I wake up in the morning and before I even open my eyes, there it is. That weight laced with desperation. That sinking feeling that tells me nothing is ever going to get better and I might as well just give up now. Give up at what, I’m not really sure. Not that it matters.

I contemplate actually opening my eyes. But what is the point of that? Why would I want to see things better? Smarter just to lay here and try my best not to listen. And definitely not see, think. Anything. Maybe I can go back to sleep. It’s only 5:15am. Plenty of time to sink back in.

My brain does not cooperate. My own worst enemy. Why? Trying to not think ends up worse than thinking. Pushing away the thoughts that at first sneak around behind and then try to cover my head, soon begin simply jabbing at my gut and my thighs. Prodding sharply. I give in and acknowledge them. And then they cover me up.

Nothing will ever get any better. In fact, it’s already getting worse. It doesn’t matter what I could ever try to do. Ever. All the projects I get excited about and then plan. All the projects that I hope will somehow make a difference in someone’s life. They amount to nothing. Nothing. And no one cares. And why should they? I mean, really? Who am I to try and do anything, anyway? I’m just one more person in the world that thinks farther than they can actually reach. But realizes it too late to save themselves the public embarrassment.

I’m beginning to suffocate. If I don’t open my eyes, I’ll die.

What do I think I’m doing with my life? I should go back to school. I should want to go back to school. I should go get a regular job where I drive to an office and see normal people that do work-type things and drink coffee. I should want to want a regular job. I should make sure I have health care. I should have an IRA and heavy savings accounts. I should take vacations twice a year for 3.5 days each and be happy that I have an office to go back to. I should stop trying to make something out of nothing and give it up already. I’m not really a business owner. I’m not really a project director or designer or good at talking with clients or anything to do with what I am supposed to do. My work is crap. Total crap. No one wants to see it. No one likes it. I could never be one of the people that are talked about later as someone that contributed to something great or amazing or worthwhile because everything I do is so mediocre and inconsequential. Trying to create another place for people to get together online. Who the fuck cares? The code is crap. The design is crap. It won’t ever get done. If it does get done, it will suck and no one will want to be a part of it anyway. I’m not painting anymore but if I did, no one would buy them. And if I tried to paint again, I wouldn’t be able to. I think I’ve lost whatever talent I had before.

If I don’t get out of bed, I will never get out again.

I have spots on my arm that haven’t healed in over 6 months. I think I scratch them when I’m sleeping or nervous. I don’t know why they don’t heal. What is wrong with me? People notice them and I can see in their eyes how ugly I am. Hideous and weird. And fat. So, so fat. And my writing sucks. I write a blog that is just like a million other ones. And I write things that are of no importance to anyone. And the people that do write me, I can’t even answer. At least, not all of them. So many that I can’t even write back. So many people that need help and want someone to hear them and tell them that they are OK. And they are OK. I just don’t have the time to tell them that. I’m such a failure. I should be writing them all back so they know. But who do I think I am writing anyone? What could I possibly have to say that would make a difference? I don’t really know anything. I have no good advice. I don’t know ANYTHING. I only know what I’ve gone through and half the time, it makes no sense to me. We’re never going to have enough money. Rent will be due and we’ll be late. Projects are due and we are late. The electricity will get turned off if we don’t make it by 5pm. Can’t pay the bills. Can’t pay the bills. Can’t pay the bills. Can’t breathe.

In the shower I try to wash it all away. But I could scrub for hours and it wouldn’t work. Hours. There is just too much. Somehow, I’m supposed to go downstairs and begin my day and do stuff. Stuff that doesn’t matter and that I suck at.

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  1. I have a regular job where I drive to an office and do work-type things and drink coffee. I have a regular job. I have health care. I have an IRA and (well no savings account). I take long weekends with my husband am ‘happy’ that I have an office to go back to.

    There are still plenty of days I wake up feeling exactly like you do. Different reasons but the sinking “why bother” feeling is the same. Yet somehow, for some reason, we do it…we open our eyes and we do the think called living a life.

    Here’s to better tomorrows!

  2. Its a comfort just to know that I am not the only person who feels this way. I agree with PP Michelle…..”different reasons but the sinking “why bother” feeling is the same.” I get mad at myself for not being happy that I’ve got a job and a husband and a healthy son, etc. Shouldn’t that be enough?

  3. It’s times like these that I just want to hug you. I want you to know that you have a voice, and that your voice matters.

    Entries like these, while I hate that you feel this way, make me feel more normal. So, thank you – for affirming for me that I’m not alone.

  4. Please know that you do make a difference.

    Your willingness to lay your troubles bare and the love and respect you give your children is deeply inspirational to me.

    It would be great if you could be as kind to yourself as you are with others.

  5. Lauren said it best… what you write is important to me. And your art is important to me, and your photographs, and most of all your friendship. YOU are important to me. And to many, many, many other people, too. You are beautiful, and kind, and smart and funny and creative.

    It seems like the bad days are coming one after another, and you can’t get your head above water. Friends are good (and wonderful spouses are good too 🙂 but maybe professional counseling is in order? I don’t think you can stay on the thought path that you are on now — it is not healthy.

    ((lotsa hugs))

  6. p.s One time I was seeing a therapist, and I said something about “I should be feeling X” (whatever it was I thought I should be feeling). And she replied, “Do you ‘should’ on yourself a lot, Susan?”

    To this day I still think that’s one of the most lame-ass Therapy Sayings I’ve ever heard, but it makes me laugh because it’s so dumb – and yet so true.

    HTH 🙂

  7. And just when I was thinking I would like to write an article about you because you are so interesting…

    I feel like you are channeling me a bit, except I have the office job and the health insurance and see normal work-type people…and I dream of being home blogging in my underwear and drinking coffee out of a big mug.

    We are in the same ‘hood. If you ever need to see a friendly face who thinks you are awesome and wants to tell you how wonderful you are, coffee is on me.

    Yep, you are important to me. Not in a weird stalkerish kind of way, though.

  8. But you keep writing and you keep showering and you keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s important to everyone who checks in on you here, and it should make you proud.

  9. You know, I have most of the things you wrote about. I have an office, a desk, my name on the door… I have a breakroom with coffee and coworkers and dental insurance and 401k and 3 weeks vacation every year that I look forward to desperately to pretend for 3.5 days at a time that maybe, just *maybe* someday I’ll get to wake up at 5am because i WANT To, not because I have to, and that maybe I’ll get to do what I love for a living, not answer to people who tell me what to do and how to do it.

    Someone told me once that yes, the grass is always greener on the other side- but it feels damn good to dance barefoot on someone elses lawn for a few hours.

    Remember, there is always someone who would give anything to be in your shoes- I’d love nothing more than to have babies, and let them be my full time job… but mamma’s gotta bring home the bacon 😛

    Keep your chin up, peehead! *heart*

  10. Thank you. Regardless of how many people suffer days like this, we all feel like we’re alone when the darkness and dread hits before we even open our eyes. We aren’t alone. I’M not alone. Thank you so very much.

  11. Ugh. That’s the way I’ve felt every time I’ve written one of my angst-ridden poems, which are total crap and I don’t even mean to act like a poet when I write them…I just write them.

    And you’re crap if you think your work is crap. I’ve scrolled through your art and it really, really appeals to me.

    I thought you said you should take a 3.5 day vaccination. I kept reading it over and over and read it incorrectly each time. I kept thinking, “what vaccinations do adults need…and what kind of vaccination only lasts 3.5 days?” Too much computer screen today; my eyes are fuzzy.

    My dad’s a depressive and I’ve always laughed at something he contends: that depressive people are simply realistic people. They just don’t have the optimistic veil over their eyes that the rest of us do. So they see things the way they really are.

    I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  12. Ok, I’m heading there to beat you up. Just Kidding!!!

    I echo all the others, particularly Be Still (probably b/c I have a hard time being still). You do SO MUCH GOOD.

    All of your creative work is awesome and beautiful. So what if I am a crazy blog stalker that bought your book and read it in like four days 🙂

    You are enough. You will always be enough. You have always been enough.

    I wake up like this many, many days. Sometimes I think my brain is a monster and he justs sits on my pillow waiting ever so patiently for me to wake up. And then, BAM!!!!! That asshole starts in on how I’m not good enough and all the mistakes I made and how horrible I am, blah, blah, blah.

    Do not judge your insides against other’s outsides, or you will always come up short.

    Here’s a thought, when snakes are molting their skins, they get very crabby and will potentially bite. So, maybe you are just shedding some old skin 🙂

    I was actually going to email you a piece I read yesterday on the “Daily OM” but forgot. I am just reading your post tonight. The post on the Daily OM reminded me of you and the work you’ve done, and continue to do and how awesome it is that you DO help others. I will email it to you in a jif 🙂

    Be well Leah. You have many sisters out here rooting for you 🙂


  13. I am so sorry that it is bad. When I am first waking up is when I am most vulnerable to the diatribe. Only three things have ever helped me.
    First, I recognize that the voice switches between telling me I am the scum of the earth and that I am the chosen one who is expected to save humanity. Switching back and forth like that I keep getting sucker punched. It helps me to react to that. My response is ‘Hey, who died and made me God and who was the last person I tortured, killed and ate? Being pissed helps. The second thing is to demand a new line. That voice has been using the same old saws since I was a toddler. There is not one creative new accusation in the lot. The third sounds even sillier, but it helps. The night before, I make sure there is something I really like that is purely appealing to my senses. It can be a peach in the fridge or carnation scented soap. As I become aware I ask myself what I promised myself last night. I dangle whatever it is in front of my mind and my actual self is suddenly front and center. I am not getting up to face the day or deciding anything. I am just going to go get my peach and eat it while I get berated. Somehow, my physical self just jolts me out of the deadlock.

    It is impossible not to try to help, but it is ok if you say to yourself…’Just what I needed, some stupid asssvice!’ (Being pissed helps.)

  14. i care. and i think i get it for the most part. i am sorry it hurts. if there is such a thing as extreme empathy, then i get that when i read this. the urge to reach out and hug is unbearable. here is my hug, from me to you.

  15. i wrote you once.

    and i didn’t expect you to write me back.

    but you did.

    but it didn’t matter that you did. it mattered that you wrote something that hit home with me. and told me i wasn’t alone, i wasn’t crazy. i wasn’t still, at 22, in some angsty highschool phase. you wrote something that said what i felt, what you feel, what lots of others feel, is REAL.

    by being who you are, and being so honest to the entire world that is the internet, you are affirming that others aren’t alone and that they are ok.

    you don’t have to repeat yourself.


  16. I want to send this to all of my friends and family who don’t understand why somedays life is just so hard for me. Why one day I can be fine, ‘normal’ Meghan that they know and love, and then the next day I let the phone ring off the hook until voice mail picks up because there is no way I’m going to even leave my bedroom, let alone pick up the phone and interact with someone.

    It’s the people who still know and love me on the bad days that keep me sane enough to have the good days.

  17. It’s 2:20am right now and this is exactly how I am feeling only I am not going to get up and have a day because the rest of the world isn’t going to be awake and wanting me for another six or so hours. I came downstairs will the full intent of torturing myself the entire night with the complete run of thoughts about how perfectly useless I am and how my work is meaningless, worthless and horrible, and as always about two weeks late and even when it is finished, the clients will take their sweetest of time to pay the bill which only goes further to validate that they know it’s shit anyway. Knowing this will lead me for a little while to think and worry for awhile about how the bills haven’t been paid and how if one of our clients doesn’t pay this week we will probably have to sell everything and move back in with our parents because we have somehow fooled the world until this point but it is only a matter of short time now before the veil is lifted and the light will shine on us and reveal the complete and utter failures that we are.

    I have cuts on my feet that are so sore I can hardly walk because I have peeled the skin off until they bleed, in these past few nights, when I have been so very alone and worrying about all of these things. My sister in law saw my feet today and I saw her staring and she said nothing but I’m sure she knows for sure now that I am a complete and total freak (not that anything to the contrary had ever crossed her mind.)

    In a post in your archive there is something about getting through it by trying to stay positive, which really struck a chord with me when I read it the other day because it put into words what I have managed to do enough of the time that I can keep going long enough to hope that sometime before soon there will be a check in my mailbox and some of this will be fine.

    And if I hadn’t found your site last week, and if you hadn’t written this post about the Bad Days, and I hadn’t read it, I probably wouldn’t be closing up the laptop in a few minutes after I’ve let myself have it just a little bit more, and going back upstairs to try and get some sleep so that I can be ready for tomorrow where I will hopefully manage to wake up and be a decent human being and finish up some work and try my very best to breathe when I wake up and tune in to the little voice somewhere inside me that says just keep going, keep going, keep going.

    Thank you Leah. You are brave, and shiny and all ten kinds of wonderful.

  18. I read you, and enjoy the heck out of your blog. You are talented, and you make me come back for more.

    I am so sorry you are hurting. I have felt that way, and it is so hard. The thing that is so ellusive in your mind on those days is that, you do matter. Very much. To lots of people.

    Hang in there.

  19. You are wonderful and wise, and all of us here are so very very very glad we found you. You matter, not just to all those in your daily life who love you so much, but also to all of us out here in the ether.

    I agree with what Ree mentioned – that people with depression (and lots of other illnesses) are able to see the world without its shiny happy veil. And it’s not always a pretty sight. But even without that veil, you can look at these words here that all these people have written and remember that the world can be shiny and happy, and that you have a very important place in it.

    To quote John Irving: “You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You’ve got to keep passing the open windows.”

  20. I haven’t suffered from severe depression, but I have known and loved many people who have. Your words are so valuable–validation for those who wake up feeling the same way, and understanding for those who never have. I think there is a phenomenal thing going on with blogs–people have found a public way of expressing private things–and enriching others along the way. In a society where everybody is always trying to put their best foot forward, blogs like yours allow others to see a whole person. Ups, downs, and everything in between. Surely, you have no idea how many people you have touched with your willingness to be honest and real. Your ideas and projects seem to have a common theme–helping others. Is there anything more important? The world needs more leahpeahs.

  21. Damn stinking bad days. I first met depression in my teens, and damned if I could understand why I felt like I was literally drowning all the time. My mother would scream at me, demanding to know what was wrong with me, and I couldn’t explain it to her. Everything was wrong, nothing was wrong…and why the hell couldn’t she just leave me alone anyways??
    Leah Peah, I thank God for you and your work. Your candid nature reminds me that I’m not alone in the world, often just when I need to be reminded the most. More than that, you have given me some real, honest to goodness hope, in many ways, and that is a priceless gift. You know what? Thank you for answering China’s letter, girl. Look at the comments, you’ve struck a chord, me thinks. 🙂 I know you did with me with this entry as well. Not just this one though…so many others too. Thank you for being you and always insisting on being authentic, even when it’s the last damned thing on this earth you want to be. Your life has so much value and meaning, and I know this because I once had a friend of mine tell me that “it’s not how much you make, but how many lives you touch.” Girl? Look at your comments on this entry alone, would you? You’ve touched a lot of lives. You are of immense value. You are a gift.

    Thank you for all of it. Thank you for being courageous enough to be Leah Peah, and no one else. You. Rock.

  22. […] I know that if I think too much about what I have to do today, it will feel too hard. I’ll start feeling overwhelmed and probably not get out of bed. Once I allow myself to go down that downward spiral, it’s very hard to climb back up and could take me days. The best defense is a good offense. Some days I do better than others. […]

  23. […] A few weeks ago, Leah Peah wrote about what her bad days were like. Mine feel really similar, actually. It is an effort just to remember to breathe enough to get up a flight of stairs without fainting, and every real breath opens up my chest and crosses the emotional pain threshold. Each breath makes me feel, and I don’t want to feel. I go into zombie mode. […]

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