painting a picture of depression

I wish I could paint a picture of depression. I wish I could take my feelings through to a paintbrush. I was never given the gift to do so. Someday I will try, and see if it serves me the way writing does. I was given the gift of writing, so I can paint a picture in my own unique way. Each word jumps off the page like a light of energy, each sentence, each paragraph with a different color. Some of my posts are bright red’s and yellows, this one I can tell is going to be a blue-ish gray.

Last night my mom rubbed my back as I sobbed into my sleeve pressed against my pillow. She asked why I was so sad and I did not have an answer for her. All I knew was that each day moments like this hit me out of the blue. A few hours earlier I was getting ice cream with my parents after attending my brother’s sports awards night. Now I was wiping my nose on my sleeve with my thoughts telling me I can’t keep doing this. I could not calm down, and part of me didn’t want to. I wanted to feel everything. I wanted it all out. I let my mom rub my back, hold me tight, whisper to me that I’m doing a great job. That I am beautiful inside and out and have a lot of things going for me. She told me I need to work to get myself out of this, and I became frustrated. Haven’t I? I get up, I eat, I shower, I socialize, I write, I laugh, I go to work- am I really not trying? I know you are, she said.

How can I help? she asked. What can I do?

I wanted her to take my pain away, and I know she wanted that too, but it just wasn’t possible. So I said I don’t know.

You know pain, if you have cried yourself to sleep.

This morning I washed my face trying to hide the puffiness of my eyes. My mind and body wanted to stay in bed but I knew a trip to see my younger cousins would be the healthy push I needed. My mom asked me for a number. I knew she hadn’t slept well last night, thinking about me. She wanted a number 1-10 of how I was feeling. I never used to like rating my pain, my emotions, anything, but it has been helpful with my depression. I can have depression and be an 8 and thriving. But I can also be a 3, and you would not know unless I told you.

I decided to drive to see my cousins, and my best friend (their nanny). I stopped for gas, and on the highway I debated missing the exit.

I could send a text that I actually wasn’t coming, and then I would not have to worry about being too tired to fake a smile.

I could then just go for a long drive, listen to music, and then go home and take the nap I knew I would need.

But I took the exit, and I found myself at the driveway trying to pull the energy in me together to walk in with a smile. Preparing myself to find even the smallest bit of the real me to bring out in the open for that 2 year old who waved her hands in the air running to me yelling “Hehe!!” and tackling me with the biggest hug.

I hope that child never has to feel this way.

I feel like thin strings are holding my head up, while weights are dragging it back down.

I used to like the rain, but I dread it now. My soul craves the sun, and the salt of the ocean waves tapping against my ankles.

But we don’t have that here.

The rain makes me feel tired, which makes me feel empty inside. I lose myself piece by piece in the rain.


I used to be so happy, that the weather did not matter. I used to be able to create my own sunshine. Some days I can, some moments I can. I know I will be able to again, soon. Soon, though, can’t come soon enough.

Leaving a hospitalization for mental health is similar to leaving a hospitalization for physical health. I would know- I’ve done both. There is a recovery period afterwards. Physically and emotionally. You are easily fatigued. You have to take things day by day as you adjust to new medications, new therapies, etc.

Depression is a scary illness because it feels never-ending. It strips you away from the you that you know.

I’m just grateful- that by being open and honest, I have people behind me.

My mom- who doesn’t understand depression but is working to learn so she can best support me.

My friends- who are willing to go for lunch, a walk, take a call in the middle of the night.


Demi Lovato said that it is possible to live well and thrive with a mental illness.

My depression can kick my ass some days, as it certainly has been lately, but I won’t let it define me.

I can live well, while well managing this illness. Right now I just need some extra support.

If I could stroke a brush of dark paint and feel energies being lifted from my body, I would. Instead these words, this journal, this is my painted picture. What it would look like? We can imagine.

As I wrap up allow me to share some artist’s work of their own interpretation of depression.

take care of yourselves,

you’re never alone


Haley TiffanyComment