Style + Ask The Edit

State of the Blog: Chasing Away ‘The Black Dog’

When I started this blog, my goal was to provide working women with the blog that my friends and I needed.  A fashion blog that understood that a business suit doesn’t involve shorts, and that some office dress codes still insist on nylons.  A place where the “must-have” shoe wasn’t two weeks pay, and a discussion about asking for a raise wasn’t filled with patronizing tips like “put on your favorite lip gloss.”  But over the past year, this blog has lost some of that spirit.

***

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with depression.  After a particularly terrifying incident in college, a priest at my university gave me a biography of Teddy Roosevelt that described his battle with “the black dog,” depression.  Roosevelt dealt with the condition by keeping busy, so I decided to give being busy a try.

For the next 15 years, I over-filled my calendar.  I worked multiple jobs, picked up hobbies, made plans with friends, and when all else failed, cleaned my house.  But after graduating from law school, I decided to take a break–and it was seriously one of the dumbest decisions that I have ever made.

Some people just aren’t meant to have free time.

For the past few months, I’ve felt listless and dispirited.  I’m quick to lose my temper and generally frustrated with everyone.  I sleep too late, and find any reason to put off or cancel plans.  Little things, like filling out bar paperwork, make me anxious.  Sometimes, I’ll bounce back for a few hours, only to find myself paralyzed by the ever-growing to-do list of “put off” responsibilities.  But whenever someone asks me how I’m doing, the only answer I can summon is ‘tired.’

Then, last week, Kyle asked if I was okay, and unsatisfied with the stock answer, pointed out to me that when we met “[I] had a million things going on all the time, and that girl never once got tired.”  It was like a punch in the chest, and I finally heard the little voice in my head saying, “You’re not tired, you’re depressed.”

While this realization made me feel a bit better, it’s still painful.  Even though I shouldn’t, I feel ashamed for being depressed.  Not because mental illness is something to be ashamed about (it’s not), but because I look at my life, and think, “What do you have to be depressed about?  There are people in the world with real problems.”  It’s a daily battle to remember that depression is a disease, and it’s not logical, but that doesn’t make it any less real or difficult.

I spent the last week trying to get a good grip on how to get back to a healthier place.  I know I need to work on building my emotional strength and healing some old wounds, but that’s a long process.  Unfortunately, unlike many people afflicted with depression, I can’t take a prescription to treat it.  Each time I’ve tried, I’ve developed suicidal thoughts–an incredibly rare side effect, but one that makes getting better more of a struggle.  My therapist suggested that I do what’s worked in the past and stay busy.  She also recommended that I start doing something that brings me joy, which brings me back to this blog.

***

On Monday, this blog will start the rebuilding process.  Instead of using bar studies as a convenient excuse for mediocre posts, I’m going to pour more energy into getting back to why I started blogging in the first place.  Long before I ever earned a penny from this site, when it was just my Mom and my overly concerned co-worker reading every post, I blogged because I loved it.  Even at 2:00AM, when I had a breakfast meeting in five hours, I would still be awake trying to find the perfect bag or blazer to complete an outfit.  And I miss that feeling.

I’m a big believer in faking it til you make it.  The idea that you can push through tough times by pushing yourself to have higher standards and produce quality work.  It’s going to take me a few months to bring this blog to where I want it to be, but I’ll get there.  My trusty notebook is filled with ideas and goals, and it’s time to make them reality.  Thank you for sticking around through this dry spell.  I’ll see you on Monday, for The Work Edit by Capitol Hill Style, version 2.0.

xoxo, Belle

 

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    181 comments

  1. Erika says:

    LOVE that you are talking about this. I would bet that I and every other reader out there are lifting you up right now, patting you on the back, holding your hand as you go forward. Biggest of hugs to you. You are not alone in your struggle. Good for you for working on tackling the Black Dog. May you always have joy in your life too.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Corinne says:

      We love you, Belle. Feel better soon.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  2. Tracie says:

    Exactly what Erika said times infinity!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  3. Jamie J says:

    Wow. Thank you for posting this. It’s incredibly brave to be so truthful sometimes, so thank you. I stumbled across your blog years ago and have always enjoyed your candor. I hope that you take care of yourself and know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel! Sending love and light from Florida!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  4. Tree says:

    You are SO amazing. Thank you for being a human and sharing your story with us. I love your blog – it’s so refreshing to hear a real voice. And real voices sometimes quake with struggle.

    Your community is proud of you! Keep it up!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  5. Anna says:

    Even your “mediocre posts” are a lot of fun to read and often very useful, so I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Your blog is one of the few I read regularly. In fact, I often check it several times ahead. I’m wishing you all the best as you fight off that Black Dog. Do what you gotta do for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  6. Erin says:

    Really inspiring post. Best of luck to you – it’s brave and very difficult to share something like this with the public. I’m also a big believer in fake-it-till-you-make-it – I hope it works for you and you start feeling more yourself soon.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  7. Lindsey says:

    You continue to be an inspiration to the women who follow this blog. You’ve had a heavy hand in crafting my professional development. I started reading as an 18-year-old intern in D.C. I’ve since graduated and I’m clumsily stumbling through young adulthood. But seriously, YOU make my day easier. YOU provide such insightful hints and also simply fun ideas. YOU are so important to my daily life. Thank you for all you share.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Jessica says:

      Yes to Lindsey, Anna, Erika and everyone else. I am so grateful for this blog and the light it brings into my dark workplace. Thank you for your candor, hard work, and, of course, your style.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  8. Pat says:

    Good for you for speaking out about this. I face depression often as well. I use a supplement called St John’s Wort because I don’t want to use a prescription either ( my therapist recommended it to me). I use St. John’s Wort 300 mg 3 times a day to help me. It is a natural serotonin booster. Do some research and see if it might be right for you.

    Remember to keep fighting for yourself, because not fighting is even worse.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  9. SG says:

    Go you, Belle. Thank you for your honesty. You are strong for sharing, strong for enduring. And even when you feel weak, you are still strong, because you’re feeling, and that is enough. I am right there with you in the battle with the Black Dog, and I’m grateful that you and your blog are in this world. <3

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Casey says:

      Second what Lindsay said. I’ve followed your blog since I moved to DC, we are roughly the same age and went to law school at around the same time. I feel like you’ve been my cool friend, from afar, for years, and I am wishing you the best. You are an inspiration and clearly a strong person, and know you have a whole group of women rooting and behind you.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  10. Emily says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for over 6 years and love it more today than I did then. Thank you for your honesty in today’s post. I particularly love that you wrote depression is a disease. It’s easy to blame ourselves for feeling depressed when everything looks “great.” Know that you have a community of readers who are supporting you all the way!
    P.S. Would love to read about your Cuba trip. I’m scheduled to go there in April!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  11. Edna Mazur says:

    We’re with you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  12. Alexia says:

    Dearest Belle,

    I too have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember (the first time I was suicidal, I was 13), and law school was a particularly tough time for me (serious suicide attempt). I am 31 now, and with hard work over the past couple of years, I am finally in a place that feels ok, if not good, most of the time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. It’s especially important for us to remember that there should be no stigma or shame attached to having a mental illness – an illness of the mind is no less difficult to bear than an illness of the body. Keep staying busy, “faking it till you make it”, and doing things that bring you joy – we’ll be right here with you.

    Warmly,

    Alexia

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  13. SM says:

    I’m so sorry to hear how you’ve been struggling – wishing you all the best and hoping this is the solution you need to fight it off!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  14. Elizabeth says:

    Love your blog! It definitely made the transition to the East coast from CA easier. So glad that it makes you happy too.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  15. sarah says:

    Belle,

    You are already overcoming the Black Dog and breaking through the darkness whether you realize it or not. Saying it out loud, even to myself, when I realize that I’m in the company of this anchor (feels like that to me more than chasing) helps to chip away at the enclosure–the simultaneously comfortable? and foreign/unwanted quicksand of dark solitude. It’s like an alternate reality except it’s literally reality, part of the balance of our minds/souls/chemicals/bodies.

    Be gentle with yourself. This goal is worthy and shooting for the moon and landing among the stars is enough. But be ok with yourself if your light and energy comes from another source, and be ok with yourself even if your light and energy takes longer to greet and restore you than you hope.

    We all have the tools we employ to chip away at the Black Dog when we see it, when we’re ready, when we’re able. I’ve recently started going to restorative yoga–and it has helped. It’s not intense change-your-body-and-can’t-help-but-compare-yourself-to-the-folks-who’re-way-better-at-this-than-you yoga. It’s a relaxing, centering, peaceful class to stretch and reaffirm how very much satisfied with who we are right this very second–not past self or future self–right now self. And also golden milk lattes, because of course food should be a source of my breakthrough.

    THANK YOU for sharing not only honed fashion and professional advice but also your perspectives and in particular your subjective experience with this beast of a Black Dog. Your blog is your art! And it happens to positively influence and inspire and equip so many women. You are a giver and a doer. I am grateful for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  16. Bethany says:

    I have been struggling too and I really like how you described how it just creeps up on you until one day you have a revelation that you’re depressed. That’s how it goes for me as well. I feel like I’m finally digging my way out of it. I’ve been doing a lot of little things to get better: less time on Facebook or any social media that stresses me out, avoiding reading about Trump/politics at all costs, working out, dog walks any time it’s not bitter cold, reading more books, and keeping myself busy. Take care of yourself! 🙂

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  17. firstgirl says:

    Belle, thank you for your honesty and courage in writing this. As a long-time loyal daily reader, I plan to keep sticking with the blog through every chapter and I’m excited to see what comes next.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  18. Alexandria Knox says:

    You are doing an amazing job! I don’t know how many times I have come to your website looking for intern advice or what to wear for certain events. I was born with complete vision loss, so your blog has been my guide for getting dressed professionally and in between. You are amazing and an inspiration. Hang in there.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  19. Jenn S. says:

    I appreciate your candor. Depression is not something one should feel ashamed of but strangely, so many do.

    Like you, I am not meant to have free time. I thought I craved it, but it wasn’t until had some over the holidays that I learned that that does NOT work for me.

    Reading this post was *my* punch in the chest. Thank you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  20. LW says:

    Very refreshing to read such an honest post. I’ve been reading for 6 years, started as an intern on the Hill, now a CFO at a company, married for 5 yrs and pregnant with my first. I’d imagine you have a wide range viewers which is something to be proud of…have always loved your content and site, thanks for sharing.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  21. Montrell Scaife says:

    Belle,

    I had no idea about your struggle but I appreciate your openness and your honesty in sharing this with your readers. I came across your blog through happenstance when I relocated to D.C. years ago. As a lawyer of a certain age, I enjoyed the freshness of your posts and the variety of content and quickly subscribed. I’ve been amazed at how you maintained the blog during law school and to learn that you’ve also been battling depression leaves me awestruck. I’m happy to hear of your resolve and wish you continued success. Your story is an inspiration to many who may also be suffering in silence but haven’t yet found their way out. Keep striving and thriving and know we’re cheering for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Tara says:

      Belle, even in the midst of this darkness, you are kicking ASS. You are relevant and fresh and bring joy and life to so many with this blog. You are supported.

      January 21, 2017/Reply
  22. -Jen says:

    Peace be with you. Your site is a very welcomed part of my daily reading. I hope that you can find a way forward. Thank you for sharing with us; I hope the black dog can be trained so you can return to the life you want.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  23. Catherine says:

    Echoing what’s been said above – thank you for this blog, for your words and attitude and honesty, and for sharing your experiences (both good and bad). Brains are organs that get sick like every other organ – I’m so glad you acknowledged that. Do whatever you need to be healthy!

    I’ve had similar bad experiences with antidepressants, so when I (or my SO) can tell that the black dog is catching up to me, sometimes it helps to make myself laugh. So I have a stockpile of humorous books that I can pull out, some about mental illness and some not, but all useful for helping me find my mental footing. I love Furiously Happy, Hyperbole And A Half, and the trifecta of Fey, Poehler, and Kaling. They bring me joy, so I thought I’d share.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • K says:

      Oh my goodness, those women have saved me too, many times over. 🙂

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  24. Liz says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog since I moved to DC five years ago, and the career advice has been a huge help. Your post on depression last year was also one of the things that encouraged me to finally go to a therapist, so seriously, thank you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  25. January says:

    Thank you for your honesty in this post. I wish you the best in your recovery, and best of luck on the bar exam! I look forward to the renewed blog. 🙂

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  26. Megan says:

    I’m a long-time reader but never really comment. I love your blog and it has helped me through different career and life issues. We’re about the same age and you always have a great perspective and feedback on the challenges that face young-to-mid career women. I would not have guessed that you were struggling with this, too. There are a lot of us out there – you have a whole team supporting you in your journey!! Find joy where you are able, and be kind to yourself. I would whole-heartedly recommend meds, but that’s a decision that everyone needs to make for themselves. It’s been a god-send for me, personally. Hang in there and continue to be brave and share.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • MK says:

      +1000
      Belle (and Megan), you’ve helped me realize that I need help. Thank you.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  27. Angie Anspach says:

    It’s so nice to know you are honest and honest with us..depression is nothing to mess with…my cure is your cure…keep overly busy. I get even more depressed when I’m not! I’m the treasurer at a school corporation in Indiana and my job is very stressful, plus I own my own resale boutique, a Mary Kay rep, and a member of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Board…keeping busy is my cure-all for depression and all sorts of moody ailments. Plus I have 3 kids who all have gone to college and/or the military and live pretty far away from home, so my husband and I are traveling quite a bit. Busy, busy…there’s so much to do and so much to see! Keep your head up and remember I love your blog!

    I can’t wait for your email every day to my inbox! Although I’m probably much older than you (52) I enjoy it immensely and look forward to it every day.

    Looking forward t Monday

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  28. NS says:

    Good on you for your courage in discussing a very difficult and personal topic, Belle. I love the blog, as I’m sure many do, and we’re with you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  29. Kateleen says:

    Thank you Belle, for using your voice to talk about what many of us are going through. I have depression as well and I too realised recently that spare time is not good for me.
    After the hard years of law school in which I did not excel , I failed the bar exam twice and found myself unemployed and with the poorest self-esteem I’ve ever had. Things have only started to look up recently after I started seeing a therapist and got a job in a different field than law. It’s a good job with a good company but it still feels like failure.
    I’ll try to pass the bar for the third time next September. Until then, let’s keep busy.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      About a year ago, a very successful CEO came to talk to one of my classes. She’d failed the bar four times before she decided that it was not a test she was meant to pass. Now she runs one of the largest businesses in the state. Lots of people don’t pass the bar, that doesn’t make them failures. It just means that struggled with a shockingly difficult test. Good luck!

      January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Diana says:

      Kathleen, you may feel a failure but you are stronger than most. Law school is hell, the Bar is worse. That you continued despite difficulties is a true sign of strength and determination. Both law school and the Bar are designed to eliminate either by score or by exhaustion. You outlasted both. In time you may take the Bar to prove something to yourself or to close the loop, but in the meantime, please know that you ARE successful, smart, strong, talented and determined. I am so sorry some diabolical test makes it so you feel otherwise. Enjoy your journey. I am rooting for you .

      January 20, 2017/Reply
  30. PEN says:

    I think I have been reading for 8 years, or close to it. I love your posts—the ones that you think are mediocre. And I love this one. I am struggling through ppd right now, trying to power through. And this post is such a good reminder (and comfort) that it is okay to ask for help, and that I should.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  31. S says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Thank you for being a powerful woman — open and candid about mental health. Thank you for being a “washingtonian by trade” unafraid to talk about mental illness. We need more of you, I wish I could be more like you. For what it’s worth, medication may help me with some of the symptoms of depression, but not all. I’m still figuring out. We’re all still figuring out.

    When we’re open and kind to each other, the struggles are less burdensome. Thank you for being strong enough to start over with cap hill. I admire you more each time you open up about your struggles and will continue to be a loyal reader.

    We are all rooting for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  32. Lynn says:

    Dear Belle, I am one of your “older” readers and have relied on your practical and uniquely stylish recommendations for years. I love your blog and admire your spirit as you’ve triumphed over life on capitol hill and then law school. Your hard work and perseverance have served you well; it makes sense to rely on these strengths as you amp up your fight against depression. I’ve been there too, and it’s not easy, but so worth it to come out on the brighter side. You have created a huge audience of passionately supportive readers who appreciate you and your work. Know that we’re with you and we care.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  33. Monica T says:

    Always appreciate how real you are, because honestly, life is hard. I can only imagine it’s hard for everyone, but if no one ever talks about how hard it is to be a DC intern, or law student, or mother or a woman working in tech, then everyone will always think it’s just them that struggles with it, and so they struggle alone. It can be especially hard in our culture where we are taught to smile, to not say anything if we can’t say something nice, to edit out all the bad and only talk about the good. I saw a meme the other day that said something to the effect of having a happy personality and a sad soul in the same body, So anyways, thank you for your bravery, because I think we all know the internet can be a dark and cruel place. Thanks for being a light in the darkness.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  34. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing, Belle. I also suffer and am greatly moved by your honestly and bravery for putting yourself out there and keeping it real. We’re rooting for you and will continue to cheer you on! Thanks again. Keep up the good work. You’re really amazing and I hope you know that 🙂

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  35. Kate says:

    Thanks so much for your authenticity and openness, Belle. Posts like this are why this blog will always be my favorite and has been my daily go-to for the last 4-5 years. All of us can relate, even if we haven’t struggled with depression per-se, we’ve all felt stuck, alone, and helpless. I’m also a busy to chase away the blues person. And it might sound kinda cheesy, but I started watching Good Wife while I was going through a rough-patch a few years ago and it (along with lots of other things) made me feel better. Alicia Florrick is definitely a big believer in “put on some red lipstick and fake it till you make it” too 🙂

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  36. Angela says:

    Thank you for your honesty. Please remember you are not alone. So many of us are or have been in that exact same place – so much to be grateful for, so much privilege – and yet everything is wrong. Overwhelming. Listen to that part of your brain that remembers this isn’t logical as much as you can. Congratulate yourself on the small successes – even if sometimes that just means that you made it out of bed today. This too shall pass.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  37. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing! You and your blog are fantastic. I too struggle with depression and unfortunately often all you can do is fake it to you make it. Also, as much as I HATE when someone gives me this suggestion, exercise helps me too.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  38. Megan says:

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, and I can’t imagine not being able to get better via medication. I’ll be thinking of you as you go through this journey. If it ever gets unbearable, my mother had success recovering from treatment-resistant depression with ECT therapy, which is worlds away from the electroshock therapy of the past, a la “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    Best of luck to you, and I hope you’ll keep us updated on how you’re doing.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  39. Addie says:

    Right there with you sister. I think high functioning women with depression Ot other mental illnesses get so good at coping that they don’t immediately notice when the disease has reared its ugly head. I recently started my dream job after 2.5 years stuck at s miserable one and I’m in a great place in my life; anxiety was the last thing on my mind. But this new job is also more demanding than my last one. I recently went to my doctor to ask about going back on ADHD medication like I was in high school and college. Instead she upped the dosage of my existing anxiety medication and it was like someone flipped a switch. I realized I wasn’t lazy or indisciplined, the real reason my house was a mess and I’d been eating whatever convenient crap required the least amount of effort and spending entire Saturdays doing nothing but binge watching Gilmore Girls was because my anxiety levels were too high. I didn’t even realize it because I’ve been living with it for so long. Best of luck getting back on track. I’ve been reading since I first came to DC as an intern in 2011, I’m not going anywhere

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Nancy Wood says:

      @Addie This, oh this: “so good at coping they don’t immediately notice when the disease has reared its ugly head.” Been there, done that several times and am always surprised.

      Abra, thanks for starting this conversation. I think many more than the oft-quoted 1 in 4 deal with things we call The Black Dog, the funk, etc. While it manifests differently and the same way out for me may not be the same for you, you are definitely not alone. Thanks for reminding us that we are not alone.

      Today there was a good piece by Heather Havrilesky in NY Magazine that addresses smart women and unstructured time: https://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/ask-polly-should-i-quit-grad-school.html

      January 19, 2017/Reply
      • Kris says:

        @Addie. Thank you! Your post just gave me a “lightbulb” moment. That was the response to my new job. I am more comfortable now but that first year… I never really felt I had anxiety but it’s becoming more clear. Again, thank you.

        Belle, we are behind you! I love your blog . I wish you peace and that the depression lifts.

        January 20, 2017/Reply
  40. M says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Your description hit me like a punch in the gut too, as I started to realize only this week how much slower and sadder I’ve been — partially I think because I’ve slowed down recently. I had been considering seeking help, but I think I will for real. As a long time reader I’ve loved all your content, but look forward to the revived spirit and ideas you have in mind, I’m sure they’ll be amazing. We’re all supporting you, do what you gotta do.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  41. K says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Belle. I struggle with severe depression and anxiety too. After getting a chronic illness, and being stuck in bed for two years, I feel like I’ve lost everything has helped me cope so far. But things like your blog help distract me when I am down. Thinking of you. Like someone once told me, I’m so glad you stayed.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  42. Liz says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  43. Krista says:

    Thank you for this wonderful, open post. I am in a similar ‘down time’/transition period in life- finishing graduate school, looking for a job (difficult due to current government job market), moving across the country and I do not enjoy the quiet time. I have always been on the move and having time to reflect and re-think everything in life has me pretty down at times. I am glad you have a game plan moving forward and a community rallying around you! I hope you continue to put motivational and fun sayings and artwork in your posts. I save a lot of them in a folder on my desktop for rough days and they are one of my favorite parts of the blog!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  44. Cara says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I also have struggled with depression for decades, and have found that the only way to deal with it is by keeping uncomfortably busy. You are awesome, write an awesome blog, and will persevere.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  45. Natalie says:

    Thank you so much for putting this out there! I am very similar – when I’m not busy at work, I start waking up with that feeling of “dread” that lets me know I am heading down the wrong track. It took me a while to figure out what worked for me to snap out of it (to the extent that is even a real thing). But that feeling – that feeling, that “I have a great life, with a relatively well-paying job and a loving family, what do I have to be upset about” feeling? – I still haven’t quite been able to shake that. It rears its head whenever I start slipping. Keep up the good fight, and KEEP ON BLOGGING!!!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  46. SO says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I live in DC and am in my last semester of law school part-time while working full time. I struggle with a similar feeling–I need to be busy all the time to distract myself from anxiety and feelings of depression, and I’m most in my element when there are a million things going on. I did the part-time school/full-time work thing in part because I knew that my grades would be better if I had more going on! I’m off for the whole month of July this summer to study for the bar, and I already get anxious just thinking about all of that “free”/unstructured time. Good luck on the bar exam–I’ll be rooting for you from DC!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  47. Ann says:

    I’ll see you on Monday too, Belle. I have been reading your blog since 2011. Keep doing what gives you joy. I have lived with the black dog as well as grief and the older I get the more I know how important it is to fill our lives with joy, the people, the work, the places and the things that give us joy.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  48. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Your post is so brave, and I think many of us can relate to your story. Also, your blog is the BEST one that I read!! You have a unique written voice, and I hope you can find your way to a path of happiness and joy.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  49. Olivia says:

    Thank you for this post. I really needed to read it as it reflects exactly my current situation and struggles. I appreciate your honesty and bravery. Though we’ll likely never meet in person, it’s nice to know there’s someone out there who has challenges just like me.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  50. Crystal says:

    Thank you for your honesty in speaking out about your depression — it’s difficult to talk about, and it’s a word that’s been co-opted and lost much of its real gravity.
    Know that your blog has been my daily ritual for several years — through multiple years, jobs, moves, you name it. I’m thankful for the advice and suggestions you’ve offered, and I appreciate the obvious amount of work you put into it. And several of your clothing suggestions are in my closet right now.
    Oh, and if you ever want to “feel the love” and meet dozens of your loyal DC followers, I’m sure we can plan a stylish happy hour sometime when you’re back in town. 😉

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  51. Susan says:

    Can you feel my arms around you, Belle? I hope you feel better soon. I am a fellow depression struggler, and we have to find what works. Busy is good, fun and laughter are great, exercise, doggies, friends, etc. all can help.

    We appreciate your honesty, and I respect your journey through jobs, personal growth, law school, and blogging. I love the blog, and thanks for being you, a gift to all of us and to the world.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  52. Jessica says:

    Belle, I discovered your blog six years ago as a 1L—and have read it every day since. Thank you for your honesty and bravery, and please never forget that your work makes a meaningful difference in the lives of more people than you could ever know.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  53. Rhi says:

    Belle,
    Look into rTMS. It is a therapy that is FDA approved to treat depression for those where medication is not an option. Its is done in a psychiatry office. You might have a hard time finding someone who does it, but the results are good and its a great option for treatment. Long time reader here and I thank you for speaking out and telling your story. I have been struggling with some personal issues lately and your transparency leaves me hopeful. I would be happy to answer any questions you have regarding this treatment so feel free to email me.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  54. Yael says:

    Sending so much love! I love the blog. Thank you for posting.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  55. Anon says:

    Belle,

    I am one of your older reads (42), and have found your blog to be a great source of professional fashion inspiration! I also suffer from ADHD and depression due to some challenging times in my childhood. Please know that along with your friends, family, and K, you have a lot of fans who love you and hope you feel better soon!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  56. Erica says:

    Love your honestly. As I’ve read over the years, however you do it, what’s kept me coming back is your genuine tone. Keep it up, thanks for sharing with us, and look forward to seeing what excites you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • Erica says:

      Also, to reiterate what it seems like is a common sentiment amongst your readers. I’ve also gone through ebbs and flows with feelings of joy and depression. My advice is echoing what your therapist said: Do the things that make you happy!

      I am a law student, was a paralegal before this. But I also work at a flower shop on the weekends, and help designed flowers for weddings. Fact, working at a law firm/ law school/ law review AND working at a flower shop doesn’t leave me much time for a social life, but TRUE, I love being at the flower shop. I get to be creative, be around other types of people. This makes me happy so I keep at it.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  57. A.J. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Belle, and thank you to everyone else in the comments who shared. I’ve been in a similar state of anxiety and depression lately, and your story has really motivated me to do something to get back to the “old me” who was always busy and productive. I was recently fired and it sucks for a lot of reasons, mostly because it has been very isolating and dispiriting. But today, I read your post, and this one too (https://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/25-famous-women-on-getting-fired-and-how-it-makes-you-stronger.html?mid=full-rss-thecut) so I’m taking it as a sign from above that it’s time to get going again. Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading your blog every day.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  58. Sade says:

    Thank you for your honesty, I can only imagine how it must have felt to hit publish. Sending much love & amen to let’s keep busy. Looking forward to all that’s to come

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  59. Cait says:

    Belle, thank you for this. I’ve struggled with depression for a few years now and it ebbs and flows and currently is coupled with intense social anxiety which compounds everything. (It can be hard to stay busy enough under normal circumstances, but when the little voice keeps saying “don’t go, nobody wants to see you, just stay home, they won’t miss you, you don’t have any friends, you don’t /deserve/ any friends” it becomes so much harder). Your thought about “you’re not tired, you’re depressed” really hit home for me. It’s easier for me to say “I’m tired,” than to admit to myself or anyone else the real reasons why I stay home on the couch pretending that Netflix every night is “self-care.” (Not disparaging actual self-care here, just noting that I have a tendency to falsely employ that phrase) “I’m tired” sounds better- it sounds like I have so much going on, that my life is full and rich and the reason I’m not going out is because I’ve been out so much already when the real reason is that I’m depressed- I don’t want to leave the house, I don’t want to confront the social anxiety, and I don’t want to explain why I don’t want to do those things.
    Thank you for being honest about your struggle. Thank you for reminding us all that depression isn’t something to be ashamed of and for being a source of hope for those of us struggling as well.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  60. Liza says:

    Naming it and acknowledging it is more than half the battle.

    I am the same as you. If given unstructured time, I sink. Also, like you, I feel it especially in life transitions, which is DEFINITELY something you are going through with law school and the bar. Thankfully, my depression tends to be situational, which in some ways makes it easier to identify or fend off. You are lucky to have an SO who knows you and SEES you.

    Even your “dry spell,” is still informative and something I have enjoyed. I read every day from Austin, Texas after finding you when I lived in DC. Also not going anywhere!

    One thing that I always hated hearing but has held true: Exercise, exercise, exercise. This has always been an integral part of my recovery from a state where folding a shirt or simply taking the cap off a milk jug feels depressing. Keep moving! Even if it’s just long walks with Avery. Sending love!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  61. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for your honesty about your history with depression, it is a disease that affects so many. Your eloquent description of depression’s grasp, as well as your coping mechanisms will undoubtedly help others. Thank you for all that you do! I’ve loved your blog for many years now, and I look forward to version 2.0!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  62. Carol Pink says:

    Belle, I cannot thank you enough for your honesty. I feel this way most days and it is a struggle. Depression feels so isolating bc ppl don’t discuss and hide what really is occurring. Thank you for having the strength and openness to help others feel less isolated and decrease the social stigma associated with this mental illness. I may not agree with your political views, but when you blog openly and honestly it shows me we have more in common.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  63. Andrea says:

    I’m a long time daily reader and really appreciate your honesty — and I’ll second that even your so-called “mediocre” periods or posts are still more enjoyable and interesting than many blogs! Also, it’s COMPLETELY ok to have ups and downs in volume of content to a blog! One suggestion (and I’m speaking from personal experience) – instead of just focusing on keeping “busy,” consider whether it’s the structure of being busy that helps, not the busyness itself. You may not need to pack your life to over-capacity, rather just be really mindful of sticking to a specific structure to your days (e.g. you have a routine, you wake up at X time, you set aside X time for prayer and/or reflection and/or mindfulness, you exercise at X time for X amount of time, and then set aside specific hours for blogging, bar study, relaxation, socializing or whatever else you’d like to be part of your regular routine). I completely get that this is aspirational and hard to execute; I’m still working on it myself. And of course, busyness can force structure–if you’re so jammed packed that every moment is allocated to something, you’ll have structure, but I think (hope) it’s possible to find a happy medium to not be over-committed but still have a personal structure to your day and week. Looking back at my bar studying phase, lack of structure was the biggest cause for me having a seriously miserable several months – I felt aimless, procrastinated, overwhelmed and bored at the same time, and definitely less productive. I just worry–again, because I see it in myself–that it’s easy to get into a bad cycle of being extremely over-committed, then burning out, then going to complete lack of busyness and structure, to being depressed, to over-correcting with extreme busyness and then the cycle repeats itself. Wishing you luck and grace!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • K says:

      I’ve been trying to figure out a balance of activities that will keep my anxiety in check before it turns into depression. Again. I’ve been resisting, but part of it is going to be adding exercise into my routine and making it non-negotiable. Same for eating fruits and vegetables and trying to commit to doing things that make me happy in ways aimlessly browsing the internet never really does.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  64. Bonnie says:

    HORRAY!!! You inspire and make a difference!!!! I’m a big girl trying to work on my matronly look. It’s not easy trying to find clothes that fit, let alone help me to feel less hopeless… and keeping away the black fog. I love that you work so hard on this blog. Its’s clearly one to read and grow from. I thank you from my heart!!!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  65. Erica says:

    You have support in places you never even knew existed. I’ve never commented on a post before but I’ve been following your blog for years. Thank you for being brave. And thank you for being, you. Looking forward to what comes next. Remember to breathe. And, bloom where you are planted.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  66. cara says:

    See, you are not alone! There is a community of fellow women who care about you. Onward and updward, you got this!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  67. Anne says:

    Long time reader, first time commenting…THANK YOU! Battling through myself, always trying to fake it until I make it!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  68. Kelly says:

    It’s true-depression lies and tells you not to do things or go places! Being active (both physically and mentally) is as curative as those prescription medications.

    This video has a lovely way of approaching the black dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  69. Nancy says:

    I know this wasn’t the point of the post but … THANK YOU. This is exactly what I needed to hear, admitting I’m no tired or bored I am depressed (and surprising me since I’ve battled it for years and years). Thanks for the blog and all your hard work and know you are not alone.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  70. heatherskib says:

    Ditto sister! virtual hugs to you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  71. N.J. says:

    Thank your for your honesty in sharing your struggles. I’ve wondered over the past several years if I am depressed or not, as it runs in the family and I recognize some of the symptoms you are describing in myself as well. I’m currently dealing with treating slight hypothyroidism and had hoped this might be the cause of my lethargy but I’m starting to think more and more that I need to address my mental health in some way.

    We are rooting for you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  72. Mary says:

    I always appreciate your honesty, especially on this topic. I’m glad you have a good understanding of yourself and a supportive person in your life, along with a therapist. I’m another one who chases away the black dog with busyness.

    I’m a long-time daily reader and have more personal and family experience with depression and related issues than I can share in a blog comment. I am in school now to change careers from HR and finance to psychotherapy. In my coursework, I recently learned about using the Braverman assessment for learning about personal neurotransmitter dominance and deficiencies. Nutritional supplements of the natural precursors to neurotransmitters can be used to address the deficiencies and can be helpful for some people without the side effects of many prescription drugs. The effects tend to be more subtle than prescriptions, but might help take the edge off since you cannot take prescriptions. Talk to your therapist to see if this might be helpful for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
    • KiKiRisa says:

      I will second your recommendation to consider nutrient deficiencies. I thought it was nonsense… until it helped me with my chronic depression, procrastination, and fatigue.

      Belle, *please* google “William Walsh 5 biotypes of depression,” or read his book “Nutrient Power.” He explains why antidepressants don’t work for everyone.

      January 19, 2017/Reply
  73. O says:

    I think a lot of women suffer from depression. I would love to see you post more about this, how it affects women in the workplace, how we can deal with it at work, etc.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  74. Sara says:

    I’ve never left a comment before, but I read your blog regularly. Yours is one of my favorites.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.

    Thank you for being real. Thank you for being honest about your depression. It helps removes the shame and stigma that go along with it. It makes it easier for the rest of us to acknowledge it for ourselves.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  75. Lily says:

    This was really good for me to read today. It’s reassuring to hear that someone creative and accomplished whom I admire is dealing with the same thing I am. What is the name of the Teddy Roosevelt book, if you don’t mind sharing?

    I just turned 26 and a part of me is like, “Come on, you’re STILL not over this yet?” But the reality is that you can’t “cure” depression and it’s just something I’m going to have to wrestle with every day. More often than not, I win, but some days, it wins and that’s just the way it is. The way I try to see it is that as long as I keep *trying*, as long as I don’t throw up my hands and decide to just be a victim, that’s what matters.

    And like many of the other commenters, I have still enjoyed reading CHS these past few months. This is one of the few blogs I have been reading over a period of years. It has helped me a lot.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  76. Sinds says:

    As a 2nd year associate, I can tell you that studying for the bar exam was one of the loneliest times of my life, and a prime time for depression to creep in. Something about the vast weeks that stretch ahead of you, filled with no obligation but studying for a test you have no idea how to measure your progress on because the line of where you pass is so unclear…it’s like staring into the void. Seriously, it is one big existential crisis.

    I don’t mean to sound dramatic on this because I know for some people, it was nothing, but for me it was absolutely awful. I would not be surprised if it is affecting you as well.

    Anyways I love reading this blog, and I particularly love when you share about your life. Whatever you do next, I am so ready to hear about it.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  77. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing. I still love your blog.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  78. Arie says:

    I Love your blog! Thank you for sharing your life!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  79. Faye says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Belle. I have admired your gutsy approach to life, work and blogging for as long as I’ve been reading your blog and this only increases my admiration. Keep on chasing away that black dog – your voice is valued. Thanks for everything!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  80. Jules says:

    Belle thanks for keeping it real. Plus, this was like a wake up call to me too. I’ve lately felt the same (used to be so busy and happier), and I love the idea of going back to the things that made me feel excited. I’ve actually been on a journey to try to REMEMBER what those things even were, that brought me that giddy feeling, staying up till 2AM.
    I love your blog. It’s one of only two blogs that I read. sending you hugs!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  81. Erin says:

    Belle — thinking of you and so glad you opened up about this here. Like so many others have already commented, I’ve been reading your blog for years, since I was an intern on the Hill. I’ve since switched to a completely different career (also requiring a professional dress code), and still love reading your blog. Take all the time you need – I’ll keep reading.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  82. Ingrid says:

    Thank you for sharing, Belle! As a loyal and long time reader that thoroughly enjoys reading a fashion blog that understands my needs, I am looking forward to see what you have planned! Take good care of yourself.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  83. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing this. The “shame” that comes with depression is often self inflicted because it feels like you should be able to muscle through it, but it’s never that simple. Self care, and knowing your own ebbs and flows is so important. I have also struggled with depression, and like you cannot take medication for varying reasons. I have found, after a family recommendation, that B-12 has been a godsend for me. I don’t know if it’s a placebo where I feel like I’m capable of doing something about my depression finally, or if its that little bit of extra energy it gives me helps me pull through the heavy feeling each day, but its changed my life. I take a B complex vitamin each morning, and it has the awesome benefit of also being great for my skin so hey, if it’s placebo its certainly not hurting anything :). Each day make sure you check in with yourself, and on days where things are heavier don’t forget to give yourself permission to take it easy, and do whatever will help you get to tomorrow where things will almost always feel different.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  84. Jane says:

    Belle, as a daily reader of your blog for years (and I only read about five blogs), I’ve never commented. But today’s post, more than others that I can remember, clearly touches a cord with your readers. Your question to yourself about “what do I have to be depressed about?” is a question I ask myself too. I have a nice place to live, good friends, great family, a wonderful SO, a good job that pays well. Really, what is there to be sad/complain/gripe/etc. about, particularly compared to other people in the world. I try to remind myself that depression does not differentiate among the privileged and the not. It’s there. It’s real. You didn’t cause it. I’m happy for you that you understand some contributing factors and what helps you stay in the light and what makes the darkness darker. You’re a bright, funny, beautiful lady, and I’m glad you’re no longer suffering alone (which is one of the hardest places to be). When you need support, you can always find virtual friends here. And when you need some days away, we understand that too. There’s an entire internet world that loves you and is pulling for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  85. Lauren says:

    I too haved struggled with depression and anxiety since I was in middle school. Thank you for talking so openly about it. It makes me feel so much less alone! We can and will overcome. Thank you for creating a blog that truly is a bright spot in my day every day!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  86. Meg says:

    You are excellent Belle.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  87. Merilynn says:

    Hi Belle – I live in Wash DC, and discovered your blog a few years ago – just turned 60 and retired. this blog is absolutely real world and awesome. Thank you so much for everything – you sound so smart. i am pulling for you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  88. Katie says:

    I love your blog and read it everyday. You’ve helped me start a transition to a new job, in a much more conservative office. I’m pumped to see what you do next, and support you every step of the way.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  89. Alison says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult it is to write this kind of post, but I really think this is the kind of thing that makes blogs/the internet worthwhile. It’s so easy to feel like we are struggling with our problems alone (with social media quick to suggest that yes, everyone is having a better time than you), but in reality, so many of us have been through these kinds of dark periods. I’m sorry you’re struggling right now, but it sounds like you are ready to fight. During these times I do tend to like that sort of cliched (maybe) Churchill quote “if you’re going through hell, keep going”.

    This may have been suggested already, but for me the key to keeping the dog away is exercise. And believe me, I HATE that this is true. But when I am regularly exercising (literally anything that gets a sweat going), I’m more balanced, I don’t have the mood swings, I don’t go to those dark places. When I don’t, it can get ugly. I know that depression can a very complicated issue to solve, but making time for a daily walk (or run, or bike ride, or whatever) can be a good place to start…

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  90. Ale says:

    You most certainly are not alone. I’ve struggled with depression for several years now— and actually, that’s the first time I type that out. It’s not easy, but know that your strength in sharing gives others strength too. Hang in there, and just take it one day at a time 🙂

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  91. SacDhar says:

    bravo for sharing something so personal. i have been a semi-regular reader for 5 years. i appreciate the work you put into your posts and love your suggestion. good luck!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  92. JEN says:

    Thank you for always being authentic.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  93. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for your candor, Belle. This year, I finally saw a therapist and psychiatrist to treat anxiety I’ve had for years. Six months later, I feel as though I have tamed the “Black Dog.” Your posts on this topic make me feel less alone. And know that I, a reader since 2009, am rooting for you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  94. Meredith says:

    I think we all tend to get caught in the idea of “how can I be depressed when so many have it much worse” but the thing is we all have our crap and we can be very fortunate in life and still battle demons in our own heads. I have struggled with anxiety and depression (though more so anxiety). I was on meds for 4 years (at one point 3 different meds at once). I truely believe I needed them all and they saved not only my sanity but my marriage. But about a year ago I realized I was feeling so much better mentally but physically my body was a disaster. The meds made me gain a ton of weight and overall just took their toll on me. I was able to wean myself off and have been off for a year now. I really believe you just have to find the things that work for you, but if it is at all helpful here is what worked for me. 1. Exercise. I hired a trainer to keep me accountable. Then I added additional cardio and yoga several days a week. It sounds so cliche but it has worked wonders to relieve my anxiety and now I can’t go without it. 2. Meditation. It does my mind good to have time each day to just be present and not think. It helps me clear out the clutter and manage my racing mind. Again totally cliche but it works. I personally do ZivaMind, which can be done via a brief online class. 3. Finding the right professional help. I first found a great psychiatrist who helped me find the right meds. Once I reached a point where I felt I might be ready to get off the meds I began seeing a women’s wellness doc who helped me address some vitamins deficiencies. She also introduced me to acupuncture which I used to scoff at but am not low a total convert. All of this is to say, the hard part is realizing you have to work on you. You have to find the things that help you cope. Our minds can run wild and take us to places that are far, far from the present reality. It takes work but I promise you can do it. Best of luck to you.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  95. west coast says:

    Long time lurker/reader here, but wanted to reach out. Have enjoyed reading every word – love your wit, humor, and insight – look forward to cheering you through and onward. Hugs.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  96. Cayley Stewart says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter 🙂
    I am not in the business world (preschool teacher!) but I enjoy your posts regardless.
    Your style, both writing and fashion, are lovely and I’m grateful to have your blog to read every night.
    Please know that you were never mediocre and we appreciate you.
    Sending love and appreciation!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  97. AnonymousComment says:

    Belle, thank you so much for this post. I have read your blog for years and been a huge fan, but don’t believe I have ever commented. I’ve been in a very directionless, dark slump recently, and your post had given me hope and direction that we can all pull through. I’ll be cheering for you!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  98. LW says:

    What a brave post. You have a blessed life but that does not mean that there aren’t struggles. Best of luck building YOU. Huge fan of the blog, I’ve been reading you from my DC day and beyond. You’ve got a cheerleader in Texas!

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  99. LCP says:

    Belle, thank you so much for your openness and for both the fun posts and the serious ones — I relate so much to both. I started reading your blog in my first job after college and and read it through that jab and my trip back to grad school. I’ve loved your posts steadily even when I was no longer looking out for new work clothes. I hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful year for you and I can’t wait to keep reading whatever you want to write about. <3

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  100. Rachel says:

    The bullshit that circulates in high performing professional circles in my country is that a proper human is made of Teflon. Despite occasional obstacles, one always bounces back and continues to Produce Quality Work, or one is a failure of potential and a lesser class of animal.

    Sadly, that is not how real people function most of the time. Also, life is sometimes just vaguely awful for no reason and can keep on being vaguely awful and lame for years regardless of how well you ‘cope’.

    That’s why I call bullshit on the Professional Performance Myth.

    I’m a professional perfectionist who’s had anxiety problems and depression for as long as you have, and I say you are allowed to be kind to yourself. You owe nothing to internet strangers and there is no need, ever, to apologise for a product you don’t charge money for!

    Do the blog to bring you joy. Don’t do it to measure up to a standard of success you feel past you set for present you.

    Also, I hope your partner is supporting you well. I got my husband to talk to my therapist so he could really understand and get better at doing and saying things that actually helped me feel better.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  101. Denise says:

    Belle, I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and I absolutely love it. As a young attorney I haven’t found many blogs that I can relate to, but yours is the exception. Thank you for your honesty and candor. It’s refreshing and inspiring. I wish you all the best and I can’t wait to see your next posts.

    January 19, 2017/Reply
  102. Melanie says:

    Like most people, I just wanted to write to say ‘thank you.’ In December I took the first step towards confronting my struggles with anxiety and depression by scheduling an appointment to see a psychiatrist. My appointment is next week. I resonated with so much of what you wrote here, particularly with feeling a sense of shame when so many people have it worse. I’ve always appreciated your candor and honesty- today probably most of all. Thanks again.

    PS- Go Zags!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  103. Toya says:

    Thank you for sharing, that really hit home for me as well.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  104. TC says:

    I identify with this post 100%. I had, in retrospect, mild depressive periods on and off at various stages, but I hit my first major depressive episode right after law school. I’d worked insanely hard through law school and been involved in a ton of activities, then I studied for the bar and held it together somewhat through that. Then I started my dream job which involved months of training and several months of imacitivity while waiting to be admitted to the bar (an absurdly long process in my state) and I, like you, was suddenly too exhausted to do anything despite doing less than I had in years. I went to my doctor and she said, some women aren’t meant to be bored. I got back to myself eventually (with some back slides along the way). Thank you for talking about this struggle so many of us have openly and intelligently. I’m hoping for the best for you over here in my corner of the world, and as someone who got to the other side in a similar life moment, I have faith you will too.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  105. Sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing! We will be rooting for you all the way. One great book I recommend is Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better. It’s on my bedside right now and I reread it regularly. It is designed to be a concise read because depression gets in the way of focus and concentration.

    One tip: The key is not to wait until you feel like doing something. Just do it as best you can now and the motivation will follow.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  106. Liz says:

    Belle, you’re incredible. Thank you for sharing this. And bravo for recognizing depression when it rears its ugly head — it can be invisible when you’re in the thick of it. Tough to put your finger on what’s happening, even if you’ve been through it before.

    Go kick some ass. Can’t wait to read what lies ahead!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  107. Mrs. Jones says:

    I have depression too. Good luck and thanks for your blog!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  108. Liz says:

    Good luck and thanks for all you do! I love your inspirational quotes/articles.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  109. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing. The thing I have always thought that sets this blog above and apart from all the rest is the honesty, candor and unabashed bravery to share the truth about yourself, fashion, professionalism and everything in between. I found your blog in 2010, when I was in college and panicked about starting an internship on the Hill. Your blog was the calm, fashionable “older sister” voice that helped me manage a professional style and poise at a young age. I’ve been a loyal reader since and your fashion advice and professional advice has helped me through job interviews, networking coffees, and graduate school interviews as well as picking the right bag, buying an evening clutch, dressing for weddings, and investing in shoes. Thank you for all you do! I’m rooting for you. I hope you find the strength and joy in the community you bring so much advice, light and joy to everyday with your blog.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  110. Taryn says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been reading your blog for years and years and your blog remains my favorite for its honesty and transparency. I have been going through a time of listlessness recently and your post is a good reminder that it is never the wrong time to re-focus and re-energize. I look forward to continuing to watch your growth!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  111. LS says:

    Thank you for sharing! I struggle with balancing staying so busy that I can hardly breath against getting depressed if I’m not busy enough. I’ve found that more than a day or two of “downtime” is too much for me and also that maybe “balance” is an evil myth that women’s mags sell us.

    I will also add that I really got in a dark place while studying for the bar. In the end I was studying 12 hours a day and my anxiety got to the point that if I wasn’t sitting in front of a book/computer, I was listening to barbri tapes – in the shower, on the treadmill, in the car – literally from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to sleep. The smallest human interactions felt laborious and infuriating. The only times I’ve cried in public in my adult life were when I was studying for the bar. Once the lady at Sweetgreen put the wrong dressing on my salad and I burst into rage-induced tears. All that is to say – recognize that this is also an exceptionally stressful time, but it has an expiration date.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  112. Cindy says:

    You are not alone, looking forward to Monday – have a great weekend!!!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  113. Catherine says:

    I am so thankful for your honesty and bravery. Fight as you know how. Don’t be ashamed to do what you need to do to feel better and healthier. I hear your struggle, and MANY of us has been there. Love the blog. Read it daily. Don’t be discouraged.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  114. Maria Blanco says:

    I am sorry Belle. You are definitely not alone, neither in your struggle with depression nor in the process of getting to the light at the end of the tunnel. Godspeed!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  115. T says:

    Good luck and take care of yourself. I read this blog every day and it always amazes me that you were able to produce such great content, even in the pressure cooker that is law school.

    You’re not alone!

    xoxo

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  116. Valerie says:

    Echoing what everyone has already said- thank you for this post. You’ve described exactly how I am right now: finished with grad school (the hard parts, at least) and applying for full-time jobs, and feeling immensely anxious and depressed. Like you, I’ve known I had these issues for years, but I didn’t realize that I was more happy and less exhausted during the times I was busy doing things (particularly things I enjoyed and felt passionate about).

    I’m glad you posted, because I think there’s still a huge stigma around depression, as if it’s just an internal weakness that we can learn to overcome if we just concentrate hard enough. I joke that if it were just a matter of concentrating, all of us DC overachievers would’ve been depression-free by now. Instead, we need more people to understand that it’s a part of life, something that can only be managed and curbed, but not something that keeps us from being productive, successful professional women.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  117. Elle K says:

    Thank you for being so open about your struggle. It’s reassuring to know there are other high functioning individuals who are battling depression. You are a strong and talented woman, no matter what your head tells you. 🙂 -Elle

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  118. MM says:

    Belle, I have never commented before but I love your blog. It’s one of the first things I check when I log into work in the morning. Your perspective on appropriate fashion for the workplace, beauty trends, and career advice is always refreshing and honest. I too suffer from bouts of depression and I will say that law school and studying for the bar was one of the hardest times in my life because of it. You are not the only one! Not by a long shot. As my mom likes to say, “When you’re going through hell, just keep on walking.” Thank you for being so open and honest in this post. I’ll be here reading and supporting you from afar!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  119. JPo says:

    I never ever comment despite being a committed of yours – and other – fashion blogs. But I wanted to say that I admire your strength and bravery in sharing your personal struggle. I also wanted to say I look forward to a reenergized blog. You are good at what you do and as a professional working at a law firm, I thought you filled a niche that most others do not. I have remained loyal on your “detour” but am excited to see a return to your roots. And I will gladly refer young female lawyers to your blog as a source for inspirational yet appropriate options. Good luck and know there are many like me out here rooting for you!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  120. Lauren says:

    Your honesty and ambition are inspiring. We’re all here rooting for and supporting you.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  121. Robin R says:

    I’m so impressed that you shared this. I commend your bravery. You’ve got this.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  122. Jason says:

    Dear Belle,

    I was one of the few gentlemen readers of this blog a few years ago because I loved your writing and style (and because you always provided great ideas for things to get my wife!) and like you, I suffer from depression – I heard so much of what you wrote because I have lived it as well. We appreciate all that you have done and will do and my only suggestion is to exercise on a daily basis and find time for some much needed self-appreciation. What you have done here is fantastic! And, as a former therapist told me, “depression is no one’s fault, you (me) weren’t born with the proper amount of serotonin.”

    The same may be true with you and if so, previous episodes tend to affect us more deeply than others. Please know that we are all pulling for you and are so proud of you.

    Be good to yourself!

    Jason

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  123. Amy says:

    Belle-
    One of many reasons this has become my favorite blog is your candor! This brave post undoubtably brings strength to many others facing similar battles. Thanks for being awesome and feel better!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  124. Jessica says:

    Brava to you for talking about this–a topic that should NOT be taboo. You are one of two blogs I read religiously; just last month the author of the other blog posted something about her own ongoing struggle with depression. I’m so grateful to know about women like you both who are not afraid to speak publicly–and therefore help to normalize–something that has been so stigmatized for so many years.

    All of my love and good will for hitting the reset button and getting yourself healthy and happy again.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  125. Kate says:

    So much respect you and your honesty and strength.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  126. Rawww says:

    Thank you for your honesty. As a selfish reader it’s great to hear that caphillstyle will be going back to its standards. I was starting to think that all my favorite bloggers are deviating from my style preferences. Wish you loads of energy in your personal recovery and of the blog!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  127. Lauren Christenson says:

    Belle, I have been reading your blog for years. Your honesty in this post is so inspiring. I am firm believer that saying things out loud is the first step to finding peace within yourself. Thank you for what you do.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  128. Natalie says:

    Thank you for this post and your honesty. Sending you all my good energy for your next steps. This community cares about you and please know that you’re not alone in this. I hope you continue to search for solutions and keep working towards the best, happiest version of you. Lots of love and support to you!!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  129. Ann says:

    I’m a relatively new reader. I went to law school in the 90s (gasp!), so I’m a decade and a half or so older than you, but I’ve found your posts intelligent, enlightening, and inspiring. (And I thank you for a gloriously soft Land’s End t-shirt I ordered last week and am wearing now.) This post is so admirably open and honest. Sending you strength for the path ahead, with a distinct sense that you will continue along it carefully listening to your own voice, while being in tune with the world. Rock on, sister!

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  130. Lynn says:

    For many people who suffer from depression, it comes and goes for their entire life. It’s important to recognize that it comes, but also that it goes. It will go for you too.

    January 20, 2017/Reply
  131. Grace says:

    I’ve enjoy your blog for over a year now and have never commented . I am writing to add my voice to the chorus of admiration and encouragement . Your talent, taste and ability to buoy spirits and create connection is rare. And the blog is just one way part of who you are.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  132. Madd says:

    Thank you for your honesty and openness. I hope that 2017 brings you whatever you seek xx

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  133. Bella says:

    Just wanted you to know that this blog helps us as much as it helps you. This blog has become one of my favorite parts of my daily routine. Thinking of you, and thank you for your honesty and strength.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  134. VictoriaDoubleU says:

    Bravo to you! I’m so glad that you’re taking good care of yourself. I know how stressful it was for me to juggle life and bar prep, so I’m rooting for you!

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  135. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  136. Patrícia says:

    Hi, what is the name of the Teddy Roosevelt book? And thank you for share your story.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      The Rise of Teddy Roosevelt by Morris.

      January 21, 2017/Reply
  137. Kate says:

    Belle, thank you so much for sharing! Your blog has brought me so much inspiration and comfort– through job changes, motherhood, and my own mental and physical health challenges. This post inspires me still further. I know all of the positive energy you have put out will come back to you now, and I can’t wait to see what you decide to do next.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  138. Dia says:

    Thank you for opening yourself up & being honest about depression. I am also someone who does better when they’re busy & try to keep myself active, though it’s not always easy. Your dedicated work on this blog had been keeping me coming back regularly for years.

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  139. OM says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been battling my own black dog for the past year- got dumped by long term love, lost my beloved grandmother, moved to a city where I knew no one, had two ‘dream jobs’ that turned out to be nightmare jobs- just before Christmas I quit my job, no plan, I just quit. That night the ever so promising new boyfriend of six months broke up with me, a few days before my birthday- December 20th.

    Surprisingly I had the best Christmas yet – stress had been eliminated from my life. I slept, and slept, and slept some more, I ate three meals a day and exercised, for the first time in months. I feel more myself right now than I have in years, but I know that each day is a battle because the black dog never goes away, he just lies down. I’m calling 2017 the year of self worth!

    Know that you can tame the dog Belle, and all of your readers are here for you when you need a reminder of how much you mean to so many of us, relative strangers!, who admire you!

    Love and peace xxx

    January 21, 2017/Reply
  140. Katie says:

    Reading this post, it sounds exactly like my situation and past… thank you for sharing and please know that you’re not alone. This period of your life won’t last forever and you’ll regain that spark that you used to feel.

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  141. Rachel says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is so good to hear I’m not alone in this feeling of guilt for the sometimes crushing anxiety over first world problems. I appreciate your blog so much, and I am glad you find as much joy in it as your readers do. We are here for you and always happy to listen.

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  142. Jill says:

    You are strong and amazing. I also have depression– I recently started getting help after many years of suffering. Although I don’t know you (just feels like I do after following this blog for so long!), I am in your corner, pulling for you. Thank you for talking about your situation. You are helping more people than you will ever know!

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  143. JL says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been an avid reader for 3 years now and will continue to check in daily. I’m also glad that you have a supportive partner and admitted the issue. It could not have been an easy thing to do. You do not deserve to have this disease and it’s awfully unfair that you do. Be kind to yourself and keep trying everything to see what sticks: therapy, exercise, clean eating, meditation/yoga nidra, journaling, etc. (It looks like you have an endless list of suggestions from the comments alone!) I have no doubt that when you are ready, you will successfully chase that black dog away…and not Avery. 🙂

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  144. Anne says:

    Abra, Belle, I have been reading your blog since I was a lowly scrub in DC, gosh, I guess 10 years ago or so? Could it be that long? I feel like I have grown up with you and much of what I have read here has helped me become successful and put together and who I am today. Sending you a big hug. You are a tough cookie and I thank you for having given so generously of yourself on this blog for so long. I look forward to continuing to read. XOXO

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  145. Sushi says:

    Brave post. Thanks for sharing and for not sugar coating things. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  146. Kay says:

    Hi Belle, I rarely post but your thoughts today really resonated with me. I love this blog and the your openness. And as I can see from the comments above, I’m not the only one! Let the support from your readers lift you up. Bring back 2.0 however you’d like – we’ll be here. Thank you for the efforts you put into your posts – looking forward to what’s ahead. Hang in there, and keep on figuring out what brings you peace and joy.

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  147. Deirdre says:

    Very admirable that you shared this. I have loved reading your blog for several years and look forward to seeing what is next. Best wishes for healing soon 🙂

    January 22, 2017/Reply
  148. Jenette says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I know you’re not alone on this blog. At least one other person, myself, struggles with the same. My friend shared your blog with me when we were bright eyed college freshman, trying to surpass our peers and get our toes into the real world. You’ve been with me through my own internship on the Hill (The Range came through for me when I needed a new staple!) and now I’m in law school. We love you Belle, and will be here with you through it all!

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  149. Alexis says:

    Sending you love!

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  150. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for being so honest! Your advice helped greatly when I worked for the NYS Assembly. I look forward to reading your future posts!

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  151. Jen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. Once again you are leading the way in being honest. We are the sum of our parts. Those parts are both emotional health and well-being AND a work appropriate heel to survive an 8 hour day. Thank you for being a sign post for the maintenance that we’re all in need of, inside and out.

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  152. Nicole says:

    Please know how appreciated and admired you are for all you do! Hope you feel better soon.

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  153. Wambui says:

    Thank you for your honesty, and for this wonderful blog. You have my respect and admiration, and I am rooting for you!

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  154. K says:

    I’ve been an avid reader since college, and now 5 years in the real world, I still continue to read and appreciate your blog and the advice you offer. Thank you for posting this. Thinking of you in the days to come.

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  155. Maddy says:

    Thanks for keeping it, real. Hang in there, spring is coming.

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  156. Chaigrl says:

    You go girl, YOU GOT THIS! 🙂

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  157. S says:

    Thank you for sharing and for your honesty!

    January 23, 2017/Reply
  158. M says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I love the blog no matter the topic of the day but appreciate ‘real’ posts like this so much – sometimes social media/the blogosphere seem to set impossible standards. As a formerly perpetually-busy person I recently finished grad school and have been struggling with finding motivation/a sense of purpose while job-hunting so it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

    January 24, 2017/Reply
  159. Whitney Gibbs says:

    Belle, you worded it perfectly. It’s not logical. Don’t beat yourself up more.

    You may find this helpful. https://www.goodlifeproject.com/gabby-bernstein/

    I appreciate and love all your hard work here. I’m so grateful for you.

    January 24, 2017/Reply
  160. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m going through a similar process of realizing that “tired” is a persistent depression and scheduling things on the calendar that I need to get momentum back.

    January 24, 2017/Reply
  161. Flo says:

    Thank you for posting this.

    I admire and applaud your openness and wish more people could/would do the same. After reading the books by Brené Brown (big fan!) a couple of years ago, I try to be vulnerable and more open about my own struggles with mental health. Seeing others share their story always makes me feel inspired and less alone. Thank you.

    Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ll be here cheering you on!

    January 24, 2017/Reply
  162. Ari says:

    Hey Belle, I’m a little late to the comment game on this post, but I really want to thank you for sharing this. Being vulnerable and writing a post like this can’t have been easy, but I’m sure I’m not the only reader this connected with. I finished my masters degree in May, got hired on at my internship in state government shortly after, and less than two weeks ago I got married. I’m living in the city I love, with a job I really like, married to an awesome partner, but all year I’ve been miserable. Anxiety and depression have been a big part of my life this year. I’ve felt a bit guilty about being so miserable when everything in life is going right. Your post was a good reminder that I’m not the only one in this boat. I love the blog and I’m totally cheering for you.

    January 26, 2017/Reply
  163. Sarah G says:

    Sending so much love! As a fellow sufferer of depression, I totally feel you. For me, it’s maintaining the right balance of busy and break – too much busy and I crawl into my hole and refuse to come out, too much break and I slip into the hole without realizing it. I’m lucky in that meds have been a miracle for me – as has therapy – but I lean on so many other things, too – regular exercise and time outdoors, being vigilant about my calendar staying just the right amount of full, etc… I hope that you continue to fine tune what works for you, after all we’re all learning and refining as we go, right?!

    I’m also so proud of you for sharing your experiences here. I’m a HUGE advocate for removing the stigma surrounding depression/mental health issues, and the more folks who are brave enough to share their experiences, the less that stigma exists.

    January 26, 2017/Reply
  164. Christina says:

    Belle – I so admire you for sharing your struggles so candidly on your blog. I’ve followed (and have loved it in every iteration) for years now but what keeps me coming back isn’t your amazing outfit finds and product tips (they are amazing, btw), it’s the authenticity and honesty with which you write. Thanks for being vulnerable and for being amazing!

    January 26, 2017/Reply
  165. Para says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am prone to clinical depression as well. And I am the same in that I fall right back in if I don’t keep busy enough. All the best to you, I had a bad episode last year but was able to pull out of it after a few months. You might look into CBT.

    January 27, 2017/Reply
  166. Catherine says:

    So beautiful and inspiring. I have read this over and over so many times.

    January 31, 2017/Reply
  167. Jenn says:

    Sometimes we all need a reboot. <3

    February 12, 2017/Reply