Moments before I swallowed her cheeks whole

  • Bruce

    dooce – you are awesome – it’s the occasional story like that one that makes me come check your site 5, 6, 7, sometimes 12 times a day.

    much love & respect.

  • andrea

    I love that Leta. And thanks for today’s entry.

  • bunny

    Dooce, you are so absolutely right…I have bipolar type two.

    A physical illness, and yet there are still people who should know better that act like if you just put your mind to it and thunk happy thoughts all would be just fine.
    My only consoling thought is that at least they have never had to go thru the hell of depression, for if they had they would never say anything so incredibly stupid.


  • StacyG

    Thanks for your post about your neighbor and depression. My dad shot himself 14 years ago at Midnight on New Years. I appreciate your honesty with your struggles and am so happy you were strong enough to get the help you needed for yourself, Jon, and especailly for Leta.

  • Leon

    Me thinks little Leta has gotten into the Armstrong hootch cabinet.

    She’s got the distinct haggard look and uncontrollable drool of someone who’s hit the tequila hard.

  • Laura C.

    Dooce, I love you. I love your insights and honesty in the Depression post. You made me realize that getting an A on this research paper is NOT all that important.

    Or at the least, I can write it in the nude. Why not have some fun with it?

    You’re welcome for the mental picture.

  • Depressed

    Thank you so much for your post. I will also be calling my doctor Monday morning to schedule an appointment for more help. Even on meds I don’t feel any better than without them.

    I want to sing and dance and be happy, I just don’t know how to get to that point.

  • Erin

    Dooce, great photo. And your entry about suicide made me weep. I’m so glad for you and your family that you are better. :)

  • Janis


    I just finished reading your post about your sister’s neighbor.

    Almost 22 months ago, my world came crashing down around me when my 16 year old daughter, Marrissa, took her own life. She had BiPolar disorder and was on medications to treat it, in therapy. We thought we were finally winning the battle. She was doing the best she had been in years.

    On January 27, 2003, she got up, rode the bus to school, changed into her prom dress, went out to the bleachers… The police came to tell us that she was gone. She had hung herself.

    Suicide is a loss like no other. There is a stigma attached to mental illness, to depression. Even more so when suicide is added in. People are afraid to talk about it. The school would not do much beyond getting grief counselors because if they “glorify” suicide, others might copy cat.

    If you think the wife might like to talk to someone who has been there, or if she needs some resources for herself, for her kids, please contact me or feel free to pass on my email. I know of some excellent ones both local and online.

    You can email me and I’ll send you my phone number – I’m local- in West Jordan. I’m willing to help in anyway I can.

    I know that often times, those left behind after a suicide grieve in silence. We don’t want others judging our lost loved ones or worse, judging us, blaming us.

    I’m so glad that you got the help you needed. I totally understand about the bills. I’m still fighting with my insurance over some things. I too, have great coverage. It sucks that you have to fight over who pays what.

    My deepest sympathies go out to this family and to all who know and love them.

    I’m here if you need me.

  • Christilee
  • Amanda B.

    I too have had a long hard battle with depression. I’ve tried everything from drugs, to food, to cutting to make the pain GO AWAY.

    Things didn’t get better for me until I sought professional help. It took a while to find the right meds for me, but it’s been well worth it. (effexor- by the way has worked wonders for me)

    I went through extensive thearapy, where I learned that I wasn’t defective, or weak, or a bad person.

    I take my illness very seriously- and see it now as just that. I have to take good care of myself-by talking things out, taking my meds, and most of all- not being so damn hard on myself.

    Thanks to Heather for sharing her story.

  • Amanda B.

    And Janis- my thoughts and prayers are with you. Bless your sweet heart for sharing your story too.

  • Carol

    Well, I just don’t know what. I usually read through all the comments. But this one actually MEANT something. Really. Big.

    So I’m just going straight to the bottom to comment. I don’t even know what I’m going to say. But maybe, Thanks!!? I think this is about the best I’ve read from you yet. Suicide and depression has touched my family as it has all families. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but something to get help for. Thanks for sharing your story. I guess that’s all I really can say. Thanks.

    Oh, and God Bless You.

  • Jenny P

    I hear you on the depression. I too, seek to destigmatize mental illness. Thanks for your help.

  • Carol

    Janis and Amanda B.–

    God bless you, too. Be well. Have fun and try to be happy. I’ve never had a problem with depression myself, but have been affected by it in every aspect of my life (husband, friends, family, etc.) The best thing to do is get help. You know that already. So, I guess, THANKS to you also for sharing. JUST REMEMBER: You are very brave and strong for dealing with it in the first place.

  • Tracy

    Wow, Dooce – your latest entry was full of such great perspective. I think your candor about depression does so much good for helping people come to understand that it’s an equal-opportunity ass-kicker, and it can and should be treated just like any other malady.

    I’m glad you’re here. =)

  • Kelli

    Yes, I too have battled major depression for about 6 years now, and I have tried many many medications and many many med cocktails. I’ve seen several psychiatrists, one who I still see and who is fantastic, and two wonderful therapists. And I spent a week in the hospital just over a year ago b/c I was suicidal. It is absolutely the worst pain there is, the feeling of utter hopelessness, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    My grandfather committed suicide just over three years ago, and the last thing he said to me was, “Don’t you do anything crazy, now.” because I was feeling very suicidal and the drugs just weren’t working. Then, just a short while later, he shot himself.

    I saw first hand what his suicide did to our family – to my mom, my grandmother, my uncles and cousins. The worst part was that I understood how he must have been feeling. And no one should ever have to understand that feeling.

    But, today, after finding a psychiatrist who is talented with finding the right mix of medications, I am better. Not 100%, and I don’t really know if I will ever be 100% depression free. It will always be a battle for me, I think. But every day that I don’t spend wondering “how can I go on?” is a win for me.

    The fact is, there are a lot of medications out there. Sometimes it’s not the first or second or third drug you try that works. Sometimes it takes a combination of drugs to treat the depression. Sometimes you need therapy and meds. Sometimes you need a hospital ‘vacation’. Sometimes you need ECT (yes, they still do it, and it can be highly effective for the right person). But the most important thing is holding on to whatever gives you hope, and finding a mental health professional who is talented in treating depression.

    Thanks, Heather, for sharing your story. It makes a powerful impact.

  • nance

    It’s amazing how much of an impact your posts have on all your readers. Thanks for sharing your stories- the ones that make us cry and the ones that make us laugh until our bellies jiggle. Thanks for sharing your life with us. and thanks for the photos of leta (esp. the one up there ^)

  • Christine

    Many thanks to you for the post about depression. I’ve been dealing with it since I was a teenager, and I can truly say that having another major depressive episode is the only thing I fear in my life. Every other issue I contend with is a *breeze* in comparison to it.

    You (and others) may find this book interesting:

    “Undercurrents” by Martha Manning. She is a clinical psychologist who is battling clinical depression herself. Just look for it on Amazon; read the reviews. It’s a great book and really inspired me during some of my darkest days.

    Thanks again. My wish is for you to be well, too.

  • hayley

    about your problem getting your insurance to pay for psychiatric treatment…. i can’t believe they won’t consider it a serious illness. i’ve seen too many friends rendered useless by its grip.

    this past week i was watching the news (here in canada) and a group of transvestite protestors are trying to get the government to add sex-change operations to the list of what our national health care plan covers. their argument is that it causes serious depression and many people who don’t get the operation attempt suicide. and you know what i say to that? when the government FIRST steps up and pays for the treatment, therapy and medication of THOUSANDS of people struggling with regular depression, then MAYBE, just MAYBE you could think of asking for this.
    what do you think would cost more, a few bottles of zoloft or a penis removal/vaginal construction surgery?

    sorry, ranting. i just thought it related to your story. i’ll just be going now…

  • Karen Rani


    You saved my life.

    You saved my family.

    I wrote to you a little while back, via email about my own PPD. I didn’t think I could handle things anymore. I had very very bad thoughts, including suicide and worse. I was afraid to tell my husband, my doctor, anyone. I was afraid someone would come and take my kids away from me for thinking these thoughts. I was afraid of myself.

    Until you told us about your hospital stay.

    You saved my life.

    You saved my family.

    Since that post, I told my husband, who has been so very supportive. We went together and told my doctor, who has been wonderful too. I’m on medication that isn’t entirely working and I’m going back to see my doctor again, on December 7th for more help.

    You saved my life.

    You saved my family.

    Please know that by sharing your story, you are accomplishing your goal of breaking stigmas on mental illness. Please know that you taught me that a good mother reaches out for help when she needs it. A good mother takes care of herself so she can take care of her children.

    You saved my life.

    You saved my family.

    I cannot thank you enough.

    Every time I sign off to you with “Hugs, Karen,” I truly am sending you a heartfelt hug. There are no perfect words to thank you but I repeat those two sentences to you to illustrate to you, that there is a real person here, with a real 36 year old husband downstairs who has a bag of frozen peas on his nutsac right now because he had a vasectomy today! There is a real 6 year old boy who is brillant and funny, and a real 4.5 month old boy that is really starting to laugh more and cry less – oh and a real prissy Black Lab mix named Ruffy who’s job it is to keep us safe at night. I can’t forget Ruffy. She won’t let me hit “post” if I do! We eat dinner together every night; we curl up on the sofa and watch movies together; we go for walks and bike rides and go sledding and camping and have Sunday dinner at Gramma and Papa’s. We love each other unconditionally. That’s the family you saved.

    You saved my life.

    You saved my family.

    One of these crazy days, I’ll start my own blog, and you can read all about this family, and the woman who holds them all in her vulnerable heart.


  • Carol

    Here’s what I think of when I’m sad…

    My dad (we were VERY, Very close!!) died suddenly two years ago ( And I was seven weeks pregnant at the time), my marriage is in shambles because my husband, who I love more than anything, has serious mental illness, and We are poor. I have fallen out of touch with my sister over my father’s death. And my husband gets laid off two weeks before my second child is due. Nice. Could you give me any more trouble, Life? Please. I’d like just a little more.

    Do you know what I think?

    (And I’m just trying to give some perspective…)

    I think..

    the sky is blue
    the air is pure
    my kids are amazing
    the trees are green – I mean really green!
    life is to be LIVED!
    life is too short to be unhappy or negative or complacent.
    do what you want.
    be free
    be happy
    just be.

    oh, and go see harold and maude, because it might be a little depressing on the surface, but if you really listen to it, it’s the best, most life-affirming movie out there.

    peace. be happy. do what you want. don’t judge. and don’t be judged.

    And in the words of Maude:

    L-I-V-E Live! Otherwise, you’ve got nothing to talk about in the locker room!!

  • AndreaBT

    That totally sucks that your insurance is dragging its feet on covering your depression related stuff!!! I’ve dealt with this in a slightly different way…being underinsured (and now UNinsured) and having to prioritize my health issues. Like, thyroid maintenance has to come first because, well, I could probably die if it got out of control. But, um, does that mean my depression has to come second, even though I could die if THAT got out of control? And forget even thinking about my fertility issues (which thankfully resolved themselves eventually). Health care in this country sucks. It’s almost enough to make me want to be a Democrat…:)

    Anyway, thanks for today’s post. I’m so glad you’re still around and doing better, and I hope your insurance company GETS THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR BUTTS!!!!!

  • Carol

    Karen Rani-

    I’ve seen your name when you post comments..

    and I NEVER cry on this site. Ever.

    Well, your post just made me cry. Like a baby. Because you ARE a good mom. Good luck to you wherever you are..


  • Karen Rani


    Please don’t cry. I am doing well. Heather was awesome in making me understand that a good mom gets help and that’s what I did. Thank gawd for “Ex-Mormon Mommy Bloggers!”
    Thank you for your well wishes – they mean alot!

    P.S. I know I spelled brilliant wrong up there – of all the words to spell wrong! Geesh!!!! :)

  • Karen Rani

    Oh and Carol,

    I hope things look up for you. You seem like a person with a positive attitude though, so I’m sure they will.

  • Carol

    Karen Rani-

    That is the one thing I do have going for me. I am VERY positive. Sometimes I wonder why, but then I just go with the flow. So, whatever happens, I know I’ll probably be happy. Whatever, Bitch, you say??? BUT there’s a LOT of soul searching and troubled times that goes into that happiness. Other than a medical thing (i.e. depression, bipolar disorder), I think it’s a decision you make. Be happy or not.

    Anyway, I commend you and Dooce and others on getting help. I know my husband and I are. (we’re in therapy now) And you know what?? THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!!

    AH, LIFE!! Ups, downs, ups, downs, in betweens…. *giggle*

  • blondzila

    Bravo. It takes great courage to do what you did and say what you said regarding your depression and suicide. I was diagnosed in September 2003 with bipolar disorder and there are weeks on end where I think about suicide every day. I sometimes have the insight to realize that it’s the disease talking, that it’s the chemistry in my brain that is doing it, nothing deliberate on my part. But such thoughts are quite lonely ones. You hit the nail right on the futhermucking head – the stigma of mental illness is more tainting than any scarlet letter ever will be. I am a grown woman, 36, with a great job, a fantastic family, an IQ borderline into Mensa category and I’ve had the damned luck of this disease. You say you have a mental illness and people automatically derate your IQ 20% and hold their children back from you. Congratulations Heather on the courage and on the luck of having such a supportive family.

  • Amanda B.

    Carol- You are so sweet! Thankyou for your kind words. Life is good, and you have helped make my day warm and fuzzy. :)

  • Carol

    OK, forgive me. But I’m going to spout….

    My dad died. My world came CRASHING down. Pregnant. Daddy (my world) will never see him. Husband lost his job. We have two kids now. WHAT THE FUCK IS NEXT!??

    Here’s what’s next…

    Your life. Sistah. Either choose it or loose it. (Now I am NOT taking away from illness – that’s different, but this is for those people who are just going through a hard time)

    BUT, Life is good. No matter what, things will work out. It might take a while. But they will.

    Here’s the one thing I wanted to say, and I’m a little afraid to, here, because it seems religious. Well, it’s not.

    My dad talked to me. No, I’m not crazy. I swear. He did. He talked to me after he died (actually, he said “thank you for holding my hand” IN THOSE WORDS – IN MY HEAD) and he gave me the most amazing feeling driving down the street. Like everything is OK. And everything IS OK. What’s the worst that could happen? You hold your dying father’s hand and watch his very last breath come out of him. And you learn. And you carry on. As hard as it is. You do.

    So, I guess here’s what I’m trying to say…. If your parent is dying, hold their hand. Buck up and take it, because you will be glad that you did. This life is for Living and Experiencing. And that is one of the experiences.. for you and them.

    Hope I don’t sounds nuts. Because I’m not. I’m just saying.

  • Carol

    P.S. Amanda B. – I love to read your posts. You are so funny and great. You’re the best!!!!

  • DG

    I *never* read all the comments here. But, tonight, I sorta kinda skimmed them.

    And now my face is wet because of that beautiful girl called Karen Rani.


  • Carol

    I think I’m the last one up. That, or I freaked everyone out. Anyway, Amanda B. – I just checked out your website… do you realize you look just like Ashley Judd?? I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and believe me, I AM NOT as ass-kisser (Dont’ like em. Don’t wanna be one!!) But you do.

    OK, night night, Internet. But probably not just yet.

  • me

    I totally applaud you for bringing such issues up.. suicide, depression.. My brother committed suicide 13 years ago at the age of 20. The more people out there who understand, and / or seek help for the disease the better. About time the stygma of depression became history DAMMIT!

  • MrsDoF

    Carol (#192)Whaddya mean you are the last one up? My clock just touched 11pm and it’s Friday night, for cryin’ out loud.
    That’s what I’m doing, crying out loud.
    What are you folks doing, putting such heart-rending Post and comments on right before I get ready for bed? TGIF
    Depression in the family, suicide of a relative, oldest son gone prodigal. We are working through all that.
    My scariest time was when I got a phone call from the ER nurse saying my husband had been in a bicycle accident on his lunch hour.
    They sent him home that evening, but the last three months have not been the same, and we are working on that, too. Insurance pays when it’s a broken bone, but his dizziness and stuttering need more willpower, so we’re told. The Ct scan shows no brain injury. I live with him, ya can’t tell me there are no lingering effects.
    Thank You Carol and Dooce for Affirmation.

  • Sheryl

    Heather, I don’t know what to say.

    I have a lot of empthathy for people who are struggling with mental illness. I grew up in a family where mental illness was the norm. My mother has been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, alcoholic. I’ve probably been struggling with depression in one way or another all my life but didn’t know it. I’ve spent most of all my years trying not to know, trying not to feel. And succeeding very well.

    She had her first major break after my dad was killed in a car accident when I was 6. As a kid, I thought those stories on the Twilight Zone were all true. My mom was living in an alternate universe all the time.

    We lived in our car, in trailer parks, in fancy condominiums. I spent nights at the park with my little brother when she was really bad off, and we were afraid to be alone with her. When it was too dangerous to be near her. I moved 50 times before I went to high school, spent 4 months at a time just riding in the car up and down I5 while she talked to God to try to figure out what to do, let God steer the car. We went days without food. We waited in rented by the week motels for my mom while she wandered in the Arizona desert and stared at the sun until she was legally blind. I attended about 6 weeks of 6th grade. I remember everything clearly, precisely, everything except for how it felt.

    I don’t understand what it means to be afraid or angry or disappointed, to need help or be able to ask for it. I am in therapy, but it’s taken me 3 years to cry even once.

    Anyway, I’m really not ready to get into all that about me. It also freaks me out when I feel empathy from others about this. To see more feeling in them than I have in my self about it. I know it’s in there somewhere, I just don’t know how to find it.

    There’s an old saying that goes something like: Courage is only really courage if you’re afraid. Heather, I admire you so much – for the fact that your mind and your body and your voice can all express the same thing. That you’ve been able to get angry, to not be perfect, to be sad, to just let it rip. To seem to know it’s not going to destroy you or define you. To have the balls to admit you’re afraid, or weak, or vulnerable, that you need help and need other people.

    To have the balls to say that you want to have a good life, family and love, children, a home (all that stuff seemed like dust in the wind to me). It’s not that I don’t want that stuff too, I just never let myself know it, until 3 years ago.

    My boyfriend moved in with me, that was the beginning of the end of me thinking that the future was a beautiful, euphorically blank blinding white slate. One day I went grocery shopping and saw a Forbes magazine, the cover of which had a family, a mom a dad and two kids on swings. It said: Plan for children, homes, summer homes, college, retirement, weddings. I threw up on my shoes. That was the first time I realized anything was wrong with me. I had never thought about having any of those things before, never wanted them.

    Heather, when you say what you want, what pisses you off, what makes you despair, what you’re afraid of, it inspires me to believe that all those feelings can co-exist without destroying a person. That is courage to me.

    And so are the things you’ve all expressed tonight (an other times) here.

  • nik

    “If God brings you to it, he will bring you THROUGH it”

  • Carol


    I am so sorry that happened to your husband. Dizziness and stuttering seem to be a HUGE deal ( I don’t need to tell you that!). Just keep trying to get him the care he needs. And realize it’ll all work out. (Do I have sunshine flying out my ass tonight or what??) But I feel for you. I can’t imagine having my spouse in an accident. I think that might change my outlook. THAT would be oh so HARD.

    I hope you are OK. I have friends who are pretty good (i.e.Mayo) doctors. If you are ever wondering about treatment, please email me. I would be happy to ask them.

    I hope and pray that your husband recovers fully.


  • Amanda B.

    Carol- I don’t think you are crazy. I think you have an awesome attitude and a kind heart. (ashley judd? wow! I looooove you)

    Sheryl- you have brought so many giggles to me over the past few weeks. I won’t get all up in yo bidness. But I am sorry you’ve had a hard time and I am sending happy thoughts your way.

  • trisha

    Thank you for your depressionpost. I have it too, and I applaud you. I applaud me.

    From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

  • trisha

    And Leta is Beautiful.

  • Sheryl

    Thanks -
    And you’ve really made me guffaw acutely. Woman I like your style.

    There are a few extraordinary and refreshing perspectives that hang out here. I am glad I bumped into Dooce. Even though she inspired me to a confessional with feeling attached. Ok, that was a good thing. Just hard.

    You know how some people accept you as you are, but challenge you to grow. Just by bein theyselves.

  • Carol


    Oh my God. I don’t even know what to say about that. Except, I’m sorry that you’ve had a rough road. My husband’s life is so similar. He can’t feel or show emotion. He grew up with a crazy father. And a very passive mother.

    His dad is probably paranoid schizophrenic, but they are too afraid to find out!

    You must think this… I have gotten this far. I can go even farther. The fact that you are on a website talking to others about this means something. You will succeed. YOU WILL!!

    And ALL of us are pulling for you!!

    Go, Sheryl! Go!

  • Chloe

    Have I mentioned how happy I am that you are feeling better now? When I think back, just a few months ago, even your funny posts had an underlying sadness. And that last picture– you are smiling so big, and Leta was so happy… I hadn’t really thought about how much it has changed in the last few months. I’m so glad things got better for you guys.
    Just with proper treatment. I don’t think that there is anyone whose life hasn’t been touched by depression in some way. I went through a stint in my early teens (who hasn’t?), my best friend, both my parents. I don’t know directly anyone who has commited suicide, but I am so glad you are out there, saying what needs to be said. Thank you.
    (And Leta is adorable as always in this picture. You aren’t going to stop until everyone who visits this website has procreated… ARE YOU? A little humor to remove the sickly sweet taste from your mouth. But really. Thank you.)

  • Carol

    I think it’s Girls Night on!!! Yeah, girls’ night!!! OK, who’s next?

  • ella’s ma

    My husband’s dad committed suicide 2 years ago. After that I really started to get in touch with my own depression, which had been mild, at best, and DEBILITATING, at worst, since I was in middle school. I saw what living all your life with depression can do to a family, with suicide ending that phase, and got some help. In all the moments I really wanted death, I never considered the aftermath for those that loved me. Now, in my 30′s, I’ve come face to face with my demons again after the birth of my daughter. PPD really dealt me a blow that I wasn’t prepared for. After spending the last year trying to “unbreak” myself, I’m finally on a combo of drugs that really helps me feel GOOD. And not all loopy-headed good. Good like when you wake up on a sunny, crisp fall day after weeks of gray rain. I breathe and it feels good. I eat and it feels good. I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “you rock!”, because I do. I am alive now because I resisted the overwhelming pull of suicide, and that makes me awwesome. And you, dooce, are awesome. Leta now has a mama to teach her that it’s okay to feel bad, and reach out for help when she’s drowning. And Jon has a wife who will never take him for granted and love him with every breath she take. I am lucky to have a husband who I can say that about, and a beautiful daughter who, I swear, the sun shines out of her eyes. Yours is the only blog I read, and thank God, yours is the one that reached out to me to tell me I am not alone.

  • Carol

    ok, that last one didn’t sound so good. sorry.

  • Sheryl

    Your husband is so fortunate to have you standing by him, acknowledging the reality but still striving for that better place…I so identify with your can-do have-faith and chin-up attitude. I am with you sister. Even in the worst of times, I know I will feel joy again. Partly by trying to keep my sense of humor. (I personally think I abused that power of transcendence by actually ignoring reality for a reeeeally long time).

    I have always (since I was about 21) known I would survive and thrive. I have a great job, a really loving boyfriend, my sister;s family nearby with my two nieces, tons of friends, my writing, artwork, etc. So much. I learned when I was five to meditate on being thankful for every day and I swear that has helped me get this far.

    MrsDoF, I am sorry to hear about your husband’s accident – it must be very hard to go day-to-day with the uncertainty. It’s great that he has you to love and care about him, be with him through the rough times. That’s powerful stuff.

    Karen Rani,
    Oh… my heart goes out to you.
    It’s wonderful to hear more people with illness to share with others their feelings, the day-to-day. I know my mother had no one at all, (except us and we couldn’t help) and that still breaks my heart. One of the really wonderful things is that even though there is still stigma attached to admitting to mental or emotional illnesses, there are a lot of resources for support. And you can talk about it. Please stay connected to others, it is so important for you, and your family.

    I’m sending you healing thoughts.

  • Carol


    these are your words. read them!!

    I have always (since I was about 21) known I would survive and thrive. I have a great job, a really loving boyfriend, my sister;s family nearby with my two nieces, tons of friends, my writing, artwork, etc. So much. I learned when I was five to meditate on being thankful for every day

    You’re there! You are.

  • Carol

    Goodnight Ladies. Keep your chin up and your underwear dry. Kick ass and take no prisoners.

    See you tomorrow. Peace. Inside and out.

    Love, love,