• monica.lynne

    Heather, you are the fucking valedictorian of being depressed. And I know that sounds flippant, but I really, really mean it. I hope that the next time I’m depressed (I’m 22 & I’ve had two “major depressive episodes,” which means it’s only a matter of time) I an meet it with the kind of equanimity and grace you’re demonstrating. Thank you.

  • The Not So Little Things


  • andywidget

    I hope you know that for each person who dares to criticize, there is also a person, who after reading a post like that, spends the rest of the day worrying a bit and wishing the best for someone she doesn’t know.

  • MollyCT

    I wish someone hadn’t written you to tell you to stop “whining.” I saw your post last week and I wanted to say that I was sorry that you are feeling so terribly, and as a reader who loves stopping by your blog, I care and hope you have better days. Now that comments are back on I can do that. Sending you peace.

    And I guess re: the whole suffering Olympics, as I can tell you know, we’re not in a competition. And I think most of us have too much respect for women like those you met in Bangladesh to turn them merely into objects that throw our own privilege into relief. Their lives are complex and so are ours.

  • Kathryn

    This really resonated with me – I prefaced a complaint about my life with my therapist the other day as “another first world over privileged white girl problem” – and man did she tear a strip off me (in the nicest possible way of course)! Yes, my life is pretty damn good but problems are still problems and I am working on not feeling guilty about having them.

  • crivens

    Thanks. I’ve been suicidal all weekend, despite the two cars and house etc. etc. (does it count as nice if the basement is flooded?) and it is, well, not nice, but comforting in a really weird way to know that someone else is going through this bullshittery too.

    Get thee under that light lamp, lady.

  • antigone

    *standing ovation*

  • kelliamanda

    Pain is not a competition, as my therapist often reminds me. Depression sucks, especially because it makes it so hard to know why, even when things appear close to perfect on the outside, they don’t feel that way.

    I know these will feel like empty words, because they do when they are said to me as well, but know that I do mean them: hang in there. Whatever it takes…hang in there.

  • Lauren3

    Love post, love you, love dooce.com.

  • lisdom

    What andywidget and kelliamanda said.

  • filmlady11

    I was afraid to scroll down to your picture, because I knew I’d see the raw emotion that’s in your eyes and on your face.

    It will be okay. Maybe not now, but sometime soon. And you’ll be here to know it.
    Gentle hugs for you.

  • chrissie lynn

    just what i needed to hear/read — you never disappoint. thank you.

  • Stormwhisper

    It’s always hard to balance the knowledge that others are much worse off than you, while remembering that your own emotions are still valid, no matter how lucky you are. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to acknowledge how you’re feeling, even if you feel like you should spend every moment in unimaginable awe at how lucky you are.

  • Daisee

    Im sorry too that you are feeling down. Yours is an amazing site – you are a remarkable lady – dont ever forget that.

    I also have to say looking at this photo how much you really look like your mama!

    I dont know if you remember me but you/the doco helped me through a very tough time a couple of yrs ago when I was at my wits end & scared to death.
    It was this month 2 years ago; you continue to inspire me, give me hope, make me laugh – thank you!
    What I/we have gone through has made me love,laugh, appreciate, enjoy my loved ones so much more. Where we are today is a good place! Hang in there and know you are truly blessed & loved – nothing else matters.

  • Anita Scotch

    In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  • KathyB

    Heather, excellent post. I sent my 36 year old daughter the Vistas post, as I had the second and third NYC marathon posts. So much there that would register with her. She has had lung issues for maybe six weeks, no running, no hormonal highs.

    Gut laughs in there, along with gallows humor. We know gallows humor. Child was elected to an office in Honor Society while she was doing time in hospital wing where the bracelet on her arm would keep the elevator door from closing.

    Now she is newly divorced and in school, living alone in her mother’s little house with her dog and other pets. No kids. Never will be kids by birth, just not in the cards. Would have to go off meds that make life livable. Granddogs are lovable too.

    I may be your oldest reader. Maybe not. Not daily, but frequently. Love the photos too. You are living your life fully and honestly. I’m proud of you.

  • Emmadoula

    Funny thing is, if you had diabetes and talked about that, people would feel sorry and compassionate. Not so with mental illness…seriously, why is that? I’m joining the chorus of supporters who are so eloquently thanking you for sharing your demons, and in so doing, letting us know that we are not alone, that we have a voice, and every right to share our stories of ups…and downs. You are by far, one of the most beautiful person that I have encountered, not just because of your haircut (it is gorgeous!), but because of your courage, your passion, and your willingness to share with them with us. Thank you Heather. When others make you doubt by their ignorant comments, think of all the people who truly appreciate YOU.



  • rosiemom

    Ok, so here’s another perspective. I totally get depression – it affects people I know and love dearly. If you are talking about the post that you wrote about your long post-marathon recovery and how hard that is to deal with, I understand that it’s tough. But I hear some self-pity in there too.

    Think about it – you ran a marathon that you were not prepared for, with a training injury that you knew was not good, and you refused to stop when your body sent you an unequivocal message that it had reached its limit. You asked for this, Heather.

    What I can’t understand is why you trashed your body that way. Was it because of the feeling you get being part of the group that Christy has put together? Not a bad reason – sounds like a worthy group of women doing a good thing. Unless it was a vanity thing – being associated with what they are doing, and being that superwoman who can do anything – for your ego. Not such a good choice, maybe. Especially knowing yourself the way you do.

    I truly hope you feel better soon. I also hope that you learned something from the experience – that next time you’ll be prepared for what you do, and if you aren’t at least you’ll be enough of an adult to say so. There are other ways you can contribute without trashing yourself physically, and suffering so much emotionally for it.

  • Jan

    Please, why do you worry about these crazy commentators with issues. Just let them go! Save the energy! Please! You don’t need to do this to yourself.

  • jleigh

    So when my son was diagnosed with autism I got so mad at the little complaints I saw from people every day. Obviously they didn’t know suffering.

    Except that was stupid because eventually I felt better and had my own little complaints and just because I’d had worse didn’t make them less valid.

  • debramac

    Ohhh Darling Dooooce.
    Swear to god, although we’ve never met, there are ways that you feel like my best friend. Creepy, huh? Well, not for me; you’re like the best friend that has never screwed me over, never says stupid shit, always makes me laugh and hardly ever gets on my nerves. Seriously dude, the only thing you have ever done that bothered me is admitting to tailgating (which is very, very bad on so many levels)
    People on the internet say some of damnedest things, really, don’t they and most of them not so helpful and so many just cruel.
    Laughing, as long as we’ve been together (that’s so cracking me up) I’ve never worried about you (started reading post hospital stuff and I knew how it turned out!) but I have to tell you that I had to skip a lot of the running, addicted to endorphins stuff because it made me want to go do crack in the gutter. Ah, my own addictive personality just wants to go there with you and what better reason to try crack than Dooce torturing herself with effing running! I wanted to be there with you, but for the running, so this cracks for you! (Crack in spirit only!)(Never did crack)
    So, today I will only give energy to a positive outcome, because you rock the planet.

  • LisaAR

    I had intended to comment on your previous post and then something shiny crossed my path and I got distracted. Sorry–I would have said I totally get it. I do still. Well said by you then, and beautifully said now.

    I’m sorry that there are people who feel so entitled to break bad on others who are not hurting anyone. The truth is, you have done a huge amount for those of us who deal with depression. No matter what else you accomplish in life, a part of your legacy (in the world according to me) is the light you’ve shed on depression–and how that has helped reduce the stigma of mental illness. The stigma still exists, obviously, but you’ve kicked it in the teeth. Thank you for that, Heather.

  • Tragic Sandwich

    Of course there are people with bigger problems than you. Of course you have nothing tangible to complain about.

    So what? I have long been a believer in the idea that the biggest problem you have is a problem, even if someone else has a bigger one.

    We can always find someone’s bigger problem to put ours in perspective, and that can be helpful. Except when it isn’t. Because the fact that someone has a bigger problem doesn’t mean you don’t have one.

    I have no insight about depression that you haven’t experienced–I’m sure of that. My bouts have been mercifully short, and not chronic. So the only thing I can say is that I know it’s not a situation where you can just Buck Up!, because I know it doesn’t work that way.

    I hope you feel better soon. I hope things get more manageable. I hope some day you really don’t have problems. I hope that for everyone. I know it won’t ever be the case for everyone, but I still hope that.

  • tokenblogger

    I totally got the other post and I’m sure others did, too.

    So don’t you worry about the ones that didn’t. They can all suck it.

    Meds help us to manage our situations, not be rid of them (unless you’re fighting streph throat or whatever).

    Many times our situations will somewhat overcome the meds and maybe we will think about ending it all, but the meds usually pull us through.

    We know there is difference between thinking and acting.

    Plus you bottomed out after the marathon and not being able to even workout, too.

    People will get these things if they really want to.

    I hope you can get back to your regular workouts soon.


  • sperks

    Hey, First time commenter here, long-time reader (since I was 18 years old, and I’m 26 now!) and this is the first time I’ve been compelled to comment. I wanted to say that I’ve have depression on and off for as long as I can remember, but I recently read the book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and it has made all the difference. I don’t even like ‘self-help’ books, but this one I think anyone could enjoy.
    Thanks for the great writing,

  • RyantheGirl

    Thank you. Just, thank you.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Your face in that photo scares me. What I see is the hollowness, the sense of despair, the desire to just walk away from it all.


    I know that look well.

    It seems ridiculous that people will deny the human condition simply because one person has the appearance of ease, prosperity, and control. The person, who lives an hour via donkey cart to the nearest medical facility, is probably grateful for the access to health care. They probably wish they could live in the same place as the hospital. They may envy those who do. They may consider themselves more fortunate than those who have to travel two days by river and risk life and limb to see a medical doctor.

    I also have the large house, the two cars, the good medical care, the sense that the world is mine. All of that good fortune (and I am acutely aware of my circumstances and how lucky I am every day) doesn’t mitigate the times when I fall into the dark cave and can’t find any light to see my way out.

    People don’t get it. Even people like my mother, who has a MSW and is a LICSW, specializing in psychiatric therapy. I was in a very depressed place that was ugly and twisted a year or so ago. She knows that depression runs in the family because her husband—my father—is clinically depressed. She found out that I was struggling and she actually said, “What do *you* have to be depressed about?”

    So, you saved my life at that time. We’ll be here for you.

    Keep writing about this. Keep talking about it. Shout it from the fucking rooftops. Don’t let silence, fear, and darkness win.

  • Kievette

    I recently watched a documentary called “The Nazi Officer’s Wife” which told the unlikely true story of a Jewish woman who became the wife of a Nazi officer during World War II.

    Her basic needs were taken care of and she lived in relative luxury, but she suffered in her own way. Normally very spirited and independent, she worked to be very submissive and to keep her husband happy so that her secret would remain safe. She knew that she lived on a precipice.

    At the end of the war, she went to a train station where people were returning from the camps, trying to find her mother. While there, the men who returned from the camps began to claw and scream at her, angry that she had somehow escaped the war unscathed.

    “It was then I thought, ‘Perhaps my life as a U-boat wasn’t the most terrible thing.’ For the first time, I felt survivor’s guilt. But would it have been better if I had died in the camps instead? They should be angry at the Germans – they are the ones who did this,” she said.


    All suffering is suffering. Is there a heirarchy? Sure. But even if it’s a “1″ on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s still on that scale.

    I’ve heard people talk about calling things “by their right name”. I believe this to be a good view of reality. Blessings need to be called by their right name, with gratefulness, but suffering needs to be called by its right name, too, even if it is a “small” suffering.

    It isn’t wrong to call suffering by its right name. And, as shown by the response of your readers, doing so can bring great relief and comfort to others.

  • waitimaprincess

    I get people’s desire to have others stop whining. I usually wonder why I can’t stop it my damn self (I’ve never been diagnosed, but I KNOW). It’s just not that simple. And unless you have never been depressed, there is so fucking way for you to be able to say look at all that you have and stop whining and really mean it. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself that you have no “reason” to feel down, sad, out of sorts, suicidal, it’s just not that easy. And damn if I don’t wish it was.

    I wrote about my depressive feelings recently too. And while I know it’s tacky to do so, I’ma gonna type the link, close my eyes, and hit enter anyway: http://www.whatnowandwhy.com/2011/12/07/mind-muck/

  • librarianjess

    I won’t be saying anything that others haven’t said, but let me add mine to the chorus of voices: you have done so much for those of us who suffer from depression. We are all here for you now.

    I just began to emerge from my last dark place, and when I was deep within it, I read something somewhere, calling this the “double down” — when you feel depressed, and then feel guilty for being depressed. It’s so easy to feel like it’s something you just snap out of, like it just takes willpower, but it isn’t. And I know that even when you KNOW that, sometimes the knowledge isn’t enough to believe it.

    I’m out here in the world, thinking about you. There are a lot of people out here with me. XOXO.

  • kdmarks

    When I saw your last post, I understood. This will sound silly, but after I finish a book, I’m sad. Even if the book is happy, I feel something missing. It’s a pretty dumb thing to be upset about.
    I’ve struggled with depression from time to time. My mom and both my sisters have shown signs of being bipolar, so I’m sure those genetic bits of crazy are floating around in me too.
    Yes, we have cars and electricity and food. You shouldn’t feel bad for the things you do have. And I think it’s OK to be sad every once in a while.

  • lucidlotus

    It’s all relative, baby. Life can be hard on so very many different levels.
    Also? Your hair is mad adorbs, yo. You are rocking the in between.

  • iliekcheeze

    Time to move on to the next challenge. Marathon down, ironman to go.

    Best advice I can give is to keep moving. Always keep moving. When you stop, you die.

  • Lally18

    I always tell myself that it could always be worse and usually the universe shows me someone who has it worse, but ultimately, my reality is what I have to deal with, and 5 months of a baby that will not sleep, along with insomnia when she does, might put me over the edge. Sleep deprivation is a dark place and clouds everything. I hope you can find your way out of this one and I hope things change on my end. This is no way to live.

  • Shellbell

    The following is not from me but from someone being interviewed on NPR recently, and I think about it when I find myself feeling down. It’s very apropos:

    We are not living the lives that our genes have programmed us for and that is why we have a disconnect from happiness and well-being sometimes.

  • OwlMoonKLH

    Good for you, Heather. It’s okay to feel aimless, or sad even if you have a lot of ‘riches’ in your life. To hell with anyone trying to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.

    What about those of us with depression that are grateful for what we have but cannot turn that hopeless feeling off at will? It happens…we are human and people in glass houses should not heave criticism at others. Or something like that.

  • Scott-5×5

    I like to think that the haters, the ones who criticize and say mostly thoughtless things would read not only this post from Heather, but these comments too. These comments that are an outpouring of support, of agreement, of understanding. I’d like to think that they’d feel they’ve been proven wrong, but more kindly, I’d like to think they’d also come to understand, come to see that there are other ways to think about grief, hardships, and suffering. That there are many kinds, and that they are justified.

  • sarahfromthenorth

    Wow tough times. You know I have many reasons myself right now to be depressed but thankfully I was blessed with DNA that does not have an ounce of depression .. I am so so lucky! I also have tons of reasons to not be depressed, including my loving son and husband, and also owning our own house and cars is this crazy economy.

    Life has enough of it’s ups and downs. Life’s happiness is not anchored solely on the number assets we have or how financially stable or even afluent we are. I guess for you that could be one less stress, but so what?

    I wish you much peace, Heather.

  • santa barbara

    I really needed to hear that today. Thank you.

  • karynmassey

    I’ve never understood why the haters don’t just leave. Anyone who makes a conscious choice to come to your blog should only do it because they want to be here. WTF?!? Life is too short to willingly go someplace you don’t want to be.

    However – (off my soapbox now) I really hope you feel better soon. The despair in your eyes is just so hard to see. If only it was as simple as the haters want to make it seem, we could all just be happy appreciating what we have… I know nothing about depression except what I’ve read here, but I really hope you can get back to a healthier you very soon. Hug your beautiful family and know that most of us here really love you and wish you the best!

  • deedle2038

    thank you.

  • delpien

    the grinch! how awesome. so if i played lizzie borden when i was 9, what kind of cred does that get me? and how many years of therapy might i be entitled to?

  • mybottlesup

    i have been doing this throughout the last month. i have been comparing my demons and issues with our very dear friends who have a 2 year old twin with brain cancer. fucking brain cancer! and i keep trying to tell myself with each obstacle i have that feels ENORMOUS that “at least it’s not brain cancer…”

    somedays it works better than others.

    thank you for your voice, and for encouraging ours.

  • Steph Bachman


    You are a brave woman for posting what you do. I am sorry that people feel the need to piss on it.

  • Rachaeljoy

    Hey, I’ve been reading you off and on for years, it seems I’ve known you for years. I’ve never commented here because frankly, I just never wanted to be bothered with the back and forth of setting up a profile, just to leave a comment. Any comment I would think of never seemed that interesting or important, anyway.

    Today, I went to the trouble to register. I’m back, later in the day, to give you my comment on this post:

    That has got to be one of the most honest photos I’ve ever seen. It’s heartbreaking and haunting and hard. I can’t imagine ever being brave enough to show the inside of myself like that. I’m just really impressed.


  • jsfinsf

    I wanted to comment on the Vistas post and just say I really felt for you and admire your bravery and honesty. I am sorry your knee is hurting and that you can’t get the endorphins you need. I am doing everything I can to battle mild depression with diet, exercise, enough sleep and taking care of me, but if any of those coping strategies become impossible, I skate on the edge. I feel a lot of stress and guilt about being sad when so many other people have it so much worse than I do, but then reading your post I just felt really lucky that I have not yet ever reached the point of thinking about suicide. I found myself wanting to comment and ask, “Have you tried swimming? ECT? meditation? acupuncture?” but really what I want to say is I am thinking of you and hoping you don’t have to pretend to be a machine just to get through the day. Thank you for sharing your struggles as well as your successes. Thank you for being real. You have helped a lot of people. Take good care of you.

  • debcon37

    Ah, more beautiful words…
    This paragraph will stay with me for a long time:
    “Go put on your brave face and do all that stuff that you do. This day will fade into the next and then again into the next. Just pretend you’re a machine.”
    In 2004, your blog saved my life. I had the same PPD, but I also know I’m a lifer with the depression. Blah, blah, I’ve commented this before. In your corner always. Fuck em’!
    Love you girl!

  • Palesa

    I read your previous post just today and wanted to comment or send an encouraging word or two…and then read this post and felt very sad that someone could describe it as ‘whining’.

    I truly hope you feel happier soon, Heather. I hope things improve little by little and that the bad feelings recede.

    I thought both posts were very heartfelt, and I love all your writing, both serious and humorous. It really resonates with me, as someone who’s lived with anxiety, with depression, and struggled with dark times. Your writing is raw and real, and says it just as it is. Bravo for being yourself in your writing :)

    Good luck and hoping for better times for you soon x

  • lisdom

    Oh yeah, I am sure you’re probably familiar or aware of the blog Hyperbole and a Half. Most of her posts are the funniest and most true things I have ever read, but her most recent post has to do w/depression and is one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve read in awhile. I do hope you take a look at it.