Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I almost told Sibling. We've been together nearly constantly the past two days and I've been picking her up and dropping her off to avoid paying twice the parking fees. As we drove through a quiet evening back toward home as the clock ticked past 9 on its way to 9:15, the pain was so immense and the suffering so acute that I nearly begged her to help me.

"Molly," I said, for that's her name. Then I stopped, swallowed against the rising sickness and closed my mouth. "Never mind," I said when I was able to force words past my lips. "I lost my train of thought."

It feels odd - this sense of secrecy in a time when I could dearly use some support. But Industry, for all the opportunity offered and challenges presented, is not the place to admit weakness. In positions of power, I've think saying that my brain doesn't work quite right may not be the best move. Given our affectionately competitive relationship and overall gossipy environment, I decided the benefit wasn't worth the cost when it came to Sibling.

It was after she thanked me and grabbed her bag from the backseat that I drove toward home and released the words choking me.

"God," I said, knowing He was there but unable to access peace or comfort or joy, "I'm so sad." And though I made it home without crying, greeting Chienne and Sprout before moving upstairs to remove my pretty dress and tug on pajamas, I rested on the bed for mere seconds before tears started to fall.

It's very odd, I decided as I continued to cry while moving downstairs to fetch my anti-depressant. When I meet people with loved ones who live with mood disorders (and there are a lot of us. Did you know depression is projected to be the world's leading cause of disability by 2020? True story.), I try to explain what it's like. How it feels when I'm sick. What it takes to get better. How absolutely frustrating it is to not do anything for days and to feel so miserably guilty about it. How the pain is so huge that it surrounds me, smothering any efforts to escape and wanting only for time to pass. For the misery to ease, if only for a few moments so I can catch my breath.

The saving grace during each of these episodes is that I know I'll get better. There are triggers that still catch me - minuscule problems that spiral outward until the twinge of discomfort morphs into an encompassing cloud of depression. I don't know the trick to prevent the fall into a deeper state of despair. Even when I identify it early. Despite the fact that I continue to get up and go to work, operating at whatever levels of productivity I can achieve. When I force myself to interact with people - taking and making phone calls, attending meetings, engaging in conversations I can't avoid even when it's excruciating. Even in moments where the misery does ease - where I laugh or relax or lose myself in work. I still end up slipping ever downward until I reach bottom.

All I can tell you now is that the fall is awful. Feeling bad and realizing it's getting worse. Bracing for impact, dreading it even as I hope it comes soon so the trend can reverse. Maybe tomorrow. Please, God, tomorrow.


Lucy said...

{{{{Katie}}}} I'm so sorry you're feeling so awful. If it would ever help to talk to a semi-stranger, let me know. I suck at talking, but I'm a good listener. I hope you're feeling better very soon. Take care.

JaneB said...


Sympathy, empathy - it's so hard. You're not alone. The stigma and the worry about worrying loved ones is as hard as the disease itself in some ways. It helps me so much that you write about this though, and encouraged me to write honestly about my own experiences - maybe at the least we can help others feel less alone.

My email is mollimog at googlemail if you ever want to 'chat' to someone outside your life, who also knows about the sliding.

And I hope you bottom out soon and surface quickly this time

Brigindo said...

Katie what you go through sounds brutal but you're an incredibly strong woman and you do always surface no matter how bad it feels in the moment. You know you have a strong support base out here in the blogosphere and I know you have support from your family. I totally get you're not being able to confide in colleagues but are there any support groups in your area? It sounds like being able to talk to others face-to-face in your own community would be really helpful when you're going through this.

Geeka said...

Hi Katie:

I know probably have a great support system, but my ear is always open too.
I always love how honest and open you are with how you are feeling. I wish I could do that sometimes.

If your travels bring you to pgh, we can always go for coffee.

ScienceWoman said...


You are incredibly strong for admitting you have an illness and trying to figure out how to get better. I wish there was something concrete I could do to help, but know that I am always here to listen.

Krazy Kitty said...

I don't comment much these days but I'm here and I think of you. I know you'll be better. I hope it comes soon.

Anonymous said...

I wont repeat all the above, just that I hope you are and will be okay. Thinking of you.

microbiologist xx said...

I am sorry to read that you are feeling depressed. I hope you can find someone to talk to since it seems like you want to reach out to someone. I'll be thinking of you.

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

Katie, I'm so sorry that you aren't feeling well. I know that you are so strong and brave that you'll get through this. If you need anything, just email.

Maude Lebowski said...


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