The Roller Coaster

Guest Author: Shawna

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

This morning, just pressing the pump on the shampoo bottle required too much effort.

My physical strength was low. My mental willingness was non-existent. Not one part of me, not even my sticky, sweaty skin from an hour of cycling at the gym, wanted to be in the shower. Just thinking about the effort it’d take to wash and blow dry my hair, followed by getting dressed, putting on makeup and going to work left me feeling anxious, exhausted and overwhelmed.

As I trudged up the eight stairs from the bathroom to the main floor it felt more like 800 stairs and that I was carrying 800-pound weights on each leg.

So. Very. Tired.

That’s what I always do when it comes back.

I wanted to stay home from work. Despite the sunny July morning sky and the lively chirping of the birds, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed, pull up the covers, pull down the window shades and withdraw from the world.

That’s what I always do when it comes back. I withdraw. I remove myself from the world and wallow in the depths of my depression. Right or wrong, it’s what I do. It’s what I feel I need to do and have to do until it goes away.

It came back full force yesterday. It reared its ugly head two days ago and I prayed that positive thinking, self-compassion and regular exercise would intercept its insidious grasp. But none of those things helped. Neither did hugs from my husband or wet kisses from our dog. A bag of chocolate covered almonds tasted heavenly, but after scarfing them down I felt like hell. I don’t know why I think gorging myself with copious amounts chocolate will make me feel better; when every single time it has the opposite effect. Yes, it numbs me for the few seconds that I’m stuffing my mouth and tasting the smooth, sweet confection, but as soon as the wrapper is in the trash I begin treating myself like trash for eating it.

This illness is a f*cking roller coaster.

This illness is a f*cking roller coaster. One day up the next day down.  But unlike a roller coaster at an amusement park, I can’t see when the track drops off and descends downward. One minute I’m up, up, up in the sky enjoying life’s ride and then whoosh! The next thing I know I’m down. Way, way down in a deep, dark hole.

I hate living this way and that’s why I have endless compassion for the countless sad souls that have lost their battle with depression. I don’t know for sure what goes through a depressed person’s mind in the days, hours or minutes before they commit suicide, but because of my own mental illness, I think I get it.

I get how freeing it would feel to never have to wonder when it was going to come back, and how long it would stay when it did. I’ve thought about how liberating it would feel to not search over and over and over again for an answer to that million-dollar question: “Why am I depressed?”

It’s f*cking exhausting. It’s exhausting being depressed and it’s even more exhausting trying to pretend that you’re not, just so you can spare your family and friends the burden of going through another one of your depressive episodes. Because like it or not, the people you love and who love you back ride the roller coaster with you.

I’d rather ride the bumper cars.

I didn’t choose the roller coaster. I’d rather ride the bumper cars. Even though you get bumped and bruised behind the wheel you remain on level ground and for the most part you can see what’s coming at you and how fast it’s approaching. On a roller coaster, the hills and valleys come fast and furious and unexpectedly.

This ride sucks sometimes. But I firmly believe that the decision when to get off isn’t mine to make. So, I’ll hold on tight and keep riding.




Great, well written post. I love the visuals, and contrasting the roller coaster to the bumper cars was perfect. Thanks for writing, and thanks for sharing


Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it and it means a lot. – Shawna


Keep riding, babe. As do I. Every. Single. Day.

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