Sometimes You Can Do All the Right Things …

by Danielle C. Belton

Sunset It probably hit me yesterday when I was watching President Obama address reporters after the bill for strengthening background checks and closing loopholes failed in the Senate. All the sad, familiar faces behind him — either victims of gun violence or had lost a loved one to it, coupled with the round-the-clock, often incorrect reporting coming out of the Boston Marathon bombing.

It hit me how even after I turned the TV off and went to do something, anything else, the feeling still lingered. It was there when I went to the gym to work out. When I ate my oatmeal in the morning. When I combed my hair. Even when I spent time with others I should have been enjoying.

I was depressed. And I didn’t know why. After all, I was doing all the right things.

I was staying active and engaged. I was leaving the house every other day. I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was exercising. I was taking my medication at the same time every night. I was getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Managing my Bipolar Disorder goes hand-in-hand with me being healthy and taking good care of myself. Yet, the infinite sadness of both everything and nothing in particular was gripping me and dragging me down.

I always say there’s no way to get around a problem but to go through it. And so that’s what I do. I push myself when I exercise even though it feels tedious and smelly and painful and boring. And I keep making sure my needs are met. I do breathing exercises when I feel a twinge of anxiety coming on. And I try to keep writing, even though it’s the last thing I wanted to do. Because all I wanted to write about was this, that pointless feeling, compounded with the sadness of others, causing inertia.

Sitting on the doctor’s couch, I told him I had no real reason to be sad. I was working on a book. I have lots of friends. I’ve started dating again. My family supports and adores me. I’ve never looked better or been healthier. Yet, I was sinking deeper and deeper into the land of “why bother.” Why bother going to the gym? Or putting on make-up? Or combing my hair? Or going out? Or writing on the blog? Or writing for anyone? Or working on my TV show or book or planning my trip to New York later this month?

But rather than reduce myself to eating garbage and watching reality TV all day, I slug on. Even though it is dull and tedious and feels pointless. I keep going through it and going forward because the alternative is to let the depression win and it doesn’t get a say in my life anymore. I’m going to live it.

Whether I “like” it or not.

  • bossladi

    “I keep going through it and going forward because the alternative is to let the depression win and it doesn’t get a say in my life anymore. I’m going to live it.”

    Amen! Great Article.

  • Kanyade

    Thank you Ms. Belton. I feel this way sometimes, too. But in the end… Yeah. Thanks for this.

  • beababy

    It sounds like you are “doing” the right things. In addition to what you are doing, perhaps you should just BE.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    You can do all the right things and still not ‘win’; some people are just unlucky in life.

  • Anon

    I found out my depression, which lasted over a decade, was linked to a car accident and a severely misaligned spine. No one encouraged me to go to the doctor, not even my parents who didn’t want to pay for any medical costs. So, all that I went through started with the cranial trauma, then the long term affects of having spinal compression and the base of my brain, which compressed the part of my brain that controls emotions.

    Two years ago, I was heading out of this world. I’d long considered suicide, but my death would have occurred from having chocked to death due the inverted angle of my spine. So, on top of the depression, I had headaches and could barely walk. I also didn’t have a job, at the time, or any health insurance.

    If it wasn’t for that one, lucky, day that I met someone that would lead me to find what would, not only, keep me alive, but cure me from my very long-term depression.

    No, I’m only dealing with the fact that my parents didn’t care enough about my health and well-being to push me to go the doctor, even after they’d noticed changes in my behavior. I was called things like bitch and lazy, instead.

    Also, I was surprised to learn the many, many, causes of depression, as well as the many, many cures for it beyond those deadly prescriptions that practitioners of traditional medicine likes to push on people.

  • Leabee

    I’m really sorry you’re feeling this way Ms. Belton. However, from what I read, you have a lot to be proud of. :). Myself and many others I know are going through a tough emotional time and sometimes it’s like, “what’s the point of doing anything?”. But one of the greatest indicators of strength is going on with life even when we feel drained. I wish you all the best.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    my depression is linked to anger. there are many things in this world that will make one angry. looking at theTV will do it.

    it’s good to know what you are feeling and some things you can do to relieve the stress.


    Hi. I’m glad you wrote this piece. I too have been feeling sad for the last two weeks. I’m not sure where this sadness is coming from. Maybe its because I have major transitions going on in my life and I’m not sure it will be okay. Maybe it’s because I ran a race on Sunday and I turn on the t.v. and hear about the tradegy in Boston. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel beautiful. I think it’s a combination of these things. I, like you, are doing everything that I should be doing, but something seems off. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  • Shirl

    Wow…I’m speechless and very happy that you are still with us today.

  • Beks

    thanks for sharing.

  • Apple

    I was born depressed. I often wonder why can’t I just be happy. It’s like living with two people, the one who believes in happiness and the one who strangles the hope of happiness from her. I really don’t see much point in living anymore. I just stick around to see if maybe things will go differently . Like watching a movie you’ve already seen and hoping there’s an alternate ending .

  • Mavis

    This is exactly how i’m feeling right now in my life. To the outside world it might seem that there should be nothing wrong, but that doesn’t mean people don’t feel sad.
    It makes it better to know that other people are feeling the same. Thanks for sharing

  • bluefacedangel

    Bravo, Danielle! Your honesty with yourself and your fans is a high rung on the ladder to you feeling good again. Thank you for the inspiration….

  • Shauna

    Except, unlike the movie, there *can* be an alternate ending. I’ve been where you are before. Please stick around–it’s hard to imagine it right now, but things can get so, so much better.

  • Jae

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m sad because this is sad world to be in right now. I do find moments of happiness, but they don’t stay, and I guess that’s the norm for me. I still wake up with hope and gratitude most days.

    I love the honesty and spirit in your post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lore

    Please hang around Apple. Who knows what you will accomplish? Hang around for the sake of seeing the sun rise tomorrow. That alone is worth it. Peace and stay strong.

Latest Stories

Why Oiling Your Scalp May Not Be Such A Bad Idea


Nigerian Officials Confirm Release of 44 Abducted School Girls


Watch: ‘Black People Mate’ a Parody About the Ridiculous Stats on Black Women & Dating


University President Under Fire for Wanting to Make School Less White In the Future

More in depression, Life
Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 7.11.51 PM
Oh, Hey There, Cellulite, I Didn’t Even Know You Were There

Are You An Antevasin?