You know the feeling? When just the thought of something is already exhausting, and even though the task may be simple, nothing will ever be harder than getting up out of bed and doing whatever it is. Perhaps you lie there, picturing yourself going through the motions. Even in your mind’s eye the task is tiring. Your eyes open, and you are still in bed.
You peer at your cell phone screen, wondering if anything has changed in the last five minutes aside from the time on the display. You scroll through the menu, maybe making a pattern with your selection cursor. Left, right, up, down. Out bottom left, enter top right. Out top, enter bottom. Slide right, slide left.
You look across the room. The wall stares at you blankly. Taunting you with its surety. It’s solidity. It oppresses you in it’s immovability.
Finally, you swing your legs out of the bed and sit quietly, your feet resting on the floor. You study the patterns on the rug, finding faces and shapes, monsters and fantastical creatures of every kind. An hour passes. You feel hunger in your stomach, but somehow it doesn’t stimulate the desire to eat. The floor looks rather comfortable. The rug seems soft and inviting. A haven from having to walk to the next room.
So you lie down on the rug. Just for a moment… and then I’ll get up… then I’ll get up…
How do you move forward from this space? How do you find the strength to do those simple tasks everyone else seems to find so easy? Showering, making food, washing clothes. An honest answer is there is no easy solution.
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Perhaps the first thing to do when you find yourself in this state is acknowledge it for what it is. Depression.
Taking this step is important because it helps you realise it is not your fault. You aren’t lazy; you are depressed.
Many times I’ve chastised myself for not being good enough. For not being able to confront going to the bank or doing simple tasks around the house. I remember a time when my room was a complete mess: you couldn’t see the floor for the clothes and books and who knows what else. I would get home and think, I’ll tidy this later, and then just leave it.
One day after watching a University Orchestra play at a local theatre, one of the violinists, Courtney, gave me a lift home. She was beautiful, charming, and delightful to talk to. Confident in herself and gentle in conversation. We chatted as we drove, and when it came time for me to get out she looked at me and said, “You’re a good guy. That’s rare to find these days.”
I admit my heart fluttered a little. I thanked her for the lift and walked away.
As I sat down in my room that night, I looked around and the mess strewn around me. Her words stayed with me, “You’re a good guy… A good guy.”
And then I cried. Because I knew I was worth more than this mess around me.
It wasn’t my fault that I suffered from depression, but I had this sense of an inner dignity which deserved better than what I was giving myself. I’ll always be thankful for Courtney’s words that night. My room was clean the next day.
I tell this story because sometimes self-care involves more than just yourself.
Sometimes self-care means admitting you need help. And when you are in the depths of depression and nothing seems easy, just calling a friend is already an achievement.
The inverse truth of these situations is that when you feel so absolutely worn out and worthless and every task seems a mountain, it is in precisely these situations when you are strongest. Why? Because you keep going. Because when every little chore is an act of sheer willpower, you are surviving.
You are fighting. And for that, you can be proud.
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