I'm In Bed With My Depression
The time is currently 11:30pm on a monday night here on the east coast. I just took a bunch of pictures to try and decipher what the face of my depression looks like. I am not okay.
And that, in the most honest way, is fine. I often say that things are fine when they’re not fine. I often find excuses to just MAKE things okay when I know that they’re not. When people waste my time, effort, and money I usually just shrug and go “yeah, okay” because it’s what I’m used to.
The realization I came to today, though, is actually fine. I’m in bed with my depression. I had a bad day today. Those happen and they’re not rare for me, but today was particularly odd because it seems to me like I FORCED myself to have a bad day today.
I looked at apartment listings when I knew I didn’t have to, I ate way more than I should have, and I put off reading a book that actually gets my mind off of all the terrible things going on in my life and the world for no real reason. I did this to myself and it’s because the elephant in the room is one that I have trouble asking to leave (it’s my depression. The elephant that is. It’s a depression elephant. Eeyore? Is Eeyore an elephant? No, eeyore is clearly a donkey, what the fuck am I talking about? Anyway, NOT THE POINT).
Sometimes we push and push and push ourselves to be okay, but the truth is that we’re not and the acceptance of that is what will allow us to move forward. The idea that I had to soldier on through my day and forget about what was making me sad just led me into things that made me more and more upset. The last thing I truly want to think about is how much money I’m going to lose out on by moving back to DC next year for work, but it was the first thing I jumped to.
Why? Because I have a desperate fear of never accomplishing my goals and my anxiety knocks on the door of my depression whenever it gets too scared of the thunder and lightning inside my brain. When I think of never accomplishing my biggest goals I think of the responsibilities I have to myself and my dreams, so I think “maybe I should move sooner. Maybe I shouldn’t move at all. Maybe I should wait until the last minute and something will surely convince me to stay or go”.
The truth is that my goals are fine. They’ll either get accomplished or they won’t get accomplished, but the bigger picture is what drives my soul and accomplishments won’t do that. My depression has pushed the idea that accomplishing things will fulfill me for years. Over a decade of the constant fear of not doing enough. Lack of immediate success was almost certain failure in my eyes and that’s just not a healthy way to live.
I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks away from home and it’s had a much bigger effect on me than I wanted to admit at this point. I’m eating like garbage, I’m not exercising, I spent a full week being massively creative and the next completely devoid of any ideas, and I’m worried that without a constant push behind me that I’ll not be able to retain all of the stuff I made on this trip.
This book that I’ve been reading, Resisting Happiness, has really shown me that the missteps I make in day to day life are unnecessary obstacles on my path to a long lasting life of happiness. A life without my depression, bad habits, and resistance blocking everything I do.
I’m not going to get too into the book because you should really go and read it for yourself, but I am going to touch on a thing or two it says in order to illustrate my point. A quote from the book perfectly captures what I’m trying to say in my tired/ranting state of mind:
And at the end of the chapter that introduces this quote, the book has this action step: Don’t pretend to be happy and satisfied when you’re not.
That’s what I’ve learned is going to help me get through these tough times and rough patches. I’ve acknowledged that I’m currently in bed with my depression. It curls up next to me at night and holds onto me in order to keep me there in the morning. It whispers paralyzing thoughts into my ears and manages to shackle me daily with thoughts that I’m not good enough to rise out of my dreary state and take on the world at large. The key, for me, to breaking out of this is consistently taking steps to improve my position.
*Vulnerability isn't sexy. It's not cool. As much as we say we admire the strength of others there's a stigma to letting your scars show and healing from the outside in. For some of us, that's necessary, and it shouldn't be held to whispered judgements behind closed doors. I'm actually really happy with my life right now, but I know that I wouldn't have gotten here if it weren't for me seeing that I needed help myself. And I wouldn't have gotten there if I hadn't chosen to be vulnerable with my mental illness struggles.*
I’m not saying that from this day forward I’ll be a new man and won’t be down anymore. I’m simply saying that I hope to start better habits that will EVENTUALLY get me there. All we can do every day is try to see ourselves through to the next one with a clear mind and a fresh start. My last post was about progress, right? Well, the greatest way to track your progress is consistency. The more consistent you are the easier it will be to keep your eyes on the prize as you move forward.
Consistency is tough. Habits are hard to form. There are a lot that I need to start forming and it won’t be easy to keep them. I know that I’m going to get there, but first I need to get out of bed.