Of clichés and “Just be happy” ………….

I am not a fan of clichés – no doubt I use them, however I do try to check myself and work them out of my language suitcase.

When I hear clichés I experience a similar sensation to that of biting wool – my personal favourites include:

  • Always look on the bright side
  • You can’t have your cake and eat it too
  • Good things come to he who waits

But the ones that really go right to the top of the list for me are:-

  • It happened for a reason ….. errrr tell that to a raped six year old girl.
  • It’s all part of God’s plan …… really, he has a plan that included the above…. really??
  • Decide to be happy….. excuse me while I go and get some more bullets for my gun!

What I am building to, so how people gloss over people’s sadness and ill feelings by passing off some meaningless cliché.  I think this is especially galling for people who are struggling with depression and “being happy” ui is not really a choice, it is an unattainable dream.

People who have not suffered from depression, think that if I plaster a smile on my face, and put a look of eagerness on my mug that things are going to just feel okay. Possibly these are the same idiots who think a migraine is a little head ache and IBS is an upset tummy.

Depression is such a feeling of despair and sadness that envelopes you each day. Its like sliding down a black hole. At some point you do hit the bottom, and then you need to start the long and painful journey of literally clawing your way out of it.

I describe it as mourning for a death that never occurred. You feel bleak and sad, and no matter how much you smile and think happy thoughts, your default position is rather black.

Socialising and relating have always been hard work for me. Initially I put it down to shyness. Social interactions can be EXHAUSTING for someone suffering from depression. It takes a huge amount of courage and energy to fake happiness and an interest in people’s small talk. You learn to wear a public face, and become rather an accomplished performer, with various interchangeable masks.

One of my favourite shows is Dexter. Dexter Morgan is a covert serial killer governed by a strict moral code who works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. The part I can relate to in this show, is when he is doing something socially, you hear him talk to himself, giving himself instruction that he needs to “smile now” and “place his arm here” and so on.

The book is more descriptive and you get a real sense of how he play-acts to fit in and appear “normal”. I relate to Dexter, not because he has a “dark passenger” that talks to him and encourages him to go and maim and kill bad people – not so much …. However it is the way that he needs to cue himself on how to behave and react to fit in to normal society. In a social setting I have been doing that for years.

As soon as I saw Dexter, I was able to really connect with this guy. I also realize that I am feeling better because I have similarities to Dexter a fictitious serial killer … that may well need therapy at a later stage.

The other thing that was a real “light bulb” moment was doing a Myers-Briggs personality profile about three years ago.

It is a longish process, but the bottom line is that it has an introvert/extrovert quota as part of the personality profile. The I/E ratio has nothing to do with whether you like people and enjoy a good party and a great glass of wine.

What is important is where you get your energy from (I para-phrase slightly, but if you are interested in a more technical discussion pop along to http://www.myersbriggs.org/).

For me socializing especially with people I don’t know – is draining and requires the use of large stores of energy – I also put this down to depression. With the Myers-Briggs profile it basically allows for the fact that some personality types socialize well because they gain energy from it, while other personality types can socialize, but for them, it requires energy, and often leaves them drained and wanting to go and hide in a dark corner somewhere. EUREKA – get the Myers person and his/her friend Briggs a glass of wine!!!

Before I close off, I stumbled across these statistics on depression in women come from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) which I thought were really interesting:-

  • One in four women will experience severe depression at some point in life.
  • Depression affects twice as many women as men, regardless of racial and ethnic background or income.
  • Depression is the number one cause of disability in women. (Wow that is a bit of a shocker when you see it set down like that.)
  • In general, married women experience depression more than single women do, and depression is common among young mothers who stay at home full-time with small children.
  • Women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse are at much greater risk of depression.
  • At least 90 percent of all cases of eating disorders occur in women, and there is a strong relationship between eating disorders and depression.
  • Depression can put women at risk of suicide. While more men than women die from suicide, women attempt suicide about twice as often as men do.
  • Only about one-fifth of all women who suffer from depression seek treatment.

Okay, so that is pretty much my rant on depression and my inability to be a social butterfly.

However that being said, this weekend I did manage to wear my hair like Pippa Longstocking and make it through a party and not be the first person to leave – its all about progress done in baby steps.

Leave a comment


  1. Jolene

     /  July 15, 2013

    I feel so depressed and unloved now that I am a SAHM with a 9mo old. My husband won’t even watch him so I can go to the gym two minutes away, so how can I get healthy and have a release for all this anger? And he wonders why I’m becoming a mean person.

  2. I agree with everything you had to say. I am too a stay at home mom that suffers from depression. How could we not? Meeting other mom’s (especially if your children are under 3) can be very difficult. I have a 3 year old and I live in a community that not only snubs its nose at you if you are not an “original”member, you have to belong to a current income bracket. Coupling those with major depression, you are pretty much screwed. For the past 3 years I have spent 90% of my time in my house, raising my daughter while my husband works. Other than him, I have very little outside interaction.

    Depression is such a visicous think because unlike you, I am a very outgoing person. Now, I freak out at Target and I love Target!

    Thanks again for your sincere words,

    • reluctantmom

       /  March 12, 2010

      Thanks Laura – yes, mommyhood and depression is a very difficult vehicle to handle. I also find that it is very easy to get homeward bound, as the chaos inside somedays feels easier than the chaos outside – but it really can start to eat at our sanity, and take its toll on our relationships and everything we hold dear. Please keep in touch – thanks for checking out the blog. I still get amazed that I am not alone in this – I really felt until I started this blog that I was the only person who felt this way …. and experienced what I was experiencing.

  3. I had a small chuckle when I read that one must DECIDE to be happy… tell that to a suicidal me. DECIDE. *ugh*

  4. Helen

     /  February 11, 2010

    Hmmmm isnt it Pippy Longstocking? Bloody hell who cares.

    I think the biggest dilemma is that many women suffer with depression and they dont realise it. Also depression can be glossed over by those single years and studying for a career. However, its only when we settle down does the big momma of all depressions find us.

    I get the thing about God – I dont buy it either. I believe in reincarnation purely because if I didnt I would be madder than I am. However, I do think the depression is real I also think that negative thinking creates a reality that may not be real – get me? But, while we are busily trying to get out of the depression we become aware of others and how they lead their lives. I suspect its why we dislike mother and baby groups as we detect a certain amount of falseness (is that a word?)a mile off. So in some ways the depression serves us but is so very very painful. Id still rather be thick and normal but I never will be. Ya dont know what ya dont know.

    Its funny about the socialising – people think I am an extrovert but only because I tend to go into overdrive when in company. I hate groups. I dont do social anymore. I have 3 cats – thats enough. I think its ok not to do social – so what if we dont like it – thats also ok. I dont want anymore new friends at this point, its too much effort. Plus Im seriously at the point where I dont give a toss what others think. I really dont, and Im afraid at socials I tend to pick up on the bullshitters and then all hell is let loose.


  5. Tania

     /  February 4, 2010

    Keep going… With every article you hit the nail more and more right on its head… I think I should introduce my Husband to this Blog… it’ll give him some insight as to what I’ve been going through since the birth of our kids and why I’m not that sunny/bright/healthy/young individual anymore. Hey, atleast its good to now really know that I’m most definately not the only one.

    • reluctantmom

       /  February 4, 2010

      Thanks for the encouragement.

      I think the part about depression that is so debillitating is that when you are going through it – is that it so lonely and you feel like you are going mad. Only after a long time of going through all this kak – and finally one day getting help, do you realise that you were not alone, and in fact, you are not mad, well not certifiably so. There is help, and there are ways do deal with it.

      Sure, you may not be the happiest person in the world, but at least you can get up and get dressed and fit in with society – more or less!



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