Jul 112013

For me, depression is a big forgetting.

When I fall into the hole – I forget everything. Like what makes me happy and what it is that I DO HERE and how I feel about people and how to do my jobs and everything I’ve learned about life, relationships  and courage. It’s like when a computer gets a virus and all the data is wiped out. It’s all gone. Everything that I thought made me, me. Lost. I forget what words I’m supposed to say and what facial expressions are appropriate, which is why I spend a lot of time looking very blank and refusing to answer the phone or the door. Everything’s BLANK. And the only, ONLY thing that comforts me in the BLANK is food. Namely sugar and carbs. Lots of them. It’s like being very, very stoned but instead of giggling I feel like crying all the time.

And so the problem with the BLANK is that I know, somewhere deep down that I have, at some point in my life, gathered some wisdom that might help pull me out of my downward spiral. I mean, I wrote a whole book about this sort of thing. But I can’t remember any of it. And I can’t read to remember because anything with words is just too much.

Also- one more thing about words. Many of you have written to me about how brave I am to “talk” about this. You say that you are not brave enough to talk to the people you love about your own depression. I just wanted to tell you that I don’t talk about it either. Especially not when I’m in it. It’s too MUCH to try to fit into spoken words. No way. It’s like trying to describe being in love – conversation cheapens it. And also – I can’t risk anyone trying to “fix me.” This darkness is a part of me and I don’t want anyone to snatch it away. So I only write to you about it. I’m grateful to you for letting me write it out.

So, this morning I’m still BLANK. But maybe not completely. Because a few memories about how this usually plays out for me are surfacing. I think I remember what’s coming next.

It will be a starting over.

It’s like when I got sober. I will slowly pull out of this and then I will have to relearn everything. I will start from zero, like a baby. I will relearn how to feed myself and how to breathe right (I actually have to work to keep breathing when I’m in the BLANK) and how to care for myself and those in my home.

At first it seems frustrating, this starting over with the basics all the time. We are taught that progress is linear – that life done right is to keep moving forward on some sort of path and that the people who are the furthest along on that path are winning. But that’s not how progress works for me. I just go in circles. I deal with the same issues again and again and when I think I’ve conquered them –  it’s really just time to wipe the slate clean and start over. My progress is not linear- it’s circular. It’s learning the basics and then back around to the same basics again.  Eating, breathing, moving, being still, praying, loving myself and others – these are stops along my circle. But I’m not frustrated anymore because I think with each orbit I go a little DEEPER. I’m not sure my circular progress can be measured by the outside world.  I probably look a little crazy going around in the same simple circle all the time (she’s learning how to BREATHE again?) but I can feel myself being rooted a little deeper into the ground with each circle. With each beginning again. With each starting over. My friend Heather * calls this process “corkscrewing to the heart of God.”  That sounds right.  Maybe I’m just sticking with the things that matter. Maybe depression helps keep me focused by forcing me to forget all the things I think I’ve built and gathered. It knocks me off the linear path and back to my little, beautiful, essential circle. Breathe. Eat. Drink. Move. Love. Rest.



Did you know the two most repeated verses in the Bible are “Remember” and “Do Not Be Afraid?”

Remember your circle today while I fight hard to remember mine. And let’s try not to be afraid.

All is well.

Breathe. Eat. Drink. Move. Love. Rest.



PS. Here’s one of Heather’s pieces. She’s fantastic. Love.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  146 Responses to “On Forgetting and Remembering”

  1. […] Here recently Momastery mentioned her progress with depression not being linear but circular. She briefly mentioned her frustration with dealing with the same issues over and over again but that she has resigned herself to progress being slow but circular. When I read her post I was reminded of a theory someone once mentioned at church. I like to call it the slinky theory. Yeah, I’m sophisticated like that. […]

  2. Hi! I am a new follower and your book that I ordered will be here tomorrow (not soon enough)….a friend of mine who told me to read your book said we are both “Truth-Tellers” which can also be that I am so open and real about my own struggles!
    Everything you said I feel…..I describe it as the “Evil Cycle”….you get down, then you disengage, then you get down on yourself for doing that and it just keeps going from there!
    I am hoping your book will tell me more (of course it will) but I struggle with moving on…..my mind replays things in my head over and over! Sometimes I too forget what it is to be ME!
    Thank you for your honesty

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