It feels so close and yet so far away.


For three years I’ve battled anxiety and depression, so sick at times that I had to be hospitalized. I am better than I was but still far from well. I don’t suffer much depression. But every day I deal with overwhelming anxiety and fear.

And yet sometimes the normal world seems so close at hand. I can see, smell and touch it but I can’t quite have it. It’s so frustrating not to be able to get there when I feel so close to making it. Recovery is so tangible and yet so illusive.

I feel recovery most when I am in the pool, which is why I swim in our freezing cold, unheated Florida pool every day. Something about being in the water makes everything seem possible; little things that otherwise feel intimidating, like taking the dog to the vet or getting my hair done, suddenly doable. Then I get on land and feel scared again.

I also feel recovery on the days I do electroshock, or ECT, treatments. Those days, I feel like my old self again. However, the frustrating thing is that in my case ECT’s effects only last one day. The next morning the old fears resurface. I think most people get more relief from ECT.

I’ve come a long way from where I was this summer, though, when I spent most of my time in bed, didn’t eat much and at times couldn’t even talk. Probably the biggest sign of progress is that I’ve started writing again. Writing gives me a sense of purpose and connects me to people. My husband sees my blog posts as one of the biggest reasons for hope. When I’m writing I almost feel like myself. My daughter just walked by me while I was working on this piece and noted, “It makes me so happy to see you writing. It’s such a big part of who you are.”

I think there is a natural healing process that I can help promote. Writing feels like a key part of this process, and luckily it’s something I can do anytime. It feels a lot more effective than the pills I’ve been taking.

I was telling a friend how much I want to recover and how frustrated I am when she reminded me how long I’ve been sick: three years. Anyone would take time to get their footing again after such a long illness. She also said I had to have faith and believe. It’s hard when my fears are so overwhelming and the road has been so difficult.

I am not a religious person – maybe vaguely spiritual whatever that means – but part of me believes that I can recover because I’ve made progress. Three years ago I had all sorts of physical pains that have since disappeared. Three months ago I wasn’t swimming at all and didn’t even remember how to work this blog. I am going in the right direction, even if progress is slow. I hold on to these signs of hope and wish there were more. Recovery still feels frustratingly illusive most of the time.

But if I’m going to get there, I have to believe in it.


Are you dealing with recovery? Share by commenting below!


Don’t miss a post! Receive MidAge Mom free by email or RSS feed. Subscribe Here.


                                                                                      Photo © Pinosky/

Disclosure: I use some affiliate links. If you click and buy a product, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Prev post: Why Am I Embarrassed?Next post: Retail Therapy

Related posts


  • Mary Agnes Beach

    January 16, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    You should have hope as you are one of the most remarkable people I have ever met and have been blessed to spend time with. […] Read MoreYou should have hope as you are one of the most remarkable people I have ever met and have been blessed to spend time with. Our occasional get-togethers at Books and Books in my Miami years helped me so much. You were sympathetic to my frustrations and such a great inspiring example to me of someone super-smart; bravely authentic and committed to her family and her art form. You helped keep me going. You made me feel authentic and worthwhile in the way you connected with me. I want to do the same for you. Gosh Jen I used to see you almost every day at the gym and every time we talked you were so present. So aware and it made a difference in my life. I hate to think of you sufferening but I understand as I have had family members suffer with other kinds of mental illness. And I have a persistent thread of depression in my personality. I dont really cope with it except through prayer and having as healthy a lifestyle as possible.....which includes wine : ) ok and exercize. And the love of my boyfriend.... Keep writing. It is your profound gift...the way you make a difference in the world! Read Less

    • JenniferHull
      to Mary Agnes Beach

      January 21, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Mary Agnes, I want you to know how much I appreciate your long comment on my blog. I remember our get-togethers fondly and miss you here […] Read MoreMary Agnes, I want you to know how much I appreciate your long comment on my blog. I remember our get-togethers fondly and miss you here in Miami. Those were better days for me. The last three years have been really difficult but the writing has been therapeutic so I hope to keep it up. I suffer more from anxiety than depression and there is a lot more written about depression. I seem to have all sorts of fears that come from nowhere. My psychiatrist says I am a difficult case (not what I want to hear) and medication has not helped. Electroshock therapy only helps for one day but may be helping to raise my overall activity level. The good news is that I am better than I was 6 months ago when I couldn't get out of bed. I swim every day and take my daughter to ballet. I am also writing again. So one has to keep hope! Keep your comments coming. They help sustain me!! Love and hugs, Jennifer Read Less

  • Kathleen McAuliffe

    January 16, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Please keep writing!! Your daughter is right: It is central to who you are. You write beautifully, with simple grace, straight from the heart, about a […] Read MorePlease keep writing!! Your daughter is right: It is central to who you are. You write beautifully, with simple grace, straight from the heart, about a very important topic. May your words transport you to a place of peace, courage and hope without fear. To quote Emily Dickens, "Hope costs nothing but gives everything in return." When you feel despair, remind yourself of all those aches and pains that plagued you for months, then mysteriously vanished. Your anxiety may similarly take flight, especially since it was triggered by the pain that no longer afflicts you. Yes, my dear, you could get better. In fact, it seems logical to me that you will. Stranger things have been known to happen. xo Read Less

Leave a Reply

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to the MidAge Mom Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

For Advice, insight and news

In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.