This past month has involved a lot of sitting. And a lot of sleeping. And a lot of not engaging with the world in general.
It has been a less than fun time, because I feel like I’m being eaten alive by depression.
Things have begun to lighten somewhat in the last week or so. I have somehow managed to get off my ass and do something every once in a while.
Doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.
I often find it difficult to get my butt in gear. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) it feels so much easier to stay on the couch and let Netflix play the next episode (and the next and the next). Then at the end of it, I feel like a zombie, and I kick myself for not getting anything productive done. So, to squash that guilty feeling of hiding from the world through television, I either watch more TV, delve into a book, or go to sleep. (Obviously, I have nothing against reading, except when it is being used as a means to hide from life instead of get more from it.)
About a month ago, we implemented a new system in our house that has made life a lot easier: Sundays, we prepare for the week ahead by doing some deep cleaning (kitchen and bathroom), laundry, and meal planning for the week, as well as a little bit of relationship housecleaning where we discuss our past week, what we have coming down the line over the next week, and the state of our finances. I cannot even explain to you how much this has changed the dynamic of our home.
Suddenly, the bathroom takes 15 minutes to clean instead of an hour (don’t even ask how often we used to clean it). Suddenly, we have clean clothes when we need them. Suddenly, we are communicating better and feeling closer to one another. Suddenly, when we sit down on the couch to watch an hour or two of television, it doesn’t feel like something guilty that we have to sneak, in case all the other tasks we should be accomplishing happen to see us.
On those days, I feel better than on most other days, because doing something is better than doing nothing.
I try to remind myself of this when I am drowning in depression. Sometimes it works. More often, it doesn’t. But on those days when I say to myself, “Hey, self, you’ll feel so much better if you get up and do something” and then I actually manage to get up and do something, it is like a tiny miracle.
And maybe, if I keep telling myself that, the balance will tip, and more often than not, I will do something.
For now, I will be gentle with myself and remember that the nature of the beast that is depression means that doing things is hard. And it doesn’t make me a gross failure to not be able to do anything, or to only be able to do the tiniest of things. And to forgive myself, and try again. And again and again, as many times as necessary, because that is what life is. Trying and trying and trying until something sticks.