it back. You have changed the lives of so many women and we are so grateful for you. Now, of course no one is exempt from mental illness and it creeps up on the best of us. Take the time you need to take care of yourself, you deserve a million life times of happiness :)

    • Katherine…I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time right now. You and Postpartum Progress were a huge help and resource for me before and during my 2nd pregnancy. I suffered through my first pregnancy and had no idea what was wrong with me. I ended up being diagnosed with OCD. I found Postpartum Progress (I don’t remember how) and emailed you. I was shocked to find that other women had experienced similar feelings. It was comforting to find that I wasn’t alone. However, I was TERRIFIED to have another baby. I felt like I was in a good place- my OCD was under control thanks to therapy and medication. I feared getting pregnant again would send me back to that horrible place with my OCD. That’s when I read almost everything on your blog. I subscribed to your emails. I wanted to empower myself with knowledge. After much consideration, my husband and I decided to have another child. I struggled at the beginning of my pregnancy, but then got the help I needed. So, thank you for helping me. I know have a beautiful 13 month old son. You’ve helped so many of us. Now, let us help you through this rough patch.

      Leslie Seror

Trackbacks

  1. […] Depression strikes again: Leave me alone black dog “Depression activist” Katherine Stone shares the painful story of her descent back into stress-related depression. One swear word appears twice, but I link to it because her honesty might help others avoid similar relapses. […]

  2. […] been having a little bout of depression, as you know. This means my trusty sunglasses and baseball cap are doing overtime duty, just as […]

  3. […] the wake of Katherine’s lovely honesty around her period of stress-related depression last week, we decided that a post on this exact phenomenon is important. Because we are all likely […]