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.

  • Dragonfly

    Lots of hugs for you. I feel the same way. Thank you for all that you do and are.

    Also, I like your new hairstyle.

  • CourtneySue

    I think Dr Phil once said something about problems, that just because you don’t have severe problems (sick, dying, starving, etc.) doesn’t mean your problems and feelings aren’t valid. Sure, people could say, “Hey, you’re life is great compared to mine. Stop complaining!” But they aren’t you.

    Sure, things could be worse, but they can ALWAYS be worse.

  • PeggyMomma

    Love it, Heather…you go, girl!

  • skradei

    You’ve got a voice that people hear.

    I worry for those beyond the bounds of my own day-to-day life, but I also worry for myself and people with similar families / troubles / experiences. A “first world problem” is still a problem for the person going through it.

  • sarahbeanne

    You wrote a post not long ago about therapy and your relationship with your dad. I tucked the idea of trying therapy again away in my brain, and when my husband suggested it this weekend, I made the appt. I’m thankful for people like you who deal with anxiety and depression and give a real perspective on things, and real hope for the good that can come after.

    People are so quick to say “money doesn’t buy happiness” but even faster to be dismissive of the problems of people with any perceived affluence.

  • tracie d

    a young, bright, kind, motivated and beautiful young woman that i work with jumped off of a bridge last week and took her own life. i am floored and shocked and sick over it. i wish i could have known how much she suffered. i wish i could have helped her as one of the more senior employees where we work. i’m really struggling with my role and what could i have done to recognize the signs in her. thank you for shedding a little light on this and speaking about it on your blog.

  • deannie

    Thanks for making the uncomfortable front page reading. It’s a constant source of interest to me how deeply we can experience things and no one else can see it from the outside portion of our skin.

  • ckat22

    i used to think, ‘if only i lived in the olden days! i would have to spend all day working just to put food on the table and survive – i wouldn’t have time to be depressed and feel bad.”

    until a wise therapist pointed out that i would still be depressed, i would just have no help for it and i would probably die from melancholy.

    life can be going great. it can be going crappy. it can be totally calm and peaceful. and i can be depressed. OR … life can be going great. it can be going crappy. it can be totally calm and peaceful. and i can feel no effects of depression at all.

    depression is its own entity. it is like the postal service (neither sleet nor snow …), marriage vows (better or worse, sickness and health …) and it is to be respected and acknowledged – or it gets real pissy!

    the only complaint i have about the down posts is when they aren’t followed up on all weekend. i wonder how you are … a friend introduced us and we’ve been communicating pretty much every day for the last 8 years. i miss you. just cause you have no idea who i am doesn’t mean this relaitionship isn’t real, right? or important to me. (smiles) …

    i have good days when i’m depressed and bad days when i’m not. it is learning to recognize which is which and acting accordingly that i strive for.

  • pearldoor

    Thank you for this honesty. I am tired of trying to be shiny when all is dirty and gray as well. I’ve been circling the drain as well for weeks, and now I’ve just lost my little part time job over something ridiculous and although it was a toxic atmosphere, I really loved the job itself, so it pretty much crushed me.

    I needed to read that post to make it okay for me to mope. I felt as if I needed to act as if it didn’t bother me, but it really has cut me to the core. thank you for your writing, it’s beautiful as usual, and the picture just hurts my heart. I wish you peace, and all of us who are hurting. I just want to get through the next month.

  • journie

    I think it should be fairly obvious to people that money and fame and material possessions don’t have a damn thing to do with happiness. People who have far more money and fame and cars and houses than you have killed themselves, whether on purpose or through drugs. People who could literally afford to pay someone to wipe their ass have been unhappy to the point that they would throw it all away in order to leave that unhappiness.

    And I don’t for a second believe that the woman who has to ride in a cart for an hour to see a doctor has never been happy. To say that you have no right to complain or to be unhappy is to say that people who live in third world countries have no right to be happy. You live a comfortable life – you can still be unhappy. They live considerably less comfortable lives – they can still be happy.

  • Boont

    I cannot express how much I relate to your post. When I look of that photo of you, I recognize myself. I too have feelings of guilt regarding how others are so much worse off, yet my depression and anxiety are not soothed nor abated by that knowledge.
    Thank you so much. Your words help more than you know. People who do not have depression can never truly understand the complexity of this disease and what it is like to be one of us who lives with it, and especially if our ‘outer’ world looks charmed.

  • Boont

    Also, (how could I forget?) heartfelt and abundant love to you.

  • FL-German Girl

    thank you so much for this – it is hard when people dont understand why you arent happy – why, even if everything is perfect, you cant smile and enjoy it. It isnt actually like we choose to be this way – we just are.
    i love the things you write, and i love you for being brave enough to speak up and say things the rest of us are afraid to.
    you give me strength

  • jessiCat

    I just wanted to say thank you, as always, for being such an inspiration to me. Keep your chin up, and remember you are the Valedictorian of all things awesome sauce. Sending you love and hugs..

    also, to quote the mighty Peanut…FUCK THE HATERS.



  • MAG

    Heather, your post could not be more timely. I too am in a very dark place right now and cannot find my way out. On the outside, people see me as wife, mother, sister, employee, volunteer with “everything”. What could possibly be wrong?? Right??? WRONG!!! So very, very wrong. I wake up each day hating my life and myself. I go to sleep each night hoping I will not wake up. I fantisize about ending my life every-single-fucking-day. The hows, whens and wheres consume me. However, I am too much of a coward to actually go through with it. My luck, I would just humiliate or paralyze myself. I am on meds but they only seem to make things worse because they do not change to reasons why I am so depressed and filled with anger, rage, bitterness and helplessness. I just don’t know what to do or how to seek help. I’m afraid if I reach out for help no one will believe me. I am so lonely and alone even in a room full of people. I wish I wasn’t this way. I WANT to be normal and be HAPPY. It has been so long, I don’t know if I would even recognize what happiness is.
    Thank you Heather for sharing your life. It does help knowing that I am not alone in this. I hope you find the peace you deserve.

  • hanniy

    I just want to give you a huge hug and soak up some of the darkness for you…

    Lighter days are coming….


  • cory212

    Your hair looks awesome. It looks so good there should be a new word made up to describe how good it looks. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry you’re depressed, blah blah blah, love, support, strength, good vibes, etc etc. Love. the. hair.

  • Laura Jones

    Thank-you again.

  • Dani

    I’ve been having a horrible couple weeks. Sure I’ve got some reasons to be stressed but to be honest the smallest things send me over the edge.

    We are all allowed to be upset. Doesn’t matter if there is an obvious reason or a reason that’s not obvious to anyone outside yourself. Aaaaaaaand it’s okay to vent about not being happy. Everyone needs to vent sometimes.

  • Zedda

    I’ve been having an awful time with this winter thing. The anxiety has been in overdrive, and the depression has been rather extreme for me this year. I’m stuck in a dead-end job (two dead-end jobs), and though things are brighter, it’s still tough dealing with this depression bullshit. This year it’s plain-old, straight-up, crippling depression. I needed your post to give me some perspective, and I appreciate it. I come and read your blog every day, or as often as possible, and I am thankful for what you do and understand why you do it.

    We’re all human. Some of us are wired differently than others, I accept this. I accept that sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad. What I’ve had trouble accepting is that it’s OKAY to be sad sometimes, and your post just hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

  • abby536

    I believe I have read all the comments and nearly everyone wrote lovely things full of support and validation.

    I would absolutely say those things too if I wasn’t so desperate to say….. Maybe you should eat some carbs?

    I know it’s not inspirational but I keep thinking maybe a bloated belly is a fair trade for the serotonin just for a bit? Just while you are suffering from endorphin withdrawal with no running plus the damn nasty weather plus maybe a sense of aimlessness….

    I am in nursing school so it is probably just my distorted world view and really what do I know you could be LIVING on pop tarts (in which case I salute you). But I remember something about the paleo diet and then you added carbs so you could run and maybe you withdrew them post marathon?

    You seem to take good care of your health. If you have easy access to a nutritionist perhaps a once over to check that your diet is supplying all the fats and minerals and important food groups like chocolate that you and your brain need to survive what sounds like a long hard winter. It is possible that the increase in exercise has depleted your body of something or changed your demands.

    All of which is my far less eloquent way of saying that I too wish you well.

  • trickygringo

    I lived 22 months in a 3rd world country at the same quality of living as their equivalent of middle class. This meant not having running water far more than having it. Same with the electricity. Google Guatemala trash mining. I saw that first hand. I smelled it first hand.

    Knowing the kind of suffering I am shielded against here in the US makes me hate myself even more when I’m unhappy for no good reason. I roll my eyes to myself about my white people problems.

    But the thing to understand is that having a hard life and living with depression are not at all the same thing. You can’t draw any equivalencies between the two. I met some plenty happy trash miners.

    Maybe a reality check for people complaining about idiotic things is in order for most people, but there’s no rationality to clinical depression. It’s not based on an evaluation of the pros and cons of your life and how they square (or don’t).

  • M K

    Huh. I guess it never occurred to me that some people have no idea what it means to feel depressed or blue. Those of us who have experienced true sorrow know it all to well. Others of us have come into the world that way. But none of us choose it.

    There is a quote that I absolutely have to share. I feel badly about not being able to properly credit it to its author. Was it Eckhart Tolle? Not sure. But it goes something like this:

    You are like the big blue sky. Your thoughts are like the passing clouds. You have no more control over the thoughts that pass through, than the big blue sky has over the clouds. We only have control over what we do about them.

    I wonder if your critics are doing this: Have you seen this article from “Huffington Post?”

    Women are guilty of this just as much as men.

    What I’ve found over the years is that we, who understand sorrow, have endless amounts of compassion for others in the same boat. And that’s…. SOMETHING!!!

  • M K

    Sorry, one more thought. I don’t know if anyone else will find this helpful. It did help me years ago when someone said it to me, but I can understand if this pisses some of you off too.

    Winter is the natural time for depression. To be feeling low is to be absolutely in sync with life and nature. This is the time to go inward for introspection, to conserve, to hibernate, to restore, and it’s the time for losing all the leaves off your branches. A death of sorts. To be patient with it, honor it, and don the uniform [flannel pajamas!], embrace the cocoa, is a gift one gives oneself. Spring comes again, more or less on time.

    This has helped to change my mind about my reaction to winter and accept what is natural for me. Though, I have to reminded myself of it often.

  • JustLinda

    I get it.

    I used to be a regular reader, commenter, community contributor. I’ve gotten lost in my own life.

    I reprimand myself daily for my silly angst. It doesn’t matter how much I do, there it is as suffocating as perhaps the angst of someone with a more valid reason to claim it.

    I’ve taken my blog down after 6+ years. I seem to continue to pull more into myself, which I’m not sure is the right way but I have to focus on that right now.

    Life is good and I am grateful for all that I am fortunate enough to have in mine. I am also broken and hurt and trying to find a way out of that.

    I hope you find your footing. I was sad to read about your recent (too public) challenges. Take care of yourself and those you love, and I hope they take care of you too.

    Maybe someday I’ll find my way back to writing somehow. I have it in me, I just need to figure out how to make it work with all the rest.

  • deedle2038

    thank you.

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.

read more