Sunday, May 22, 2011


I just graduated nursing school.
I just did something that hundreds, if not thousands of people across the country dream of.
And yet, I am not happy.

I should be happy. I should be over-the-goddamn-moon happy. I should be first-kiss, dancing-in-the-rain, cuddling-with-a-puppy, chocolate-chip-pancakes-on-a-Saturday-morning happy about this.
But instead, I don't feel anything.
Actually, no. That's a lie.
When I am not feeling completely and totally empty about the whole experience, all I can think about is how meaningless it all seems without my dad being here.

I am not okay, my lovely readers.
I have never been okay.
I'm a liar. And a hypocrite.
And I am really fucking depressed.

I know that I am loved. And that I would be missed if *something* were to happen to me. I know that I have people who care about me. It is strange how I spend most of my psych nursing rotation talking to depressed and suicidal patients about how beautiful life can be.
I am such a fucking fraud.

I am just not sure how much longer I can stand this. It hurts. Like physically hurts. I don't want to see anyone and I am avoiding phone calls. Two of my closest friends got married yesterday and I skipped the wedding because I hated the thought of the dark cloud following me to the ceremony. All I want to do is shut the world out right now. I know that one day this pain will make sense. I know that it will be useful to me somehow, just as it has been in the past. But I just hate it so much.

The very first sentence in my psych nursing textbook in the chapter on depression reads: "No amount of information can adequately convey the personal pain and suffering experienced by the individual with depression."
So there is no way to accurately explain it. You can't understand unless you have lived it.
It's like being dropped into the middle of a maze and someone shutting off the lights. All you can do is run your hands along the walls to try to find your way out.
It's like you are drowning but you are only a few inches below the water's surface.
It's like there is a tiny drop of poison in a bubble in your heart. You could be content, happy even. But that little bubble is still there and all it takes is for a hiccup to cause it to burst and the poison starts pumping through your veins. It spreads through your heart, and to your lungs, and to your brain. It's like a cancer. And it is a fight you won't win. Because day after day, the poison keeps spreading until eventually you don't have blood in your veins anymore. All you have is the poison. And it is just so exhausting trying to fight it. And you know that one day, your heart will say enough is enough and decide to stop beating as to no longer pump the poison.


NP Odyssey said...

I am worried about you.
I won't pretend to understand exactly how you are feeling, but you are not alone. And although you might not recognize it now, there are people who really need you.
If you need to talk.

Tine said...

I've been a dark hole where no words can describe exactly what is happening. Even now, I occasionally experience that same feeling, but in short bursts.

It's just... empty. There isn't anything to say. No amount of words from friends or family can console. Only you will know when you are ready to emerge.

Sometimes sitting in silence is the only way to sort through the feelings. If you need someone to sit in silence with, I'll be right here.

rnraquel said...

I'm so sorry. I have been there too. It is like a cave you can't find your way out of. A writer, William Styron described depression much more eloquently than I ever could:
"In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying- or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity- but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes. And this results in a striking experience- one which I have called, borrowing military terminology, the situation of the walking wounded. For in virtually any other serious sickness, a patient who felt similar devastation would by lying flat in bed, possibly sedated and hooked up to the tubes and wires of life-support systems, but at the very least in a posture of repose and in an isolated setting. His invalidism would be necessary, unquestioned and honorably attained. However, the sufferer from depression has no such option and therefore finds himself, like a walking casualty of war, thrust into the most intolerable social and family situations. There he must, despite the anguish devouring his brain, present a face approximating the one that is associated with ordinary events and companionship. He must try to utter small talk, and be responsive to questions, and knowingly nod and frown and, God help him, even smile. But it is a fierce trial attempting to speak a few simple words."
— William Styron (Darkness Visible)
Sometimes an accomplishment, even one as awesome as finishing your nursing degree, can be anticlimactic, and without your Dad, seem meaningless. My Mom passed away the night before my nursing school officially ended. I was not right for quite a while. Some people would say I'm still not right ;) Zoloft and I are in a long term relationship, which I know isn't for everyone, but helps me out. I would be happy to talk anytime. Please at least try to take care of yourself or let others do so. Thinking of you!

Kendra said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this right now. The same thing happens to me every so often...just this feeling of...nothing. Can't really explain it, but it's definitely there and it sucks the life out of me while it hangs around.

I won't presume to offer ideas of why it's settled on you right now...but I will hope for something bright and shiny to come along real soon to chase that darkness away.

Pollyanna said...

Girl, that sucks, and you don't need to be living that way. You're better than that; each of us are.

Here's what I need to tell you:
1. The fact that you finished nursing school with your depression undertreated or untreated is a freaking miracle and a sign of just how badly you wanted it and how determined you have been. It's akin to a one-legged man hopping a marathon. Depression makes everything, including concentrating, eleventy-billion times harder than it should be. You are AMAZING.

2. That said, you need to get on some medication. I'm on 150 mg of zoloft a day. That's a dose so high that my GP had to read it twice. But you know what? I feel "normal" for the first time in my life. I don't feel happy all the time, I can still cry when things are sad, but I have the ability to function the way I've always felt like I *should* be able to but couldn't. It's not a cure-all; it's just removing the gigantic handicap that mother nature has shoved into our brains to level the playing field a little. You don't necessarily even need a psychiatrist to help; your general everyday family doctor or nurse practicioner should be able to. It may sound scary to admit these feelings face-to-face with someone, but they will be compassionate and will offer the help you need.

If you don't have health insurance, don't have a doctor, or still feel stuck LET ME KNOW and I will make some phone calls on your behalf. There is no reason to keep trying to live this way. If Mr. Polly stopped taking his CF medications, I'd kick his ass for it, because he needs them. And I'll virtually kick yours if you need it to get what you need, because you are special, and you are my friend, and I care about you. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Cartoon Characters said...

I lived most of my life depressed and suicidal. Its difficult to find your way through it...but the fight is worth it because in the end, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to tell you that...I am sure others have but having experienced it...It's all i can do to reassure you that life is worth the pain and emptiness you feel at the moment, and one day you will get through it.

I found it had a lot to do with hormones...because now that I am menopausal...i seem to be on a more even keel.

Don't think of it as being a "fraud". Really, the one way i felt good was to plug on - exercise and talk to friends...think of it as "practicing to feel good" as opposed to being "fake".

I am here if you need to email me.

Cartoon Characters said...

and btw, Pollyanna has some great advice. I wish she was around to make comments when i was so depressed....because I had no one at the time...and it was like living in hell.