Welcome to Storied Mind. I’m John Folk-Williams, the site’s writer and jack-of-all-trades. My motive in setting up this website is to share with you the ideas, stories and information that have helped me get free of depression and restart my life.
There are many good websites offering the guidance and expertise of professional mental health providers, but the concern here is different. It’s about the experience of people like you and me who know what depression is like because we’ve lived with it for years. We need to learn what we can do on our own and how we can support each other.
How can we use professional guidance to get better? What do we do if the treatments don’t work? How can we help ourselves to become vital human beings again? What can we learn from each other? What can we hope for?
You and I need answers to those questions – and a hundred others. I believe a lot of healing takes place when people who have lived with depression tell their stories to each other.
Those stories are what this site is all about. I hope you’ll get involved by adding your ideas, by suggesting helpful resources and by sharing your own experience. Since the site is intended to be a helpful resource, I hope you’ll let me know how it can be improved to meet your needs most effectively.
You can find a short version of my recovery story here. If you want to read more of my posts, you can check out the ones I’ve written for Health Central. More recently, I’ve started contributing to MentalHelp.Net.
PLEASE NOTE: This site does not offer medical or therapeutic advice or step by step methods claiming to cure. The purpose is not to make suggestions to you about your treatment – that is between you and the professionals you consult.
All the original writing and images are copyright protected and cannot be used without explicit permission, except for fair use of brief excerpts with links back to this site.
when again I was at the bottom and my “gremlin” said: you cannot cope with it anymore, I stumbled upon your article “Trying to Cope with Depression When “I Just Can’t.”
so here I am, taking deep breaths, while thanking you for your story – words, that could’ve been mine.
I just read an article where you talked about people passing through depression and not being able to love because they don’t feel anything. My husband is going through this and I’m really struggling to know what I can do to help him.
Hi Mr. Williams I just came across your article on mental help.net titled A personal story of living through depression. It is the only description of the feelings felt & battles fought because of depression that I’ve been able to relate to. I found this article today after doing a google search for, I need help I’m unable to fight hopelessness. I’ve felt this way for almost 3 years and the feelings I felt when I realized you had battled these feelings since you were 8 years old were incredibly overwhelming and heartbreaking for me. So I will not go any further until I say that I’m so sorry you had to feel this at such a tender age as 8 and that you had to continue day after day year after year for so long before you were able to find a way to fight through and come out the other side. It’s almost unimaginable to me that you were able to survive that experience for so long. I’ve tried to explain to a few people what I feel and how I have no desire whatsoever to change anything, that’s what most people don’t understand about it. So many actually have good advice, go outside, write, read a bible, pray, blah blah blah. That advice is for me once I’ve made it out of where I’m at. So I guess I’m just not there yet. I think of it and realize that all of those things would help, yet I can not find a way to want to do them or even attempt them. I am lost in this room confined to my bed, a strong healthy 41 yr old woman, destroying every relationship every opportunity and every possibility deliberately and painfully. Because I can not find a way to get through this unbearable loss and Devastation that swallowed me when my sons father put into action the plan he had spent years planting. That morning started as every other morning, I woke up get him and our six yr old son up and ready dressed and fed and sent on their day with a kiss and a hug and plans for the afternoon when I would see them again. Everything else is a blur. Within 3 hours I found myself getting rushed out of a shower by my ex & 2 police at my bathroom door. I was told I had 5 mins to gather clothing and hygiene items and be down the driveway, because he had just been granted a temporary restraint order against me, not only for him but our son as well. The accusations were fabricated, and it happened because the 23 yr old girlfriend he had been seeing had finally given him an ultimatum, her or me, and he was, I guess, convinced the only way I would leave was by force. He was in his 50s and had told himself for decades a woman over 40 was something he didn’t want and I was almost there. My loss has not been him my loss has been my son, my pain is what I know my son has endured for the past almost 3 years, my guilt is that I have not been able to overcome this and fight to fix this somehow and find my way back to my son. The more hopeless I have become the more wreck less I act, the more damaging my decisions become, which only paints a picture that is harder to overcome. In may my son will be 9 in June it will be 3 years since I have seen his sweet face and heard his precious voice. He left that morning not because he wanted to but because he had to, his dad decided that daycare was how he would spend his summer days because he resented the fact that I was home playing with him while he worked all day. and did not like that our son was at a place in his life where I was who he wanted to spend time with. But he left doing his part to get to the moment we both looked forward to every day, when I would pick him up that afternoon and we would come home and be able to play and enjoy our time together as we did each day. Neither one of us knew what was in store for us, I know now as does he. I know how it’s felt for me and how it has impacted me, yet my brokenness is for the loss my baby has had to go through and the sadness and aftermath he has endured. Ive allowed this experience to completely overwhelm every good and capable ability I’ve ever had, and there were plenty. Because of his influence in the community, as well as his wealth and connections both in and out of the courthouse I repeatedly hit a brick wall so much to the point that almost 3 years later I’ve yet to stand before a judge to fight the temporary restraining order. I’ve allowed this experience to take me to a place I despise the decisions and destructive patterns that have followed are all things I know are destructive and impossible to live with which is probably why I’ve allowed myself to entertain them. Yet every moment of every day I know if I could just get back to my baby I would be immediately cured, physically my miracle is a mere 5 miles away yet it might as well be light years away because his father has spoken and we are forced to follow. Every day I sleep as much as possible because I dream of my baby, sometimes I sleep for days at a time, literally. When I’m up I hide in my room avoiding all aspects of life completely. If someone knocks I ignore it they call I ignore text I ignore.I have had opportunity after opportunity with jobs that I have destroyed. Friendships I have failed, family I’ve hurt with my inability to even fake interest or like I cared, those were the good days though. It didn’t take long before I was able to completely ignore even them. All I want is to be with my son and I know in that moment every bit of this will be gone, yet every day that has passed has convinced me more and more that will not happen, and each day has created a darkness and a hopelessness that now seems impossible to overcome. Which brings me back to the idea of knowing certain things could help but who has the desire or the strength to do them? I don’t. But I do know one thing I want, and that’s to be with my son again, and I’m not sure how that will happen especially when I remember that before all this it was impossible now after all this it’s really impossible. But I can’t give up because what that does to my baby’s life is something my love for him will not allow me to put on him. So I’m here and I can’t leave here and I know I can’t continue living life like this which today had me telling google I need help I am unable to overcome hopelessness. I don’t know why I’m writing all of this to you, I realize your not a dr and the help you can offer is already there in your words. I guess I just wanted to let you know that your words and your honesty were very real to me and it was an incredible feeling to read them in black and white and to realize that there’s a name for exactly what I have been feeling and for what I have been going through. I’ve never heard anyone voice or explain depression the way that you did, I experience what you described every day and still can’t put it to words as you did. So thank you, for doing that, thank you for putting to words what you felt and what you lived. I now know I can overcome this I still don’t know how it will happen but I know it will because it’s the only option on the table at this point. My love won’t allow me to give up so there’s only one option left find a way to what I love. Somehow someway I will find in me a way to reach the help I need to find me again and reach my miracle.
Thank you for being so willing to share about your battle with depression. My husband is currently in a down swing and doesn’t seem to realize it although he has known when he was in past downs. This time, it is so bad, I am not sure how much more strength I have to tolerate and it seems useless to confront. I was just wondering, in your worst times, when your wife stayed, did you still respect her? I am starting to lose respect for myself for riding this emotional rollercoaster and staying compassionate when I see his pain. I love him and won’t leave him yet his lack of effort and respect towards me is so hurtful. I know I can always leave. I am just torn.
Your authentic descriptions of how it’s feels to be depressed and explanations of your depressed minds thinking and behaviour is enlightening. Your articles describe in confronting detail my day to day life experience, as the wife with my husband, diagnosed with depression and complex PTS from childhood trauma.
Finding Storiedmind has saved my sanity, provided relief and understanding and empathy for my husband. I truly Thank and applaud you.
I would like to note My queries and would love your opinions.
1. Your first failed relationship, of your obsession and your love that was not reciprocated, I read your account and think this was your first dive into depression?? Rather than a reality version of the relationship itself? As it is not a typical love story, the primary focus is on yourself and your sadness, which is in fact depression, is it not?
2. In Why depressed men leave, you ask why wives allow their depressed partners to ‘be depressed’ and stay within the home and family, together you have created.
Very simply, it’s because it is the right thing to do. It’s the moral question, what would you do if your partner was diagnosed with a terminal illness or physical trauma?? Of course, You’d stay and manage it, as that the right thing to do.
Your question triggered frustration for me. I felt blamed again by depression! I feel depression blames us partners for everything! You pose this question, as if having empathy for your depressed partner and faith they will heal, is causing the depressed person to, in fact, remain depressed and not be forced to get help sooner.
My frustration with people with a mental health diagnosis, is they themselves do not do the work, get the treatment. They instead blame all their external environment and refuse to take responsibility for their healing or try to have awareness of their conditions signs and symptoms to see their negative, selfish thinking! Instead they choose to blame innocent others, offering unconditional love and help.
Although you know your depression diagnosis, you choose to ignore ALL the obvious signs and symptoms you are displaying and cause such despair to your family, who is ONLY doing the right thing. Then you take no responsibility for your behaviour. Why do depressed people constantly do this? I look forward to your opinion on this?
Hi, deep in my 80’s. Going through another tussle with the Black Dog. I don’t know if I can lick it this time. Obstacles seem mountain high. Absolutely convinced that one of the ways to chase the Black Dog is to reach out to a community of people who know just what you’re going through.
Courage everybody., The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.
I purchased your ebook which is full of insightful stories and ideas for recovery. I guess I’ve come to a point in my struggle where I’m extremely overwhelmed at my life circumstances and understand the vicious circle I’m in yet the increased inability to think clearly and brain fog is becoming intolerable.
Not able to work due to severe anxiety and severe depression increased physical issues, pressure of brother to leave his home because he believes pushing through divorce will help me recover. What he doesn’t understAnd or appreciate is that I’m experiencing serious problems concentrating and focusing and decision making and find myself in deep despair.
I don’t know how to best proceed to seek help?? Having serious cognitive challenges and physical problems with GI issues, headaches, dizziness etc. Been on 7 different antidepressants during last 8 years and did not get much relief and now battle chronic insomnia which exaserbates the worsening symptoms. Talk therapy is not helping me much and not able to see a future is so demoralizing. Therapist simply says list out my to to do’s and prioritize them and do them one at a time. The problem is the severity of what I’m facing and needing to get done which affects engaging divorce, selling my home, uprooting adults kids living at home when I struggling to get out of bed literally. Writing this is a real challenge. I realize I have to help myself but my body and brain and not helping me function and do what I need to do??? Feeling so shameful of this existence and simply wa t to be able to sleep feel rested enough to gain some clarity/hope.
Sorry, you are the few people who can relate to what and where I am mentally/physically and seek direction.
I’m a 38yr male. Im really mentally tired. It seems like men need to be strong. It seems, as males, we aren’t allowed to admit we are depressed and tired of life. There just seems like there is no one to talk too that would understand.
spread kindness says
I hope you’ve been well. Life can be hard, it’s not easy. Males hold this figure of strength, but you know what, it is OKAY to not always be strong. Nobody can be strong and keep it together 100% of the time, they would be lying if they said so.
On that note, let your emotions come through. Cry if you want, hell who cares, no ones judging you, I’m not.
Hope I lifted your spirits somehow. Bye for now.
I’m just coming out of one of the most painful episodes of depression that I’ve had in a long time and I was googling “should I go to work depressed,” in an attempt to get feedback on whether I should push myself one more time and just “fall in” as my mother used to say. I came across your blog and read the shortened version of your story. It had never dawned on me that working 39 years as a nurse in intensive care units was helping to keep me struggling with bouts of depression. I read more and began to come out of denial of how depression had affected my whole life. From being holed up in my bedroom listening to Billie Holiday as a teen, to years of living with shame and feelings of unworthiness, to giving up my dreams of acting and writing, living alone for so many years and feeling unfit for a loving relationship to finally finding myself at 62 wondering what kind of future lay before me. I’ve done years of self help, 12 step recovery, relocating to different places and God knows what but I never blamed my depression as being the reason for why my life was the way it has been. I went from studying depression, to being on numerous meds and natural supplements to eventually pretending it wasn’t there. Until I got hit with another bout that is. Intellectually I know it’s an illness of my mind but emotionally I feel like a failure. My family and friends respond with helplessness and even anger at times. Something about your story gave me hope and a willingness to finally give myself the care and attention that I have needed for so long. The hope that maybe I can make changes in my life and find healing and a life of fulfillment. I just purchased Storied Mind (thank you for your generous price) and I’m going to start reading it tonight. I’ve been helping others to heal for 39 years. Maybe it’s time I walk away from the stress of ICU and start to heal myself. I’ll start by giving myself a few more days to get better. Thank you for sharing your story.
I was struck by your comment. I struggled with depression since my teens but always thought I hid it well. I managed to graduate nursing school and get married. Years later, I had a steady job as an RN. By all accounts, I should have been happy but I was wasn’t. I had a soul-sucking job as a charge nurse on a lockdown psych unit and was pulling five 12’s a week. I loved being a nurse and my ego was being fed by promotion after promotion (charge nurse, preceptor). I never saw the correlation until I became the patient. I burned out in epic fashion…attempting suicide and nearly succeeding.
I stopped practicing after that and have spent the last 4 years focusing on my own healing. It was best decision I ever made! It was not easy giving up what I love and my path to recovery has been anything but smooth. I think as nurses we are conditioned to ignore our needs and it takes a toll in the long run. I hope you find peace.
Thank you for sharing your journey. I just bought the e-Book. This information is so valuable to me. I can’t talk about it with anyone I know. And I can only see my therapist once a week. So the rest, I’m on my own floating in a sea of uncertainty with no sight of shore anywhere. This gives me hope of finding some much needed answers. Thank you!!!
Hi,I a, new to this but I need help ,my story so far..I married my husband 10 years ago and have. Been with him for 20 years ,we fell in love have had an incredible life together, I thought were a perfectly happy couple,my husband started to get stressed with his business a few years ago and I could feel him withdraw a bit ,over the past few months. About 4 months ago he woke up one morning and out of the blue said, I don’t love you and it’s over. When I have asked him for a reason, all he can really say is I just don’t love you, I just don’t love you. This is the man who was and is the most loving , kind ,funny man in the world,we have a 6 year old and a 3 year old little girl. My husband has said we will be better without him , he strongly believes he can be a better dad, etc, and is now living Ina a flat on his own. I am so desperate and sad and in utter disbelief that this is happening, I believe he is ill, he had a terrible child hood,a very traumatic divorce which left considerable damage, he runs his own business, and I think he is depressed,which has been triggered by high levels of stress over a long period of time. Here is the problem, he thinks he is completely fine, and all is well, he is happy and fine. But ,…this is a man that swore he would never do something like this, it’s like I am dealing with a completely different person. And to top it all he completely blames me for everything .he doesn’t say it, but his general attitude and demeana to me is ,yes your the reason for all this. You are why I had to leave, when i am. Pretty sure we were o.k,yes life is tough and and nothing is perfect, but their is something not right, my children are suffering very much especially my little girl, I am swimming against a tsunami , pleas help anyone, has this happened to anyone else out there? Please help xxxlots of love Shazia I live in the u.k
Any updates? Going through same
I couldn’t find an appropriate thread to post.
I’m so tired of pretending to be okay.
I have the most extraordinary partner. The sort of Prince Charming little girls pray for. I love him.
Yet I spend most of my time telling him how annoying he is. I ask him to shut up. He responds by kissing me and laughing because i can be sarcastic, but I know he knows when i’m being [unintentionally?] intentionally mean for absolutely no reason. I know it hurts him.
I guess my point is:
Where is the line between ending things because you believe that you’re hurting someone and believing that you have a partner who knows and accepts what they’re”in for”? Which one of you makes that call?
For the record I have tried…
I just happened to find your site here by accident… I’ve lived long enough, to know that everything happens in life for a reason. In dealing with my own depression for decades, that seriously got me started, reading the Bible. I had lost my job, had had a bad back injury, I was asking God for help. Eventually I got well enough to return to work for until I could no longer work because of depression. Ten years would go by. On one of my bad day’s these three words that kept showing up in my thoughts…..’believe, ‘trust, and faith. Following this higher awareness, I started believing His word, I found that I could trust Him, and that He was faithful, so that I could have ‘faith’ as small as a mustard seed.. Ten years later, I know He leads me, I’ve come to develop a life of learning, that is my passion. I’m also looking for ways to share what I’ve learned from life, and other higher learning courses. I believe, that finding your website, is His way of showing me what ‘hope’ and my future looks like. May God bless you..
Hello, this is my first time participating in an online forum. I am very nervous as I have not talked about this with anyone, however I feel like I am drowning and slowly dying inside. My husband has suffered from depression all his life. When we first met, I was not aware that he had suffered from depression and the beginning of our relationship was amazing. He was this outgoing full of life person and not afraid to try anything and was very adventurous. The complete opposite of me, I tended to be more reserved and not as adventurous. He brought a lot of new feelings out in me and started showing another way of life that I had been missing out on. All this came crashing down, when further into our relationship he started going into a depressed state. I did not recognize it at the time as I was not in tune with the symptoms. To make a long story short, his depression has become quite severe and he blames me for all of it and is currently not speaking to me and has basically told me he does not want me to be in his life. He will not speak to me, answer any of my calls, emails and has pretty much locked himself away from everyone. He has left me to run everything, including a business he has owned for over 18 years and run successfully and has basically dropped the entire responsibility in my lap as well as me taking care of the entire household including all expenses and taking care of a dog that has a severe heart condition and requires a lot of care and meidcation. I have no access to any of the business accounts, so I am going in blind and I am not drawing any income from the business and am not able to seek other paying employment as I am fully immersed in trying to run this business. I am beyond overwhelmed and feel like everything is resting on me and am having a very hard time coping. I have no one to talk to and am so alone. Maybe this forum will at least help me feel human again. I am crying all the time, even as I right this note. I don’t know how I am going to manage and I worry so much about my husband who says I am a heartless, selfish, uncaring person who has caused him to be in the state he is in. He says he can not get better with me in his life. Feeling defeated tonight.
No not really.
Sorry. I am going through this with my “boyfriend”. He moved out & we hardly text anymore. Haven’t seen him in over two weeks. Makes me so sad & mad how it changes them & we suffer too.
I hear you. I am so sorry your boyfriend left. It must be so difficult for you. Depression is so devastating to a relationship. I feel for you.
I came across your website while researching and felt that I found a goldmine! The resource you’ve created is a Godsend. I’ll be dropping by often to read more insights and stories.
Peer Recovery Coach
thanks for this amazing site.
I have referred many of my clients who struggle with depression here to read your posts.
I know you’re no longer writing, but thank you for the incredible contribution you have made through your writing.
All the best,
I wonder—- what is the true definition of friend. When people say “friend”, do they really mean a casual acquaintance? There is nobody I can call and say “I’m drowning”.
I once met a quote by Marilyn Monroe on the subject when a reporter remarked that she must have plenty of friends. She said, Nobody has plenty of friends, not real friends”.
Michelle, I know exactly what you are going through because I am going through it myself. It hit home for me, when I read your comment about ‘friends’….. technically, I ‘have’ friends, but in reality! I only have ‘one’ friend! And since she moved 9 hours 2 years ago! I feel there is not way, I’d burden her with whining about my life on the phone, via text etc. I just pretend things are ok! So! there is really no one to open up to, swallow my pride in front of and talk honestly about what my feelings, fears etc. I am trying so hard, to find natural supplements that I can take on my own, like 5 HTP and St. John’s Wort, to see….is there something out there that can help with this awful, ugly, gigantically heavy feeling of despair!!!
Please let me know how you are doing.
I was the best friend and lover, life partner of’that beautiful person, not’to’say the only real friend she has. She could talk to me the way you’re implying, as she always’has since we met. First thing she did when falling into mild depression was throwing me away, saying I was barely her friend now. She rather be alone or fantasizing about a new person than talk to the love of her life about her deep feelings. I’m sorry you have no one, I’m on the other side and I wish she would come to me. Keep posting here, people have been in your situation and will understand. Good luck to you and take care ofmyou, try to find some group activities or group therapy maybe? Take care
Hello, my name is Seth. I have been on both sides of a relationship within which depression is wreaking its havoc. I have also been a mental health professional for a number of years and have come across these feelings many times with the people whom I work. Feeling utterly alone and without true friends can sometimes be seen in terms of the ways in which we frame our relationships and the people in our lives. We often do not see that there are people in our lives who truly are just waiting for us to reach out to. This is an incredibly difficult and brave thing to do which is why resources like the words on this site can be monumental. Please know, whomever you are and wherever you may be, there IS at least one person who is willing to listen, genuinely interested in your story, and affected by the pain you are going through. My name is Seth. I have started writing about these themes and some tactics to add to your food for thought on a blog of my own. If you or anyone you know ever wat to connect with someone who has dealt with these struggles and also works in this area (as a registered clinical socail worker) you can reach out to me either through my blog or e-mail. Remember that you are not alone and that you CAN find the meaning you might be looking for. Please Take care.
Can you point me to your blog or email?
I’m in my fifties and going through a major depressive episode. I’ve been depressed all my life and now it seems that more and more things can make the depression worse, for example if someone is rude to me. I haven’t worked outside the home for several years. At times I’m able to go to the corner bar just for some conversation–definitely not about being depressed–the conversation (and liquor) gives me temporary relief, but It’s not a long term solution. No one to talk to on a regular basis. I feel like I’m on the verge of a complete breakdown.
I hope you’ve found some support? Take care Michelle you’re not alone
I have suffered the dreaded Depression since I lost my mother to suicide at age 13 She had mental health issues also. Luckily I had a sister 16 years older to look after me but she is a perfectionist and I am far from it (too creative, messy, free thinking etc) Her beliefs have had a profound effect on me over the years.
When I feel ok I have spells of being very artistic and my writing has been printed in a local paper and I had a poem printed once. My photography is pretty good and I can paint (sort of!!)
I was married for 22 years but my Ex couldn’t cope with my up and down moods and left me in 2001. Don’t think he knew what emotions were!!
This just added to feelings of abandonment; (Mum killing herself didn’t help LOL Yes I do gallows humour too!)
I think a lot of people suffer these feelings but don’t realise.
If someone leaves for whatever cause when you are not fully developed I do think its bound to have an impact. I am almost 57 and still suffer.
I’ve never been good at making friends but I am very friendly!! I will talk to any one and am not really shy. I don’t like big groups much though so I don’t like joining social groups (tried it and felt a tad overwhelmed)
I hadn’t worked for many years but recently got given a job in a residential home; but guess what?? Six weeks later; as well as moving house, working at this new job and joining the gym I’ve given myself complete and utter exhaustion and depression………So I have given in my notice!
I had a week off after feeling this exhaustion………and now somehow feel deep shame and that they wouldn’t want me back; and if I am going to be ill like that; then I don’t deserve a job at all!! This is ridiculous and I know that deep down; but it’s how Depression gets to you. You can so easily feel like you are just a waste of time and space.
I often wonder if we can separate physical and metal exhaustion but I think the body is a ‘whole entity’ so if one gets affected then so does the other.
I seem to get good spells as well as bad, never had a diagnosis of manic depression; and the good spells are great but not helpful as you can’t stay in the same positive mind set, so you cant keep doing what you were doing before……and therefore by its nature stop and start things; work hobbies new activities etc
Nothing is reliable or consistent. I can start stories and never finish them, its frustrating.
I feel like I’ve let myself and sometimes others down (if you start work then end up not being able to manage it)
It feels like a never ending cycle at times and that’s the worst part of it for me………..
My hope of remaining positive can probably never be sustained………
But still I have made a counselling appointment!
I’m really struggling with depression. I’m 41 years old have a beautiful 8yearold son. I have been fighting depression for 4-5 years now. I reads couple of your posts that were very insightful and helpful. John I’m scared I’m not get any better. Patterns symptoms are becoming more entrenched. I’m extremely angry, having been taking anti depressants seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist. HELP.
Joan Barry says
This may sound cliche, but your writings have helped change my life. I have suffered with a similar depression to your own, all of my life. Probably like you, I have suffered enough for many lifetimes. Over the years, I have read endless self help books. None spoke to me as your words have. Thanks to you, I no longer see myself as a depressed person, but rather as a person who has episodes of depression. Thanks to you, this illness no longer controls my life and I no longer live in fear of its wrath.
All along, it has been my mission to educate others about this dreadful illness, especially those who tell us to “get up and go for a walk.” Society has made some progress in bringing the reality of mental illness out of darkness, but we still have a long way to go.
With gratitude and wishes that you be well,