Weekend Updates

Ladders & Chutes

The first sign of trouble was that I stopped washing my face.

Some days I'd go to bed with my makeup on, and just...smear away the raccoon streaks with my fingers the next morning. I knew this wasn't great self-care, so just I stopped wearing makeup most days.

But I still didn't wash my face.

Other bad habits crept in after that. The laundry went unfolded. My hair went unwashed. Texts went unanswered. Work deadlines were stretched to the absolute limit, and I started working from bed again. I gained more weight, so I rarely changed out of my pajamas because I couldn't face my actual clothes. 

I was tired -- so, so unbelievably tired all the time, and I would regularly sleep through most of the afternoon. 

I told myself it was just fatigue from my antidepressant. That there was nothing wrong with wanting to work while nice and cozy and curled up with the cats. That I'd get to the laundry that afternoon, that night, that weekend. 

And then one night, it was there again. That flash of inevitability, a hopeless swirly thought of no other way out. 

So...it's been a rough few weeks. I was fine, and then I wasn't fine. And it was really, really hard to admit that I wasn't fine, even though I'm not supposed to use that word in the first place

Depression is a goddamn whore bitch, is what I'm trying to say.

I sacked up and made an appointment with my doctor for last Friday, and I've added Wellbutrin to my morning cocktail of Lexapro and Buspirone. I go back in a few days, and she suggested that if things don't improve quickly, it'll be best to find an intensive outpatient program. I'm really hoping it won't come to that, and I did legitimately feel a little better over the weekend -- probably too soon to say whether it's the new med or just an uptick from Doing Something About the Thing. But I did feel better. 

This is obviously not an update I ever wanted to write, but it's an honest one. Recovery can be precarious and fragile, especially when you're dealing with an illness that has full squatters' rights in your brain and can lie lie lie to you all day long. You're fine. You're fine. You're a worthless piece of shit, but you're fine.

At the same time, there was an unbelievable outpouring of love here, from you (and you and you and you), and everybody who donated towards Ike's reading program. He started it last week, and will attend two intensive sessions a week for the foreseeable future. He really, really likes it already and is so beyond ready to just...READ. His IEP meeting is tomorrow, and I'm feeling strong enough to fight, thanks in no smart part to knowing how many other people have our backs and believe in us to do what's best for him. I still owe a few individual thank-you emails, but I wanted to publicly say it here. THANK. YOU. 

Ike at spellread

Ike is gonna do great. And I'll continue to take care of myself too, I promise. 


Heather Laura Clarke

Thank you, as always, for your beautiful honesty. xo


Thank you for being real. Please care for yourself. You are important. Hugs!


Thinking of you and sending love and hugs


You WILL get through this.
Thank you for your authenticity. Xoxo


I'm glad you reached out and asked for help and good luck to Ike. Good luck to all of you

Katie H.

"Depression is a goddamn whore bitch, is what I'm trying to say." Hit the nail on the head. I'm SO glad you didn't listen to that whore and took steps to leave her in the dust. I hope Ike loves his program and I'm SURE he will suddenly look at you and go "WOW! That's what reading with hardly any effort is like?" Always hoping for the best for you!!!


Amy, I have followed you and read your blog since before Noah. Your honesty and bravery is so commendable but also so raw and I just wanted to comment (something I never find time to do for some reason) that you just described how I've been semi-functioning the last few months. I type this in my pajamas, unkempt, unwashed hair, ten pounds heavier and lying about being "Fine" to everyone. Your honestly today was the wake up call I needed. I"m calling my doctor today. Thank you. I appreciate you. I see you. You're so loved.


Sending a virtual hug to you. Thank you for sharing your truth. Hoping you’re on the way to “I’m good!” <3


I remember reading a post of yours and seeing my daughter take her first wobbly steps. I said as much in a comment and you said something tender and supportive back. So, know that it's ok to teeter, it's ok to grab on to things for support, and it is ok to fall, in fact, it's a part of the process. You are doing this and we are so proud of you and with you.


Thanks for your honesty and bravery!


You recognised it. You did something about it. That is a huge thing right there. Wishing you all the best from Blighty. X

Kim m

Sending you prayers of love and support! You are amazingly strong. Thank you for sharing your life !


Thank you for continuing to tell your story, in your amazingly honest words. I hope you can feel how much we are rooting for you.


Depression is a terrible beast and I am so, so sorry it's come back and so glad you are able to tell us and to go to your doctor.


Progress is not a straight line. It's a bitch of a curly line that doubles back on itself and shoots off in random directions and most of the time you have no idea where it's going at all. But if you keep taking the next step, it's still progress.


Thank you for sharing. Your posts about depression helped me decide to seek help even though "it really isn't that bad just a little bit of stress". Thank you.


I'm pretty sure you know PILES more about this than me but I could only think one potentially helpful thing while reading this: depression may be part of your brain's wiring but don't forget the part where there's been a general uptick in mental illness issues in the U.S. lately thanks to the horrible, shitty things coming out of the White House, etc. these days. It's not just you feeling shitty! Shitty people are doing shitty things and if you have a tendency toward Depression in the first place well then maybe you have an "episode" like you're experiencing. But HE is temporary, THEY are temporary. Amalah is FOREVA!


You are amazing and I really hope you know how powerful your story is to many. Hang in there. Love and light to you, as always.

Sue W.

Your honesty continues to amaze me. I hope you are doing well today and I hope you will be better than today, tomorrow.


Love you!!! You can do this. Lexapro worked REALLY well for me for about a year and then poof. I’ve switched to cylexa daily and .25mg Ativan most evenings to get through the evening rush and routine for three tiny humans solo. It’s a good cocktail.


Love you! Hang in! I know it's not always easy, but we are here and we love you and we're with you.


Thank you for posting and for being you. It's a beautiful fall day. Maybe a little sunshine will help? (not being simplistic and thinking it will solve everything... just hoping for some relief for you.)


I'm always and ever glad you are here, glad you are sharing, glad you are fighting. You are brave and true, no matter what those horrid lies tell you.

Elaine C. B.

Just, love. Sending love. Maybe you're fine right now and maybe you're not, but either way, things will get good again. They will. Thank you for sharing.


depression is like fucking glitter (i hate glitter) just when you think you have it all cleaned up and taken care of, pieces keep popping up here and there, and you feel like you’ll never get a head of it and have it cleaned up for good, but you can! and you will! 1 teeny tiny flick of glitter at a time


Sending more virtual hugs (((<3)))) I hope the new med helps and that you don't need to feel that damn depression creeping in again. You are strong and smart and I know you can get past this too.

Fraulein N

Thank you for your honesty.


Aww, Ike looks so eager to learn, perched on his chair like that!

Thank you for sharing your continuing journey with us. I have a friend struggling with recurring bouts of depression (and hospitalization), and reading this helps me understand just a tiny bit better what she may be going through.


You saw it, you spoke up, you did something. I'm so glad to hear it.


Thank you for facing it and dealing with it. You are one courageous, tough gal! Keep sharing and keep fighting.

Emily E

You can do this, Amy. You are doing the right thing being honest with your doctor and if an inpatient program turns out to be what you need, do it. Side note, I hope if he hasn't already, that Jason has a therapist and/or support system he can talk to as well...so often the spouse/partner is overlooked in these situations and their mental health can suffer as well.


I'm so sorry it came back!! But I want to echo what Amanda said, that it's okay to stumble and fall, it's part of the process. There was a quote from an old Claire Weekes that helped me tremendously with my anxiety, which would go away for a while and then come back, and it was so crushing to have that happen when I had been feeling good for a while. I believe it applies to any mood disorder, addiction, or even just trying to change a well-ingrained bad habit (basically, it's just how our brains work!). The terminology is a bit dated but the ideas are not:

"The road to recovery is beset with many temporary failures. It is like traveling across the foothills towards the mountain. You travel downhill so often that it is difficult to realise, that in spite of this, you are still climbing. This up and down aspect of recovery is exhausting and frustrating. It is true that when you think you have turned one corner and are feeling well, you can have one of your worst set backs. You can waste much energy trying to discover why this happens. Strangely enough it is always important for the sufferer to find out the cause of the setback. Do not measure your progress day by day. Looking forward hopefully with confidence is tremendous help. It draws you past the yesterdays, past today, past the tomorrows, until you find recovery."

"The past holds so many fearful memories for the person who has had a nervous breakdown; even a slight setback will find a host of them ready to engulf him/her. It takes time to dull these memories. But after she has pulled herself out of a few such reverses, she despairs less readily, and confidence grows from each experience. When you have achieved confidence by your own effort, nothing can take it away again. No future defeat can quite destroy it. It may seem in moments of despair that it has gone, but the memory of past successes however small gives you the courage to try again, and so defeat is defeated. Remember that good mental health WILL return with peace of mind and piece of body."

You are already improving SO much because you caught it earlier and you dealt with it so decisively!! If it happens again, you might catch it a little earlier and it'll be less of an uphill climb to get back to an even keel. And honestly, as powerful of a tool as the medication is, intensive therapy can also be a hugely valuable tool, so if the outpatient program is feasible then it's definitely worth consideration. The more you know about those tricks your brain is playing and the more techniques you have to deflect them, the stronger you'll feel. <3


It’s never as easy as one dip into the abyss and you’re done. I think what matters is not that you revisit it, but how you handle it - that’s where the progress is. If you recognized it and took responsibility for getting yourself booked into the doctor, you are so far ahead of the learning curve. Every time you revisit that place, you’ll learn something about your process, whether it’s what the early warning signs or what the triggers are, or a new piece of self care that helps lift you. It totally sucks being there, but if you are open to learning from each experience, you’ll understand yourself so much more too.


As I sit here, hair unwashed for a few days too long, carrying 15 lbs more than ever in my life, I really needed this reminder that, hmm, I've been down this road before, and maybe it would be a good idea to look straight at it instead of making excuses to myself that I'm just busy/distracted/focusing on other things. Thanks for the honesty and the reminder. Gonna talk to my therapist tomorrow. Ugh. All best wishes and good thoughts to you. I hope your new med kicks that POS depression where it counts.

Elan Morgan

Depression is the damn worst. I'm just surfacing from a many weeks-long stint in the hole, and I'm here to reassure you, there is more than that hole.


Sending love out into the universe - may it find its way right to your heart.
You are not alone. There is hope. There is healing.


I have been there. Right there. I hear you, and I am pulling for you.

One thing that I would suggest talking to your doctor about is what actually helped me. I was bleeding terribly every month, anemic and struggling with horrific extended clinical depression. I got the Mirena IUD to treat the anemia--and to close up the baby-making shop--and was stunned to realize the depression was lifting, too. A month after I got rhe IUD, I started stepping down the Welbutrin (with doctor supervision). After I was off that, stepped down off the Zoloft. Three months after I got it in, I was off both antidepressants and haven't needed them since--and it's been six years. Hormones are a bitch.

(Someone close to me is Bipolar and on meds for the rest of his life. I am NOT opposed to meds. But this is my experience.)


All my love Amy. I see you and I care. I’m glad you were able to make the call. Feel better soon.

LD's Mom

Keep keeping it honest, Amy. We all sincerely want the best for you, as does your physical clan that can actually help you when your brain wires go wacky, and so putting on a happy face for us is never necessary. Love of love to you.


It will get better. You are strong and brave (I tell myself that on a loop when things are tough. And it's true).


It's going to be like a rollercoaster ride for you and everyone that loves you. Sad, but true. My son has a mental illness
and there have been so many ups and downs. You will be okay though. xxx


one on one therapy is essential


You CAN do it. Your honesty and sheer strength are so inspiring for those of us also struggling with that damn beast. And besides...we like you. We really, really like you!


Shepherd Pratt has a partial hospitalization program (all day, technically outpatient) at their day hospital in Ellicott City. It's mostly group therapy and can help with med changes/med management. if you found group therapy helpful it should be a good fit, but increased one on one therapy might also be an option.

Hang in there, keep fighting.


Hi Amy. I’ve been a reader since my oldest daughter was a newborn (she’ll be 13 next month!), but this is the first time I’m commenting. Thank you for being so open and honest. Please know that it’s helping others to know they’re not alone. I’m struggling right now with anxiety/panic attacks and had my first thought a couple months ago that I could understand why people would not want to live like this. That was enough to scare me into dialing up my therapist. It’s still hard, but just that step means we’re doing OK. It will get better, it has to. But in the meantime, know that you’re not alone and we’re all holding each other up, even when we may not realize it. Hugs.


My heart breaks for you. I know the struggle, and I hate for you to be going through this. Much, much love from my little corner of the world.


My heart breaks for you. I know the struggle, and I hate for you to be going through this. Much, much love from my little corner of the world.


Just keep on keepin' on.... Proud of you. Donation made. Love you, your writing, your family, your pets...even though we have never met. Sending you strength - you've got this, girl!


Amy your honesty helps so many people, sometimes not even at the time, but later, when they need it. Sarah is right that hormones are a bitch. I got an IUD back in January, just last month after remembering a post you wrote about having problems with hormonal birth control (the one that goes in your arm, I think), I spoke to my husband about the possibility that mine was having an impact on my mental health. I knew I was having some physical side effects outside the norm, but I was less sure about it's effect on my mental well being. I had the sneaking suspicion that it was behind the huge spike in my anxiety and overall lack of patience and irritability. Long story short, I had it removed and am feeling so much more like myself. Your stories helped me be more self-aware and talk to my Dr. about problems I was having, even though on a low dose most people don't have issues, I did and you helped me see it and do something about it. I thank you and my husband and baby girl thank you.


I am sending you lots of love, Amy. Thinking of you with my heart. xox


I think this is a key part of these kinds of things. The up and the downswing. Your awareness is so great and you write about it all so beautifully. Thank you for sharing, as always, and what bravery to take a step to address it all.


I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s always hard to have a setback, especially when they’re severe. I’m sending you warm thoughts.

Laura in Michigan

I need to tell you that your journey is helping MY journey. It has made a huge impact on my very own healing. Thank you


My psychiatrist has a three day rule that I have found very helpful over the years. Anyone can have two bad days in a row. If I hit the third day, I am to call. And I do call. It helps prevent the spiraling.

I have been reading along, very glad that you are writing. Very glad you are getting help. Very sorry that you are dealing with all this. I know how hard it is.

I assume you are working thru a psychiatrist. (But wanted to make the point for anyone else dealing with issues. It is really important to see a psychiatrist. And not let a GP try to diagnose and prescribe. There is a huge huge difference. Even if it is “just” depression, see a psychiatrist.)


I'm glad you can be honest, most importantly with yourself. As a fellow depression sufferer - depression is a bitch. I used to think, oh here, I've dealt with this one, I'm free, I'm fine. Nope. Something comes that disturbes the balance, a family member falls ill, someone close to you suffers, and the balance turns out to be very fragile and suddenly it's gone and all you (I) want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep. Forget washing hair, cleaning ... So yeah, I'm sorry, but know this, no promises to your readers needed. We're just rooting for you to do the best for yourself. Because you are delightful and precious in the best sense of this word. And that suffices.


So important that you share the truth about depression!!!!! It's not a "take a pill and you're fine forever" thing. I am glad you were able to recognize the symptoms and see your doctor! BRAVO!!!!!!


Holding you in the light as you keep on keepin' on. Thank you for your honesty and for being here. You are loved and valued and needed so very much.


Just chiming in again to send you love and light. I figure every little bit helps to tell you you’re not alone. Keep up the good fight, we are all rooting for you


Love the 3 day rule!!! A good one. Put it on a post it and apply to your bathroom mirror so you see it and are reminded. Glad you caught this need for change earlier than last time. Life is a process.
Beyond what is happening in your immediate family, the bigger world with elections & the news generally is all an added load to un-stabilize people who are already dealing with chemical lumps and bumps. You are at an age when hormonal changes can also rock boats. Stable state hormones are something to discuss with your doctor, it can all be as trying as the onset puberty when hormones tweak and change and run riot.
Be good to you. Praise yourself with precision and say it out loud even for small things: I made the bed today, I paid bills, I worked for 4 hours for money, I fed my kids even when I was not hungry, my kids left for school on time today. THEN: ALSO: Go outdoors for at least 10 minutes (5 if it is freezing cold) and look to see some thing in nature that is beautiful. Clouds, tree branches, a flower, a bird, or even the colors in a dead leaf. Really LOOK at it. Because this world was created for your appreciation and we need to stop and give it that applause of seeing it.
Hang in. You are seen as an important gift to LOTS of people!


Just a big hug.


I’m so sorry. Depression is a fucking bitch. I had an experience in the past that I’ll pass on, just in case.

I had unending, horrid depression for about 3.5 years after my first daughter was born. Nothing made it better. Finally I figured out my Mirena (an IUD) was causing the problem. It’s a much longer story and maybe this is common knowledge (I hope it is) but hormonal birth control is often contraindicated for people with mental illness.

Anyway, I’m so sorry. Depression is brutal. I’ll keep you in my thoughts. Good luck!!!


I'm so sorry, Amy. I'm glad you were able to recognize the signs and do something to help. I hope you're feeling better and, if you're not, know that you will!

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