Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?


In our darkest moments, we can still, see some light. cherished79 com  'Living in Stigma'

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

It sounds dramatic, but I was at the time.

For countless years, and even today, depression with its dark, unforgiving black clouds still hover over me. Eventually, I recovered from those darkest days.

Recalling the arduous years of major depression, I was housebound and felt isolated from the world.  Blackness overpowered my life; dark and muddy, depression was unrelenting, and the massive hands took hold of me demanding each full minute of my day.

Days upon days were devoted to gazing out my living room window and enduring life in the house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway.

Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist developed into an enormous production; quizzing what to wear, panicky about riding the bus or mixing up route times, and what to review with my doctors.

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 was a no-no. Life was too dark.

Losing a connection with friends and colleagues triggered new feelings of abandonment and loneliness; coupled with no oomph or vigor, loathing life itself propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit.” I grew comfy at home, and not a “sleepy” depressive, I arose fairly early, planted myself on the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.

One specific day, recalling so vividly, I devoted most of the morning watched a few TV programs, but today had me glancing up to the ceiling where I spotted a spider!

Predictably, I would have jumped out of my chair screaming; instead, my eyes fixated on this spider, as he crawled leisurely.  I caught myself glancing at the TV than up at him.  Oddly, I turned the TV off and just monitored this spider make his way across my ceiling and wall.


Thoughts just danced in my head about my mental illness; depression was consuming my life. Suicidal thoughts were in the picture; scaring me, yet at other times feeling reassured. 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 cruel 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, admissions 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 actually to return to the workforce after ten years, however; I had to end employment and now incapable of work once again because of depression coupled with chronic daily migraines and other invisible illnesses.

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

(Edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy 2020

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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

2 thoughts on “Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?”

  1. I am so sorry you’ve been through so much. I think you have captured the claustrophobic, incessant, overwhelming nature of depression really well with this, and I’ve felt handcuffed to my home before, too. Leaving work again must have been hard, even though it’s the best thing for you when you need to look after yourself. It’s crap with invisible illness, whether depression and/or coupled with other illnesses as you mention, to feel extra crap on top when you feel shame or guilt for not working, that gets to me a lot. I’m glad you’ve broken out of the cycle to leave your house, but it’s an up and down thing sometimes, two steps forward and one back, and just managing it every minute of every day. Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly.  ♥ ♥ ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I miss working, the socialization with colleagues and getting out of the house every day gave me great satisfaction. However, while at work during those last few years, I found myself more in the bathroom stalls bawling my eyes out some days unable to cope with the depression or migraines. During the time I was working at this job, I did not share the fact that I was coping with depression for fear of stigma, especially with the job position I was in as a call centre rep. I can imagine if I handled a call with an “off” attitude, it could be blamed on my mood/depression and possible work against me. Best to keep lips sealed!

      I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I cannot work, could not possibly handle a workload, but luckily have my writing and graphic art to keep my mind off the negative stuff and dealing with health issues. I appreciate your comment and love the way you write on your blog also. Warmly, Deb 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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