Posted by: Jack Hope | Wednesday November 14, 2012

So What Happened to Me?

This recent experience, my ‘drop-out’ has left me feeling a lot of doubt and fear. It has been such a sudden and almost total reversal of so much progress. It’s left me with a lot of questions about what is happening to me and where I am going in my struggle to overcome my mental health problems.

What happened to me? Why did this happen? Is this a temporary reversal or a sea change in my path forwards? Is Major Depressive Disorder even the right diagnosis for me?

Where do I go from here?

To get a grip on what this means and what the answers to these questions might be, I first am writing down what I experienced, both to order my own thoughts and possibly find some other perspective. I’m going to endeavour to describe for now, rather than seek causes or explanations. Those are the next steps.

What happened to me? It began when I returned from Germany, with just a drop off of interest in my day to day activities. It was very subtle at first.

There was a mental quietness about it, as though some of the areas of my mind simply ceased to operate. It happened so slowly that I didn’t realize and by the time I did I was too far into it.

Drop-outs have been a common experience in my Depression and they are usually marked by a widespread social withdrawal. Hermitting, a friend of mine calls it. But my one solace throughout my previous drop-outs has been reading and books. This is also, I have been told, atypical for Depression patients, most of whom lose interest in reading.

And what has been most disturbing about this drop-out is that I stopped reading. This is the first time that’s ever happened to me.

And the worst part is that I didn’t even notice that I was sitting in front of television and doing little else.

I stopped returning phone calls, I stopped checking my e-mails, I ignored text messages and other entreaties to contact friends.

I felt empty. There was no sadness, no pain, not even a significant lack of energy (no worse than usual) and no sense of loss. There was just emptiness. I felt like a wafer thin shell in my own shape. There was nothing inside and the weakest of frames encasing this nothing.

I knew, of course, that people were looking for me. That both my corporeal and virtual communities were concerned. That I had not written anything. That I had not gone running.

Losing my writer’s voice which has so slowly and painfully come back to me over these last several months, was awful. I sat at my computer after it was beginning to dawn on me, and having this horrible sensation. Words would simply not come to me.

It was like struggling through a fog which also make it different from other periods. I’ve had some undeniably foggy moments, where the Depression seemed to short circuit my brain. But they were just moments. Most of my Depression has had a brutal clarity. Weeks of fuzziness? This was also new.

It started to ease with a creeping realization as to what was happening. Even now I’m still feeling a strong desire to hide myself from my friends and family. But I am trying to resist it. I’m trying to put myself forward and re-engage (yet again) with the world.

This episode disturbs me, not simply because I have been hoping to put these behind me through my recovery, but also because this episode stands out distinctly in how it affected my own internal feelings this time around.

Still a lot of questions as to where to go next. Still a lot I don’t understand about what I’m experiencing.

Hopefully though, some answers will start to come forth.



  1. Do you think that maybe your ‘drop out’ as you call it may have been the coming down from the vacation high? After all, you did just go away for your friends wedding, that you didn’t think you were going to be able to go to. You were very excited to go and had a great time. Even running while you were there. Returning home and coming back to reality is always tough. Not only did you have jet lag to deal with at first, but you were kind of on vacation from your depression as well. When you came home, its back to reality and dealing with life in general. When I came back from my 2 week camping trip in July I had a similar issue. It took me a while to feel ‘back to normal’ I was sad to come home and didn’t feel right for a few weeks. Just a thought. Glad you are back to posting.

    • I definitely think there is an element of that, absolutely. Coming down from from that I’m pretty sure definitely gave me a good shove off the cliff, as it were.

      That being said, I do have a theory to as to what was going on, which I am currently in the process of testing and should have a better idea here in the next few days. Definitely more to come on this one.

      And very glad to be back. I missed this.

  2. Looking forward to hearing about your theory.

  3. HI Jack. I am thinking of you and sending you loving vibes.

    It must be scary having some new symptoms with what you are going through.

    I know in my experience, coming up with a theory makes me feel more in control and prepared for the future and that is a safety mechanism for me.

    If you can find what you think is the trigger(s) that’s great.

    But also in my experience, sometimes there is no theory to be found. That totally freaks me out for awhile. But some times it is the way it is and it is in acceptance of this that I have been able to move forward.


    • Hi Trish,

      Thanks as always for your support. You’re an absolute treasure.

      You’re right that sometimes there isn’t an explanation and learning to accept that is a part of managing. However, in this instance I think there is an explanation, one that I’ve run into before. I’ll have the write up on it soon and your feedback would be very welcome.

  4. You are so kind Jack. I look forward to reading your explanation.

    I know I have been MIA from your blog for a bit but of all the MH blogs I read, yours is one of a few that stands out for me. It reminds me that in vulnerability I can find courage.

    Plus you are a really good writer.

    So it was an easy decision to nominate your blog for This Week in Mentalists Best Mood Blog over a week ago:

    The voting ends on Nov 30th.

    Good luck!

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