Essays

Depression is a Trip

You stay alive you stupid asshole
Because you haven’t been excused…

–Tony Hoagland, from “Suicide Song

 

Depression is a wildly confusing, exhausting trip to someplace you didn’t actually ever intend to go. Let’s say you set out for Austria, had in mind a little singing on mountaintops like in The Sound of Music, and you end up getting on the wrong plane and find yourself in Antarctica. Did you know the average temperature during the coldest three months in Antarctica is MINUS 81 degrees Fahrenheit? So you are in this place, so bitterly cold that it’s hard to move, your limbs lock up and your face freezes if you try to uncover it. If you expose any of your tender self, even a little, it goes from cold to burning to numb so fast you just know you’ll be dead if you don’t cover up again. You didn’t intend to come here and you don’t quite know how you got here and you haven’t figured out how to leave. You don’t really want to see your loved ones here because you’re afraid they’ll freeze, too; sometimes you feel like you’re talking to them through a video link, and they’re far away, and you sort of wonder if they aren’t just better off staying far away from you and your inimical tendency to lose yourself in dark and dangerous places.

*

I don’t know much about drug trips from personal experience (unfortunately? I don’t know—I overheard some writers behind me at a reading recently talking about traveling the country on LSD when they were younger, and these were women in their 40s and 50s who were clearly oh so much more badass than they looked, and I confess I felt a bit envious, if also a bit ashamed at my own timidity), but it seems to me depression is like a drug trip for a lot of reasons. You don’t seem to have any control over how you perceive the world, or how you respond to it. You feel like you’re not your usual self, and you fear you may never get back to being your usual self, or that your “usual self” is in fact your “unusual self,” and the majority of who you are is actually A Depressed Person. Other people can tell you that your perceptions of reality are not accurate, but even when you accept that truth you still can’t make yourself perceive reality differently and react to it appropriately.

*

You can’t actually stop traveling, slogging through muck, unable to find a place to sit down to rest that isn’t even more miserable than the continual push. Once I overturned my kayak and sank to my crotch in silty mud. When I tried pulling one foot up, up, to the surface of the mud and putting it down again, I sank just as far. Other people went by in their kayaks and said, “Are you okay?” and I said, “Yes, I’ll get back on in just a minute,” though I had no real idea how I would do so. Embarrassment, shame, helplessness. No choice but to engage the mud.

*

I’ve been on these trips before. It’s terribly embarrassing because people often believe you bought that train ticket yourself, or something that happened to you gained agency—A. Death, Job Loss, Another F. Rejection—and all you need to do is track down that entity and face it in order to get off the train. So you’re on the Depression Train, it’s speeding along through a concrete wilderness, and people are saying, “Hey, why don’t you get off the train?” Well, more often they’re saying, “You could try this or this to get off the train,” helpfully, really, but the thing is you just can’t get off the effing train. It’s going full steam and if you managed to pry open one of the doors you’d just find yourself bruised on the hard gray world anyway.

What can you do?

Well first you apologize to the people who love you, over and over, when you cry daily or don’t even get off the couch to go to the grocery store for toilet paper or turn down invitations to do things or accept said invitations and then feel like your company is a burden. You apologize and you try to explain that some day, you suspect, you’ll be able to get off the Depression Train. You just don’t know how, and you don’t know when, so you can’t tell them when it’ll be easier to be around you and you can’t tell them how to help you.

And then you remind yourself, over and over and over, that the train WILL stop. It will stop. It always has before. The train will stop. And you’ll get off, stepping out into ordinary sunlight. The air will have smells again, other people will seem real, you’ll be able to smile. There will be possibilities, choices. You will be able, again, to choose whether to walk fast or slow, turn left or right. You won’t suddenly be able to fly—that yearning will never be satisfied—but you’ll have choices about how and where to go with the means you actually have.

Knowing this won’t stop the train, of course. So, when you can, you engage in the activities that make the journey slightly more bearable. You meditate, accepting where you are, noticing the train, the gray outside, the lack of smell. You notice and do not judge. You cry. You try to eat the cardboard-tasting food in the snack bar when you can make yourself get there. You stay alive, even though staying alive means staying on the train. This is where you are, now. You keep breathing.

*

Later, you’ll make notes about where you went. You’ll have learned something about yourself and your own depths, your astonishing ability to despise yourself, your even more astonishing ability to survive. You’ll see that this journey wasn’t exactly like the others, each one different, this last one perhaps less time in the Country of Despair and more time in Shame City. You’ll make lists of supplies for the next involuntary trip, if it should happen again: warm blankets, old hard-bound books, herbs to help you sleep, a foreign language phrasebook so you can still communicate with your loved ones, and they with you.

*

However you are, it’s ok. I know you didn’t buy that ticket yourself, plan this trip for yourself. You’re allowed to cry. You are just a person, not a Depressed Person. You will return. You are valuable even when you’re not functioning well. You are unique, a miracle, the most beautiful and perfect you there ever was. You will return. You will return. You will return.


Katie also blogs on empowerment and mindfulness topics at The Manifesto, and her self-help/empowerment book is available here. Please also check out her brand new memoir/short essay collection, Letters to Colin Firth.

425 replies »

  1. Yes. Yes and thank you. I not only take the train down to unforsaken places, I fly….which usually lands me at the train station. I’ve been on this latest train longer than I’d like and hope and pray that my stop’s platform is just ahead. Bless you for honesty and gorgeous craft of words.

    Liked by 11 people

  2. Well, I’ve been on one unforgettable trip to depression town (though I’ve been charged for many). And, that one trip changed my life. I cried, uncontrollably for hours, until the point that I wondered if I would just shrivel up like a raisin or cease to exist.
    It was one of the few times I allowed myself to feel the sorrow of things I’d rather had left forgotten. This post reminded me of that feeling.

    I feel free to be happy now. I think that feeling depressed, for that day, helped me to become happy (as cheesy as that sounds).

    Great post. And awesome writing, by the way!

    Liked by 7 people

  3. This was so nicely written! It made me think of the polar express and how it was almost like a never ending train ride. Yes it was a kids movie and was suppose to have a joyful meaning, but think of it figuratively.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Having dealt with depression most of my adult life, with one episode so bad that I took myself to the ER, thank you. It is so hard to put in words when it strikes. Thankfully, my husband has come to realize that when depression hits, it has nothing to do with him. That has helped me fight the depression off a lot easier.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. No matter who comes to rescue you off the depression train, they can’t, unless you choose to let them, unless you give your hand for them to pull you out and often you won’t, because you’re not ready.. yet… beautifully written 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  6. what a great way to truly explain what depression is like. This is how many of my patients feel and how they cannot put into words what it’s like and you did so beautifully. Depression isn’t understood and it’s a monster people need to fight over and over again. When depression has a hold on you, do know you’re stronger, you’re more experienced, you can beat it..as long as you don’t give up, you will win.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The trip is NOT an endless journey, so taking this in mind makes a lot of things much more easier. It is also a chance to see a lot of matters in a clear light, then and afterwards it is important to follow these intuitive insights which may possible lead to another trip sometime. But in the meantime the dilemma is to accept this trip while also refusing it. More sunnier times will follow in any case.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I cried while reading the entire post. I sleep with a suicide note under my pillow but every night I stop myself from using the blade in my drawer, just because I know all this will get over someday. But while I’m in it its just hard to swim through.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. If I ever have the confidence to confess what goes on in my head to anyone who doesn’t yet know I think I will start by showing them this beautifully written explanation. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Readers, thank you so much for the kind comments. If you’re on the Depression Train now, trust that it will stop. You will get back to the ordinary world. You will. And you are so, so strong for staying alive while you’re on this trip you didn’t choose. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I don’t rember NOT being depressed , My Father Died when I Was 7 and since that day i wait for God to take me home. I have had been trying scicide since I Was 11 Years old my Mother was a Drunk and abusive and I Knew she did not love me. I Have taken care of all the older generation when illness came and I Loved every Minute of that I Found the Lord About 4 Years ago and I Know that I Won’t go til he is ready fpr me. I Was A Nurse for 30 years and I Defined myself that way so when I Had to retire ,I Can’t figure out who I am. Other that one depressed old lady. It’s just real hard to know that nobody needs me. Hopefully I Will Find the Sunshine againsoon until then please keep me in Your Prayers.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Thank you, for this. Really… My mind just get so jumbled, I find it hard to explain even to myself what’s going on inside of it. This helps.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh, sweetie, I’m so very sorry to hear this. You are of value, just yourself, who you are, whether you’re working as a nurse or not. The world and your childhood conspired to convince you that you don’t have value, but you absolutely do. You believe in God, and I respect that faith. So you know that a higher power loves you. But know this, too: just by writing your comment here, you have shared an essential part of yourself. You have connected with other people, with me. By saying your experience, you have made others believe that their experiences are also important, and valid, and real. You have contributed to the love in the world–that’s what God is, that’s what connection is. How absolutely necessary and important you are. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for making such wonderful writing. Depression these days are horrible to handle. Once people get into that, fails to come out of it very soon. They try for getting out and with quite small amount they get vexed and fed-up. Your blog is really motivation for people. It gives me some energy to try hard further to get relieved.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “And then you remind yourself, over and over and over, that the train WILL stop. It will stop. It always has before. The train will stop. And you’ll get off, stepping out into ordinary sunlight. The air will have smells again, other people will seem real, you’ll be able to smile. There will be possibilities, choices. You will be able, again, to choose whether to walk fast or slow, turn left or right. You won’t suddenly be able to fly—that yearning will never be satisfied—but you’ll have choices about how and where to go with the means you actually have.” – You spoke directly to me, here. I, too, have been on these trips. The train does indeed stop, but I fear that the location where it drops me off in recent years is never as bright as I experienced as my “usual self.” People seem less and less real, and what I wouldn’t give to not have to fake my smile again. I fear the choices and possibilities are diminishing with every return. I keep getting farther and farther away from myself. Sometimes it’s all I can do to string a few words together to make a coherent sentence, so thanks for your post. It’s good to know that some people make it back to destination “self.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What an analogy for depression! I have lived with depression for over twenty years, and although I have bad days or weeks My heart goes out to the person who sleeps with a suicide note at the ready. I hope your post was a help to them as it was to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Great writing.It is how I feel when I’m on that train.When will this end.How can I get off?
    A lot of people don’t understand the train so therefore cannot comment on this.The Harshness of circumstances going on.Why do I feel like this and no body else does?These questions are asked to myself every time it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi, my name is Tabby. You write: “Well first you apologize to the people who love you, over and over, when you cry daily or don’t even get off the couch to go to the grocery store for toilet paper or turn down invitations to do things or accept said invitations and then feel like your company is a burden. You apologize and you try to explain that some day, you suspect, you’ll be able to get off the Depression Train. You just don’t know how, and you don’t know when, so you can’t tell them when it’ll be easier to be around you and you can’t tell them how to help you.”

    What do you mean? Depressed people should apologize to everyone? Do you thinks this for real? That depressed people owe apologies? Depression being defined as not being “normal” or “ordinary” is a fairly degrading description as well.

    This feels like someone is laying a guilt and shame trip… on you.

    Anyhow, depression is too general of a term to address it in a one size fits all.

    Sometimes for example the people in the family around a depressed person are so abusive that they are the triggers and causing PTSD (or rather PTSE which stands for post traumatic stress event rather than “disorder”) which is far different than needing to step up and apologize so one can fit into parties and not turn down invitations…

    Anyhow, my best wishes to you. Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to cry and you don’t have to say you are sorry. Facing the turbulence and embracing it so you are allowed to feel without denying the true experience is probably more beneficial, but discovering how to do that takes time and work and hanging in there.

    I actually don’t believe in giving “advice” so I hope this comment of mine isn’t doing that. I only want to correct the need to be overly apologetic… The rest of the world isn’t doing it “right” just because they appear to be “functioning”. And happiness isn’t a goal. It comes and goes for everyone.

    Thanks for your time and peace and healing to all here. I realize they are taking comfort in your work and that’s good.

    My own work isn’t comforting. I’m embracing my turbulence to get through it. I’m willing to risk being misunderstood and while I don’t go out of my way to be a downer, I don’t paste “positivity” on the surface. It’s far more depressing to act how others think I “should”and I don’t want to attract people I have to be fake around.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I thought the train was one way. Only throughout this year have I first gained some sense of normality and secondly had a taste (albeit a brief moment) of happiness. For someone who had lost all hope, that lets me know that it’s still possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Tabby, thanks for this comment–it’s definitely accurate. Everyone experiences depression differently, and there are different types of depression. No metaphor is perfect, or one-size-fits-all. I do think that I–and others–tend to be self-blaming when I’m on the Depression Train. And I don’t think that’s a good thing, which is why I emphasize that we didn’t buy that ticket ourselves. To be honest, a few days after I wrote this, my husband said to me, “And you are _not_ difficult to live with or be around. You are a joy to be around. I think you worry about that right now, don’t you? But you don’t get to decide that for me; I love living with you.” I needed that reassurance. (And yes, I’m very lucky to have him.)

    As for you speaking your truth whether it’s “comforting” or not, I’m so glad you did (and do). We truly need all the voices. We need to keep speaking about the difficult things, the misunderstood things, and even the helpful things, because people are so complex and unique–who knows what will resonate with each of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for sharing “Depression is a Trip” It’s through sharing that brings us (human beings) closer. I’d like to share with you and your readers. I hope they connect with you in a way “Depression is a Trip” has connected with so many. Be well. Peace

    http://coiffedbyrenee.blogspot.com/2014/12/stay-here.html

    http://coiffedbyrenee.blogspot.com/2015/11/suffering-is-wonderful-teacher.html

    http://coiffedbyrenee.blogspot.com/2015/01/suicide_20.html

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Great post- I have been in the dark night of the soul (major depression) for over 15 years. Much like the addictions that follow depression to self medicate, depression itself is not always taken seriously by loved ones who want you to ” snap ” out of it. I always told people to go to the cancer ward and demand the patients ” snap ” out of it. No takers. What is the difference? The thing that depressed people need is hope. Hope , real hope cannot come from mind over matter games, or willpower. If it could there wouldn’t be many addicts around. Freedom from depression requires an identity change and sometimes the right medications to balance the chemicals out. In my case, the only thing that kept me alive each day was my faith. I believed that I could be free, and I couldn’t do it- but I knew someone who could, and He did. Hope you are getting better each day-
    tj

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Lovely post! I think we give this less importance than it really have…this affects us not only in a psychological way but physical! We change our habits, out body gets ill…that’s why is so important to have people who love you around…who helps you with all the heavy moments, who support you…even if they can’t do anything to solve the problem, they give you good vibes, good energy…we are not only physical. We need to feel loved, appreciated, need to know we do things right or that we have someone there who we can count on…thank you for this post! Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I know this feeling. It’s terrible but nobody understands. For all my knowledge about this and how I care to not go too deep myself I couldn’t see that my mom was depressed until she died.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Thank you for clarifying. I’m glad you have a good friend in your husband who will help dispel the myths.

    I made a mistake when I said PTSE and I meant “I” as in injury PTSI is being used a lot in working with veterans suffering from suicidal thoughts and trauma and depression and taking the stigma out of the language has meant the difference between allowing help or blocking it in many cases.

    Here are some links that explain better and that also connect to many healing articles for depression and different kinds of diagnosis in case you or your other readers want to learn more…

    http://www.onbeing.org/blog/beyond-ptsd-to-moral-injury/5069

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/rachel-yehuda-how-trauma-and-resilience-cross-generations/7786

    http://www.onbeing.org/blog/depression-and-resilience/6235

    Thanks for allowing my voice and for your kindness.

    Like

  26. This blog made me realize, anyone can get depressed. Your analogy of the problem makes me seek to prepare for what may come about suddenly with very little provocation. Thank you for posting this very inspirational blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Very well written and descriptive of the problem of depression. I’ve always tried to explain to my family but never can get the right words to describe it. Most of the time they tell me to get over it and move on without understanding, this is something I think they should read as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Whatever you have written after “what can you do?” I’ve done all that,felt it infact doing it till now but there is no sign of hope or relief for me. I am so helpless.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. What an amazing post.
    I’m just a 23 year old, struggling with my educational phase and thats very strong and depressing. Your post just depicted my feelings into a body. And no doubt these are the times when you know yourself better more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Very relatable.. I love how you used a trip on drugs as an example, it made such a heavy topic seem a little lighter and easier to read about. Keep up the awesome work girl!! 🙂

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  31. That’s accurately correct.
    I have had such times. And the worst part is that we actually never had planned such trip or bought the ticket.. We are like forced into it..
    Its like being in a prison through manipulation and not actual committing crime..
    That sucks..
    Like really.. Depression sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. You know my life! This post, although it was about my arch nemesis, made me SMILE. It is 100% completely accurate & true to my experience. You have the words that illustrate what I could never even attempt & the reassurance offered at the end, knowing “you will return…” is beautiful. Thank you so much for posting this! ❤

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  33. “You feel like you’re not your usual self, and you fear you may never get back to being your usual self, or that your “usual self” is in fact your “unusual self,” and the majority of who you are is actually A Depressed Person. ”

    This fits me to a tee and it scares the crap out of me. I don’t feel like I’m going to get out of this and I’m scared I’m going to forget what it feels like not to have a weight holding me down, trying to drown me every day. I’ve gone about acting as if things are okay for so long that I don’t remember what reality is sometimes.
    I hope my time to get off the train is soon. I’m tired of this trip.
    Thank you for the post. I loved the analogies and your style of writing. I’ll stay tuned for more.

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  34. @severlydepressed1 – I know how you feel. I’ve been spiraling down quickly in the last month or so. I’m holding on to the hope that things will change and that eventually I’ll look back at how I was and see the changes I’ve made. Keep holding on to hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. “Later, you’ll make notes about where you went. You’ll have learned something about yourself and your own depths, your astonishing ability to despise yourself, your even more astonishing ability to survive.”

    It is now later and I’m so relieved to have the notes and to have survived. Thanks for this beautiful piece of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I’m so sorry to hear about your suffering and despair. I think the despair and feeling of helplessness is part of depression–you can’t imagine ever being able to get off the Depression Train, even if you have before. This is where you need to trust in the experiences of others: we have been there, and we have returned from there. No one can honestly tell you it’ll be easy or simple, but we can say this: somehow, some time, you get off the train. Maybe something helps you–medication, therapy, meditation, daily walks, the love of a pet, writing your pain, or something else unpredictable in how it suddenly helps. Because people are so complex, different day to day and even minute to minute, we often can’t know what will trigger that damn train to stop. Hold on, please. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  37. What a fantastic blog about depression. I treated a lot of patients with depression and have been depressed myself.
    The horrible time when you think : “Nobody likes me, and if they do, they would not if they knew what I an really like”. Time when ” the dreams where you are dying are the best dreams you ever had…”.
    , Your blog explains depression well and very lyrically. Thanks

    Like

  38. Trust me I’ve tried everything therapy,meditation,daily walks,writing my pain in a diary(5till now) and what not. But nothing helps because I have so many fears, I’ve no courage left. I am dead tired now.

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  39. I love the analogy to the train. I’ve had similar experiences that I’ve described as being on a runaway train and not being able to locate the brakes. The analogy to not being able to get off is exactly what the depression can be like. It’s such a challenge for those without depression to understand what it’s like and yet you have articulated it so clearly. I would love for you to check out my site on depression, if you get a chance: https://heatherssimplelife.wordpress.com

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  40. Fantastic perception of emotion Katie. The continual thread of the metaphor of a train works really well. I shall look forward to reading your articles on empowerment too

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  41. In my experience, another thing people like to say about getting me off the train…but look at all the things you have/things you should be happy for. Interestingly, that statement makes you a worse person for not recognizing the good over the sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. As a person who suffers and lives in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse? These are very POWERFUL WORDS written. I had 2 failed suicide attempts myself and you have captured much in-depth feelings with this beautiful post . . . Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 🙂 XO

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  43. This is absolutely beautiful and you have managed to put a voice to the journey so succinctly. You have a real gift for writing. If you find yourself on that train, I’ll probably see you, and I’ll have chocolate xx

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  44. Riding the train now….trip has been longer than usual. You have put into beautiful prose what I’ve never been able to explain properly to anyone. You’ve affirmed that my journey, although unique, includes stops where others have been and experiences others have experienced. Thank you.

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  45. Like what many others have already said, what I have to say is no surprise. However, I’ll say it anyway beautiful! This actually helped me. I am a massive stroke survivor at a young age. I spent quite a bit of time on that train, after my life was seemingly destroyed.?

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  46. So funny how I’ve only now launched my blog, and finished writing the first draft of a new character -second article to be- that suddenly realizes her depression on a train …

    I wouldn’t compare it to a drug trip though, although similar in ways you’ve mentioned. The core difference is that with drugs, you know there’s an end coming, whereas with depression, it can feel like it’s never ending; even when times get better.

    It’s a very nice post, looking forward to read you some more overtime !

    Liked by 1 person

  47. It is a trip… Well said. Not many know I am a passenger of this train n I feel sorry for the ones who I think one day loved me. I don’t even feel like speaking or keeping in contact. I just hope this train would crash with me in it so I wouldn’t have an excuse to say goodbye …

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  48. In fact, I am so sick and tired of being in this damn train that I don’t care whether if or how or when it will ever stop. I feel sorry for myself n I let it be. I don’t care if I sleep on the street or if I have nothing to eat. I don’t remember any of my dreams n I don’t feel like I have to accomplish anything else, which makes me feel like I’m ready to leave this planet because: what is the purpose of living like this anyways?

    I do have good days sometimes, then I have empty days, then panic days, dark obscure days, days that I’d rather not even mention, then numb days. Where nothing matters. I try to write on my blog how I feel, without being so explicit about my thoughts. That helps sometimes … I’ve never written on a dark day though… N I don’t want to scare anyone who reads it…

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  49. Thank you for your special words, at the end of the written. Sometimes I almost forget that we all are miracles, and so do I. I feel I’m crying but the medicine doesn’t allow me to do it. Thank you so much for you healing words. Thank you

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  50. Thank you for these words. Sometimes when we are on this train and nothing anyone does can help, words like these from people who have been there are the only bridge that remains between our souls and the world’s. Thank you for reconnecting us through this piece.

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  51. I’m 19 and this just explained everything I’m feeling right now, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one, it’s also nice knowing there’s an end to it. Thank you for the little bit of hope your writing just placed in me.

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  52. I like the story and the way you described, but i cannot relate depression with it.
    Depression is not a trip!
    Depression is a fall into a valley, whether someone pushed you or u felt.!
    It s not that easy dear, once in reality one s persons chemistry and brain hormones such as serotonin and gaba drops. Due to work loss, people loss, or a severe trauma.

    Unhealthy thoughts and stress can crack the person.

    One needs to climb again from that valley and he needs to shout! So he can get some help too.

    I have been there severely! I have been between eart hell and heaven.
    I healed my self.
    I learned CBT and life coaching and nutrition and did many trips to eastern countries to get out of that valley.
    No one likes to be depressed.

    Now in my turn i have an office and help people..without drugs, and if they are on drugs i help them to wean off..

    I help them re motivate them selves..change their thinking patterns
    Show compassion.

    Your side of the story is a bit “stop it” and “dont worry” “dont exagerate”

    People do suffer. It s not a train neither a trip.
    Life is a trip. Not depression nor anxiety.
    The train is the life UNSTOPBABLE journey.
    Depression is the un wanted stop!

    http://Www.jad-lifecoaching.com
    http://Www.jadmehanna.com

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  53. Wonderfully written! It speaks to me! I invite you to read my poem on depression titled ‘the war that wages within’ would like to know what you think of it.

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  54. I enjoyed the article because it is truth and I am on that train. I also liked your reply to Paul Grainger’s comment above. But the only people talking about depression that get connected are others who are depressed – chronically or otherwise – I am married and with two grown boys who are distant from me and me from them because of depression- it stinks when years ago she was told by others who didn’t even know what was going on to just ignore me – he has control of himself. I would like to see them old with loose bowls and they can’t make it to the toilet without them craping on the carpet – tell their spouse or grown children just ignore him/her they have control of themselves – no one really knows what it is to be on that train no matter how much you tell them – until they get on it themselves- my spouse told me I was rude when I told her you can only be in the state of depression to truly understand- and now that she is in menopause with bouts of depression- she won’t even admit it – You all think we want to be on this train? Do you think we want to distance people from us our family and friends? You shouldn’t make an opinion until you know what it is like. And no, I wish this state of mind on no one. We just want to be at peace inside ourselves and with others.

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  55. Beautifully compared depression with a trip. Usually trips are taken for a break. But depression is the point when you break from inside?

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  56. Thanks for this post. Fortunately, I cannot relate personally, but I’ve watched loved ones struggle endlessly with depression or anxiety. Your metaphor is helpful for those of us trying to support others in their rough patches, as it can sometimes seem as though they are unreachable through the fog. Hopefully all on this trip will find peace.

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  57. I was in this train, I remember life didn’t felt like life. I wasn’t myself, I felt terrible at every single minute. God saved me and I’ll be always grateful.

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  58. Hello from Singapore.

    The meaningful exposition you’ve carefully crafted accurately represents the struggles and the empirical sensations people like me go through depression. We are often under the deleterious impression that there would be a vicious cycle that presents a blanket prediction of pessimism. I’ve been there, and the trip that you’ve made clearly resonated with mine. Thank you for being able to express the magnitude of suffering to be equal to the magnitude of meaning the words are intended to express. Cheers.

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  59. The feeling to just “stay alive” in that moment is so real to me it shook me. This is poignant and incredible. Thank you for sharing and giving me the courage to share what I feel.

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  60. i am thankful for your words. They speak truth into my own experience. I want to be good for myself and loved ones. I am counting on me and i know they are just as well. What has helped me this time is knowing i survived once, ill survive again. Family friends and loved ones support is trully a support. And messages of others who experience this and continue to perservere is definately helpful.

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  61. Thank you so very much Katie… I have been off and on the train for years and years…& it WILL stop, it will… But lately (as in the last two years) I have found it more and more difficult to explain HOW I am feeling… You said it all. Thank you, from the very heart of me thank hou

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  62. I suffer from G.A.D. and mild depression and this article hits it right on the head. I’m going through a horrible patch at the moment and feel as if I’ll never be strong or ever be able to enjoy life again.

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  63. Don’t regret not trying LSD. The experience is is still defined by the individual mind, and a depressive mind on LSD is a truly terrifying place, as Aldous Huxley found out the hard way.

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  64. What you wrote is very important. It helps people to understand. But are you on meds to help with depression? Are you in therapy? Reaching out to people is very helpful, although admittedly it’s very difficult when you’re struggling. I find if I fight the urge to cocoon, and maybe go out and exercise, it helps me. I’m on Fetzima. It’s helping. Finally.

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  65. I’m very lucky, personally–husband, family, and friends are all incredibly supportive. Working on getting the meds right; I’d like to try therapy, but it seems to be difficult for me to find a compatible therapist. I’m glad you’ve got things that are helping you!

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  66. Katie,
    Your comparing depression to taking a trip–not of your choice–is very descriptive. Hopefully it has benefited others too. Life does seem to accumulate a lot of things that could contribute to taking such a trip. As a new reader to these WordPress blogs I would like to share a thought or two on my experience with depression and what may have helped me terminate “the trip.” Please feel free to read my latest post: “The power of depression.” You can find it at http://www.letagespeak.com . I am soon to be 75 years old and so I have seen a lot of my loved one taking the trip you describe. After reading it (I assume you will) please also let me know your thoughts. Wishing you well. Rones

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  67. Very good and insightful blog. I spent many years living with depression. Then one day it was gone. I wish the same for you. Having taken way too many drug trips in the 70’s, I would say you didn’t miss a whole lot. Better to stay in real life I found.

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  68. At times the train will stop and I can get off and admire the beauty of the world. Stepping onto the platform away from the cardboard and solid seats. However I can never seem to leave the station for it is not long until I am forced back onto the train and watch as the beauty of the world closes in front of me. The journey is long and somehow endless. Your post reminds me of the movie Spirited Away where you can only get a one way ticket for the train.

    For now I know I shall see many sites and landscapes however I know the train doors will close throughout.

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  69. I truly believe there’s different types of depression just like there’s different types of dementia …it all depends what part of the brain it effects… Good read … Thank you…. Checkout my blog #fiftyshadesofoldage…..?

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  70. This came at just the right time. Thank you. I love to write and even that’s hard right now, so just know yours touched my heart in a way I can’t currently put in such an eloquent way. Just… thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. Thank-you for writing this eloquent and compassionate piece. I’m not currently on the train (I think?), but this is a familiar experience.

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  72. This post hits the nail on the head! I love the imagery of ending up on the wrong plane because it’s so true – it’s not something we choose. It’s a message I think society really needs to get to grips with.

    Mental health is something I write about a lot on my blog & I think it is so important that it is talked about in the blogging community.

    Thank you for this post xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Pingback: Sangireesh
  74. I haven’t gone through full swing depression before. But I know people who are on that train and a lot of times I feel like I myself am in it(though I recon it’s just my mind)

    Your post helped to explain a lot. And I was able to relate with it. The Antarctica coldness feeling is so true. And people who try to help don’t generally succeed either. You just have to struggle and hope and wait for the train to stop.

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  75. Thanks for writing this. I guess none of us wanted to get on the train from the first place. I think I’m on this train and I’m not sure where it will take me or when it will take me back to my place or whether it will ever take me back. But thanks for writing this!

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  76. I used to have a depression;I guess I have had a few years of it. You caused by missing families -base and too little money. I was even in a hospital, and a 1 Year and 18 months.
    In my head is still black – unfortunately
    pictures.

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  77. What Happens Is, All The Depression Journeys Will Prepare You For The Next… You Will Keep Learning Till You Know How To Work Your Feelings More Properly To Your Taste Which Will Help You Through Times… Life Doesn’t Actually Get Easier, You Just Get Better… So, You’re Beautiful And You Will Get Through Provided You Embrace The Hard Times And Take Advantage Of The Lessons You Learn From Them. .

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  78. Depression is sad but beautiful… Beautiful pain… It makes you deep, wise and prepares you for the future and helps you relate more with people’s feelings… It really sucks, but has a lot to offer. .

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  79. Yes my dear friend #Katie, I strongly agree with your message. Depression is just like a football, it apparently looks like a solid circle, but it has uncountable edges; which edge being hit will swing little or too much make you wonder about its silent complexity! Isn’t it? My life has been a bread-and-butter daily for Depression! But still I feel that I am fighting as a warrior! Just because there are more mysteries to unlock! Just because there are more blue days to come! I want to face those! As I know, the almighty creator wants me keep fighting, I can’t ignore the land of Depression! My quest for utter solidarity keeps on and on and on….:) Nice work Katie

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  80. What a graphic and heart rending account for one who has never been on the train. But I’ve looked in the window – and heard the carriages rattling past. Passengers inside with no way of getting out until the next station. Possible respite in a poster about food intolerance

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  81. This is a very descriptive and beautiful piece on the “big dreaded secret” on depression. I being a recovered patient couldn’t put it in better words.
    Indeed the train did stop and did return to my original joyful me.

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  82. This is beautiful. But maybe not look at it as a train? Maybe look at it as something you know you have the power to control.
    However, the things mentioned in this article hit the nail on the head. Great job!

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  83. Thanks for this blog. I’ve struggled with depression/PTSD since 1981 and some days the bitch really kicks my ass, but I tell myself, “this, too, shall pass.”

    Liked by 1 person

  84. Sometimes naming it–describing it as it seems to you right then–has its own kind of power. Reframing your perspective can be part of the solution, yes. The truth is, just as the experience is different for each person, so are the strategies that help.

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  85. Absolutely. 🙂 And as I said above.. The strategies you’ve mentioned in this article are spot on. They helped me pull myself out of a dark space I was about to walk into last year.

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  86. thanks for writing this. it was beautifully written. you did hit it head on. i too was recently in depression. i was so relieved to get out.
    alwats hold your head up and you b fine. thanks 🙂

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  87. Reblogged this on Bookdragon and commented:
    “It’s ok. I know you didn’t buy that ticket yourself, plan this trip for yourself […] You are just a person […] You are valuable even when you’re not functioning well.”

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  88. What a write! Such beautiful words to describe the emotion❤️ bang on!!!!
    What helped me get off the train was to just wear something neat n take my toddler for a daily walk out OUT of the house….

    In a week , the energy of nature kinda wrapped me in some magic n I realized I was out of the train…

    Even if it’s impossible to take that walk, just get yourself out in nature..helps big time❤️

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  89. Thank you. When I thought all along that I was alone in the way I have been feeling for over a decade while no solution worked thus yet, you helped give me some consolation to the fact that I’m not alone on that train.

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  90. You are not alone. And something will work. There are different kinds of therapies. Try anything that appeals to you at all. No one else can tell you what will work for you–or when. You are worth the effort.

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  91. I have a post on depression myself, a little different. Mine is identifying it as an entity. “Depression Who Are You and Why Are You Here Again?” I would like the world to stop being crippled by anything. We don’t have to be and the truth is easier than all the horrible guesses and just coping that people do. Check it out. Bless ya!

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  92. So unnecessary. Depression is an unwelcome entity you don’t have to have. I speak the truth. Read my blog “Depression Who Are You and Why Are You Here Again? I’m happy to help anyone get rid of this.

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  93. May I ask, why a train?
    I personally love Antarctica probably because never experienced it at winter.
    I am a Depressed Person, my biggest problem is thinking I’m perfect and then I find out it’s a lie. Even the world proves its imperfections through me and others.
    Loved the part about a foreign language book so you could communicate with others.

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  94. Thanks for your comment! The thing about metaphor is that it seeks to say something that’s very hard to say, and no metaphor is perfect. The train seemed to fit my metaphor, but I think it’s really useful for people to create their own, to try to make sense of the world and their own experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  95. Yes. I hear you. My advice: search out what helps you; there’s no single way. I just heard about ACT therapy for the first time, and I’ve been looking into these things for years. There is no one-size-fits-all.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. Omg can I relate , it’s such a dark, deep, hole that u feel like u are in and no mater what u can’t escape it. So when I’m healthy I try to enjoy life, travel, eat great foods, sing, swim enjoy life b/c I know that it will come back and the cycle continues

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