Tag Archives: depressed

I Am Miserable In This Photo

I want to apologize.

Last weekend I went to a Phish show and posted this photo on Facebook, for all of you to see:


In it, I am fucking miserable.

Surprised? I’ll bet. Nothing says “My life is so happy and fun, guys!” like an open-mouthed, wahoo yell-smile, indoor sunglasses, bright lights, and background spirit fingers.

(For the record, Eric is exactly as happy as he looks. If he had a tail, it’d be wagging. Which is why he is the absolute necessary img_7492 to my img_1179-5.)

The second after that photo was snapped, my face fell back into its previous anxious contortion. That entire afternoon and night, I just couldn’t calm down. I didn’t feel present. Everyone around me was excited, and I couldn’t get on board, not matter how hard I tried. I felt disassociated, stuck in my bell jar, uncomfortable in my body. I was trying to move to the music but just….couldn’t. Everything about me felt awkward, disconnected, and out of place. And so, the self-defeating but all-too-predicatable marathon of thoughts began swirling through my brain, a loop so familiar that I carry a VIP pass to this particular ferris wheel ride of misery: “Why can’t you just relax, Emily? Why can’t you just have fun like everyone else here? Why do you have to be such a goddamn downer? JUST ENJOY YOURSELF FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN! STOP BEING THE ABSOLUTE FUCKING WORST!”

(It’s weird how this strategy never works.)

Those sunglasses? Not a cute, bright-lights-at-Phish gimmick.

They were necessary to hide my tears.

Now brief side clarification– my misery that night had NOTHING to do with Phish. Phish critics might think, “Of course you were miserable at Phish, it’s a crowded shitshow.” And yeah, it sure is! But truth be told, I actually like Phish. A lot. Ok, not nearly as much as the die-hard, 100-shows-and-counting phanatics I’m usually with, but I do have an appreciation for the music, the people, and the scene. In fact, I had been to a Phish show 8 days before this one and had a genuine blast. My mood was stable that day, and the music and crowd were in sync with my dopamine levels. I got lucky. I should have posted a photo from THAT show. At least it would have been authentic.

So why did I choose to post a “joyful” photo when I felt shattered inside? I’m sure there are a million different answers to that, all of which I will analyze to death with my therapist next week, so she better buy at least 3 hats, 2 helmets, and hold the fuck on. But I’m in touch with myself enough to know that the main reason is this:

That photo represented how I wanted to feel.  And maybe if that was the image I projected to the world, it would, in some way, become the reality.


But shame on me. I know better.

I know that when I’m down, a filtered, look-at-me-having-fun photo feels good for one moment and one moment only. Then I’m just part of the problem, a problem that I’ve always been so conscious and critical of.

It’s no secret that social media can be harmful to self-esteem. I’m not making any groundbreaking statements in that regard. The constant comparison to other people’s happiness and success, which is generally the majority of what gets posted, makes us feel badly about our own less-than-perfect lives. We’ve all experienced this. It’s insane how we can scroll through a news feed and, even when we KNOW, intellectually, that what we see is not capturing the true, more nuanced reality of our peers’ lives, we still, on some level, process it as such. Our visual perception, paired with our own insecurities, trumps our rational mind every time.

That is why I am so disappointed in myself for posting a photo that projects fun and joy, when inside I was torn to pieces.

This helps no one.

Especially not myself.

I know better than to communicate an inauthentic truth. I know what it does to my mental health when I try to put forth a version of me that isn’t real, and the possible damage it can do to others who struggle. It’s the main reason I have this no-clear-theme-and-sort-of-all-over-the-place mess of a blog– a mix of stories that highlight my imperfections, struggles, and staggered journey. Yes, some of my expereinces are joyful, and I’m always thrilled when I get to share that. And I will continue to share that, as we all should– when it’s genuine.

But a lot of the journey is hard. And awkward. And sad. Anxiety-and-guilt-ridden, scary, uncomfortable, confusing and head-in-hands frustrating. So I try my best to capture that, too. Not push it down and cover it up with a camera-ready smile. Because if I’m doing that, if I’m masking the struggles, I’m just another “Look how great my life is ALL THE TIME!” social media monster. We have enough Kardashians out there eating us alive, ass-first.

The thing is, my life really IS great, guys.

It’s also a category F5 shitnado.

I promise an online presence that continues to project both these realities.

Forgive me?




It’s a Gorgeous Day Outside and My Depression Doesn’t Give a Fuck


You woke up this morning at the ripe hour of 10:00am, took one look at the beautiful sunshine cascading through the window and thought, “Fuck. It’s a gorgeous day.” Then you covered your head with your pillow and sobbed.

Because you know who doesn’t care that it’s a gorgeous day? Your Depression.

Depression isn’t impressed by the abundant sunshine and the flowers blooming, because all Depression wants to do is lie down, hold its head between its hands, play a reel of guilt-ridden thoughts on loop, and pray for bedtime. But gorgeous weather gets in the way of this. Gorgeous weather causes friends and social media to say, “You should definitely go outside– it’s gorgeous out!” And of course you SHOULD go outside. And if you were you, you WOULD go outside. But you’re not you right now. Depression has the reins, and Depression laughs in your face when you think about leaving the bed. Depression says, “Go ahead, sad sack! Go try to ‘enjoy’ that weather. But if you think that weather is going to get rid of this headache, infuse you with energy, or make you stop hating yourself, then you really haven’t been paying attention for the past 20 years. Worthless idiot.”

Yeah. Depression is THAT mean.

But you try anyway. You swallow three Advil, force yourself to drink water, and put on your sneakers. You jog a whole city block before Depression says, “Nope, not happening, loser!” and slows your jog to a brisk, then painfully slow, walk. YOU are a marathon runner. YOU have trained for and finished 7 half marathons and 3 full marathons in the past five years. But Depression laughs at you for thinking that makes a difference right now. What YOU can do doesn’t matter. YOU are not running the show right now. YOU just get to watch while Depression takes a body that normally sprints every single morning and paralyzes it to a slow, walking-through-mud trudge.

But you run anyway. Not in the way you want to, or as fast as you want to, and only intermittently, for less than two blocks at a time. Because while you’re powerless to fight Depression in its entirety, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a quick FUCK YOU every few minutes. You make it to Central Park, and inherently, somewhere inside you, you know it’s beautiful. You know you’ve been waiting all winter for this kind of weather, for this kind of scenery, and you know what you should feel. But Depression doesn’t give a fuck. Depression takes the opportunity of a gorgeous day and uses it to make you feel even worse about yourself. Depression says, “See all these happy people enjoying the day? Bet you wish you were one of them! But nope, you’re just here, wallowing in your misery, looking around and feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t appreciate ANY of it. Because you’re selfish. And spoiled. Do you know how many people would kill for the luxury of being able to spend a whole beautiful spring day in Central Park? You’re pathetic.”

Like I said. Depression is a mean motherfucker.

But you keep going. Because while the walk/jog isn’t making you feel any better, and the weather isn’t giving you even a modicum of the energy that everyone swears it will, and every step feels like it’s sucking out a piece of your deadened soul, you know that if you can at the very least hit your daily Fit Bit step goal for the day, you will have ONE victory to hang your hat on. ONE little seemingly superficial victory that you can point to and say “I did this thing today.” ONE tiny victory before you crawl desperately back into bed and cry into the Kindle that you so badly want to read but Depression, with its crippling assault on your concentration, won’t allow you to. ONE minuscule victory that will allow you to whisper a semi-satisfied, “Fuck you, Depression” as you fall into a pill-induced, fitful slumber tonight.

And you do it. You hit the goal.

ONE small victory against Depression.

Maybe tomorrow there will be two.