How to Fall Into a Depression

How to Fall Into a Depression

Get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for your continuing knee pain. Find out that your legs aren’t in straight alignment. Your knees are angled to the inside, but your hip and ankle are straight — so every time you step down your knee cap grinds out. Hear it’s super common in women, but most don’t show symptoms until their 50’s. Because you’re active, you have pain a lot earlier. Learn it’s not curable. Start thinking about what chronic pain might feel like. Wonder how long you’ll be able to ride.

Get rejected from a literary magazine. One that you knew was a little bit of a stretch, but thought you had a chance. Tell yourself not to be disappointed. Ignore your own advice.

Dislike your classes this quarter. Have a hard time getting motivated for the last bit of the academic year before summer. Get less feedback from professors. Wonder more about what exactly your end goal is with this program.

Have a terrible lesson. Realize it’s not your horse, because he is fitter and better trained every time you sit on him. He’s doing changes for the trainer, and he’s even doing changes for you sometimes… but not when you give up and do nothing but sit there and be frustrated cantering in a small circle. End the lesson almost in tears, but without having any idea why you actually want to cry.

Lose some weight, but not as much as you want. Grab the ring of fat that’s left around your stomach with both hands. Look at the mirror, lifting the skin of your sagging boobs. Pinch the loose underside of your arm. Think about how much further you have to go. Ask yourself if you’ll feel happier about yourself when you get there.

Revise the chapter of your book where your dog dies. Realize readers will need to know more of her backstory to care about the loss, so recreate that on the page so they fall a little in love with her. Fall a little in love with her again too. Watch your old spaniel get slower as the days go by. Carefully wake him up from deep sleep by slowly stroking him on the head, because he gets scared when he can’t hear you come home and you surprise him. Try not to ask yourself how many years are left before you have to make the same decision for him.

Try to date a little. Chat with boring men, entitled men, men with broken english, men who think you should be grateful they’re giving you attention. Go on a date with someone perfectly acceptable. Feel nothing. Decline any messages with anyone named Tim or Timothy. Blame Southern California for why you’re single. Blame yourself. Start to realize you can’t find anyone because you don’t want to find anyone. That you’d rather move back than forward.

Get rejected from a summer writing workshop, one that you only applied to because you were sure you’d get in… probably even with a scholarship. Realize you’re not as good as you think you are.

Miss home. Miss your friends there. Make a plan to go back as soon as you can, but secretly worry that everyone will have moved on without you and life won’t be as happy there as it was before. Not-so-secretly worry that your life may never be as good as it was before.

Have a pretty okay lesson, but forget to leg enough to a jump. Get tilted forward when your horse jumps it close and then whacks his hind leg on the pole. Get smashed in the face by his neck when he pops his head up in surprise. Pet his neck and tell him it’s okay while you check to see if your nose is broken. The next day when your upper lift has swollen enough to give you a beak, joke with your friend that you finally have full lips up to LA’s beauty standards. Realize you haven’t worn makeup in days, been skipping your skincare routine and stopped using the magic browning lotion that made your legs look less pasty and white. Notice all the sun damage on your skin when you inspect your deeply bruised lip and nose. Sigh deeply.

Keep as many friends around you at all times as a coping mechanism — so you don’t feel so alone. When said friends get busy and involved in their own lives, try not to let it get you down. Get down anyway. Realize that you can be surrounded by a hundred people in a room, and still be alone. Stop making social plans.

Tell yourself you just need a big day of productivity to get yourself feeling chipper again. Plan to bust it out of the park! Meet a roadblock with work, a broken website. Spend hours with tech support. Have technical projects with the educational grant project you’re working on this quarter. Realize your internet at the apartment is down. Call another tech support. Go check the mail while you wait for the technician, and find a violation from the city regarding your tenants. Feel too defeated to write. Take a deep breath, close the computer and walk the five steps to the couch.

Lay down, and sigh.

26 thoughts on “How to Fall Into a Depression

    1. This^
      Success is not measured by the magazines you write in, or the programs you make it into. Don’t let that defeat you. To quote Sound of music, “when God closed a door, somewhere he opens a window”

  1. Sending hugs to you, this is such a heavy time for you. If it is any consolation, I thought that this was wonderfully well written. Keep sharing your words when you can

  2. except the part where I am not an eloquent writer like you, could write my own version of this with different problems. It really happens to everyone (ok, not all of it at once usually) but it’s easy to let the small things take whatever air is left right out of you when the big ones mean you are running on reserve most of the time. Take care of you and soldier on. PS: a post about yoga made me cry yesterday so I called in sick today 🙂

  3. take care of yourself. You have a lot on your plate. No shame in melting down occasionally. Or all the time. That’s been me lately. No real reason. Just life. We all get overwhelmed and you have more than enough reasons. I don’t know that I could take on a grad program like you have, not like yours. I did grad school locally full time while working full time. It’s not the same thing. I wonder how different the experience would have been if I’d have moved for grad school…

  4. I don’t have your exact circumstances but my name is also Lauren, I do own a bay thoroughbred, rent out my old house, grab my fat rolls, and go round with depression. This post is catching me on a slight uptick this afternoon but yeah, this has been a tough month.

    Physical exercise, decent diet, hormones in check, get out a little bit, and check things off the daily todo list. That’s what I fall back on.

    Some day in the future you are going to get straight 7’s (when all those long term plans start paying out) and feel on top of the world, and that will be a magical day 😉

  5. Man do I identify with this post. The specifics are different, but the loneliness and feelings of failure are not. You’re not alone out there, friend.

  6. Sending all my love ❤️ I’d like to impart some awesome advice like “make lemonade out of lemons!!” But that’s never worked for me — I just keep on keeping on and one day I look back and realize things got better. Yeah, they get worse again… but they always do get better ❤️❤️❤️

  7. You are not alone. And I have missed your blog. There are people who can help. Ask them – professionals- you might be surprised how many simple ideas will help you.

  8. Things can be rough at times and we all have our own battles to fight. Things might look great on the outside, but others can’t see the torment we go thru or even put ourselves thru. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the tailspin and tough as hell to pull out of it. Instead of focusing on the negatives, looking around at the positives can help change our mindset. You’ve got a lot of good things going on in your life right now. Look to these things and embrace them, celebrating them. The good things in our lives don’t deserve to be ignored. Meditation helps reset our brains and has a lot of positive benifits. Don’t forget to meditate.

  9. I am sorry that life is being hard. Sometimes it is just hard. Be kind to yourself. It sounds as though you are doubting your worth. You are pretty amazing to me- I admire your courage not just in dealing but in how honest you are.

  10. Oh sweetie. Big breath. Engage the misery, be maudlin, it’s ok. This too shall pass; might hurt like f*CK in the meantime, but it’ll pass.

    Be kind to yourself. Indulge a little. Be ok with not being perfect, nobody is. Just breathe, one breath at a time and know we are out here ♡

  11. this reads as grief lauren.
    Your life is incredible. like GOLD LINED> You have a beautiful horse millions dream of and will NEVER be able to have, you have enough money to get trained on him too privately..being able to study a subject youre passionate about financially and fund your rent, being smart enough to hustle, having wonderful loving dogs, having them allowed at your apartment because of their registration, having a beautiful climate (try uk :@), having friends, having family at all. having mobility (i’m in a chair) so you can look after yourself, being able to write well. having owned an actual house to start you off. you have even succeeded at losing some weight too, you run a blog.
    what am i missing? swap me tomorrow.
    all i’m hearing is loss and grief and the results of an extreme change and upheaval, allow yourself time.
    and yes i agree, seems you don’t want another man just yet.
    it’s grief , not your life x

  12. I mostly read because it is so great to see someone who looks like me (not teeny tiny) riding a horse and doing it so damn week. But I thought I would comment because hey! I have that hip/knee thing too. It sucks! I’ve pretty much just got to the point where my physio has my orthopedics right and I’m starting to think I could ride again. I hope you can find someone who can help you with it – decent orthopedics are night and day for me, I didn’t realise people walked around without shin pain! Apologies if this is a bit overstepping.

  13. Step 1) don’t be so hard on yourself
    Step 2) smile. Even when you don’t feel like it
    Step 3) write your amazing blog
    Step 4) all else fails, search IG for cute animals

  14. Oh, so sorry. To be on the phone with tech support when life is going rough is just getting kicked when down. Maybe a trip somewhere new would be good? Something you have no real expectations of but breaks up “normal” life? Hugs via internet.

  15. I read your blog often but never comment. I am always happy when I see a new post from you! You are so courageous and I admire hearing about this great adventure you’re on to follow your passion. What you’re feeling is normal— be kind to yourself and reflect on how far you’ve come and how strong you are!

  16. I just wanted to tell you, that you are a big inspiration to me. I live in Switzerland and I’m a big girl that rides, one of the only ones in my stable. Also I lost my mother when I was 21 and your texts help me with my own grief aswell. I can understand all your texts so well and you show me that it’s okay to not be okay. I thank you deeply for that. I hope you are okay.

  17. I think it’s in the air. My horse foundered last week, and it’s been exhausting as the sole care taker. And sad. But hopefully he’s coming around.
    Just know: a. you’re not alone b.things will turn around. They always do.

  18. I know I’m in San Diego but at the end of the day that isn’t far, might be time to come visit you again! Definitely what everyone said, be kind to yourself, take your time, there is literally more time than we like to believe. And your weightloss journey is going really well and you are doing amazing.

  19. I know you’ll keep going. I know you will have good lessons in the future. I know you will receive good news (articles to be published, opportunities to write). I wish for you some peace, especially during the down days. You deserve great things.

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