I’m Functioning So I Must Not Be Depressed

I’m Functioning So I Must Not Be Depressed


i feel angry when i get stuck

I’ve been pretty down for most of this year. I have tried so many different ways to be happy. Doing things. Spending time with people. But it’s not making me happy. It feels like, nothing is enough. I say I want to do Thing. I do it. But it’s not enough. I’m still sad after. I’m looking for a Thing or a Person or a Place where I just feel really good.

A few years ago I was severely depressed. I was crying every single day. I rarely showered, or slept. I couldn’t focus at work and just called in sick often. I wasn’t functioning. Even though I was seeing a therapist, it took me a while to realize this was classic Depression. I worked with her through it. I also started taking Welbutrin to take the edge off. Eventually the crying slowed down and things started to improve.

When that happened, I didn’t really talk about it with anyone. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t ask for help. I only talked about it after the fact. I’m beginning to feel some of those really Depressed feelings again and this time I want to talk about it now, not after.

The past few months I’ve asked myself if I’m depressed again. My brain tells me that I’m not because obviously I’m functioning. I’m still showering, going to working, spending time being social, blogging, reading, eating and sleeping. These are all habits of a normal functioning person who isn’t depressed. It’s not depression, my depressed brain says, it’s me.

I Hate You Why Aren’t You Helping Me

Trying to fight Depression makes me really angry. It makes me angry at my brain. Or at myself for not being strong enough to stop it (thanks for that one depressed brain). Depression makes me so angry that I take that anger out on everyone. Especially people I care about. Oh look, I went out to dinner with a good friend, but I still felt sad during it so I put them down, hurt their feelings, and yelled at them because I’m angry that this one dinner couldn’t cure my depression. I felt bad and wanted to make them feel bad. Why aren’t they helping me? Can’t they see that I need help? While I am yelling in their face. Why can’t they see that? … I’m sorry friend, it’s not your fault.

For the past few months I’ve been focusing on how I certainly can’t be depressed because I’m still doing things. I get out of bed every morning. Right there proves that this can’t be depression. It can’t be. It must be something I’m doing wrong. I need to pick new hobbies. I need to get my fulfillment from new places. I need to do all the things.

Yesterday I woke up crying from a terrible dream where my dad was still alive and we were hanging out. Then right at the end of the dream I remembered that he was dead and started freaking out as I was waking up. Yet, I still got up and went for a run (!!), took a shower, got to work early, was productive in meetings, had dinner with a friend, and enjoyed the rest of the evening playing video games. See! Clearly that is not the life of a depressed person. The fact that even after all that functioning I still felt really sad and woke up this morning crying has nothing to do with anything… (again, thanks depressed brain).

It’s unfortunate that my entire basis of “Depressed or Not Depressed” is revolving around the idea of functioning. Because there is one factor off in my judgement that I keep forgetting. This time, I am already on Welbutrin. It’s a low dose, but it’s enough to take the edge off. It’s enough to keep me functioning. My depressed brain doesn’t want to hear this. It doesn’t want to know that still doing all the things can mean Depression. I’m fairly certain that if it weren’t for the Welbutrin, I wouldn’t be functioning at all.

Things Are So Good I Am So Sad

Although this started several months ago, it’s definitely been getting increasingly worse. I’m very anxious about this summer. Last summer was just terrible and I fear there will be a repeat of that. I’m not sure how it could be much worse, but life never fails to surprise. I am not looking forward to summer this year in the way I do most years. I’m almost dreading it. I don’t want to deal with Father’s Day. I don’t want to deal with memories of going through a break-up. I don’t want to deal with my dad’s one-year death anniversary (does that have a name?).

My last case of severe depression was at it’s worst when I got an amazing new job and this fancy apartment. I still have both those things and both are still great. But the fact that they were great is what made me feel so bad. I didn’t deserve them. Unfortunately, my depressed brain is keying in on those feelings once again. My apartment is still amazing. I’m still at that job and recently got a big promotion and a huge raise. And things look hopeful in the relationship department. But I cannot enjoy those things. Instead, I’m furious.

If you have Depression, you get it. And if you don’t, be thankful. It’s not supposed to make sense. Depressed brains don’t make sense.

I Should Be Able To Handle This

Another difference this time around for me is I have a toolbox of strategies. Thank you therapy. On one hand, this makes depressed brain tell me, “You should be able to handle this what is wrong with you.” So that’s not good. But on the other, the Welbutrin is helping me to stay focused enough to implement some of them. For starters, I am being social even though it doesn’t make me feel better. At the very least it’s something.

I’ve also started positivity journaling. Just writing that makes me cringe, I know it sounds really hoakey. But when I get lost inside the downward spiral of my brain, the negativity just keeps on flowing. Like a freight train of pure negativity that cannot slow down. I’m not able to stop it to think of lighter thoughts. And I just keep getting angrier and angrier. And then I really take it out on people I care about.

So at the end of every day, I jot down at least three things that day that I was grateful for. That made me smile. That made me ‘happy’ even if just for a second. It can be anything. Running. Being proactive during a meeting. Waking up when my alarm went off. Cooking dinner. Spending time with a friend. I can be grateful for my friendships and my health. That type of thing. No, it is not curing my Depression. But it makes the negativity stop even if just for a few brief moments. It helps curb the anger. A little bit at least.

You Are Not Alone

I usually don’t write things like this when I’m in the middle of them because it doesn’t seem as helpful to others. But maybe it is. For anyone else who is dealing with Depression right now, or in the past, or in the future, know that you are not alone.


9 Replies to “I’m Functioning So I Must Not Be Depressed”

    1. Sometimes to a fault! I know what I’m doing is wrong but I don’t know how to stop it. (or I know what I need to do to stop it, but I just can’t do those things)

  1. I totally understand what you’ve written. I’m still in the process of crawling out of my present not as deep as usual but still noticeable depression hole. It is helpful to others, and it is worth writing about. :)

    I love your positivity journaling, I will add three things which have really helped me this time around.

    1. To do lists. Crossing things off always makes me feel awesome, even if they are just little things like empty dishwasher; fill dishwasher.

    2. A happy jar. Similar to the journaling, but you write down things and put them in a jar, and you can pull them out when you feel like you need a boost.

    3. Colouring in books and art. There is a whole thing about adult colouring in now, and it is super cool. It often makes me feel better than to just focus in on colouring or painting.

    Awesome post!

    1. I like the happy jar suggestion. Journaling is effective for me but then it sits in a closed notebook on the shelf. I like the idea of having a jar that I can visibly see being filled up. And being able to physically look at my positive thoughts individually (instead of just grouped by day). I generally think of that stuff as “silly” (thanks depressed brain) but I know it works. I appreciate your suggestions and wish you the best in handling your depression.

  2. Putting this out there is such a strong and difficult thing to do. I went through a pretty bad period of depression in my mid-20s and I hid most of it from my family and friends. They saw the bits and pieces and knew there was stuff going on, but really didn’t know. One thing I laugh about now was that one time I was going in for a hernia surgery and my parents were there, and the nurse came in and started going through all my forms and started asking about the anti-depression medication that I was on. I was embarrased, but my parents brought it up gently a few weeks later and it actually turned into a good conversation, and helped me realize I wasn’t alone.

    Keep posting or drop lines to people you might know could listen. As I’ve gotten older, one thing I’ve realized is that there are many people out there who will help make sure you aren’t alone. They might not be able to do anything else, but it still can make a huge difference.

    1. Thanks! It’s hard because people want to do something but you’re right in that just them being there and doing nothing is actually something :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I have a friend in a similar place right now – being mean and negative, aware that she is being, but unable to not be mean and negative. Reading your post makes me realise (along with other observations) she probably has depression and the way I respond to her is different as a result.

    1. It’s different for everyone but I’m glad sharing this experience may help you have a better relationship with your friend. Being aware of the behavior is definitely the first part, but sometimes I think it’s worse knowing what I don’t want to do but not being able to control it. I hope your friend gets the help she needs.

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