Living with depression: When you want to do things, but just can’t

It’s going on 7pm – I just got out of bed to feed my cats that had been meowing incessantly and pawing at me for about 2 hours. (The one thing I actually don’t neglect due to depression is my cats, so don’t worry. They eat at the same time every day. They’re just annoying and probably thought I was dead.) As I was lying in bed, I was googling things like “I want to be productive but I can’t” because I had the hope (for the millionth time) that maybe, just maybe, someone out there felt like this as much as I do, found a solution, and wrote about it. Not only did my results come up empty, I found that there are close to no personal accounts from people who feel this way. I don’t have a solution, not even close – but maybe my personal accounts can at least offer comfort to someone else in knowing that they aren’t alone. Maybe, together, some of us can find solutions that work for us.

My stomach has been my enemy all weekend (which sucks even more because I was out of town celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday with his family), so a kind coworker covered my shift for today. I slept late, made an iced latte, and curled up on the couch to catch up on The Bold Type. I told myself that after the episode, my coffee would be kicked in and I would spend the day doing cleaning and laundry. The episode ended, but I was comfy, so I thought I’d play Candy Crush for a couple minutes; well, I ended up getting unlimited lives, so you just can’t stop playing and waste that, right? An hour later, I decided to finally get up and eat some cereal, so I sat back down on the couch with my Honey Bunches of Oats and American Pickers was on. It was a cool episode, so I continued sitting there to watch it. Then, I decided that I was tired and so I went back to bed, played on my phone, and napped. I got up and was contemplating which chore to focus on first, but ended up so overwhelmed at everything that needed to be done that I ended up back in the bed. This is when I was trying to find something online that at least made me feel a little better. To no avail, I ended up looking at school supplies, oxfords, and I believe in Bigfoot t-shirts on Amazon. Since I’m broke and can’t afford anything that I added to my wish list, I thought I’d just go back to sleep. Why bother doing anything? I’m depressed, everything is stupid, and the house will just get dirty again anyway. Tomorrow will be better. Fast forward to my cats telling me that they are literally starving to death – I feed them, make an iced matcha latte, grab my laptop, and go sit outside.

So if by some off chance that you’re still reading, maybe you’ve had many similar days. Maybe you’ve also googled different phrases to no avail. Maybe you’re sick of seeing titles like “When You Want to be Productive, But Lack Motivation,” “How to Conquer Depression” or “10 Tips and Tricks to Overcome Laziness and Get Motivated.” Maybe you also want scream I HAVE MOTIVATION, BUT IT ISN’T ENOUGH!  I’M NOT LAZY, BUT I AM DEPRESSED AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE MYSELF DO THINGS!  DOES NO ONE ELSE FEEL THIS WAY?  “JUST DO IT” ISN’T HELPFUL ADVICE!

Maybe I’ll try to make writing this a more regular thing.

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Perhaps your love will make me forget all that I do not wish to remember –

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Perhaps your love will – 

free me from myself

make me feel beautiful

take away some of life’s stress

show me happiness

encourage me to be the best version of myself

support me when no one else does

listen when no one else will

be the rock to keep me stable

hold me up when I am falling down

support my addiction to iced coffee

make our house feel like home

be patient with my mental illness

always listen to my political rants

(try to) understand my radical viewpoints

help me with homework that I don’t understand

care for me when I am sick

hold me accountable

make me feel worthy

make me feel strong

Perhaps your love will always make sure that I feel appreciated, adored, & loved.

A Caramel Latté Downtown

She sat by herself at the familiar coffee shop downtown, gazing out the window, sipping an iced caramel latte. Her favorite part was the drizzle of caramel that swirled over the top. The sun occasionally peaked through the clouds and made it’s way to her tattooed skin. Her dark, wavy hair, with tints of red, glistened in the light. She had an array of sticker-filled Apple products she couldn’t really afford spilled out on the table in front of her and a to-do list a mile long; but she couldn’t steal her gaze from the world outside. Nothing in particularly interesting was happening, but she found herself wondering about the passerby. Where were they going? Were they happy? Do you think they struggle with mental illness too? Are they stressed, worried, or anxious? Are they in love? Are they a genuine, kind person? A young lady passing by with a well-loved and curious mutt made her shyly smile. She sighed, thought of all the things that needed to be done, and checked her phone to see how much of the day had escaped her. 3:26pm. A text on the screen read, “I love you and hope you’re having a good day. What are you doing?” She was doing a million things and also nothing. She was restless and wanted to go. She didn’t know where she was going, but she was bound and determined to get there.

Before I die I want to..

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     (in no specific order)

  1. Earn my Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees, then maybe a doctorate
  2. Rescue many more animals
  3. Adopt a child (maybe 2)
  4. Travel
  5. Start a nonprofit
  6. Fix America’s healthcare system (or at least start)
  7. Reform America’s for-profit prison system
  8. Advocate for decriminalizing drug use/possession
  9. Advocate to release all non-violent drug offenders from prison
  10. Advocate, advocate, advocate!
  11. Build my dream home
  12. Improve education
  13. Publish a book
  14. See my art in a museum
  15. Have my photography published in a magazine
  16. Finish getting all of the tattoos I want
  17. Have bright colored hair
  18. Meet Bernie Sanders and thank him
  19. Learn sign language
  20. Read all the books I own
  21. Own a business with my life partner, Tanner
  22. Learn yoga
  23. Learn a foreign language
  24. Scuba dive
  25. Wear a black wedding dress
  26. Meet with a psychic
  27. Have a garden
  28. Learn to love myself
  29. Advocate for the use of all renewable energy sources
  30. Make wine
  31. Visit the Murder House from AHS (it’s an Airbnb, ya know)
  32. Figure out my religious beliefs
  33. End racism
  34. Be a barista
  35. Make the world a better place

I could go on and on with this list until I actually die. This will be interesting to look at in years to come.

What do you hope to accomplish?

It’s been a while.

I haven’t felt the need to write lately, mainly because I feel like no one cares what I have to say. But tonight, I have that heavy, anxious feeling in my chest as if words are slowly filling up my veins, and if I don’t let them bleed out, then I will undoubtedly explode.

There are so many topics, sentences, and questions flowing through me – how do I pick out what to write down? After months upon months of nothing, why is this happening now? Words often flow through easier through my veins when I am in a state of depression, so my mental stability comes into question. I know I have been feeling more down and emotional lately, but surely my body realizes that I don’t have time to fall into a state of depression. Right?

Time has made a habit out of making the loss of a loved one easier. Time, this time, has failed me. It has been two years, three months, and six days since I lost my father. The longer he’s gone, the more of my life he’s missing, and the more it hurts like no pain I have ever experienced before. I can feel the emptiness swell through my body like a disease that eats every ounce of energy and happiness that I have left. Mannequins enjoy life more than I do sometimes.

I earned my Associate’s Degree (although useless, it’s still somewhat of an accomplishment), graduated with honors, on the Dean’s List, and a member of two National Honor Societies. You weren’t there, and honestly, I didn’t really want to be there either. I transferred to the university that I swore I’d never go to. I got into the Social Work program, and I’m a member of a couple of organizations. But I haven’t been able to tell you that. You haven’t been able to tell me that you’re proud and that you love me.

That’s what hurts so deeply, Dad. My life is moving forward without you in it. Some days, I want to just stand still. I want to quit, go back to bed, and never wake up. I want to be where ever you are. You are supposed to be here, at least until I’m done with school and get married. No twenty-four year old should have to lose their father. I’ve thought I was an adult since I was a teenager, but losing you was a harsh slap in the face. I still need my daddy, so come back. Come back and guide me, love me, and show me all of the things that I still need to know.

I live in two different realities:

  1. Depression, anxiety, sadness, irritability, anger, swollen eyes, exhaustion, migraines, aches, and pains. Nothing is worse than the sound of my alarm. I dread the thoughts of simply existing. I lack motivation. What is the point in all of this? Why do I stretch myself so thin all of the time? Why do I try so hard and care so much? We are all going to die anyway.
  2. My passions overwhelm me and I have too many things I want to get done. I am ready to start my day with a shower and an iced latte. The weather is beautiful and I want to sit outside, feel the sunshine, and listen to the birds sing. I feel my depression awakening, but I’m able to put her back to sleep. I put my anxiety back to bed as well. I’m able to overcome my negative emotions and everything is okay. I am going to change the world for the better.

To those who don’t struggle with mental illness, I may seem like a manic mess. To those who can relate, they know that this is a normal part of life. To outsiders unaware of my internal struggle, they would never assume anything was wrong. I seem like a ‘normal’ person. Some days, I even feel sort of normal.

My veins no longer feel like they are going to explode from the accumulation of unsaid words. Self-care is important, necessary even. Writing is self-care for me. I am still learning to love and respect myself.

Time. Everything takes time.