Depression is like carrying a 100lb weight that no one else can see. Even you can’t see it or rationalize it, but it is there, and it drags you down.
On a bad day with Depression, I awake with the sun after a long night of tossing and turning.
I rub my stinging eyes and groan.
I know I should get up. My body feels heavy and I feel sluggish. Just knowing I should get up doesn’t motivate me at all.
My brain is quick to remind me I no longer have a job. My brain plays a montage of the strong assets I once possessed, my steady decline and current feelings of no use to anyone.
I start to browse my phone. I spare myself from how Facebook portrays the happy lives of people I know. Instead, I choose Instagram. I begin to scroll through the enviable lives of strangers. I wonder why and how they live such glamorous lives.
An hour goes by, and my dog can no longer handle laying in bed. I apologise and let him out back. I make a coffee while I wait for him, and then I forget about it.
I sit on the couch and spend ages chosing something to watch on Netflix.
I remember my coffee, but my body is heavy and I keep it on my mind as a future reward for convincing myself to move.
One show ends, another begins. “Are you still watching?” I grumble and get up to reheat my coffee. Even Netflix thinks I’m lazy.
It’s well in to the afternoon now. I wonder how it got so late. I haven’t accomplished anything.
I look around the house. The dishes are piled up, a combination of clean and dirty laundry strewn around the couch.
I am plagued with guilt.
I feel guilty because I haven’t eat or showered. I feel guilty bevades I managed to get dressed, but sat back down on the couch. I feel guilty because I still haven’t left the house. I feel guilty bevades my partner lives with this. I feel guilty because I am no longer the person I once was. Not even close.
It feels as if I will never find the strength to climb out of this dark space.
I tell the dog we are going for a walk. He follows me around excited and confused while I pace in frantic circles. I can never just leave the house…
Where are my keys? Where is my phone? Where is my black sweater? No, the other black sweater…
The dog becomes frustrated and brings me his leash and collar to speed things up.
On the way to the park, I am both irritated and endeared by his unwavering zest for life.
The sun is shining brightly. I have to squint. It hurts my eyes. The air is warm, the breeze is crisp. I stare off for a bit.
I come to as a stick drops at my feet. I look at him and see an excitement I can’t ignore.
I throw the stick, and begin to walk slowly. I smile as I watch him run, jump and dive happily. Beaming with pride each time he races back. Each time more excited than the last.
I take time to enjoy the scenery. It’s so nice to see the sun after a long, cold winter.
Before long I am smiling and laughing. Our quick walk in the park turns into an hour and a half.
I feel lighter, warmer and brighter as we approach home.
In this moment I realize that even in the worst of times, there is something to be grateful for.
There is always a reason to smile, and comfort can be found in the simplest of places. As difficult as it may seem, you just have to look outside of yourself.
If you are struggling with mental illness, please, please, seek help. If you are uncomfortable reach out to a friend or family member. Talk to someone about how you are feeling. There is hope, you can do this, I believe in you.