These Dark Days.

This is not going to be a good post. A funny post. A nice post.

“Leave while you still can.” I feel like that’s from Indiana Jones or some shit.

I don’t know, I can’t even remember to put the taco seasoning in the taco soup.

That’s what broke me. I spent Thursday pretending to be okay. In vain, I suspect. No. No. You know what? I’m a goddamn professional when it comes to pretending. I probably looked like a stuck-up bitch, but I was there, and I wasn’t curled up on the floor crying.

My daughter’s Christmas party. I made it.

Then came home and was violently ill.

Friday. Sick. Panic attacks. More sick. More panic attacks. Migraine.

Saturday. Lightheaded. Headache. Everything hurt. Panic attack. I laid down, hoping to wake up and not be this fucking disaster, but I dreamed about being a bad person 20 fucking years ago. LET ME GO!

Anyway. I put a chair in the kitchen to try to make dinner. My husband and kids were having Family Game Night and I. Just. Couldn’t. Just fucking couldn’t.

So I sat in that chair and stirred, and it hurt, so I went and laid in bed until it should’ve been ready, and my son asked, all excited, “Is it done?” and I burst into tears because I remembered that I hadn’t put the seasoning in.

I’ve been crying since then, which has not helped my headache at all, surprise, surprise.

I want to see all my doctors, in the same room, and DEMAND to know why I’m taking all this medicine AND I’M STILL FUCKING BROKEN?!

I know that’s not how it works. There is no magic pill to make me all better. I know I will have good days and bad days, but I am so tired.

I’m so tired of fighting to just be “okay.”

Not “great.”

Not “a productive member of society.”

Just “alive.”

Or “out of bed.”

I’ve lowered my fucking goals and expectations about as low as they can go, and I still can’t reach them.

I did these things yesterday to make myself feel better:

Listened to music. Took a bath. Read. Colored. Played games.

But even though I spent almost an entire fucking day doing what I’m supposed to do, “practicing my coping skills,” I still feel like screaming.


Today, I hate myself. Again.

Maybe I will tomorrow too.

Either way, I’ll fucking be here to find out.

semicolon tat

My story isn’t over.



About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

56 responses to “These Dark Days.

  • Just Plain Ol' Vic

    The holidays can be so tough, which I am sure you know. Instead of trying to find something “wise” to say, I will simply wish you the best and send a *virtual hug* your way.

  • Underdaddy

    All I can say is keep it up and it is exhausting but has an end. I am married to someone who suffers in much of the same way. She stays at home with the kids which isn’t helpful but can’t changed at the moment. I hope your husband is supportive and caring. Don’t be mad at him if he always asks why just hope that he keeps asking because that means he cares. (I’m projecting here a little I think but it is very familiar)

    • Steph

      My husband is very supportive. He doesn’t totally *get* depression, but he listens, and he is kind, and he tells me that taking care of myself is the most important thing I have to do, when I feel like I’m failing at everything. And he’s learned that sometimes I seem mad (am mad) but not at him. So that’s awesome. I feel for you, and for your wife. Much love to you both.

  • Leah

    Ugh. The brutality of the holidays. Nothing like gatherings to bring out that paranoia and make us wonder who judged us and found us broken and inadequate. The hatred of being on that stage with that damn smile plastered on my face when I am screaming on the inside the whole time.
    A thousand hugs to you, hon. Whether you see it or not, there are some days that your blog is what keeps me going when I want to give up.

    • Steph

      What an amazing compliment! I generally feel like people read this shit and are like, what a freaking whiner. I’m glad you get it, and I hope your holidays are filled with peace.

  • Michelle

    I adore you. I am sorry you are hurting. I’m glad you are here, whether it’s a good day or a bad day. More good days are ahead..probably more bad days is both wonderful and dumb. XOXOXOXO

  • anniedenn1967

    I can feel this, as if I had written it. I have been where you are, and know you will survive this. I wrote my children a letter in the middle of those years, and they became my biggest supporters on bad days, especially if I just had to rest.

    If I could share anything that I wish someone had shared with me, it would be this:
    You are NOT doing it wrong. There is no RIGHT way. I burned the chili the other day and missed the office party because I mis-read the cooking time on the recipe AND the invitation date and time. BUT I made breakfast for my family today even though I am now in my robe and about to take a nap and am probably done for the day. You did not do this to yourself, you are not crazy, and it is not your fault. When you take care of yourself, you will be abl to take care of others. Thinking of you today-

    • Steph

      Ahhh, thank you. Those are words that everyone who feels this way needs to hear. P.S. I’m also in my robe and probably done for the day. But spent the morning oohing and aahing over toys and opening packages and putting things together…so I guess that’s a win.

  • anniedenn1967

    I read here and wrote a long post that basically said “I have been here. You are not alone, so please Do NOT give up,” and in the way of the world, I lost the post somehow. But that is what I can say that is true. Hugs, warm soup and cocoa, and sweet understanding.

    • Steph

      It didn’t get lost, I just have comments set to be approved if you’ve never commented before, because of spam and mean people. I can handle the meanies, but I don’t want other people who are suffering to read hateful shit. ❤

  • Terri Lee

    The other day, I was reading an article that quoted someone whose name I can’t recall now, but he said that “Life is brutiful”. I thought that was so perfect, because that is exactly the dual nature of life. Of nature itself. At once, it can be so beautiful, yet brutal. I have felt the way you are feeling and my heart goes out to you. Maybe you SHOULD sit all your doctors down together and ask them WTH is going on. Is it at all possible that your meds could be contributing to this? Or, could you have come down with some kind of “flu from hell”? And listen to Michelle, she knows what she’s talking about. 😉 I wish you a holiday without illness and many healthy blessings in 2016.

    • Steph

      That Michelle, lol. It’s just, in the last few years, my health has gotten so much worse that lost my job and that makes my depression worse….I think I need my antidepressants tweaked, after the holidays. I wish the same for you – the blessings part, not the pain, lol.

  • Juana

    Yep. I know how that is. Something about the holidays and the constant expectation of being “merry” and socialize makes it worse. Been there, too. Not quite like this, but in my own way.

    Here’s to getting out of bed. Cheers.

    • Steph

      I think you hit the nail on the head. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it IS having to act Super Happy and Blessed and MERRY AS HELL, constantly. I feel like you’ve given me a piece of my own puzzle. *clinks glass* cheers to you!

  • Margot

    It would make *so* much sense to have all of your doctors in one room to discuss your symptoms and treat you like a whole person, instead of each focusing on their area of expertise to treat one or two symptoms. Just think what they could accomplish in one hour by discussing which system is affecting the other and how the combination of all your meds could be creating new problems. On second thought, don’t think about it–since it’s unlikely to happen it will probably make you feel even more frustrated, angry and hopeless. I’m pretty familiar with getting beaten down with too many things at once, and feeling stuck on the sidelines, watching your life go by. It fucking sucks.

    Anyway, I’m not here to depress you even more. I just want to say that I get it, and that I am so amazed by you. Because despite how often you are ill or in pain you never seem to give up. I know that you do have to withdraw and are sometimes unable to do anything other than just barely survive. But. When you do feel well enough (and I doubt you ever feel great), you are loving, involved and attached. You are very resilient. A lot of people in your situation would shut down permanently because it’s too hard to get disappointed over and over, but you don’t. And that says a ton about your strength.

    I’m sorry you’re hurting so much. You can’t see it now, but I hope you’ll realize eventually that you’re a strong and beautiful shell, who stays connected no matter how much crap gets heaped on you. xoxo

  • Rae Hilhorst

    This time of year doesn’t flipping well help. I’m hearing you,feeling the same. Tomorrow’s another day, hope it gets better xxx

    • Steph

      I’m late in replying, but I hope your tomorrow was better, and that you get through the holidays with some peace, if not the buckets of joy we see everywhere, lol. *hugs*

  • weebluebirdie

    It’s often the tiny things which slice us in two; and then like mercury we keep dividing until we have no idea how to be whole again. But you have hope, and that’s enough; and I know this because your last line says you will still be here. Sometimes simply being here is plenty to be getting on with.

    • Steph

      Yes. I don’t know if it’s always hope; this time it felt like pure meanness–I was so angry, there was no way I was letting this bastard win. And I won’t. Ever.

  • Sherrie

    Hold on to your hope and know that your posts help so many others that feel the same…and in their replies, remember that you are not alone. I have not been reading them long, but once ” I found you ” I have read often. I like your tattoo(;)…I just got a new one that helps to remind me to be strong…
    “With pain comes strength…”. Hang in there Stephen, xxx Sherrie

    • Steph

      It’s so odd to think that when I think people will think I’m having a pity party or will hate what I said, that people say it helps them…so thank you. And I like your tattoo, if that quote is the tat. *hugs*

  • Sheri JM

    Consider yourself totally validated and I thank you for still being here–sometimes that is such a supreme effort, but I am here to remind you that once again, the darkness WILL grow lighter…it just seems to take f-ing forever!!! HANG IN–we are here and we care.

    • Steph

      Thank you…I agree, sometimes it does feel like for-EVER. I’m (obviously, since I’m actually replying to messages, lol) doing a bit better, and I hope you are well too.

  • honeybee108

    I read this as I was having the same feelings and break downs. I hate that other people are hurting this way and wish you the best in getting well soon 🙂

    • Steph

      Aw, I hate that you were feeling the same, although it is always good to know that you are not alone in the dark. Hoping that by now you’re feeling a little better.

  • Lisa

    I am so glad you put it on paper…..this life by the sidelines, SUCKS, I can so relate, I am on both chemo and high dose prednisone( I have wegeners ) , right now, and I am soooo done with it all. I love the fact that you didn’t pretty it up, as we always seem to do that , when it comes to how we are feeling. I can’t even go outside now for days , I am to weak, walking to my kitchen is a marathon. I washed dishes sitting in a chair yesterday, figured if my body could sit in bed it could sit in the kitchen and do something productive, I am paying for it now, but my body just better suck it up !! I am so hoping you feel better today, but I know the odds are not great. One of the comments I read said life is both wonderful and stupid….made me laugh……here is one of my all time favorites that always makes me smile, it is worth the few mins to read it….HUGS ( thanks for letting me know I am not the only one , who thinks like this)

    • Steph

      Ugh, I hate it. I went to the doctor on Monday and to Walmart. After that I could barely walk. Everything just hurt SO BAD. The next day was the same, only with a migraine. It’s like I can’t do ANYTHING without my body saying, “Nope. Now you pay.” I really feel for you–chemo and steroids, that has got to be just miserable. ❤

  • Marianne

    You aren’t alone. And the dark days tell lies.

    • Steph

      God, don’t I know! Usually I can tell myself that, and believe it, and hold out hope for when it will get better, but this time I just fell apart. I couldn’t see my way out of it. I was so disgusted with myself, and so sad that I’m going to have to fight this shit for the rest of my life. I’m a little better now. Thank you. ❤

  • Lara

    Big hugs to you. We can cry on each other’s virtual shoulders. I’ll bring the tissues.

  • Kristen@goodngoodforya

    These days suck so bad but you will come out the other side. You will actually feel the sun on your face and smile and taste your food and like yourself a lot. Until then I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re stuck in this right now. It will pass. Promise.

    • Steph

      Thank you. I read all of these when you guys wrote them, but it wasn’t until today that I felt good enough to reply. So it’s been rough, but you’re totally right. The sun is shining today.

  • Mental Mama

    Just remember that sweetie, it ain’t over. Sending lots of love and gentle hugs your way.

  • onegirlbreathing

    There just aren’t words to say to make it better….just know that the words you have are those that are meant to show you that you’re not alone. Here’s hoping that you find the best of you!

    • Steph

      Thank you! These comments help, so much. I almost closed the comments on this post, bc I didn’t want anyone to pity me, but I’m glad I didn’t because then I wouldn’t have the support from friends like you.

  • Kim

    Your presence here has tremendous value, whether or not the world seems to value what you’re doing. Your readers are pulling for you, and wishing for you peace and joy!

  • Rachael

    I’m sorry you are having such a rough time. Big hugs to you! It’s been a tough time this season for me as well, so this really hit home. It’s like you wrote this just for me. Thank you for sharing and opening yourself up.

    • Steph

      What IS it about the holidays that are so hard? I know a lot of it for me is just being overwhelmed, but I don’t know. They seem to be really hard for a lot of people. I hope you are doing better, and thank you for not making me feel like a whiny idiot for sharing this, lol!

  • Ana

    I just found your blog through a hilarious post on mampedia about being an adult. Then I read your Christmas post. From reading it I thought for sure you were struggling with chronic pain, depression, and chemoagents because this is exactly what I have experienced and witnessed others experience as a nurse. While it took years, I found my way through the treatments and the lifestyle changes to a place where I am grateful, pain free, and happy 70% of the time. This was a huge win for me and more than I could have hoped for… I completely lost hope. It was the love from my partner and my belief in God’s unknown reasons that kept me going psychologically. But I mostly gave up and accepted the pain… Then started becoming amazed when it started to fade. Very. Slowly.

    Whatever your journey will be or has been, your words bring tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for the pain you are having. Each season in our lives teaches us the things we need to know. I pray this season gives you gifts to take into your next (more enjoyable) season.

    My gandmother always told me life is only suffering and non-suffering. If you are having one you should look out for the other. The rest is just dust. Please don’t put pressure on yourself to do anything that doesn’t really matter to you and your family. Your time and energy is precious. Other people’s expectations are their problem. I had the benefit of being ill when I was childless and 24 years old… It is easier to push off others expectations then. Being a new mom now, I don’t know how you are doing this with three little ones. I hope this helps you in some way. I LOVE your writing! Please be blessed!

    • Steph

      Thanks so much! (I wish everyone would put where they “found” me. It’s still very weird to me to have my writing floating around, lol.) I am SO glad that you are so much better. I tend to get the most depressed when I find myself unable to do something that I feel I should do. So definitely, you’re right, and I need to not punish myself because the living room is messy! In fact, my husband told me last night about this thing he saw where it said, “To add a touch of color to any room in your home, simply pile a load of clean laundry on the couch, a chair, or the bed.” Cracked me up. So now my mess will just be décor, lol!

  • JY

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, intrigued bc i suffer from depression and have a very sarcastic, dry sense of humor. Luckily, I’ve (meds) have kept me pretty steady over the years. But as my Restless Leg Syndrome got progressively worse, my psychiatrist decided we should switch some meds up.
    It hasn’t gone well. I’ve been surviving and pretending to be “normal” at work. However, after i got a “talking to” by my bosses, i realized i wasn’t faking as well as i thought.

    Last Monday was a really shitty day. When i got up Tuesday, i made the bed and was determined to make it a good day. After all, i was only going to work 2 hours on Wednesday, and then we were off for Xmas.
    I walk out of the house on Tuesday, Even wearing lipstick! and get in the car.

    It won’t start.
    I drove 600 miles only 2 months ago to buy this car! I call husband, sobbing hysterically, and he sent a friend to try and help me. It didn’t work. I called Roadside Service and they showed up in 30 minutes and jumped the car and left within 5 minutes.

    I could’ve still made it into work at a decent time. But i said, “fuck no” and put my dog in the car and started driving.

    The only person who knew i wasn’t where i was supposed to be was my boss and i wouldn’t answer his calls. Eventually my husband and ex-husband and mom (my entire circle, all 3 of them) realized i was gone. I drove all day, into another state. I was eventually convinced by my ex-husband that our son needs me and i “can’t do this to him.”
    I made it back home that night, completely beat, physically, mentally, emotionally. My dr wanted to commit me but i begged to get through Xmas for my son. He was the reason i came back and didn’t do anything stupid, so i couldn’t ruin his xmas.
    He steered me through the terrifying landscape of Walmart on a Saturday and helped me up each time i collapsed in tears throughout the day. On Sunday, he went to his dad’s and i went to the local “mental hospital” and was admitted.

    I won’t go into details on how that experience was, but i just want you to know there are lots of others who collapse into tears over taco seasoning or a dead battery or whatever it may be. My son is my reason for living, literally. Thanks for sharing your stories that many of us don’t want to admit to.
    [Hugs from Little Rock]

    • Steph

      Fuck, I thought I answered you already! Stupid phone! I’m on my laptop now, and I apologize profusely that I didn’t get back to you sooner. I hope you are okay now. Or as okay as we can be. Today is the first day that I’ve felt a little hope in a long time. And I completely understand the just driving…sometimes I think about that too. I haven’t admitted this on here (bc small town and kids) but last year I was inpatient too. I also won’t go into details, lol! We have a lot in common, it seems. My kids, while they can drive me crazy, are the reason I get out of bed every day. They are definitely the reason I’m still here. Even if I’m not the BEST mom, I’m THEIR mom, and they need me. Yours needs you too. *hugs* Hang in there. I will too.

      • JY

        Thats exactly what my ex-husband told me that day; that i may think my son deserves better but that i am the absolute best mom for HIM. I’m back to “hanging in there.”
        Work has pretended like nothing happened, at least to my face. I am just glad December is over. Whomever mentioned the “merry” expectations was totally right. Now i just have to get through January pretending i don’t care if i get fit or lose weight.
        Keep hanging and we’ll keep reading.

  • Jana

    I’ve been incredibly stressed and often down myself over the past several weeks. I didn’t write, I didn’t read – it was all I could do to work (and there seemed to be so much of that, so I never caught up). I made what may have been a huge mistake (or maybe not – I can’t tell yet), but I’m still chugging along – and I’m glad you are too. I’ve always been grateful for my kids, because sometimes they were the only reason I could find for staying around. They need me – and they’ll always need me. Anyway, I know that I’m very late in reading and responding to this, so I’m hoping that you are now feeling better and more centered – but if not, please know that I’m pulling for you and get what you are going through.

    One other thing (I don’t know that it will help – but just in case). I was talking to my psychiatrist at a recent appointment, in tears because I was still having a roller coaster of a ride on the depression train. I couldn’t understand why this would be happening when I was on medication to regulate my mood. He told me, “Everyone has happy times and very bad times – and times where life and your mood will seem flat – not really good or bad. Even though you take medication, it is not a miracle cure – you will still have sad times and happy times – just like “normal people” and your depression will be influenced by what is happening in your life. Our goal is to make life tolerable for you so that you can figure out coping mechanisms to get you through the bad times and so that you can make sensible decisions on any changes that you may need to make to lessen stress and unhappiness. Your job is not to give up.”

    I hadn’t ever thought of it in those terms before – that my ups and downs were normal (albeit much more extreme). I had just figured that once they got the dosage right, I would suddenly have a life full of rainbows and sunshine and not have to worry about being sad. Now, when I start feeling down again, I remind myself that it is normal and that eventually things will be better. It doesn’t make the depression any less sucky, but it gives me hope and gets me through.

    • Steph

      I’m sorry you were suffering too, and I hope you feel better now. I haven’t been sleeping, so my psych added something to help with that, and I started taking vitamin B again, and added D because it’s so GRAY here. So I’m better enough that I’m being a little proactive and not just a ball of misery, lol. ❤

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