Christine Macdonald

Author. Speaker. Recovering Narcissist.

Christine Macdonald

Christine Macdonald
Southern, California, USA
November 09
Contributing author of The Moment (Harper Collins). Former stripper, current writer working on forthcoming memoir Pour Some Sugar On Me: Tales from an Ex-Stripper. Activist. Public Speaker. Survivor.


Christine Macdonald's Links

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 17, 2010 12:07PM

State of Mind: when depression creeps in

Rate: 31 Flag



Slipping through four wheeled strangers crawling in a sea of asphalt, my drive from the office is arduous.

Hold on. Just one more block. 

Turning left on my street, I unbuckle the seatbelt across my chest. I allow a sigh within the walls of my lungs; she clings tightly to the fear. It’s a welcome relief to get one out. 

When I arrive home, the rubble of my life serves up equal parts comfort and disgust. Piles of dirty laundry cover the floor and stacks of papers blanket my coffee table. The kitchen countertops work as a nesting place for empty wine bottles, dirty dishes and unopened mail.  

There is a slight odor weaving its way up to my nostrils and I can’t tell if it’s coming from my skin, my scalp, or the basic parameter of the area. Ashamed, I don’t have the strength (or desire) to investigate further. I undress and climb in to my unmade bed.  

If I only knew what it was, what I could do. If I only took a shower, did laundry, washed the dishes, went for a walk or had a piece of chicken (that last one’s from mom). If only.  

Through the darkness of my room, outside my bedroom window I see sunlight playing hide and seek with the leaves of a palm in the breeze. Children playing on the street compete with the crashing waves echoing in the distance.  

That is what life feels like.  

I don’t have the energy to cry. The guilt of feeling depressed is depressing. I want to evaporate. 

* * *  

“So tell me.” Her voice was soft. “Why are you calling?”  

“I’ve never been suicidal, but I am having fantasies of not wanting to live.”  

I met Mary the next afternoon and gave her a hug as soon as she opened the door. She sat and listened to my story without judgment or pity.  

In less than an hour I bullet pointed my life. Raped at age thirteen, drugs by fourteen, a skin deformity by fifteen, promiscuity to feel beautiful, left home at seventeen and on and on. Absentee father, abusive step-father, a mother who drank. The perfect sister everyone loved. And then there was me. The Stripper. The Fuck Up.  

So stripping was my thing. I drank. I snorted. I pill-popped. I bent over and counted my money one dollar at a time. I worked the pole, slept around and pushed the envelope of reason. I rock-starred in my own one-woman show. And now, the music is over. The crowd is long gone and I am still here. 

“I’m trapped in darkness and so much of what I see is light. How do I get there?” This time the tears managed to come. 

“You will find your way. And I am going to help you.”  

And so it begins.

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Oh, my. I'm sorry but I understand. I hope you keep writing and sharing and don't bottle up inside. Clinical depression is a horrible animal, but with therapy, right medication and in time it can be slain. Wish you peace and strength during this season. Blessings.
Thanks so much FusunA. This was a difficult piece to write, but I am working through. Ebbing and flowing. :)
Powerful writing. Sad story. Best of luck in finding happiness (or at least contentment) going forward.

Thanks. I am very much on the right path - though the bouts tend to creep in from time to time. It's not near as bad today, thank Goodness.
If you are awfully terribly miserably depressed,
give in to it and be as pathetic as you can.
Luxuriate in it. The mess, the smell...
It will pass if you don't fight it.

Depression is certainly an "illness", but i prefer to call it
a "disorder". Chemicals are out of balance in yr brain,
and can be adjusted, but it is crucial to dissolve the guilt.
You're only guilty of being human.

Often, maybe always, depression is anger turned inward.
Reach the rage inside, whether it is at yourself or others or both.
Anger energizes. Also: a trick I have is
to allow myself to wallow once in awhile,
knowing i will come out of it
(this is how the world works: it strives for health and beauty...)
and when i do,
to simply "box" the awful time up in my head in a conceptual container:
i say "i had a bit of a slump",
knowing it is a part of me, perhaps (strange to consider)
a healthy healing part...

Also the knowledge of the worst feeling in the world
makes you a hell of alot more empathetic to others,
for as old Buddha said, Life is Suffering.

The world is evil.
You are good.
Evil wants good to be down & out.
Regardless of the underlying reasons, you've completely captured the feeling, the look, and the scent of depression Christine. This is well written.
Hey! That's the damn cure for depression!
A cover and an Editor's pick!!!
Oughta pick up yr mood a bit...
Best to you. Very well done.
Thanks so much for the lovely comments . I'm truly touched - and yes, Editor's Pick is lovely. Thank you!
This was very moving. Good luck to you.
are you in a new space since you wrote this? one wonders if it was from last year, last month, or last tuesday-- or yesterday.
I have had one friend who talked about suicide in high school. I didnt want to be burdened with the responsibility of knowing that.
I have had a near family member commit suicide on the 2nd try. the 1st was a very close call.
sometimes I wonder if "too much awareness" can actually lead to depression. ie, compartmentalization helps to avoid it. we are all compartmentalized in certain ways. despite the near omnipresent/omniscient media it is better & healthier *not* to know about all the evils of the world unless one can "process" them in some way.
yes, this world can be like a machine at times, and chew things up and spit them out. but a key thing to remember is FREE WILL. you made your life. yes, there are currents in life, but FREE WILL is how we either surf or drown in them. there are the cards you are dealt in life, and the way that you play them. never forget these are two distinct things. some people have even darker cards than any of us can imagine and turn them into light. transformation. phoenix-like.
maybe that is one of the real meanings of life. to turn darkness into light via our own consciousness.
by the way, it is not well realized among the public, but many drugs probably can *permanently* alter/scar your brain chemistry. esp the more you've taken em. I am not one who would automatically recommend getting drugs to treat depression. its a very complex subject which got tom cruise vs brook shields in a lot of hot water. I might write a blog on that someday. for now, let me just say I think the US is overmedicated to subsidize pharmaceutical companies/conglomerates/corporations. has anyone read the book "brave new world"? at least as significant/prescient as orwells 1984 but few ppl remember it as well.....
Thanks for the well wishes. I wrote this recently, but rest assured, I am on the road to recovery. Every day is a new beginning. Therapy and drugs are wonders - and yes, I agree, those street drugs I took long ago have altered my brain chemistry.

This post is about the depth, but also the hope that happens through therapy.

I recommend medical (mental and physical) attention to anyone suffering with depression. It's nothing to be taken lightly.
Christine, I am so glad to see you back here. The pain you write about is palpable. Here's to healing...~r
I've suffered depression myself and posted about it recently. You are taking positive steps and I wish you the best.
Hi Christine. Very well done. I just re-read it and it was even better the second time. Some of this sounds very familiar, especially "I don’t have the energy to cry. The guilt of feeling depressed is depressing. I want to evaporate." I know that feeling of when you're so depressed you're beyond crying. The photo is great.

You're very brave to be writing about your life. All the best with the memoir. I will look for your FB page.

Thank you for writing.
I'm glad you are writing about this. It will assist your therapy and aid your healing.
This essay beautifully illustrates the fundamentl maxim of effective writing: show, don't tell. Looking forward to readng more.
Wow! You told depression like it is. Best of luck moving forward. Sounds like a good first step.
Many people suffer through depression for different reasons. Some depression is mild to severe. Regardless of what kind it is. Depression is hard to feel and hard to get through. You my dear have captured is beautifully. You're writing is awesome and I know its the first step toward healing. Good Luck Christine. May the new year bring you nothing but happiness. :)
I'm sorry you are or have gone through this but I understand because I've been there. Not your life necessarily, but the deep, dark depression which you describe so eloquently. I attempted suicide and it took a long time but I am finally glad I lived. There is hope and it comes through a combination of a good therapist and medication. But that is from my experience - some people may not agree. H.ang in there - it does get better
When I was younger, I also suffered from depression. I'm 57 now and it's no longer an issue for me, so I think I might be able to help you get through this. Of course, everyone has moments of depression and I also still go through it at times, but I know how to pull out within minutes, or even sometimes, hours. How have I become so resilient? I could probably write a book about it, but I'll try to be brief and helpful. First, the world can be a very unkind place. I don't think anyone has much control over that. However, we can be kind to ourselves. We can forgive ourselves. We can control our thoughts. We can observe our thought processes. You've discovered how wonderful writing can be to do this. I've always used writing as a way to process whatever I'm going through. It's great that you're reaching out here on Open Salon because I truly believe that much mental illness results from isolation. Actually, even though I have a deep history from my late teens and 20's of depression, I don't identify myself as a person who has suffered or is damaged. I choose to look at myself from my strengths, and I suggest you do that also. Set yourself small tasks that you can accomplish. Take that shower. Wash that hair. Wash those sheets. Pick up the dirty laundry. Do the laundry. I know you're too tired because of the depression. But sometimes you just have to make yourself do something different, even if it takes all of your strength to accomplish just one thing each day. During this time of pulling yourself out of the depths of depression, hope, that shiny bauble, is what will see you through. Hope that things will get better, hope that you can change, hope that luck will bless you, hope that you will find a true friend, hope that you will begin to appreciate what you have, hope that you can help others, hope that you will find meaning in your life, hope that you will survive and even thrive again. Any one of us can get knocked out of balance. We're not just our physical bodies. We actually have emotional bodies, mental bodies and spiritual bodies. Our spiritual body is eternal, at least that's what I believe. The physical body is our embodiment on this physical plane. We need to nourish our physical body and treat it well with exercise, regular sleep, and plenty of water and beauty around us to have a good life. I wish you a good life, I hope you will find joy and discover a good sense of your own self worth. I know it's possible.
This was beautiful and affecting. I have faced this monster and make most of my life's decisions, big and small, based on not wanting to face it again.
Thank you all for the lovely comments and love. This piece was written about my experiences that I still struggle with, but I am much better now than I was when this was happening. I am seeing a doctor and am taking steps to never 'go there' again. Or at least try not to.

I am truly touched by your comments. Thanks again.
I fight a battle every day to be normal. Some days are harder than others. I wish you all the best.
I am living through the severe depression of a close family member and it is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. This person drinks and is so self-destructive (one suicide attempt already at 23). I am so sorry you are going through all this - do keep seeking help because you are very talented and have a lot to say and offer.
Ariel Ky has a few good points. I would add a few more (the voice of experience, here). First, do just one thing a day that you really like to do, and stick with that. Second, you ought to take up jogging longer distances if you can. I found that even in the depth of my depression 35 years ago, if I ran three or four miles, it was as if the dirty, cluttered blackboard of my mind had been washed clean. And that's a good feeling.

You will survive. And in five year's time, you'll be exactly where you want to be!
i don't understand depresion. is it just a state of mind?
I agree with Veronica. Try and do the next thing--whatever it is. And then the next. One at a time. This may sound silly but I believe that reading helps. It's an escape and can ease one's soul.
You looked into the abyss and pulled back. That takes strength, and you will be fully well sooner than you know. Keep writing, and you will find it buoys you up. Blessings!
I like that you can write about your experiences with clarity, and honesty.
I like that what I read tells me what you went through without placing blame, on yourself, or the environment you describe that brought you to that place.
I like that you share with us your experiences and I tell myself that what you are doing may very well help someone out there who is perhaps feeling the same way that you felt at that time.
I like this, even if it reminds me of all the reasons I don't like myself.