Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I am back, but things are probably going to be a bit sporadic around here for the next week. Today I'll be down south, at the hospital with my Mom while my Dad is in surgery. If any of you are awake and would be so kind as to send good thoughts, he goes under the knife around 7:00 am EST.

The very kind comments, e-mails, cards and messages you all have sent have me going through Kleenex like you wouldn't believe. I don't deserve them, or you. Thank you.

After my ten day tantrum, I figured I'd gotten the blues out of my system, but there's always one more zinger waiting in the wings. Tonight my daughter's hamster died (peacefully, in his sleep, of old age.) My daughter cried a bit, but we talked and she seems to be accepting it okay. Our sweetie pie was a lovely pet, playful and gentle, and never bit anyone during his long life, which I think entitles him to go straight to Hamster Heaven. I'm going to miss the little guy.

#11 on my list yesterday should have been something about dealing with the blues, only I haven't come up with a nifty coping strategy. Depression is tough. It's that uninvited house guest you dread. It shows up at the most inconvenient time, and totally railroads your schedule. It's always laying around doing nothing, but it won't let you work. If you try to ignore it, it makes a fuss. It wants you to cater to it endlessly, it never wants to leave. Even when you kick it out, it knows where you live.

I promised myself I'd write a bit about this from a personal angle without making the usual jokes, because I don't think depression is funny at all. I try to work through my bouts by staying busy and letting go of the bad stuff. Spending time with my family helps a lot, too. In the past, when things have gotten pretty dark, I avoided everyone and retreated into myself. Being depressed always diminishes and embarrasses me; I feel small and alone. Who wants their family and friends to see them like that? When I did climb out, I'd go on and pretend like it never happened: Who, me, depressed? I was just meditating.

You keep doing that, though, and you run the risk of falling into the pit, not being able to climb out, and really needing help -- but you've hidden it so well that no one knows you're even in there.

Anyway, I'll be posting from my folks' house while I'm down there, God and Mom's computer willing, and I'll hopefully have good news the next time I sign on. If I'm absent, don't worry. I'm out of the pits now, and fighting the good fight again.


  1. Anonymous2:03 AM

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  2. Anonymous2:25 AM

    *crosses fingers* Good luck to your Dad! Here's hoping the operation is straightforward and goes off without a hitch.

    I'm sorry that your daughter lost her hamster, thank God she's taking it so well.

    As for the depression, I can't say much about that- I dealt with it a little while ago, and now what I'm trying to do is just stay positive. I'm sure there'll be things in the future that test me, but... I'll cross that bridge when it comes to it. So, I'm glad you've beaten it- for now, at least, and hopefully for good.

  3. I'm praying for you, your father and your family.

    As for depression, you've described it perfectly. I've been there and I fight constantly not to go back. You're right, it's better to "fight the good fight" than a lousey one. That's how fighting with depression is, feel like you're getting no where.

    Glad you're feeling better.

  4. Wish your dad 'good fortune' from us, we'll be thinking of him and you.

    As for depression I use music or a good read initially. After that, I'll talk to someone about it; or write it out - the sulking bit first, the reasons and then how I can solve the problems. Then I'll go back to the music - classical usually and chocolate. Chocolate is good for you.

  5. The prayers and good wishes are streaming your way--don't worry, your dad will come through just fine. I'm sure you got your "mettle" from him, and you've been able to overcome; so will he.
    susan @ spinning

  6. Anonymous6:07 AM

    I'm sending my good wishes and all my good luck your way!

  7. You're in my thoughts. As for the black dog--how faithful he is.

  8. I'm holding good thoughts for you.

  9. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! Hugs.

  10. Anonymous7:59 AM

    I utilize the same method of retreat and reappearance that I have for years - knowing full well it isn't healthy. I've just come to realize that no one wants to hear that someone else is having a rough time.

    On the positive side, I share a home with three little four-footed kids that do not accept such nonsense. As soon as I start to withdraw, they jump up beside me and demand attention or flop over and roll upside down to make me smile. I know I've gone too far when they actually brave being kicked to sleep on my bed - works like a charm to pull me back. *-*

    Positive energy for your father and your family, and hope for a healthy recovery.

  11. More than sympathize, I empathize.
    Thank God, heart surgery is one of those medical procedures that seem to improve and lower risk every six months.
    One of the worst things about depression is that litany of every single thing you did wrong in your whole life.
    God keep.

  12. You and your family are in my prayers. And, keep fighting the good fight. Been there, done that, and feel for you. Know we love you.

  13. Anonymous8:09 AM

    Being able to recognize a problem is one of the first and best ways to find ways to cope with it. Good wishes & prayers to you and your family. Life is never easy but it seems like it tends to overdo every once in a while. Stay strong!


  14. Hugs. I will be thinking of you and your family today. Take care of yourself, too. It's too easy to let things pile up and overwhelm you.

  15. Anonymous9:18 AM

    lurker here who wanted to say hang in there and you are brilliant and amazing. You've had a rough time of it, but I think the trick with depression is to coax yourself out with little kindnesses. At least, that's what ends up working for me...a little walk, a lunch with a true friend, even some retail therapy, and I might still feel bad but I'm heading in the right direction.

    We're all pulling for you! Sending you positive vibes for your dad...


  16. It's funny. After literally a lifetime of battling depression, I've found the twelve-stepper mantras work like nothing else for me when I "fall into the pit." Depression and addiction are startling alike at base, and brain chemistry is fascinating business until its yours, huh?

    One day at a time.


    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Thinking of you. Wishing you better in a quick, speedy kind of way. :)

  17. Boy, do I know what you're talking about. I had situational depression big time last year from November until about Sept. It got better little by little, but I was unable to do any real writing at all. It just sucked everything from me.

    Sometimes the only way through it is through it. I did a LOT of crying and listening to music that made me feel better. That would be hard, driving, angry music at the time hehehehe.

    I'm glad you're feeling better and I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Bless your daughter's heart, too, for doing so well when her little friend left this word. Big hugs to you all.

  18. "It's always laying around doing nothing, but it won't let you work. If you try to ignore it, it makes a fuss. It wants you to cater to it endlessly, it never wants to leave."

    Yes. You have described it well. And one of the hardest things about depression, is that you don't recognize it and name it early enough--when you still have the resources to fight it. It's an insidious thing and I've been sucked down into that pit more times than I like to admit.

    The dog helps. She forces me to be up and out in the world and her joy in being alive is anathema to depression. All it takes for her is a tennis ball. :)

    Be strong and love to your family.


  19. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Sending oodles of positive thoughts for both you and your father. May you both come through stronger than before.

    I have never read a more accurate description of depression than the one you just posted. I went through a very terrible bout several years ago when I was still in college. It must have lasted six months and I really thought no end was in sight. Ironically enough, there was a dead hamster and a shattered little girl towards the end of my experience too. Now my greatest fear is going through such a deep depression again. There is nothing worse than that emptiness. I credit my family and friends with my survival. You are strong and brilliant. You too will survive.

  20. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Thanks for being open and honest about your tussles with the Big D. I, too, am a person who's had to deal with it most of my life. I'm 48, and an aspiring writer who was fortunate enough to attend an excellent workshop last summer, but have been unable to write anything since.

    I'm currently undergoing another change in medication. Here's hoping it works.

    Thanks again for sharing, and for such an interesting blog.


  21. Thoughts and prayers are sent your way. I hope things went well for your Dad.

    Thanks for your honesty in your post. It's one thing to know intellectually that other people have depression, but if you never talk about it (I don't) it's quite another to know someone else does too. It's comforting in a weird way to know you aren't the only one.

  22. You and your dad remain in my prayers.

    As for depression, I don't know any writer who doesn't struggle with it. It seems to be the dark companion to creative pursuits. Better minds than mine have tried to figure out the connection. All I know to do is to live minute by minute, one foot in front of the other, and eventually I slog my way back into the sun. I hope your journey in the valley is short and over soon.

  23. Hope all goes well with your dad's surgery.

  24. Anonymous2:41 PM

    I hope all goes well with your Dad. I hope your family all gets better soon.

  25. Praying for you and your family - I know how hard this day must be for you. Take care and don't forget to eat.


    If you have a moment could you please e-mail me. Tammie.King@gmail.com - On of my reviewes is interested in reviewing your next book.

    You can see our reviews at: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/reviews/reviewsearch.asp

    Best wishes,

    Tammie King
    Night Owl Romance

  26. My best wishes for your father's speedy recovery. Glad to hear you're feeling better.

    I can add my name to the long list of writers suffering from periodic depression. There must be something in the air, lol, the last two weeks I didn't get a thing done writing-wise, scarcely even replied to blogposts. I read a lot, though. Long walks help me, and cross country rides if I can afford to rent a horse. Or packing a few things and go elsewhere for a couple of days.

    And that email guy? For his sake I hope Hell exists and is everything as bad as Hieronimus Bosch painted it.

  27. I hope everything goes well for your father and that he will recover fast. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    Best Regards, Richard

  28. Hope your father lives a long and happy life. Glad you're feeling better.

  29. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Hey, PBW. As noted, your family is in my prayers. Clinical depression runs in my family, both my mother and twin sister have been on medication for it but I always resist it. Everyone's comments are so accurate - you never know you're there until it's too late to climb out. *sigh* I hope you got my e-card? I didn't receive the confirmation yet...?

  30. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Depression is definitley not something to joke about and people who've been there know.

    I miscarried about two years ago and I was in a funk for quite a while. I didn't want to talk to anybody, I didn't want to see anybody. The only things I wanted was to have my kids close by, because looking at them helped, and to have my DH in bed with me at night while I cried.

    Take care and I'm saying a prayer.


  31. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.......Family and friends always help me when I'm depressed.

  32. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Don't worry, I won't be sending healing thoughts and prayers for your dad at , but all day long. I hope everything goes okay, and I'm really glad that you're back and feeling better.

  33. Best wishes for you, and for your father's surgery.

  34. Best wishes. Chin up. It only hurts because it matters.

  35. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Thank you for your blog, your words, and your stories. You've described a terrible thing (depression) beautifully. Although I handle it no better than what you've described, Selah's comment above reminded me of my favorite mantra for those times:

    You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars....And whether or not is it clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. (Ehrman, 1952)

    Good energy and strength to you and your family, especially your father.

  36. Anonymous8:36 AM

    (the date's wrong on the quote above - sorry about that)-anmada

  37. I'm glad to see you back!

    I understand the depths that depression can take take you. I had to face mine alone. Having family around would have made things much easier, I think, so I'm glad that you have yours to support you.

    My prayers go out to you and your family, hoping that things go well for your father.

    Email me if you need to.

  38. Huge prayers and hugs! I hope the surgery went well and that things are starting to look up.

    Depression is so difficult to deal with, and people who haven't been through it, through TRUE depression, don't understand. I've had to deal with my husband's family saying things like, "just get over it. I've been depressed, and I got over it."


    Anyway, I've found that sometimes, shutting myself away with some favorite movies might not help, but it at least gives me some time to keep my mind from running. You might not have the luxury of shutting yourself up with favorite movies right now, but hopefully you can find a few minutes to do something just for you.

    Hugs on the hamster...even the smallest pets can take up a huge place in your heart.

  39. Depression is a scary, serious thing. I've had my own bouts, which paled in comparisoon to a dear, dear life long friend who spent many many years being 'medicated' and 'counselled' due to depression. Her pain nearly broke my heart on many many occasions. Here's to you being better and stronger all around. The love and laughter of friends and family definitely is a wonder. It really is the small, simple, pleasures that matter. My prayers to your family regarding your dad's surgery.

  40. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Several years ago I developed anxiety problems. Which doesn’t really sound that bad, except I had not had anxiety/panic attacks like that before and I had no idea what was wrong with me. Up until that point, I had apparently been very successful at packing all that stuff down deep in my brain and ignoring it. Then it all sort of exploded on me. You know that feeling you get in nightmares, that terrible dread that something Bad is about to happen any minute and you have no idea what it is but you know it’s coming? I felt a lot like that, except (of course) there was no waking up. After about a week, a friend stopped me after church and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. She said, “You know, you can go and talk to your medical doctor about that.”

    Brilliant. Why didn’t I realize it? Because I was having panic attacks. So I went to the doctor and she pronounced it anxiety and I got some medication. I took the medication for about a year. And I haven’t really needed it since.

    Of course, I spent that year learning about anxiety, identifying stress points in my life, developing better ways of dealing with stress, and doing my best to remove or modify the causes of stress. The medication didn’t ‘fix’ me. It just gave me some breathing space so I could work on things.

    Anxiety, depression, etc. are real physical ailments. It’s okay to use medication as part of your treatment of them if you need to.

    Praying that everything went well with your Dad and his surgery.

  41. Hope your dad's surgery goes well! Will be watching for updates.

  42. There is a way to stop being depressed. I've always found it's best to force myself to smile, even when I don't want to, and keep smiling, and generally that ups my spirits just by being smiling. <.<

  43. Your family is my prayers hoping everything turns out well for you. As for depression, late night rides usually help sort out why you are depressed in the first place, it uses gas, but it usually makes you feel a lot better. Also talking about it with a close friend or loved one who is willing listen and to give advice works wonders. Thinking about your family and how you have to be strong for them may help as well.

    Best Wishes

  44. Anonymous3:04 PM

    It is good to see you back. I'm glad the book is DONE and hope everything went well surgery-wise. Sometimes alone time is a necessity. Glad you're back and feeling up to the fight.

  45. Lynn -

    Depression runs in my family and I battle it myself -- sometimes I can feel a black hole swirling at my feet trying to pull me in....

    I did read an interesting book that is directly related to writers and other creative sorts and was very insightful about how our weird brains work and don't (resulting in things like depression, bipolar, etc.). It's The Midnight Disease by Dr. Alice Flaherty.

    Continue to fight the good fight...



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