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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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.

Before She Found Herself

Sometime before she fully reached adulthood, she traded in her Dr. Pepper for a whiskey and Coke and sweet tea for a shot of whatever was being offered. She was lost in a whirlwind of emotions and the alcohol made her feel numb- a pleasant state of laughter and what she thought was happiness. The happiness later turned into numerous one night stands (well, sometimes she would go back to the same person), drunk driving, and breakdowns in bathrooms where she vomited and cried by the bathtub of a stranger. None of her questions about life were answered the way she wanted, so she drank more and more until she eventually did not know who she was. She went through the motions, either drunk, hungover, or trying to get through work until she could start the cycle all over again. The panic attacks were getting worse and more frequent, and she could say the same about her depression. The alcohol numbed these and the numerous boys made her feel wanted and beautiful. She felt whole. The problem was that when she woke at 4:36am, she was naked, dehydrated, had a migraine, and was next to someone that did not care about her deeper than what he saw- anxiety and negative emotions flooded her as she gathered her things, got in her car still a little drunk, and drove away.

It isn’t getting easier.
The tears don’t drown the pain.
Praying, wishing, begging, and pleading doesn’t make any of this go away.

I look in your eyes and the person that raised me isn’t there anymore; you sit with your hollow stare, only God knows what is happening in your deteriorating mind. Although you are here, I feel as though I have lost my father. A fear I’ve known as long as I can remember is happening, slowly, each and every day. Suddenly, you aren’t just gone. It’s gradual. Losing you is a clock; the more you stare and think about the time, the slower it goes. My days drag on in constant worry that something is about to happen; something that I’m not in any way prepared for.

My once strong, smart, business-oriented father can no longer do any of the things that made him the happiest. He’s a victim of the world around him; simple tasks are impossible, forming sentences in conversation requires excessive thought, and even bathing is a two hour task that requires help. My hero, my father, is falling apart. I am falling apart. My mother is falling apart. There’s nothing we can do to stop what is happening. My dad is loved, comfortable, and cared for as much as he can be. I don’t know what goes on in his mind, but I at least hope he’s happy. I hope he knows that he means the world to me and that he always will.

I am not prepared for this journey. I am lost and scared and confused.

God bless my father.