An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation


Oh, hey. Hi there! Remember last week when I wrote on my Internet Website Blog Thing about suicidal ideations? Yeah. Those were fun times. No? Not really? What, did my mom call you? MOMS. We really know how to ruin a good party.

I had someone write to tell me to stop whining, and I’m not going to complain about that criticism. Because I get it. I understand it. One second you’re in your car and suddenly a song comes on the stereo that reminds you of how much you once loved that boy with blue eyes, how you’d walk to fifth period through a specific building just so you could pass him in the hallway and see if you could catch his eye contact. And when you did, your irises pooling with black as you held his stare, the rest of your day warmed its hands near the thought of him.

And when you didn’t, when the blue light in his eyes skipped over your head into the nothing that could possibly exist above your head, the rest of your day wasn’t there. It got sucked into that nothingness. And that song at the stoplight reminds you of that void, takes you straight back to the moment you passed him and he passed you and you felt your vein bleeding out.

That’s a really indulgent moment. You’re driving a car. Liberal estimates say only about 9% of the world’s population own a car. I’ve walked through villages where women have to ride for over an hour on the back of a makeshift rickshaw if they want to see a doctor. Fuck you and your song and that extra few seconds it takes you to notice the light has turned green because you’re overcome with emotion.

A similar principle applies here. I own two cars, a large home, and a business in a free market economy. My family enjoys excellent access to healthcare. My daughter goes to school. I get paid to write about my feelings on the Internet. Am I seriously going to whine about aimlessness?

Yes, I am, and that’s where I invite anyone who agrees with the valid criticism above to sit here with me and let me have it. I will listen to you curse me. I’ll nod and offer you a tissue when things really heat up. I’ll let you talk about your friend who died or the job you lost or the meals you’ve had to skip, and then I’ll fix you dinner and invite you to stay the night.

Sometimes the only way to quantify our own suffering is to compare it to what we think is the happiness of others. It’s human. As human as reflexively wincing when hearing the chorus of a song you once played over and over in your bedroom because of two blue eyes.

So I offer up my humanness if, instead of a place to stay for the night, you need to hear that even with everything in its right place it’s okay if you still don’t know why it doesn’t feel that way.

  • 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:

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • vistadenada

    I’ve had cancer, and a brain tumor. THen, I got epilepsy from the hack who tried to remove the tumor. Now, I can’t drive and my anti-seizure drugs make me fat. Yes, the drugs, not that cake over there. So, I’m a fat epileptic that has survived cancer and a brain tumor. Two weeks ago my retina hemorrhaged. I am a whiner (professional version) with a nasal voice and Southern accent. I am the best. I was a whiner (amateur) prior to the medical mishaps. Afterward, I turned pro. I am proud of my status and no troll is going to make me stop EVER by saying “Quit your whining.”

    Carry on, Dooce. Whine away. Just do it. Do it for all us whiners out here. Do ’till you drop. Do it over and over again.

  • trewqaz

    Heather as a fellow privileged person who also has to deal with occasional – and completely unreasonable – crushing depression, I offer this link:

    She sums up so much of my manic depressive life in this one cartoon.

  • jan001

    Can I just say that your post has one of the most eloquent lines I’ve ever read, even though you were being humorous:

    “The rest of your day warmed its hands near the thought of him.”

    Good God, that is beautiful.

    That is all.

  • subjectivitis

    Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it’s not. Depression gives no fuck how life is going.

  • Eleven

    No matter what “they” say, please don’t ever stop writing. Please don’t ever stop caring for all of us. Please don’t leave, don’t go away. Your thoughts echo mine at many times. Your thoughts have helped me in countless ways. Your efforts to bring attention to depression and mental illness are commendable. The space you have created here, this internet blog thingy, has guided me through some dark hours. All I can say is thank you.

  • melanie

    thank you. your honesty on this topic has made a huge difference in my life, and clearly in the lives of so many others, as well. take care of yourself. the world is a better place with you in it.

  • gbennett

    You rock, we love you and your humor. This time of year sucks in so many ways I couldn’t list them all so thanks for doing some of that for me.

  • robynflem


  • hamelanie

    You are loved, Heather.

  • theschrums

    I read your blue post and I was just really worried about you. Then I saw the following SF/Maggie posts and I was relieved, knowing you were in good hands.

  • Paddle Board Girl

    Heather, thank you for your humanness.

  • Frau Feli

    Normally, I am not the commenting kind of type, but today is the day! I can perfectly relate to what you’re saying, as I have depressions myself. (Well, I think I could, even if I didn’t) And that might be one of several reasons why your blog has that intense impression on me, for several years now. That is because I think, hey she has depressions and does things in such a great way, maybe then I can try to do things in my own life the way I like them and try to be proud of it.

    Well. But mainly, I wanted to write this post, because I thought that it might cheer you up a little bit, that you remind me very strongly of a very cool, impressing 1950s movie actress, of Nina Foch! I just had to tell you..I have no idea how famous she still is in the U.S. I watched “Illegal” yesterday, and thought of you constantly. She was so beautiful and tall and veeeery cool, ha!

  • Deiter

    You look really hot in that photo. I wish my boss looked at me like that when giving me the stink-eye.

  • edenland

    I keep driving into the driveway of my massive house and just sit there in the car for half an hour. It’s just really hard to get out of the car. I’m tired.

    So thanks for having the balls to write this out because I can relate. That photo of you is amazing .. you’re changing. It’s fucking painful isn’t it?

    I would love to know what the song is, says it doesn’t cover my region.

  • sabina

    Oh honey, big hug.

    What Pandora said and everybody else too. Your honesty about your struggles has helped me so much to recogize mine. Your writing honestly saved my life when I had PPD. You and Jon starting the community has helped us all help each other.

    You can’t be hanging with Christy, saving the world, raising two beautiful girls and running marathons EVERY day. You’re allowed to crash.

    Get better soon and give yourself a break. Write your way through this. Isn’t that where this all started anyway? 🙂

  • k.wren

    I’ve been reading you for about six (!) years now, and I think your writing is completely amazing. I feel like you’re my friend, even though we’ve never met. Sometimes, I find myself reading your entries aloud, just to get the full effect. Or, when I finish reading one, I’ll start over from the beginning and re-read the whole thing again, just because it was that good.

    I truly look forward to reading your blog and seeing your pictures every single day, and I want to send my good thoughts and emotions your way. I think it is beyond brave to post as honestly as you do, so please keep doing it.

    I don’t have much to contribute about depression, but I do know that I am not afraid of encountering it in the future, because I will be able to read your blog and know that I am not alone. I adore you girl, keep your head up and stay strong.

  • undomestic

    One week ago I had a miscarriage. I was 10 weeks. 17 months ago I had a daughter. 30 months ago I had a miscarriage at 19 weeks. Right now my daughter and husband have a plague like cold and my in-laws just left from a weekend long visit which might be tolerable on it’s own, but not while I’m still recovering from a miscarriage. Mentally an emotionally I should be a real mess right now but I’m not. And I’m fucking greatful for that. I’m not looking to rub in my stability, but rather to point out that reading your blog and other similar blogs has left me with a sense of gratitude and understanding I might not otherwise have. For every hater you have there are a legion of readers who support you and who’s life you may have touched in some way by sharing your experiences, from your depression to your marriage and kids right through to what you put on the coffee table in your living room. Everything counts in small amounts.

  • BarefootCajun

    You know what, we all view our problems in the context of our own reality. To discount someone’s depression simply because they are more privileged than others in this world is ridiculous.

    I turned 50 last weekend and on the day before my knee was hurting, I had managed to twist my lower back, I had managed to screw up the checking account, and I realized that I was beginning my 50’s exactly the opposite way of what I had planned to begin them. I melted down and my husband reminded me that there are folks out there that are certainly worse off than I and, while he was right, I just needed a few minutes where I was allowed to wallow in it then move on.

    I have suffered with depression my entire life and it sucks, some days so much so that it’s hard to put my foot on the floor in the morning. I’m happy for anyone that has never suffered from depression. I don’t wish it on anyone. I’m glad to be able to read your blog and know that I’m not the only one out there. It helps.

    Keep talking, Heather. There are those of us out here who are listening and relating and don’t have the need to tear you down just to make ourselves feel better.

  • biokitty78

    dooce- so glad i got the chance to comment. i have been thinking so much about you since your previous “depressed post.” you don’t know me; i am more of a lurker, but of course i feel like i know you. (i’m sure you’re used to that hazard of the job:) just know that i care for you, and i hope that the sun shines brighter in your world very soon. (ps- my 5yr old daughter LIVES for your chuck pictures)

  • ItsJustMo

    Damn. I had a comment, but subjectivitis made my point for me much better than I could.

    Hold on, Heather. Sometimes it’s the only thing possible, and sometimes there’s only a thin thread to grab. But hold on.

  • ClaireinAustin

    I wish you well being, peace and joy.

  • Hollywould51

    I come to your site because I enjoy your honesty & humor. I assume that people who don’t enjoy these should not read your page as it is completely voluntary.

    Furthermore if this person is such a happy,positive person who sees no need for you to be human and have good&bad days then how is it not hypocritical for them to write a letter criticizing you? Shouldn’t they not have time for any negativity? People love to kick others when they are down, it is a sad side of people, I would just delete these emails as soon as you can tell the tone is negative b/c it is only hurtful and you don’t need to hear people that have too much time on their hands trying to bring others down for sport.

    I love your page and have been reading for years,have gotten many others to as well and am with you in good times and bad and thank you for voicing what many of us feel and experience alone,this helps people to know they aren’t crazy knowing another human is experiencing something similar.

    I hope this bump in your road is over soon, you are a strong lady and will continue on.

    PS: your hair looks awesome right now with the little bit of length at the sides I’d say it’s a keeper(seeing as I’m a hairstylist you should trust me ha ha)

  • jaschoefe

    Dear Heather,

    [Some background: I have followed you .. and geek-commented on blurb a time or two ;).]
    Thanks for the real – I humbly put forth that you and many of the folks commenting would benefit greatly from any 12 step recovery model that could possibly be accessed.
    The tenets of these groups are getting out of one’s self-centered default mode by embracing some daily service and embracing gratitude – doesn’t need to be much and one doesn’t even need to believe in it all of the time. Walking the walk works … somehow.
    The manifestation of self-abuse, be it substance or depression plays no ‘class’ favorites. We are all in this together.

  • ohjulie

    Someone said to me once, “Your worst day is YOUR worst day,” and that’s my mantra these days. Sometimes, my first world problems are just stronger than my first world stamina.

  • quiltingdaisy

    OMG you have posted the Most beautiful picture of yourself, Ever!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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