the smell of my desperation has become a stench

“A simple obstacle in the way”

We are here. We made it. All the way to the other side of the fall equinox. Oh, are you still sitting over there on Friday curled up in a ball in the corner of your room? It’s going to be okay, I promise, you just need to make it through a pretty ugly and horrifying weekend. And then… MONDAY! Insert picture of Garfield lying prostrate in the middle of a freeway here.

It’s a rough time of year, and not just because of the rapidly changing light. Kids are back in school and getting the rhythm of the routine down can be daunting. The prospect of a long winter is staring us down. Q4 numbers are looming, and we’re faced with whether or not we can meet those projections. WHEELHOUSE. ON MY PLATE. OUT OF POCKET. LEVERAGE. ACTION ITEMS. SCALABLE SOLUTIONS. CIRCLE THE WAGONS. PARADIGM SHIFT. BANANA BOAT. SAUSAGE CUPCAKES. NOSE BUCKET.

It’s been a year since I joined the Board of Directors for the Utah division of NAMI. That’s the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an national organization dedicated to enriching the lives of not only those who suffer from mental illness but also their friends and family members. One of their primary goals is to diminish the stigma attached to these disorders, an almost insurmountable challenge given how easily we are still waved off as weak or lazy or, you know, crazy. Whacko. Batshit insane.

My friend sent me a link to this Buzzfeed article called 21 Comics That Capture The Frustrations Of Depression, and the one that really stood out to me and articulated what I have felt at various times over the years is the illustration by Boggle the Owl:

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This part in particular: “Just give me something to fight with!”

Because depression takes away any weapon you have to cope with pretty much everything.

There are several comics in that article detailing the relationship we have with our beds, and I have found that one particular side effect to be pretty much universal when it comes to the people I know who suffer from depression. We don’t want to get out of bed, not because we’re lazy but because we’re paralyzed. Our limbs and sometimes our lungs are rendered useless by electric pangs of hopelessness.

We do not want to feel this way, and I can assure you that if given the choice we’d much rather jump out of bed with a gymnastic lilt and skip throughout our day. We’d love to greet obstacles as exciting challenges and not as sinkholes, gaping voids in the ground beneath our feet that reach up and swallow us whole. We’d give anything not to be consumed with dread.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about this lately, and thank you for bearing with me. What I’m going through right now stems from grief, from the now bewildering aspects and changes to my daily routine, a place I never imagined I would call home. But it doesn’t have to have a genesis to be valid. It doesn’t have to have a reason for it to be real and totally debilitating. Those cases are perhaps even more dangerous than the ones that stem from a particular incident because we are very good about beating ourselves up for having no reason for feeling this way. You can tell us to snap out of it and pick ourselves up, that’s great, but we don’t need help feeling any more terrible about ourselves than we already do.

As a volunteer for NAMI, I can’t do much in terms of advising the board about finances. I’m not good at organizing events. But I do have a platform and personal experience with depression. NAMI is a nonprofit that relies solely on donations in order to operate. Every year they hold a walk in a local park to raise money and awareness, and this walk is the primary source of those donations.

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This year the walk is taking place on October 19th at Liberty Park. If you’d like to help out, you can find my donation page here: Team dooce. You can even join my team and meet me there to walk with the thousands of others whose lives are affected every day by mental illness. Every dollar helps.

Finally, thank you for your kindness, for all the supportive email you have sent and comments you have written. No, we do not know each other, but I feel like we have each other. There’s a lyric in the song “Morton’s Fork” by the band Typhoon that captures so much for me:

“We are alone in this together.”

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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