Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds. Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.

My life was filled with such overpowering blackness; the black, muddy life of depression. The massive hands took hold of me and wouldn’t set me free.

Days upon days were spent just existing in my house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway. Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist became a major production; organizing what to wear, bus route times, what to discuss. As the months and years progressed, I became a depressive recluse. Outings with my husband for dinner or lunch were a rarity, as well as, a trip to the mall. Life was just too dark.

I lost contact with friends, triggering further feelings of abandonment and isolation; that coupled with not having any energy, just hating life itself, propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit”. I grew comfy in my house, and never a “sleepy” depressive, I forever arose fairly early, planted myself on the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.

One day, in particular, I recall so vividly. To pass the time, I did tune into a few of my everyday TV programs, but this one morning had me glancing up to the ceiling where I spotted a spider. Typically, I would have jumped out of my chair screaming; instead, my eyes were peeled onto this spider. He crawled very leisurely and at first, I glanced at the TV to him. Oddly, I turned the TV off and just monitored this spider make his way across my wall.

Thoughts just danced in my head about my illness; depression was consuming my life. Suicidal thoughts were in the picture; scaring me at certain moments, other times reassuring. It’s then I began recognizing – an entire day watching a spider crawl across a wall – what kind of life is this? I am handcuffed to this house, frightened to leave; what a predicament this is. Mental illness is merciless and unjust.

I was hospitalized shortly after the “spider” event, followed by additional hospitalizations, a suicide attempt, ECT and a myriad of meds. The years following weren’t painless, however, hospitalizations became less and less, no more ECT’s and gone were the suicide attempts.

Escaping those horrible years with the correct medications, and a more enthusiastic psychiatrist and therapy, life became more manageable. I became well enough to actually return to the workforce after ten years, however, had to terminate employment and now incapable of employment once again due to major depression coupled with chronic migraines.

I’m no longer handcuffed to my house, no longer requiring hospitalizations or contemplating suicide, yet do suffer aloneness and isolation at times. Like it or not that’s what it’s like living with depression

Written and copyrighted by Deb/2017 Living in Stigma

Also posted on my blog niume.com (Deb-Living in Stigma)

I wrote this article years ago but thought I’d share it once again.


11 thoughts on “Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

  1. BelleUnruh says:

    I can also relate to your illness. I rarely leave the house now. Physical and mental problems abound and it is just easier to stay here. I find if I have enough hobbies and pray a lot, I feel pretty good. But I can feel depression lurking around every corner; it’s just under the surface of my mind and bobs up to say hello once in awhile.


  2. emergingfromthedarknight says:

    I have felt actually as if I was pinned through my chest to my house on many days. I have not been able to get up off the floor due to the pain in me holding me in and down. Its part of our pain being so deeply buried that its not locatable in any feeling just a defuse heavy chain or blanket.


  3. TheFeatheredSleep says:

    Very well said. I totally have felt this way. I never used to have that issue really that I can recall but after I lost some friends and had moved to America I felt very isolated and going even to the corner store was hard for me so I hear you and I know many suffer without people understanding how hard it is for them. xo


  4. Anna Cottage says:

    I have hit that “Black Wall” far too many times. Now I find chronic pain if you like keeps me locked in my house, not wanting to go out. As said above, even the Doctor’s visit traumatic, worrying for hours what to put on then getting all hot and panicking at the thought of going, the Doctors Surgery only at the top of my Road, but at times I have to force myself. The Internet enables me to buy whatever I want, then I don’t have to go out not even for the weekly shop. Chronic pain not only physically wears you down but mentally. I have to force myself to keep my house going just the daily chores. Getting out of bed of a morning, dreading putting my feet to the ground because I know the pain will start and I now stifle the screams of the pain and hating myself for not coping. You begin to hate yourself for being like this, being weak giving in you hate every day you have to wake up. Some days you just want to scream and scream but you can’t, you have to go on.


    • cherished79 says:

      Chronic migraines wear me down also as I’m housebound for most of the week, hesitating to book any kind of an appointment. I just never know what I’m going to wake up to, and I’ve had to cancel or reschedule many appointments in the past. It’s not fair, and yes, the screaming part is familiar. Thanks for commenting. 🙂


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