The Lies Of Functional Depression

Lately I have felt like the walking dead. Just putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling along.

People see me out and about and I am dressed and taking care of my kid and errands and helping at the shop and the consensus is, “You’re all better.”

Never mind these people didn’t watch me spend three hours trying to force myself into the shower, nor prowling the house at 3 am because my brain won’t shut up and let me sleep, or how I have to take ten breaks between getting my kid fed and dressed then myself. They apparently don’t notice that the woman who usually wears six layers of eyeliner has barely been putting make up on and has a hairstyle best described as “I used a fucking hairbrush, what do you want from me?” Let’s not forget that she went out in public three times in two months with the ass end or inner crotch of her pants completely ripped out,totally unaware because she just felt so triumphant putting clothes on in the first place.

I’m ambling about like a zombie, I MUST be hunky dory.


I have NO support system in real life when it comes to my bipolar/depression;/anxiety. It was the reason I became so wrapped up in the internet and computers. On line has been the only place I have ever encountered others who understand and get it. Most people don’t want to hear about it because it harshes their mellow. It could be contagious.

They like to buy into the lies of functional depression like people buy into the lie of functional alcoholism. As long as the person shows up for work every day, pays their bills, and supports their kids, everything is hunky dory. Sure, they have a little drinking problem but they have it under control or they couldn’t do all that they do.

Of course, much like the functional depressive, functional alcoholics just coast through, trudging uphill, waiting for that moment when they can drink again and become numb. Depressives look forward to sleep or the next mood swing the same way.

No one knows that I grind my teeth so bad I actually have a hold in my gums. Like a sunken in raw indentation. The Celexa had seemed to help with that, but that was about all it helped with. Now that I am tapering off, the teeth gnashing has returned with a vengeance. I even take Ibuprofen because sometimes my mouth hurts so bad from the grinding.

That does NOT cross me as being hunky dory.

At the shop, R goes on about how he runs 18 hours a day, and his eldest daughter does the same thing. They have what I call the doctor,lawyer,Indian chief syndrome. They want to be one of everything, never mind the cost to themselves or those around them or what they have to do achieve their lofty “run myself into the ground then bitch about it” goal. I get so sick of hearing about it, because I do have a bit of an inferiority complex and here I am, struggling to put pants on every day, and these people are doing a hundred times more than I am doing. They’ve earned the right to be exhausted. Whereas I spend ten hours out of bed dealing with my kid, with other people, with daily stressors…and I’d sell a vital organ just to escape home to my safe zone and silence and regathering equilibrium.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself but I do. And I feel like a giant loser. I know that I am not, I am doing pretty well all things considered…But for me, other people have always been toxic. I have decent self esteem until I am around others who either directly or indirectly make me feel like an inept lazy whining brat.

One more lie of bipolar and functional depression. You CANNOT measure yourself by the same standards as people without the disorders. It’s like saying someone who is Diabetic has the same dietary needs as someone who is not. Whether we like it or not, whether we want to be different, the disorders take that choice out of our hands and we are left with the hand we are dealt. I’d love to be a doctor, lawyer, Indian Chieft, and have people think I am so amazing for being so energetic and giving and productive.

Truth is, I just spent an hour bullying myself into a shower, even though after a hundred degree day, I should have been leaping at the chance to scrub the sweat off myself;. And sadly, I even congratulated myself for taking that shower. Just like the nights I manage to get to sleep without taking my Trazadone. WOOHOOOOO! I’ve achieved something that comes naturally to others.

One more lie of depression is that you can “talk” yourself out of it. The positive attitude gurus have done such a disservice to mental illnesses, I suspect they might be responsible for more than one suicide. Sure, a little optimism is a good thing. But when you are stuck in a depression and someone is shoving it down your throat that you’d be all better if you just had a different attitude…Do a lineage search and I bet someone in their family tree used to perform lobotomies because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The more I try to bully myself out of a depression, the worse I feel because inevitably, I fail. Which you’re bound to do when trying to use attitude to cure what is a serious medical condition. Telling people they can do this if they want it bad enough borders on malpractice.

Obviously, I have strong opinions on the matter. I’ve walked a long time in these shoes and feel entitled to those opinions from cold painful personal experience.

And the biggest lie of functional depression is…that you are alone.

I feel totally alone right now.

But, thanks to the comments and likes readers leave, I know I am not alone.

On that one, depression loses.

I call it functional rebellion.


4 Responses to “The Lies Of Functional Depression”

  1. “I want to be a brain surgeon AND a lawyer!”
    Makes me think of the Simpsons, and the Crazy Cat Lady. How she was a girl who wanted to do EVERYTHING and ended up having a nervousbreakdown which resulted in her being said Crazy Cat Lady.

    I think we are all Crazy Cat Ladies (or Gentlemen) to some degree or other. The cats here being metaphorical.

  2. bipolar type2 Says:

    I felt like I was reading something out of my journal. You are so not alone in this! I feel EXACTLY the same way. Not much of a Real Life support system either, so I have to turn to the internets. Such a shame. “Functional Depression” – I’ve never heard that term, but makes complete sense and a wonderful way to describe how I live my life most days. Stay strong. You have us. ❤

  3. Thank you for your words. I am the same way…added with bulimia. It is a struggle everyday. It’s nice to hear others have similar issues.

  4. i see in my head the person i want to be in reality, standing in front of me. but so many things are different. im confident, im strong , im happy and in control of my life. i have a job where i care for others and get so much out of it. i love life.

    and then i look at myself, both in my head and in real life, and i see that great person i envision trapped inside a mind that can’t do daily self care, or simple tasks, where interacting out in the world is terrifying and exhausting, and i see that i will never become the woman i was born to be.

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