Crawling Out Of Darkness: What Depression Feels Like

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m an open book. I have blogged about our struggles with infertility and my depression several times before because I KNOW that it helps people that are experiencing it themselves.

Over the summer, I stopped blogging pretty much all together for two months. I said it was because the kids were out of school and I didn’t have time. But that was only part of the reason. I didn’t fully realize it then, but I realize it now…as I crawl out of the darkness that is depression.  During the last few months, I experienced a major bout of depression.

And it all started with thinking these words: I used to be so much more.

Earlier this year, life was going good. I started working out regularly and eating healthy. I was proud of my new body, and I felt great about myself. I felt like this whole motherhood thing was becoming manageable and I wasn’t a stressed out tyrant all day, everyday. I was living and feeling happiness and joy.

The depression started seeping in and taking over at the beginning of June. I know when it happened because I can look back and see it. As I mentioned, I was working out a lot and treating myself kindly…taking care of myself. The kids and I went to my parent’s house at the river for the weekend and had a great time. But when we came back, I lost all of my energy. It was like a slow leak out of an old tire. I know that sounds weird, but slowly, my energy seeped from me. As did my hope and optimism.

What Depression Feels Like

I was always tired, always grouchy, I stopped working out. I started asking myself if this is all life is about. I didn’t want to do anything but just be alone….not easy to do with three small kids. I had no patience, no tolerance, and to be honest, I was not really feeling much of anything. And not caring.

I only recognized this at the beginning of August. A full two months after it started. When you begin coming out of the depression you recognize the signs. Hell, you know the signs before you fall into despair but don’t “feel” them coming on. At least I don’t. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to do anything about it, even if there were signs on fire blinking Caution! Danger Ahead!

And while in a bout of depression, I definitely don’t realize that that’s what is going on until I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But crawling out of the hole doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like a reawakening.

Do you want to know what depression feels like? It feels like nothing. Hopelessness. Joyless. So tired. Melancholy. A weight on your heart even though you have so much to be grateful for and happy about.

Knowing that you should be grateful and happy, but not being able to do it.

I’m in a Facebook group with some amazing women and friends. We talk about EVERYTHING. I told the group that I realized I was coming out of a depression, and that I was feeling uncomfortable and guilty about it. One of my sweetest friends responded “feeling guilty is still the depression talking”. It was eye opening for me.

That’s also when my friend Katie over at Sluiter Nation, who also battles depression, mentioned she felt that she was maybe going into a depression…at the same time I realized that I was actually coming out of mine.

So Katie and I talked about it, and thought it would be interesting to share both ends of the pendulum; Katie is talking about falling into a depression and I’m sharing what it feels like to come out of a depression. Talking about this still taboo subject not only makes us both feel better about it, but also helps us keep in perspective that sharing our words is power. It’s power for us, and it’s power for you.

Do you know what depression feels like? If you have a story to share – whether you battle depression yourself or love someone who does – we hope that you’ll link up and share your story with us. We want to be able to share everybody’s takes on depression. Because we know that if we’ve experienced the pain of depression, so has someone else. Join us. Share your story and the power of your words. It doesn’t have to be a new post…feel free to link up an old one that you think describes your feelings.

If you know what depression feels like – in any way, shape, or form, know you are not alone.

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  1. Depression is terrible...I'm never really sure when I'm all the way "out." I'm glad you're starting to feel better though! Amber recently posted..What the World Needs Now: A Depression SimulatorMy Profile
  2. It feels exactly like nothing. And coming out of it feels like breathing fresh air. I'm so glad that you are crawling out of yours. I know how hard that fight is. And we're here to support you, falling in or falling out. Jennifer recently posted..Happiness Is…My Profile
  3. So true, Natalie - sharing stories about depression is power. I love that you and Katie are sharing your perspectives and I know that it will help so many - both those who live with depression those who love and support them. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..StripesMy Profile
  4. I am so glad that you and Kate are sharing your stories. Like I told her, I have been in a mild depression since last summer and just can't shake it. I think your sharing might be the thing that allows me to write about my own struggle, thank you for that. and I'm always here for you my friend with a hand and a hug. xo Kir recently posted..Someone Like You Makes it All Worth WhileMy Profile
  5. thank you Natalie, for sharing. Sharing is powerful. I'm so glad, so glad that you are crawling back out.
  6. I know all too well how it feels to be depressed. You describe it perfectly and I hope that you grasp the light so soon! Leighann recently posted..So… ThanksMy Profile
  7. This This an incredibly brave post, Natalie. I think what you are Katie are doing is wonderful. Personally, my heart is so glad that you are coming out of the depression . I see such a change in you even just from how I know you online and I am grateful that you aren't stuck in the despair. Xo Laura at Mommy Miracles recently posted..Office MakeoverMy Profile
  8. I have been dealing with depression for a while now, and I am finally coming out out of it. I think part of it is lacking identity for me---i lost myself in this whole motherhood thing. I think a part of it too is daily life struggles we are dealing with. Thank you for sharing. It is nice to be reminded that we all have these emotions. Denise D recently posted..Boys, Daddy and I Apologize...My Profile
  9. Depression ruins absolutely everything and steals stuff we can't get back. I hate it, too. Proud of you for pulling through and using your words to win. Keely recently posted..Seeing Sporting Events In Tiny Little Spurts.My Profile
  10. Wow, I had no idea, mama! Thank you for sharing this powerful story. Stay strong and remember you have an army here ready with love, hugs, support and most of all help whenever you want. And that's an open offer! xx Nicole recently posted..How to Instagram FoodMy Profile
  11. I definitely know how it goes seeing the signs after the light at the end of the tunnel. I have described it that way too. It's so weird. Glad you guys are sharing these stories. I know I have an old post I can dig up to link. Denise recently posted..Well Hello 40My Profile
  12. So glad you ladies are sharing your stories. I remember at the end of last summer feeling a weight lifted from my shoulders once the girls started preschool again. Not just the "yay kids are back in school!" thing, but more like "Yay I'm not angry/irritated/irate/annoyed all the time!" It wasn't quite the depression you and Katie described, but it's the closest I've come, and it sucked. Big hugs. Leigh Ann recently posted..Some quick thoughts on kindergarten because it’s all I can manage right nowMy Profile
  13. Natalie this is so powerful. You're right that you don't know you're depressed until the sun starts to shine again. Thank you for sharing. I think it's so important to speak out about these issues so everyone knows that so many people feel this way. Anna recently posted..Pinterest Day 1My Profile
  14. I wrote on Katie's site that I have managed depression with medication for 20 years (and that I wrote about it as part of my memoir, which I'm doing the final edits on). But you are so right - it's hard to see when you're falling into. Even if you know the signs! It's crazy. I also get so blindsided that the negative talk about be my depression talking and not, actually, reality. I loved your post.
    • Thanks my friend. I considered going back on medication...I'm going to see how I do through the rest of the year. ::fingers crossed:: Natalie recently posted..What I’ve Been Up To…My Profile
      • Even though they are on the fence about it, I am here to say that my depression started at menopause. I've had 4 suicide attempts and 4 hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts. I am now drawing disability for it. It has been 8 years now and I'm starting to feel better. This is not something I worked my way into. It is a disease caused by a chemical imbalance. I cannot tell you have many times I have gotten really angry at this disease. It is like I can stand outside of myself and recognize the depression, but am not able to do anything about it. With medication and therapy, I am able to keep it at bay for the most part. But I sure wouldn't wish it on anybody. I'm starting to turn my life around now and things are starting to look up. I still find myself hoping it won't come back again. Don't mean to be a downer, but I most certainly understand how it feels.
  15. What a terrible time to fall into it over the summer... ugh. AND with three little ones to care for... I am so sorry you have to struggle and suffer with this relentless monster. SO many do. Thank you for sharing your heart- honest and beautiful. Chris Carter recently posted..Divorce Is Devastating…My Profile
  16. I'm glad you are coming out of yours. I go through major ups and downs, though it's been a while since I've been in a more serious depression- but I still remember that awful feeling. I'm always around if you want to talk. xo Shell recently posted..The First DayMy Profile
  17. I'm so sorry that you struggle with this Natalie. I know this post will help many and hopefully you too by getting it out, sharing. Thank you for that. Hugs. xoxo Tonya recently posted..Back To SchoolMy Profile
  18. I know aaall about depression. Depression and I are well acquainted. It is a horrible feeling. I'm sorry that you're struggling with it. Teresa recently posted..Why I'm Already Worried About This School YearMy Profile
  19. The lack of energy. The seeing the joy and things you should be grateful for and being grouchy and negative anyway. Sigh. Greta @gfunkified recently posted..Straight Talk and Make-A-Wish Team Up #StraightTalkWishMy Profile
  20. It truly blows. So sorry you went through it, and I'm glad you're coming out. I've been there: -- and I'm out on the other side now, too. HURRAY. Glad you can talk about it so freely. That helps people.
  21. Yes, I definitely get that slow leak feeling. I'm glad someone else articulated that way! Diane recently posted..The Issy Stapleton Tragedy.My Profile
  22. I'm so glad you're coming out into the other side now. I'm sorry you had to struggle with it, and applaud you and Katie for sharing your stories. xo Alison recently posted..Four, Never FiveMy Profile
  23. I don't know why so many of us battle with depression. I do know that there are a lot of people who just don't understand it, that it's nonsense, an excuse to be lazy, a cry for attention. It's none of these things, and I think that sharing it makes people aware that real people struggle with this every single day. Thank you for sharing your story. Andrea recently posted..DIY Caramel BrowniesMy Profile
  24. Natalie, this is SO liberating for me to read. Thank you for having the courage to stare down your depression and share what it feels like with us! I have never had the courage to write about it, but I agree with every.single.word you write in this post. I instantly feel "normal" by just seeing someone else has felt (and from time to time, continues to feel) the way I do at times! I was first diagnosed with PPD after the birth of our first child 9 years ago. Looking back introspectively, I recognize I've battled the evil monster of depression since my early teens. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experiences. I've printed out this article to put in my "counseling" folder for when I feel the blues coming on. I know it'll help me identify the depression coming on, and in turn, seek help. Thank you. Thank you. Truly - thank you. Belovedly, Amy :) Amy recently posted..Proud to Share #3: The 2013 Elephant Parade ® – part 1My Profile
  25. It is scary for a teen dealing with teen depression, it can be a simple episode that they're upset over a breakup. Or, it can be a constant depression that can destroy lives. As a parent of two preteen boys I keep an eye for warning signs that mine may have teen depression ... The scary truth about teen depression
  26. Maritza Ampie says:
    Thank you for this post. I just did a search on "feels like darkness" as I started feeling like I am coming out of a three year long depression. This is not the first time. I can only recognize it when I am coming out of one. Not when I am falling into one. I know it is depression when I am in it but I am so desperately trying to get through it and survive it that I have no energy and no way to expedite it or make it any better! I worry about the impact on my kids....i just don't find the incentive or the energy to want to do much. I manage to keep up with my job with much effort but when I get home all I want to is sleep and do nothing. I am not able to sleep at night but I am always just so tired. I see everything in my life through this dark dark film....I keep trying to find the light!!!
  27. I recently wrote an article on depression. This awful illness runs in my family.. Thank for sharing your experiences. I hope it will encourage people to get help
  28. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you are able to share your story as it helps others like me, Taylor Brione recently posted..From Diploma to Depression: Sadness in a Unlikely PlaceMy Profile
  29. Nicely written piece, Natalie. You hit the target with this sentence: "Knowing that you should be grateful and happy, but not being able to do it." We've just finished a guide on depression which we hope will help lots of people struggling with this illness. Mind if I send you the link?
  30. Billie Jean says:
    Honestly I have don't follow blogs. I can't keep up with them. I'm bad enough as it is with social media. I'm not really sure exactly what triggers my depression but it's gotten more constant within the last 3 years I'd say. Anyways this blog stuck out to me. I'm currently sitting in my car, because I can't seem to get myself to drive home. I got off work after a bad day, or week. And I just didn't want to go home. I've been trying to pull myself out of whatever darkness that's been clouding my heart lately, and it's been up and down with my mood. Great couple of days, then shitty couple of days. Today seemed to be a breaking point of giving in to whatever sadness that seems to be haunting me. Literally I am able to completely block how I feel from coworkers and clients all day long, and I have been for years. Still blocked it from clients today but I almost burst into tears AT WORK today. The worst part about these feelings is how incredibly alone I feel. It gets tiring trying to talk to family, friends, anyone about it. You feel like you need a reason to be unhappy so it ends up being about the struggles you're having, the drama in your life. When really I have no effing idea what is making me feel so low. I guess I'm at a loss right now. And don't get me wrong, I have people I can talk to for a lot of things. But I never really feel heard by them. Maybe they fear that if we dive into it that it will depress them , maybe they have no idea what it's like. But its always brushed off and I get to a point where I can't be a burden to them anymore. Because that's what it feels like. Like I'm a burden who always has something negative to say. My gosh, obviously I've held in a bit. Don't know if this is the place to post this but since your blog popped up just now, it made me feel comforted to see that someone else isn't able to catch the drift of depression when it's coming on. Its such a strong takeover of your mind and body, and it's staggering when you realize what's going on and that you didn't see it coming.


  1. […] Crawling Out Of Darkness: What Depression Feels Like […]
  2. […] see it coming. I only notice that I’ve been depressed after the fact…when I’m crawling out of the darkness. I describe it as kind of a rebirth. It’s like I’ve been in a fog that starts to […]