Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Depression

Yesterday I was poking around the internet, searching for a writing prompt to jump-start my brain.  I found this prompt from Writer's Digest:

Write a formal complaint letter to your deepest, darkest fear.

I don't know what exactly my "deepest, darkest fear" is, but I do know one aspect of my life that I'd really like to fire -- depression.  Here's my letter of termination:

Dear Depression,

I am writing to inform you that your services are no longer required. Your client -- well, let's not put too fine a point on it, for I am your client, your victim, your parasitic host -- I am displeased with the functions you have performed in my brain and am duly letting you go. Please have my synapses cleared by the end of the day.

Day 26 / Feeling battered
There is, I must admit, much to commend you. I do admire your work ethic, your diligence. Day in and out, and through each hour of the night, I find you toiling away. This high standard of performance, this nearly unbeatable productivity, does indeed set you above the rest. However, the fact still remains that your productivity is the drain down which my life, my essence, and my most basic cares are washed away anew each morning. You steal my days. You steal my very soul. Thanks to you, I no longer know who I am. My breath is willowy and cold, and I have forgotten what I love or like.

As a result, please consider yourself severed from this affiliation, effective immediately. There will be no redeeming, no second chances, no severance fee. We are finished. Although your work is quality, your work is also insidious and unredeeming. Even evil, some might say. So I say and, as head of this operation by name if not in actuality, I refuse to employee so dark and convoluted a created as yourself.

In truth, when I can separate you and your foul works from my brain, from my being, I can sympathize. You are a pitiable thing. Mothered by disease, loved by none, sustained by any withering human that will tolerate you, you are a sad one. If I didn't know better -- and now, mark me, I do, too well I do -- I might feel tempted to rock you in my arms, to soothe you with my body's heat.

But we both know where that would lead and while you might enjoy it -- of course you would, sick beast of a thing, you love-drinker, you thief of originality, you murderer of expectation -- I certainly would not. Your methods, while effective, repulse me. In addition to bringing me to my knees metaphorically and physically, you have smeared my true name. Now, to those who even remember me, know me as Unreliable, as Lazy, as What's-Wrong-With-Her-Just-Shake-It-Off. As if your work itself was not enough, you must heap insult to my mental injury.

You are a tick. You are a snake. You are soft as velvet and cold as the grave. You are no longer needed. You are no longer wanted.

Forever farewell.

Your former host

Demotivator : Fired

If only it was that easy. 

I wish I had some inspirational way to end this -- well, this rather depressing post, but I don't.  All I know is that I have continue to trust God, take my meds, and keep pushing back.

Finding some good resources never hurts, either.  Check these out:

Do you (or does someone you know) suffer from depression?  How do you cope with day-to-day life as well as larger challenges?  In other words, what gets you up and going and sometimes even smiling?

(Let me just add that I am not going through some super dark depressive period right now.  I'm pretty okay!  The writing prompt just brought the topic to the front of my mind, which is not difficult because, though I am medicated, depression is a constant partner in my everyday comings and goings.)

Demotivation: Depression
Image source for both demotivator posters

* * *

I'm raising money to support National Novel Writing Month!  Click here for more details.


  1. To me, the hardest part about depression, be it a daily struggle or one that floats in and out of your life occasionally, is when you know in your heart there's plenty to be happy about in this world - sunshine, flowers, love, whatever - and you're still unable to appreciate it thanks to the dark cloud hanging over your head. All you can do is fight your way out and hope it lifts soon enough. Awesome piece.

  2. Excellent letter, Beth. I like the idea of firing our deepest fears. And of course we have to do it over and over again - keep pushing back, as you said later in the post - because the pernicious things don't go away after being cast out the first time. They're a lot like a kid that way; they keep wearing at you, trying to make you give in.But you're doing the things you need to do - leaning on the Lord, taking your meds, sharing the journey with us instead of isolating yourself - and you will continue to live your life to the fullest, because you're a fighter. The same determination that helps you learn new hoop tricks, travel to San Fran and Hoopcamp, and tackle everything else you deal with - that God-given grit will keep you on course.Hugs, sporks and woobies, my sister! (Sorry, I've been spending too much time in the NaNo Spork Room threads...)

  3. Stephanie (dancingwaOctober 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    This is a beautiful, honest, and brave post. I agree with TraciB that sharing, instead of retreated inward, is part of that process and that the courage and determination you show in these posts and in your life, that helps keep you on the path you need to be on.As a side (?) note, I'm not sure I 100% agree with forcing depression out and not looking back, not cradling it. For me, a stark image that always comes to mind is when I was sitting in one of my therapists' office, after I'd hit rock bottom (probably at one of the lowest points I have ever had), and her throwing these large pillows around her office floor. She asked me to imagine that was my life, the pieces that make it up. And if I were to pick out one piece, discard it. A huge gaping hole. It wasn't about getting rid of it, it was understanding that it was a part of my life, understanding there were repercussions of it, that there were ways to understand, but not give in. It's a razor sharp line to walk, some days. Some days, it's so hard to not just want to forget, push push push it away. But, if I deny it, that gives it a completely different power, for me. This stuff is bubbling up due to some of the things we talked about in the Fearlessness class I was taking and some of the meditation trainings I've been going to. It's percolating.This is kind of disjointed thinking. It's been a long week. But, I want to do a blog post based on both this prompt and this post. It's got me thinking.

  4. Wow. This is not a depressing post. This is so strong, so aware, so bold. Depression and anxiety are liars. And it is hard when they lie to others in our lives and cause great misunderstanding in relationships and society in general. Those who haven't experienced it or maybe who are so deep in the throes will blame everything and everyone but the LIAR itself. Education, medication, physical activity, and spirituality and awareness practice are all tools to help those who are suffering directly AND indirectly (via relationship.) And keeping the real LIARS in the light by making depression and anxiety disorders very visible and understood in society is important. These are not things to be ashamed of or to hide. That's what the liar wants, what it feeds on. Great post Beth, this should be published in Reader's Digest!

  5. hi,my name is Erin and i work for, a mental health website for youth and was wondering if it would be all right if we were to post this letter of yours to depression on our site. we would give you full credit, of course!if this is all right with you, please email me and let me know. feel free to write a little promo on your blog for us to include as well!thanks! my email:


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King