Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Crying over a door: the Arrogance of Depression

My nom de plume is slightly incorrect.  I am Happy TO BE in Vermont, not necessarily happy.  I honestly don’t know when I have ever been happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I have happy moments; even happy days.  They are generally far between.

A couple of weeks ago I was made miserable by a door – my neighbor’s front door to be exact.  It is a very nice door.  I think it has six window panes and it seems pretty solid.  I’ve knocked on it a couple of times out of necessity, though, not because I wanted to.  I hate that door.  I avoid looking at that door when I walk by.  If I could, I’d kick that door, hard.

That door, you see, has become the physical symbol of how utterly unimportant I am.

I have suffered from depression for years, probably going back to childhood.  I’ve always been a “sensitive” child who felt things more strongly than other children.  I’ve always had a very small group of friends, usually just one or two.  I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in even while I was part of a group.

That has continued into my adult years (I am about to turn 44.)  While in the Navy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had a failed (obviously) suicide attempt and battled anorexia and bulimia.  That I survived the suicide attempt leads me to believe that I have a purpose here; I just don’t know what it is yet even after all these years.  I’ve had one long-term relationship that involved more than sex.  That relationship was a disaster.  Several years ago I began to shut people out with the notion that I needed to do it to them before they did it to me.

I moved to Vermont by myself almost two years ago.  I love it here but am miserable at the same time.  I love the weather.  I love that I can walk to just about everything I need to get to.  I love the lake to the east and the mountains to the west.  I just don’t like me.

But, let me progress to the door.  I moved into the apartment sight-unseen.  It was not feasible for me to get from Mississippi to Vermont to go apartment hunting.  Moving into temporary housing here while looking for a permanent arrangement wasn’t an option, either.  So, I found an apartment that, really, suits my needs even if it is a bit small.  (I had a three bedroom house in MS and this apartment is 1 1/2 bedrooms and half the square footage).

My biggest complaint about the apartment from Day One has been that there are no kitchen cabinets. There are shelves.  These shelves are a pain in the butt.  The glasses get dusty and my food is on display (not that too many people come over but…)  I mentioned the cabinets to my landlord numerous times but I’ve been patient.  So far.

Imagine my surprise when, last summer, my neighbors (those who got the door) got a new kitchen floor and, yes, new kitchen cabinets.  Did they need both?  Definitely.  They have also gotten a new bathroom floor and a new bathroom vanity.  Definitely needed that as well.  See where I’m headed?

A couple of weeks ago, I heard the sounds of construction and then saw a front door go by.  When I went to work there was my landlord finishing the installation of my neighbor’s door.  After I had bitched and moaned about the lack of cabinets in my kitchen my neighbors get cabinets and flooring in the kitchen, cabinets and a vanity in the bathroon, and a new door.  That door was the final straw.

I had to stem the tears as I walked to work.  Because that door is proof that my neighbors (in fact, everyone) is more important than I am.  That is the arrogance of depression.  The notion that everything that happens around them is somehow an assault on them.  

A “normal” person would think either the neighbor really needed the door and/or the landlord somehow forgot about the cabinets.  To someone with depression, it is quite personal.  It isn’t so much that my neighbors needed the door or my landlord may have forgotten about my cabinets.  It’s that what I want or need doesn’t matter.  Because it is about me, not them.  It’s always me.  I want someone to pay attention to me, listen to me, remember me.  Give me some cabinets.  But instead I get nothing while my neighbors get cabinets and a door.

I hate that door.  It is illogical but it doesn’t matter.  One of the things I’ve always wanted to be was important.  To someone.  And, yet again, I’ve seen proof that I am not.

So, let the people around you know they are important.  Give them all a hug.  And do it every day.


  1. We’re a pretty tight community here, even if there are (sometimes surprisingly) about 200 or so of us.  At any one time there are only so many voices, and each one adds a lot to the total.  Your voice has meant as much to me as any here, and because of your willingness to engage (where sometimes angels fear to tread ;~) brings it’s own special comfort.

    It’s good you recognize the mechanics of what is bugging you, but I know that doesn’t really help in itself.  The damn door isn’t about you, but it’s gonna get on your nerves regardless.  Most likely the landlord has his own issues that make up 99.9% of the door (and the cabinets…) in the other apartment, and inasmuch as there is any part that is about you it’s that you haven’t been as much as a constant pain in the ass.

    Make yourself feel better and call the landlord up.  Lay a good steady grate on his nerves and I bet you get yourself some cabinets (or let me call him, I love conflict… !~).  In the meantime, keep coming here and we’ll make doors together for no good reason at all.

  2. spacemanspiff

    Ever since you’ve got here I’ve always looked out for your comments. Suffering from a mental disorder is never easy. I’ve lived with ADHD and obssesive compulsive disorder all my life. I understand what it feels like to know what is wrong but not being able to do anything about it. I’d like to clear up that my problem is nowhere as bad as others and I don’t want to come off the wrong way. But it still is something that makes my life hard. It is very important that you know what is wrong and what is right (even if you can’t do anything to correct it). Like for instance you recognizing that the deal with the landlord is not personal but not being able to think otherwise. Maybe the neighbor has been bugging the landlord for an even longer time than you have. Maybe the landlord is related to the neighbor. All the obvious reasons go out the door and it all comes down to thinking the worst. I can’t tell you frustrating it is to shower so damn much ( ha!) or taking so much time on stupid shit when I know I don’t have the time or energy. But it is what it is. I admire you for coming out and sharing this with us. You even got me to share something about me I had never shared with my Moose family before. Which speaks volumes of what I think about HappyinVT.

    I wish you could know how happy (ha!) I am about having you here.

    You are important and like blasky said. I’ve never built anything before but I’m sure making a door can’t be that damn hard (or is it?).

    p.s. blasky volunteered to call the landlord. please make this happen. I can call immediately afterward and start cursing him out at rapid fire pace in spanish. Why? I have no idea but I’m sure it would be fucking hysterical.  

  3. with different words, you are important to the Moose. I know I enjoy your comments and diaries. Glad you are here.

    You aren’t alone in your depression, although I’m sure that on most days that’s exactly how it feels. I’ve been there, am there, too. Mine has usually been situational depression, as when my mother was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease or when my fiancee was suffering through her long illness. I still haven’t recovered from the second. I’m not sure I ever will, but that’s not the point. What is important is that you never feel that you are alone in this world with no one to care. It isn’t true.

    I have written some poems about depression and the one thing I’ve heard about them more than any other is how much other people relate to those poems. More than once someone has told me that I must have been able to see into their head. Others have told me that until they read one of those poems they didn’t believe anyone could understand how they felt. Each person felt like they were suffering alone and that no one else had ever felt that way. It simply isn’t true.

    Here’s one from a few years ago that you may be able to relate to:

    my silent screams…

    another day ends

    as so many before

    each day gets harder

    can’t take much more

    my heart is empty

    been alone too long

    my soul is stagnant

    this way is wrong

    my body slumps

    my mind is blank

    even the sunlight

    now feels dank

    i keep on sinking

    the bottom nears

    my silent screams

    no one hears

    i dug this hole

    all on my own

    now it’s so deep

    it muffles my moans

    all hope is gone

    the future is bleak

    all that is left

    is the oblivion i seek

  4. louisprandtl

    Burlington (I maybe completely wrong). I don’t live in Vermont but like everything from Brattleboro to Lake Champlain.

    Anyway I’m wondering whether the door is a symbol of the source of stress? My cousin had suffered bouts of severe depression before and had a relapse recently. It was finally diagnosed to stressful events in his life…I don’t know really but would it help to move to a better apartment?

  5. Cheryl Kopec

    I’ve got a history of PTSD and major depression myself. I honestly don’t understand why I’m even still here, and if it weren’t for Sage the Wonder Dog, I might not be.

    I’m wondering if there might not be some trauma in your background. Not that I’m an expert or anything. But because of my PTSD, I have a lot of trouble with barriers of any sort, and I could tell you a story about a time when my PTSD kicked in while management had temporarily blocked off the patio doors. (The doors took a way worse bearthn than I’f did

    Please let us know how you’re doing.



  6. I’ve been lucky, and only been through the reactive kind, but I have relatives and friends who suffer from it, and it consumes them. People think it’s like sadness, but its quite the opposite of feeling something. It’s like feeling nothing, as if the mind has caught a permanent cold.

    I always thought your name indicated some kind of turmoil. HappyinVT implied you’d been unhappy elsewhere. But I always like people who have somehow seen and confronted the darker aspects of life. They have more to say. They have an individual take on things. And in my experience they are more imaginative and compassionate.

    You don’t seem to be in a full depression to me: your ability to express yourself, to step out of that feeling and reflect, is a sign of your mental health. Though the feelings of rage and shame and disparagement were real, you haven’t been completely immersed in them. That kind of self analysis must be one of the best ways of coping with emotions when they are disordered.

    They say depression is repressed anger, and you’ve acknowledged the anger, and how the door symbolises so many things: all the other times in your life that you feel locked out from the community of other people. Anger is better than depression. Instead of introjecting, you project. Go and knock that door down.

    Or rather the symbol in your head.

    Odd, Gadfly in the recent diary, wrote about a symbolic door too. Doors play a big role in my dreams, and some childhood traumas.

    Here’s an open door for you.

    I don’t know how much you exercise, but my friends with this condition find running, swimming, boxing etc a great way of snapping the mind out of its habitual pathways of despair. That, and self awareness, perhaps initiated through therapy, but not eventually dependent on it.

    Thanks for posting this HappyinVT. When it come to the Moose, you are part of the party, you are one of the group.

  7. you’re important to me.  like some others said – your quick wit and astute observations about the world have made your voice here at the moose an important part of the community.  

    one thing that i noticed with my friends who are depressed is that they are extremely hard on themselves – much more so than on others around them.  do you offer the same empathy for yourself as you do for others?  anyway thank you for sharing this story.  

  8. Hollede

    I am pretty open about my life and experiences, but have a door that is tightly closed on certain aspects of myself. You are very courageous.  

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