Keren Rosenthal

@keren-rosenthal | contributor
"Only those who take a risk and go far, can find out just how far they can really go"
Community Voices

The irony of depression

I’ve been suffering from #Depression most of my life, on and off and I can’t help noticing, there’s this funny thing about it. Well, maybe funny’s not exactly the right word, it’s more like just plain weird.

When depression strikes, it strikes hard. It lies to you, it tells you untrue things about yourself, it makes you feel like the world is crashing down on your shoulders, up until wanting to put an end to your life.

It feels like it will never end, that you will be like this your entire life, and things will never get better.

But that’s only one side of the scale.

The other side can make you feel really really good. Amazing actually. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the depression making you feel amazing, or it’s just subsiding enough for you to feel good. But anyway, there’s this good feeling there. This amazing, wonderful, empowering feeling. You feel like you can conquer the world and nothing will stand in your way of making your dreams come true!

But mostly, you just don’t understand how you could have felt so terrible once. How could you have ever felt so bad that you wanted to end your life? You feel like you will never feel so terrible ever again.

And then one day, the just sneaks up on you. You don’t understand how yesterday you felt so wonderful. You suddenly can’t seem to enjoy the things that yesterday you enjoyed so much. And you feel like you will never feel good again.

These feelings rock back and forth. Sometimes one feeling can last months or even years, whereas other times it will last only a few days or even just an hour or two. You can never know when the will suddenly strike or loosen up.

It’s just interesting how when you feel so good you can’t understand how you ever felt so bad, yet when you’re feeling so bad you can’t understand how the hell you ever felt so amazing.

2 people are talking about this

What the Spoon Theory Means to Me as Someone With Depression

Note: This isn’t my theory, it originally belongs to someone called Christine Miserandino and I’m just using it to explain my personal situation, which I think many people are in. One of the things that hurts me most in regards to my struggle with depression is lack of energy. At one point, I got to a point in life where I could no longer live on my own because I couldn’t take care of myself, so I had to move back in with my parents. I recently heard of something called “the spoon theory,” which perfectly explains my lack of energy to others. The theory goes like this: Each person in the world has a supply of spoons, and these spoons are what get you through the day. You get out of bed in the morning? That’s going to cost you a spoon. You brush your teeth? That’s going to cost another one. Make breakfast? That’s going to cost a few more. Healthy people seem to have more spoons then someone who is struggling with illness. Each day you wake up and have a new supply of spoons, but the number of spoons you get isn’t up to you. To someone who is sick, it might seem like healthy people have an unlimited supply of spoons. It’s just like how I happen to have brown hair and dark skin — I also just happen to have a limited supply of spoons. When I got to the point where I could no longer live on my own, it was because I had no spoons left and for some reason I wasn’t able to get more. Days and weeks went by, but still no spoons would come. Once in a while I had a few — very few — and was able to get up, brush my teeth and get dressed before crashing back down again to recharge my spoon supply. Except it wouldn’t recharge. I felt like my life wasn’t worth living, because living with such a limited number of spoons feels nearly impossible. But I recently discovered that I can get spoons from outside sources. Someone says they believe in me: I get five spoons for the day. Someone tells me they love me: 15 spoons! And one day someone hugged me and told me they care: And my supply of spoons seemed to reach the sky! I had enough to get me through the entire day and the next! But it can also work the other way around. Someone can say something hurtful and a spoon will disappear. It’s like they’ve stolen it, even though they have so many for themselves and they know my supply is limited, but they still take one or two. I’m so hurt that I cry, forgetting completely that tears will also cost me a few spoons. I go in to a cycle where I’m losing all my spoons due to wasting them on tears. I reach for help, I reach for encouragement from others, because I know that’s the best place to get more spoons, but in reality, people are busy and don’t always seem to get the little hints I drop and I can’t exactly say, “Hey person, I’m in need a few spoons, can you give me some of yours?” Because they’ll look at me weirdly and think I’ve “gone nuts.” Maybe if they’re really nice they’ll buy me a packet of plastic spoons from the supermarket, but those kind don’t exactly help. So if I’m sending this to you, it means I’ve run out of spoons and I’m asking you in my own weird way for you to lend me a few of yours, and I also hope this has helped you understand the way I work. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Unsplash photo via Priscilla Du Preez

Why Depression Is a Disability

“Is this your card?” The bus driver asks me. “Yes,” I answer, knowing what comes next, handing him my ID card so I can show him it is indeed mine. “But you don’t look disabled,” he says loud enough for the entire bus to hear. I blush, embarrassed. I nod and walk into the bus, and sit down on the first empty chair, feeling everyone’s eyes boring into me. But what I really want to do is say this: Having depression is physically not being able to get out of bed most days. Having depression is running to and from appointments all week. Having depression is feeling an unbearable numbness, which can sometimes cause you to hurt yourself to be able to feel. Having depression is having hardly any energy to get on with daily activities. Having depression is not being able to sleep at night or sleeping too much. Having depression is feeling too nauseous to eat at the best of times. Having depression is feeling this huge ache in your chest and not knowing what’s causing it or how to get rid of it. Having depression is having a constant headache which no amount of painkillers will cure. Having depression is feeling as if you’re holding 100 kilograms on your back and never being able to put it down. If you think living like this isn’t considered living with a disability, then I don’t know what you think is. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 . For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Reaction to Amy Bleuel's Death From Someone With a Semicolon Tattoo

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my hands shaking. My heart is shattered. One of the people I admire most in the world has lost her life to depression. You may have heard of Project Semicolon, but if not I’ll explain it to you in short. Project Semicolon is a project whose main purpose is giving hope for those who live with mental illness, suicidal thoughts or struggle with self-harm. The project explains that the semicolon is used when a writer could end a sentence, but chooses not to. The sentence is your life and you are the writer. Hundreds and thousands of people all over the world, including myself, have tattooed a semicolon to our body to remind ourselves that our story isn’t over yet. The woman who popularized the Project Semicolon is Amy Bleuel, and last week she lost her life to depression. If you look at Amy’s Facebook profile you will see a joyful, successful lady who hundreds of thousands people admire and support. But inside, there was more. And in my eyes, her death shows just how hard living with depression really is. That even when you are really successful and so many people all around the globe look up to you, depression can still be there. And it swallows you up in to its dark, black world. When I was suicidal, people kept reminding me how successful I am, how far I’ve come from where I once was, but I didn’t care. Because inside of me I was experiencing a strong pain. A pain that someone who has never experienced will never be able to imagine, a pain that words cannot describe. This pain was so strong I wanted nothing but to stop it. Thanks to Amy, I wasn’t afraid to open up about my depression, tell the world what I’m going through. Just telling people what I’m going through already gave me the strength to carry on. And I know it’s like this for a lot of people. To me, Amy will always be strong. She told the world about her illness and gave a chance to so many others to take off their masks and talk about their illness. She did so much about raising awareness around mental health, and thanks to her I’m not embarrassed to talk about my own illness, like I was for years beyond years. I will miss you, Amy If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “START” to 741-741 . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Metaphor for Depression: Feeling Like a Fallen Fairy

Most people don’t understand why some people try to put an end to their life. They think it’s selfish of us, or that we’re weak and don’t know how to cope with small things. But that’s not what it really is. I’m going to try my best to explain to you how we feel, to give you some insight into what depression and being suicidal really feels like. Imagine you’re a fairy. You see all your friends flying around you, laughing and chattering. You flap your wings, but only just about manage to lift your feet above the ground for a few seconds before tumbling back down again. But you won’t give up. You want to fly, just like the others.You try day after day, week after week, year after year — you don’t give up until you succeed. And sure enough, all your hard work pays off! You gradually get the hang of flying and soon your flying alongside your friends, laughing and chattering. You’re flying above the clouds, higher than anyone else enjoying the feeling of the wind underneath your wings. You make the most of every moment, as it took you so long to get there. But then it’s all gone. You feel a bullet rip your wing. You’re falling out of the sky at an alarming pace. You fall so fast that your friends don’t even notice you as you fall past them. “I just want to live!” you shout, before the ground comes rushing up to meet you. You land with a crash. Your entire body hurts from the fall. You try to stand up, but the pain is too strong. You look around you and see that you’re in a large pit. You look up, trying to figure out how deep the pit is, but it’s so deep that you can’t see the top. You try to flap your wings, but they’re useless now that the bullet’s gone through them. You try climbing out of the pit, despite the unbearable pain you’re in, but there’s nothing to grip on to, and to make matters worse, it starts raining making the walls of the pit slipperier than ever. You fall back into a muddy heap on the ground, and weep and weep and weep. This is what depression is for me. But it doesn’t have to end like this. Those friends flying above you, the ones who are true friends, will notice you disappeared. They would look for you and find you in the pit, and use their magic and strength to lift you out. Depression doesn’t need to end in suicide. And if someone sent you this article to read, it goes to show they are trying to tell you something. Reach out to them, help lift them out of the pit, instead of backing away from the fear of taking responsibility. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Image via Thinkstock.

What It's Like to Have Anxiety in a Crowded Bus Station

Although depression is something I struggle with most, I also have anxiety. Most people who know me think I’m fearless, because I don’t show it much, but on the inside there’s a whole other story going on. I’m usually so focused on my depression I forget about my anxiety — but last week my anxiety hit really hard, and I would like to tell you a little about that. I was walking around the bus station, trying to find a place where there’s no people. My bus was only in another hour, so where can I go during that time? I tried some shops, but got too many suspicious looks from shopkeepers when they saw me just hanging around. I tried walking around, but there were too many people, people just all over the place. A flashback came into my mind from the previous day when I was waiting for a train. The platform was something out of this world. There were so many people, you couldn’t even walk. I felt sick. Someone accidentally shoved me and I had to jumped out of his way, right past the yellow line. Suddenly the train came whizzing past. I jumped, terrified, but there was no place to jump to. People started pilling out of the train, more people shoving, trying to get on the train, and then me, just standing, concentrating on keeping my lunch inside. I felt sick now as I walked around the bus station. I decided to just wait by the platform where my bus is supposed to come to. But there were tons of people. I waited and soon more and more people started coming. “Don’t throw up, don’t throw up,” I whispered to myself. I wanted to lie down. I felt like I was going to faint. I wanted to be at home! Tears filled my eyes. I saw someone approaching me, obviously to ask me if I’m OK, but I was terrified. I ran. I ran to the only place where there was no people — out the door to where the buses are parked. Everyone knows the number one rule of the Jerusalem bus station — don’t go out the door until the bus arrives, it’s too dangerous to be out there for too long because of the fumes. But I didn’t care about the damn fumes anymore, I just needed to get away from all the people! I felt dizzy. I felt nauseous. I hoped I wouldn’t disgrace myself. A few minutes later a few people came out as well. I didn’t mind much because it wasn’t too many people. But then a bus warden came and told everyone to go back inside. They all listened to him. But I didn’t. There was no way I was going back in there. Definitely not. He started shouting at me, I was too dizzy to explain why I couldn’t go back inside, and just then the bus came and I rushed on the second the door opened. I felt nauseous the whole long journey home, and the rest of the day. That is what “people anxiety” is for me. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Image via Thinkstock

Israel Fires: When You Have an Anxiety Disorder Amidst a Crisis

Firstly, let’s just clear something up: I live in Israel, and coping with terror attacks and crises is just part of my daily routine. Over the last few days, there has been a major suspected terror attack going on. Bigger than the usual ones. Suspicious fires have spread around the country, lit in random cities, and then the wind — which is at its worst at the moment — just did its job. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, and thousands of people have lost their homes and pets. Entire cities have been completely burned down, not to mention forests and wildlife. I haven’t seen any coverage of this on the international news, but let’s not take this post to politics. Let’s take it to mental health, because that’s why we’re all here. How does a person with anxiety cope with all this? She doesn’t. She curls up in bed and cries and cries, shaking, terrified of losing everything she’s got — all her diaries, her letters from loved ones, everything she’s ever written, or worse, her dog and herself. She takes her meds, but they barely help; they keep her calm for a few hours, but then suddenly it’s all back. She takes more, and again she’s OK for a few hours. But then she hears the fire is getting closer and closer to her town. She wants to take more pills, but she’s already accidentally taken more than the recommended daily dosage. She tries to find someone to comfort her. She turns to her friend, but her friend is stressing out just as much as she is and snaps at her. She doesn’t want to comfort someone else when she’s barely coping on her own. She snarls a bunch of swear words, and the girl becomes sorry she even asked. She feels hurt and scared, not to mention lonely. Although the fires are somewhat under control, the girl is still terrified. The little voice in her head keeps telling her that although now it’s calm, it’s going to get worse soon. The voice is telling her that for the second time in her life, she is so close to losing it. All over the country, people are opening up their homes for those who have been evacuated. The girl knows all she needs to do to be safe is pick up the phone and someone will take care of her — but her anxiety is holding her back. Not letting her move. She’s frozen to the spot and can’t do anything. She’s terrified. I want to get help, but my anxiety won’t let me. Lead image via Thinkstock. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

What Depression Really Feels Like to Me

Too many people don’t understand how I really feel.  They don’t understand why on some days I’m perfectly fine, and others in tears and self-harming. So I’m going to explain to you exactly what depression really is. Imagine a person following you everywhere, all day, every day, whispering to you. He’s invisible, so no one else can see him except for you. He’s always whispering negative things to you. He’s always telling you how stupid you are, how you’re never going to get anywhere in life, that everyone hates you. All he does is whisper, whisper, whisper. You know he’s lying, so you ignore him. But he won’t take no for an answer. He shouts to you. He gives you such a headache. You have to fight him so hard, fight to lead a happy life, even though he is trying to destroy it. But fighting him is a full-time job. He never leaves you alone. He’s with you wherever you go: in class, on your date, while you’re hanging out with friends, on the bus, in the shower, on the loo. Fighting him off is so tiring that you spend most of your spare time sleeping, but even then he’s waiting for you when you wake up — waiting to make you even more miserable. You try another approach: making him your friend rather than an enemy, but that doesn’t work. He’s still out to get you. He doesn’t want to be your friend. He wants to be your enemy. And he keeps on reminding you that. He keeps reminding you how much he and everyone else hates you. Most days you are able to fight him off and keep going. On the outside others will see you as someone perfectly “normal,” but on the inside you’re struggling to contain this person they can’t see. Some days you’re just too tired, too exhausted to carry on fighting, and that’s when the person lashes out. He does things that drive people away from you. They can’t see him and think it’s you. He says unforgivable things to them, and then that’s it between you and them. The invisible person has won yet again. You cry yourself to sleep and wake up with renewed energy to fight him off again, but it’s too late, your/his words and actions are already said and done. You can’t take them back. You try to explain to your friends, but they can’t see the person, so they think you’re just making up rubbish, and back away even more. It doesn’t matter that today you are stronger than you were yesterday. The person is already one step ahead of you, making you more and more miserable than ever. That is what having depression feels like for me. Depression feels like having an invisible person attached to you wherever you go. It’s something  no one else can see except me. So next time I lash out at you or get upset for what seems like no reason, ask yourself if it was really me or was it the monster living inside me? If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 . Image via Thinkstock.

What My Anxiety Feels Like During the Week

I’ve been struggling with anxiety for quite some time now, and I’ve noticed how many people don’t understand why I get so panicky and stressed out all the time. So to all those people, this article is for you. My brain talks to me all day, every day and doesn’t stop. This is what a day in my head looks like. 5:00 a.m. “Oh my God, what time is it? Why didn’t my alarm clock ring?” I check my watch, and when I see it’s OK, I try to get back to sleep. But the voice continues to speak. “If you fall into a deep sleep you won’t wake when your alarm rings.” “It might not even ring at all. Did you even remember to set it last night?” I check that it’s set, and see that it’s fine. Still too scared it might not ring, I stay awake till it gets light. 7:00 a.m. Breakfast time. “Is the soy milk out of date? No, it’s fine. But how long has it been in the fridge for? What if it’s gone bad? Maybe that’s why last night I didn’t feel well… because I ate something that was bad.” 8:00 a.m. Leaving for work. I check I have my keys, phone, money, bus card. “But wait, am I missing something? I’m sure I’m forgetting something! What am I forgetting?” I leave the house, get to the bottom of the stairs and… “Did I lock the door?” I run back up and check. It’s locked all right. I hurry down before I miss the bus. I run to the bus stop in fear I’ll miss it, even though I’m 10 minutes early. I get to the bus stop and search eagerly for my bus card. “Where is it? I just made sure I had it! Oh, there it is, underneath all those receipts. Did I lock the door? Where’s my phone? Why isn’t the bus coming? I’m going to be late for work!” Finally the bus comes, and I relax. “No, wait, where’s my phone? Did I leave it at the bus stop? Never mind, it’s right here in my hand.” I fall asleep during the bus ride from sheer exhaustion, even though the day’s just started. At work my boss calls me into his office. “Oh my God, am I about to get fired?” Thankfully he only wants to talk about work-related things. I get back to my desk and try to get on with my work, but thoughts keep coming to my head. “Is the dog ok? What if she’s messed up the flat? She might have chewed up the sofa, and your landlord’s gonna be furious. He might not let you keep her. You’ll have to give her away.” I start to feel sick. I desperately need the loo. “Please don’t be sick.” I open Facebook in hopes that it might somehow calm me down. I leave work in plenty of time to catch the last bus, but my first bus is late and there’s tons of traffic, and the whole journey I’m terrified I’ll miss the last bus home. “I can always take a different route instead of the bus straight home,” I try to tell myself, but I’m only relaxed once I’m on the second bus and know I’m almost home. The day doesn’t end there. I get on the bus and double, triple, quadruple check I’ve got my keys, phone, bus card, credit card and extra cash… just in case. I get off the bus and check once more that I’ve definitely got my keys and that they haven’t fallen out of my bag and been left on the bus. I feel sweaty walking up the road. I’m still picturing the couch with a huge hole in the middle and my dog having a party in all the stuffing. I get to my door and search frantically for the keys that were just there a minute ago. With my hands shaking, I unlock the door, turn on the lights and see the house is just as I left it. I take the dog for a nice long stroll, not so worried now that I have someone to protect me from danger. I get back and go to bed. But I don’t fall asleep so easily. The day is over, but the night has only just begun. And that you can read about here. Image via Thinkstock.

What Anxiety Feels Like at Night When I Can't Sleep

I struggle mostly with depression but also experience anxiety. Sometimes I find myself contemplating which is worse. But without a doubt there are some unbearable nights where anxiety is in control. Many times it not only makes me feel bad emotionally,but physically. I get a pounding headache, I feel like I’m going to be sick and on a few occasions I actually was sick. When you eat something bad and throw it up later you may feel somewhat better, but with anxiety you only feel worse because now on top of your worries you feel sick, and then your anxiety somehow convinces you you’re dying. I want to tell you what it’s like for me at night time as someone with anxiety. Although each night is different and the thoughts and feelings vary, I want someone out there to understand what I — and tons of other people — are going through nearly every night. I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing. I hear a little creak in the house. I’m suddenly wide awake, my heart beating harder than ever. I feel cold and hot at the same time. I’m shaking and sweating. I’m scared. I’m alone. “There’s a burglar in the house,” my mind tells me. “He’s going to hurt you. He’s going to hurt your dog.” A takes a few minutes, sometimes even hours, for it to sink in that if the dog’s not barking then no one’s in the house. I try to go back to sleep but can’t. The voices inside my head are still talking to me. “Don’t forget you’ve got to get up early in the morning. If you stay awake all night you won’t be able to function properly in the morning” “Hey, remember that time you were with that person and you… well I bet that person still remembers and is still mad at you. She’s planning a cunning way to get back at you. You’ll be sorry.” I go on Facebook and start a conversation with someone else who’s online to try to calm myself down. They don’t answer straight away. In fact, they go offline. Immediately the voices start up again. “You get on her nerves.” “She can’t stand you anymore. She’s just not blocking you because she feels bad for you.” “No one really likes you or cares about you.” I toss and turn trying to get back to sleep, but more thoughts come in to my head. “If you carry on like this all night you won’t be able to get up in the morning, and you’ll miss your bus. You won’t be able to get to work, and then they’ll fire you just like when you got fired from your last job due to your crappy mental state.” I get up and turn on the light. A rush of relief flows over my body. I go back in to bed slightly more relaxed now, but still feeling a little uneasy. I close my eyes and try to get back to sleep. “If you fall asleep with the light on you’ll run up a large electricity bill.” I get up and turn off the light, still hoping to get some sleep before it’s time to get up. Eventually I fall asleep moments before my alarm rings, and it’s time to face yet another day. *** The anxiety — and the depression — are still there throughout the day. But for that I can write a whole new post. Image via Thinkstock.