tears of a clown.

i have felt like a crazy person for the last couple of months.

i have been irritable, self-centered, and extremely cranky. pissy, i say.

i don’t even use the word pissy normally. that’s an annoying & gross word. this is also a sign to myself.

i have not been available in ways i am when i am my most generous self.

i have been impatient and unkind, not at all characteristic of me on my better days.

(i have also found myself to be self-righteous.)

i have judged people in ways i haven’t heard myself judge in a really, really long time. the kind of judging others that you learn in your first few therapy sessions are actually the characters flaws you see in yourself. and, quite honestly, it disgusts me. i am not that way, not normally. it’s weird and i hate it. 

i have gotten on my own nerves, so i would understand if i have gotten on yours.

the most heartbreaking part of this whole mess that is, well…me…over the last few months is that i have especially lacked grace where i would like to think it has otherwise flowed so freely.

grace is my…well, if i don’t have and show grace? she who knows how much has been and is continuously extended to her? who fights for and seeks it and pursues it with vigilance and hello, it’s in my very own blog-tag? grace is the very heart and soul of my being. 

like i said, that’s been The Most Heartbreaking Part Of It All for me. it really devastates my heart because i know better. i don’t know differently. (not anymore.) but i have acted as if i don’t know better and i do know differently and this sucks.

i have been very up and down and all over the place and sideways these last months. i could blame it on certain crazy-making people or circumstances because there are a few of those, too. but, the truth is, i have lost some of my tools and have forgotten how to use other ones which, even around my crazy-makers, i am normally capable of making better sense of the world and of myself when i am in my right mind.

surprisingly, i haven’t made a fool of myself or lost my shit in public or toward my family or said anything to anyone i would have to later repent for saying.

(that i can think of, anyway.)

i have had the wherewithal, fortunately, to call out The Cranky and apologize or stop or remove myself before severely manifesting. that, and i’ve pretty much only put myself around folks i know that i know that i know wouldn’t bring out The Cranky or would love me through it, and have avoided those that i feared i could hurt with The Cranky. i don’t trust The Cranky. down with The Cranky.

the sad alternative, though, has been that i have isolated and climbed back into my very hollow, uncomfortable shell.

i am not surprised. i know where i am. 

i recognize this place. this lonesome, dark, full-of-fear place.

it is not the place of my holiday funk, though i hoped for a moment that’s all that it was.

there are days and even just moments when i have thought, no, i’m okay. it’s passed.

but the truth is, i tripped a few months back and have slowly fallen backward into the very lonely, dark hole that is my depression.

hell, who am i kidding? it’s not been backward at all. i pretty much dove in, face first. because that’s what happens when i, you know, try to play my own hero.

i cry when no one’s looking and sometimes when they are, if i am especially safe in their company. in this place, i get stuck and i can’t get myself out. and even if i could, i don’t have the energy to try. i have heard myself say a few times that i feel lost and alone. i can’t make sense of very much and i’m motivated to do even less than that. things that usually roll off my back have bothered me in ways that nag.

to be real honest with you? if you were to call me a dry-drunk, i wouldn’t couldn’t get upset with you.

well, and to lay it all bare for you? i’m real surprised i haven’t just forfeited all my chips but for the grace of god. i have enough sense about me to know i can’t go back there again, though i can’t say it hasn’t been a thought in my mind.

(we’re only as sick as our secrets, right? so, there’s mine.)

i leave the shoebox because i have to work (thank god), but most mornings i attempt to beg the day not to come by forcing my eyes not to open. (strangely enough, this doesn’t work. i know. ODD.)

i still fight for myself as best i can.

sweet little zella-girl makes me take her on long walks (scratch that, reverse it) and i make myself listen to either worship or my favorite fun songs as we bumble along down the road. and the breeze feels good on my soul.

some days, i will call friends in order to get outside of myself.

on my very best days, i will have coffee with a friend.

but most days, i cancel plans or say no all together.

i want to get out of myself. i have wanted to say yes. i haven’t wanted to be here.

but most days i haven’t been able to be anywhere else.

and, unfortunately, this hole isn’t big enough for company.

depression isn’t moodiness. and it’s not what normies might liken to a bad day. it’s not feeling sad (not on any normal level, anyway). for one, it’s chemical. so, there’s that. but, for two, the last time i found myself here, i said it is like i am in a black, me-sized hole and god can’t reach down far enough and i can’t reach up high enough for us to get to each other.

it’s just that also with me in the hole, see, is this monkey on my back. only he’s more like a gorilla. a limp, lame, deaf, dumb, blind and mute gorilla. just hanging out. on my back.

down, down, down into the hole the gorilla and i go. went.

and down, down, down the gorilla and i will stay until one of us gets restless enough to try and get out again.

even still, i pray. oh, i pray, i pray, i pray…believe me, i pray.

and i have felt close to god, perhaps closer in these long legs of my journey than in any other…which i guess probably sounds strange? that i would feel so close to god, yet so far away?

i know god is and has been there each time i have found myself in the hole (which, incidentally, has been three very significant times; this being the third.) karen first made me aware of my depression in the first 30 minutes of my very first appointment with her after i had been sitting in it comfortably like a sad, drunk, homeless person living beneath a bridge for the better part of my life. that is to say, i was 26 when i faced and started dealing with what she thought landed on me like a disease around the time i was 13. the spiral began the second time…around this time of year, actually…four years ago, when i first moved from my hometown to the town where i now live.

the thing is, it’s always looming. it’s not like it strikes from nowhere when i’m not looking. in between the three times i was staring at it directly in the face, it was always hanging around, waiting for me to notice or engage it. like the dark, brooding bad-boy (ahem #ryangosling #badboyworldtour #jordancatalano) who hangs around outside the soda shop smoking & playing it cool, waiting for the pretty girl to notice him, only he acts like he doesn’t notice her just so he can get her to notice him.

my depression is kinda like that. 

i know the bad-boy isn’t good for me, but i kinda feel sorry for him and wonder what the mystery is all about. plus, i think i kinda like danger.

but then i get swept up in his sad drama and maybe i even start smoking again and i wear his leather jacket and my friends stop calling and when i realize i can’t figure him out because he can’t be figured out, i remember why i should have just walked on by the first time i saw him. and the second.

there are ways i can make it more difficult for myself, and ways i can live with it more manageably and actually enjoy a happy, fun and successful life. six or so months ago, i made the best decision i could make for myself at the time when i gradually took myself off my anti. but what i couldn’t pay for with insurance, i have paid for in deuces with this fog i’ve been walking through.

i’m not suicidal, but i wouldn’t care very much if i slipped off the attic step. or if that car hadn’t seen me. or what if…i just…disappeared? those are the unsettling kind of thoughts i’ve had.

uplifting, no? encouraging, isn’t it.

the thing is, i know how pitiful i sound in my depression. maybe it’s all the therapy or too much aa, but i have enough self-awareness to know that to those who can’t relate (thankfully), i sound really, really pitiful. so i’m doing well to laugh at myself.

and the limp, lame, deaf, dumb, blind and mute gorilla.

who sometimes gets his feelings hurt.

and has itches he can’t scratch.

i walk around in a haze or a daze, depending on the day, and i paint my face and plaster on my smile and pray, pray, pray that i can make it through the day without falling apart completely because, were that to happen, i wouldn’t have a very good reason for it.

or any reason at all.

i could have seen it coming. i did, actually. and those who were paying attention best of all saw it coming, too.

i was just hoping it wouldn’t. come, i mean.

i tried to talk it out of coming. tried to convince the depression not to come.

but it did. it has. the depression is here. and it’s been here for the last few months.

you shouldn’t be surprised about it, either. in fact, you probably aren’t. because don’t you remember the day i told you how i lost my insurance and weaned myself off my anti?

i was secretly thankful and thought maybe my depression wasn’t as bad as it had been before, or maybe i just didn’t have it anymore. you know…like a virus. 

i fought it. i was pro-active in the beginning. i asked friends to pay attention, and they did.

i tried.

i tried, i tried, i tried. oh, how i tried. believe me, i tried.

i tried not to have it again.

i tried not to be depressed.

but i can’t try not to have depression, i realize now.

there aren’t words enough to pray my way out of it, no matter how loud or hard or quiet i am or close to jesus i feel.

(don’t you know i would if i could? if that were enough? all that it took to get me out of the hole and over the hump?)

but i can glorify god through it.

it’s a slow fade but i see it now. i recognize it. i know it all too well now.

the gift that is my depression, i mean.

but things will be different on tuesday.

everything will be better on tuesday.

see, i am considered high-risk because i’ve been treated for both a melanoma and depression; therefore, i qualify for guv’ment-based insurance, which kicked in for me on january 1. (say what you will about our president, i could kiss him on the mouth for the new healthcare system.)

so i’ve very willingly tucked my tired tail between my paralyzed legs and me and the gorilla are surrendering again to my p.a. tomorrow.

as it were, i only checked in with him for about 15 minutes every few months, so he doesn’t know i broke up with him and my anti. (totally awesome of me, i know.) i was just sort of hoping he wouldn’t, you know…notice…so we wouldn’t have to…you know…have a weird, awkward break-up talk when i would tell him it’s not him, it’s me, when we really shouldn’t have ever been together in the first place and

wait, what?

um, anywho


anyway, i’m not sure what to expect when he finds this out, though i’m sure i’m not his first client who tried to save her own day. like i said, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

but this i know, of this one thing i am certain:

come tuesday, i will have hope again. 

an aside: i told leigh when i finished writing this on saturday night that i realize i haven’t really shared this part of my journey with you all. she said it may not have been time, or perhaps it wasn’t on my heart, before. good point, i told her. (she is always full of good points, that one.) better to write on in when i’m in the thick of it, i said. or…when there’s a soon-and-coming hope.

{thank you, jesus, for being my one-and-only hope.}

another aside: just as it took several weeks to get out of my system, it will likely take a few weeks for my anti to get back in to my system. i am praying against for minimal side effects during this time. but, just so you know, it may get worse before it gets better. and by ‘it’ i mean ‘i’. the good news, the part i know you’ve all been waiting for, is that i lost weight the last time i started taking it. so, here’s hoping. :)

i fear i have not won the battle against my flesh over these last months, so please know how profoundly sorry i am if i have made any off-color remarks to you or said or done anything that has been hurtful, even virtually. admittedly, i lack a filter between my brain and my mouth but i can usually access my delay button so please, please forgive me if i have failed to use that button when i should have but forgot. or just didn’t, but should have.

(as long as it’s something that actually does belong to me.)

(dang. see what i mean? the no filter thing.)

ugh. everything will be better on tuesday.

(for all of us.)

i promise.

thanks for loving me.


33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tay
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 02:19:39

    Oh Mary Kathryn! You are so welcome for loving you. How could someone not love a sweet soul like yours?

    On some levels, I can relate with you. I have been feeling emotional these past few months, defintely not depressed, but just more teary-eyed. I have never been a real emotional person; before this fall, I couldn’t remember the last time I cried. I didn’t even cry when my best friend moved! But, I’ve become surprisingly emotional. I’m not even sure when it started, but the littlest things have made me get teary-eyed over the past few months. Baptisms at church. Facebook statues. Sappy country love songs. Even a Justin Bieber song, for crying out loud! But, most importantly, for the first time in my life, a movie made me cry. Last week, I cried the ugly cry while watching A Walk to Remember. It actually caught me by surprise that I cried so much.

    I was just thinking the other day, this quote from the movie, Bride Wars, captures my emotions perfectly: “It’s like a whole new me. And I just- I cry all the time.” But, I’m actually liking this change in me. I guess it makes me a more well-rounded, passionate person. And I think it’s good for me to cry. :)

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:50:58

      I love all sides of you, Tay-Tay, but I love that God is bending your heart and you are allowing your sensitive side to come out. Such a beautiful thing.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  2. Sarah T.
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 06:35:05


  3. Chantelle
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:30:53

    love you, and love your honesty. i have battled depression my entire life, and i too weaned myself off my meds for insurance reasons. i appreciate you, and i appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there for us. you are an inspiration, even when you are living in that MK-sized black hole. wish you were closer so we could get that coffee together on the days we both managed to drag ourselves out of our shoe boxes. xoxoxo

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:48:34

      Aw, I would love that.

      I’m sorry it’s something you struggle with, too, sweet friend of mine. Looking back, I think I could see that in you in college. (Just not in me. :))

      Thinking of you.


  4. Rachel
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:38:48

    There’s a poem from a book I’ve read that’s about depression, and I think it sums up what you’re saying here nicely (especially to those who have no idea what it actually is like/feels like)

    Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
    but I believe only in this moment
    of well-being. Unholy ghost,
    you are certain to come again.

    Coarse, mean, you’ll put your feet
    on the coffee table, lean back,
    and turn me into someone who can’t
    take the trouble to speak; someone
    who can’t sleep, or who does nothing
    but sleep; can’t read, or call
    for an appointment for help.

    There is nothing I can do
    against your coming.
    When I awake, I am still with thee.

    I feel like I do this, too, though. I don’t like people thinking that I’m just being a bitch or a homebody and so I go to great lengths to explain why I’ve been behaving the way I do… and then I try to explain my depression else and I just end up sounding really dramatic and like I’m going on and on and on about it. I don’t think you sounded like that just now, but I’ve had other people tell me that I have sounded that way… and sometimes I think that’s just what it sounds like to people who don’t know. Because you are trying to make them understand how terrible it really feels but they’re just like, trying to end the conversation as soon as possible. All of that to say, I really do understand. I hate that you’re feeling this way and I wish I could do something to make you feel better, but I know all too well that no one can make it better for me when I’m there, which is just as depressing as the depression itself, haha. Also, I completely understand the “I’m not going to kill myself but if my house just spontaneously exploded right now I wouldn’t be upset.” thought. Like, will someone just put me out of my misery? haha. Thankfully I’m not there & haven’t been for a while (over 2 years!) but it all feels very familiar. The awesome thing about you though, is that you will get over this & use it to glorify God. Just buy some ice cream, watch the bachelor, take your meds & don’t go anywhere near the attic for 6-8 weeks.

    love you. If there is, in fact, anything I can do, just let me know:)

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:47:33

      Haaaaaaa…RACHEL! I adore you. You are so funny and awesome.

      I love/hate that poem.

      Thank you for this. I am laughing out loud at your anecdotes because, yes. This. Entirely.

      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  5. Carmen
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 07:56:27

    I love you. I don’t really know if there is anything else to say. Thank-you for the willingness to be open with your heart. If I could do something for you I would, but for now, I will pray and be excited for Tuesday.


  6. HopefulLeigh
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 09:49:10

    I’m holding on to Tuesday with you, dear friend. I’m honored to be walking through this with you. I hate that freaking gorilla with a passion because he played a role in my life for too long. I pray for the day that he’ll leave you alone once and for all. And if this is to be something you manage for the rest of your life, then I will keep walking with you just the same.

    P.S. #WorldTour shout out, represent!

  7. Cindy Finley
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 09:50:46

    Mary Kathryn, SO many women are blessed by your authenticity. I’m just up the road, if you ever want to connect!

  8. Sarah Koci Scheilz
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 11:32:45

    Mary Kathryn, I am there with you. I’ve been in and out of the trenches and yes, it’s painful and YES God will redeem it. Reading your blog has been such a source of strength for me! I’m so comforted by Psalm 23. God is always with us. I’ll be cheering for you on Tuesday when you go to your appointment!

  9. Melissa
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 11:41:17

    I’d love to punch that gorilla in the face for you! ;) He came to visit me recently after being off meds for almost 6 years. He didn’t hang around long (thankfully!). but for even the two months that it was hard to pull myself out of bed, and my head was in that dark fog, my heart hurts for you.

  10. Heatherly
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 13:11:46

    I love you so deeply and thoroughly, and as much as one who has only walked a similar journey can “get it,” I am with you. Thank you for being brave and willing to share. I wish that when I was young and didn’t understand what was wrong with me {undiagnosed depression} I had had a post like this to read.

    Praying that God uses even this to work in the lives of others that desperately need grace.

  11. eloranicole
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 14:14:14

    oh, mk.

    i get it. all of it. praying for you and reaching through the computer to hug your neck.

  12. ShoutLaughLove
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 21:01:16

    oh sister-friend, nothing here is pitiful. you are honest and vulnerable and real and STRONG.

    praying for you. you are headed in a good, healing direction, and i am proud of you. xo

  13. Trackback: all things leigh. « beauty for ashes
  14. Kristine MouseMarie Webster
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 22:24:46

    I’ve only just met you and I ADORE you. I too struggled with depression …. pretty much my entire life. I only got on AD a year ago and thank GOD for Hi perfect and fanastical timing! I started meds in January, my dad went into urgent care on Feb 22 for what he had to admit was not a pulled muscle, 5 weeks later we were at University Hospital in Madison finding out it was an untreatable cancer and 2 weeks later he was gone. Just like that. 7 weeks after going to Urgent Care. Oh, and 3 days before my little sister turned 30.

    Only God in his infinite and perfect wisdom knew that I would need the meds to function through that and that I would need them to have kicked in far enough ahead of it all to actually know they were working. I can’t imagine being forced to get off my meds due to insurance. Not when I know for so very certain that they work and are to me what insulin is to a diabetic.

    All of this to say that man alive, I thought I was eloquent about Depression. You take the cake girl. My heart aches for you and that dam gorilla. Praying that the meds kick in faster than before. I had to try two different level 1 types before giving up because of the absolutely RIDICULOUS nausea and going to a level 2. But I am so so very glad I did. So i am praying that you recover quickly and that you DO glorify God in the waiting. May he bless you richly and immensely. (((HUG)))

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jan 11, 2012 @ 06:36:54

      kristine, thank you SO much!

      hey, first – my cousin tim tyson and his family lived in madison for about 10 years. he was an african-american studies professor at the university there.

      ANYWAY, depression. blah. i don’t know about levels one and two, but i do know that i almost got down on one knee yesterday when my PA scribbled out my script yesterday. :) today is day one! and, thank you – i receive that prayer, for sure!

      your story about taking the anti, then your dad getting sick and dying – if you stick around here for any amount of time, you will see that i have those kind of stories.

      wait…don’t we all? when we’re paying attention?

      believe me, i won’t try to save myself (not like that, anyway) again. i’ll sell body parts next time if it comes down to it. :)

      i am so, so sorry that your dad died. it’s the worst feeling in the world, isn’t it? i’m sure we will be able to encourage each other through that part of our journeys, too.

      i love you, kristine. i so appreciate your words and that you’re here at all. looking forward to getting to know you!


  15. Kristine MouseMarie Webster
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 00:41:39

    I very much look forward to getting to know you too. I do blog some at http://laughingmouse2.blogspot.com but most of my writing lately has been focused on novels. I did do 31 days of Hope in October and there are a ton of posts about Grief and about Depression. I was so very very encouraged by this post because I hadn’t ever seen anyone else write about depression in a way that resonated with me. I may tap your experience and writing later this year. I’ve had an idea for a book about depression for a few years that I have done next to nothing with. I have a basic outline and a few essays. It occurred to me today as I thought about your comment that it could *definitely* benefit from a few different voices.

    Yes, the Dad thing sucks. So much so that I can’t even let myself say “passed away” because it sounds too clean and nice. I still say he DIED because the word itself carries a different weight. We did have 7 weeks from the day he went into urgent care until the day he passed and all of those days were at home. I have an entire post about it called “Gifts I Didn’t Want,” about how we got 7 weeks and we had time at the end to say what we wanted etc. Then there’s the AD thing. I am beginning to recognize and respect my strength, or rather the strength God fills me with on the hour most of the time. I am not only functioning, I am thriving to a degree. But then, I, like you I think, am incredibly self-aware so I have been teaching myself to honor my limits and respect my need for solitude as well as my need for friends. I’m still surprised by the physical weight and exhaustion of grief. But, someday it will get better, right? That’s what they tell me. Anyway, had to respond, hope you are seeing results already, even if they are just psychosomatic!! :) ((HUG))

  16. Trackback: awake, o sleeper. « beauty for ashes
  17. lauren
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 16:52:50

    thanks so much for being brave and sharing. wish more voices would speak up on this issue. i.love.you.

    • mary kathryn tyson
      Jan 18, 2012 @ 22:51:00

      oh, friend.

      hey…after we tweeted back and forth the other night and i kept saying i was going to bed? i went to your blog and read some of your posts.

      i forgot how beautiful your voice is, friend. how lovely and tender. it was water to my soul that night.

      and thank you for this.


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