Yesterday was a hard day. I missed a lot of work; I cancelled dinner plans with a friend; I didn’t even make it to the grocery store as planned. I spent the day in bed with the curtains drawn. I was filled with a kind of apathy and darkness that is hard to explain, but I did write a little as I was feeling this way, and I thought I would share it here, because it’s a good window into the mind of a person with depression on a tough day.
I’m in a mood. It’s not sadness, or hopelessness, or desperation. It’s not frustration or anger or longing. It is complete and total apathy.
I have things to do today. Instead I’m writing, because I think maybe if I at least capture how little I feel at the moment, how very, very little I care about my responsibilities or expectations or plans, maybe at least I might feel better, or maybe at least you will better understand this smothering, unrelenting tendency of depression, this complete un-caring.
I don’t want to do any of the things I am supposed to do today. And not in a shrugging, “I don’t feel like it but I guess I’ll give it a go” kind of way. I mean I don’t want to do them in the most drag my feet, send me kicking and screaming, “don’t make me interact with the world” temper tantrum kind of way. Don’t make me do my work at this silly job. Don’t make me go to the grocery story and force a fake smile every time I maneuver the cart around someone else and say “excuse me.” Don’t make me go sit in my favorite pub, or coffee shop, or restaurant, with any of my very lovely and caring friends, all of whom are fabulously understanding about my illness, and catch up about life for an hour and a half. Don’t make me go.
This dramatically oppositional reaction to having to do life things is, in a way, ridiculous to me, because no one IS making me go. Just me. I don’t care about any of these things right now, and I don’t know how to snap out of it and make myself care, but apparently (and this is a theory my therapist is working on) I care so deeply about what people think that I “beat myself up” (her words) when I do something that I think other people won’t like (say, for example, cancelling dinner plans). And this beating myself up part is, obviously, counterproductive. [Note from today: I did cancel the plans, and guess what? My friend wasn’t angry at all. She was entirely understanding and even asked me to let her know if there was anything she could do to help. Why do I spend so much energy worrying about letting people down?]
So apparently, and ironically, I find myself at the junction of apathy and over-caring. At this moment in time (and it is only a moment in time, in the grand scheme of things, thank the Lord) I find all of these activities completely draining and pointless; and yet, if I allow myself the luxury of self-care and take a break for the day, I will spend hours in bed alternately dozing, reading and kicking myself for being so weak as to need to take a break from the everyday social rigamarole that is a typical, everyday life.
I did take a break yesterday, in the interest of self-care. And today, friends, I woke up feeling just fine. I put on clothes that I didn’t sleep in. I made myself a cup of coffee. I plan to work a full day. After that, I’m thinking the grocery store sounds pretty doable.