The Vitamin L Diary: My Happy Light Isn’t Enough

In October I shared with you, my dear readers, how I had not been feeling quite up to the task of life, having trouble sleeping (night sweats, which means waking up drenched despite the fact that the house is 60-degrees because we should all be SLEEPING), and wondering if this was what being in my mid-40s was going to be or if this was the depression trying to get some more of me. I had a good chat with my PCP (primary care physician) who took a blood draw before upping any meds. Lo and behold, I was anemic. THAT WAS IT! No more giving blood for a few months and iron supplements, which mess with your bowels so there was all that, but I was relieved and hopeful that I wasn’t crazier.

But the anemia is being managed and the iron is back up so I can donate blood. I’m still not feeling quite up to the task of life. I exercise. I drink lots of water and one (fine, maybe two) cups of coffee. But lately it has been HARD to get out of bed or to stay out of bed. Thanks to my cellphone I can answer lots of email in bed, but that, in addition to the inexplicable weightiness in my soul and mind, has been messing with my sleep. Migraines. Forgetfulness. Anxiety over big and little things.

Those of you who have bouts of depression or are clinically depressed know what this “feels” like. It’s not always a sadness or a dark cloud. Sometimes it’s a numbness or an irritability. Sometimes it’s all of it.

My happy light isn’t helping. Yoga isn’t helping. Praying isn’t helping. Sleeping isn’t helping. The wine I drank during a weeknight isn’t helping. Journaling isn’t helping.

And then this inexplicable sadness that makes you want to stay in bed, cry for no reason or for all the reasons, the sadness you wouldn’t want anyone you love to have to carry, hit my own child. So of course I know the truth and the lies about genetics and blame. Nature and nurture. Freedom and stigma. I know it. I live it. Please let this cup pass from my children, God. Please. I would take a double dose if it meant we could make it skip all the generations.

We are not defeated. We are tired. I am tired. I am clinging tightly to Psalm 139, and I’m headed back into therapy. I am tired, but I refuse to let this define me, stigmatize me. Even if it means being tired. I am grateful for a network of friends and, even better, friends who are colleagues, with whom I have been honest with.

So I’m writing this to encourage and remind any of my dear readers who are feeling an inexplicable sadness that you are not alone.


Don’t be afraid. Reach out. Tell someone. Anyone. Call your doctor. Your pastor. Your friend. Your neighbor. You are not alone.


  1. Alexie Torres-Fleming February 9, 2016

    This is an amazing and brave post and I am in tears reading it. I always knew you were badass and I am so proud and grateful to know you are out there. You speak to my soul, sister. I am right there in the crucible with you and I also pray daily that my children will be spared the darkness of it all. I hold your hand in the chasm, dear one and I pray for you and your babies. We’re gonna be ok. Love you xo

  2. Alexie Torres-Fleming February 9, 2016

    By the way, I was in vitamin L for 5 years and just switched to a new one (Celexa) that I find is working better. My doctor says a switch can help sometimes because long term use can lessen the effects, it did with me. I just started with a happy lamp and I find that it’s helping during these dark winter months.❤️

  3. Leslie February 9, 2016

    Thank you.

    You, Kathy, are not along, either.


  4. Leslie February 9, 2016


  5. Carol Lee February 9, 2016


  6. Jeanette February 10, 2016

    Kathy–thank you for your honesty. I too have been in this valley and it feels dark, slippery, scarey and lonely. Talk therapy has helped me put some life pieces together as did our cheerful smiling dog who needed exercise regardless of my emotional state. It’s not fun and I journey with you through this valley.

  7. Kimberly February 24, 2016

    i think i’m finally leaving this valley of darkness after years in the middle of it wondering if i’d ever escape. there are still days/weeks, but there are merciful days of light, occasionally those days multiply.
    we are not alone.

  8. Suzanne Burden April 11, 2016


    I saw this post and just wanted to cry a little. We have so few places to speak of perimenopause, let alone depression and lack of sleep. And reading your thoughts helped me to feel a bit lighter, a bit less alone in the world. Thank you for giving voice to this. The irritability and lack of concentration is the absolute worst. Please know you are not alone. And that the courage it takes to face each day is real and you are brave.


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