3 Accomplishments in the Morning for Someone With Depression
She wakes up with me every morning.
As I force my aching body up, slowly removing one leg at a time from beneath the sheets, she playfully pulls me back down under the covers. Her embrace is magnetic, and no matter how much I want to, I can’t break free. I let her win this battle and decide to lay awake with her for a little longer.
“I’d rather stay in bed,” she whispers to me, “than face the day anyway.”
I nod in agreement.
Forty-five minutes pass and nothing has changed. That’s it, I mutter. I need to get up before it is too late to get ready, then too late to go to class and then too late to take on this new day like the courageous and confident woman I am. She chuckles at my own little moment of self-worth and heroism. As if I were actually doing something that made a huge impact on the world. As if I were important enough. As if.
Regardless, I still need to get up.
Accomplishment #1: Getting out of bed.
I mosey on towards the bathroom, turn on the sink and watch as the water trickles down my hand. The overhead light begins to flicker in the room, bouncing back and forth like a seesaw. I am reminded, only for a fleeting moment, of my childhood. Smiling, I reminisce for a while. All I can see is a giant blurb of memories I seemed to have successfully stuffed away in storage, only opening the boxes when an undoubtedly insignificant event causes me to, like the light flickering in my bathroom.
“Do you not like to look at yourself in the mirror?” she asks.
Suddenly, I am brought back to reality. I am 18, not 8, despite my wishes otherwise.
“What?” I ask, puzzled and slightly annoyed.
“Well, I noticed that you haven’t looked in the mirror at all this morning. Why is that?” she asks again.
That’s a strange question to ask someone. Only she would notice something so petty like that. It’s none of her damn business really…the truth is, I haven’t liked looking at myself in the mirror for as long as I can remember, but I’m not going to tell her that.
I glance to her again, shrug my shoulders and reply, “I don’t know.”
She paused, and for a while there was silence. She doesn’t like it when I don’t answer her the way she wants me to. She often times loses her temper with me.
“Look at yourself,” she says to me. Her long fingers make their way to my chin. I resist the pressure of her hand. I refuse to look in. I don’t want to. She begins to squeeze my flushed face. “Look,” she says again, a bit more irritated this time.
I still refuse.
She always overreacts…
I feel her fingernails begin to bury themselves deep into my skin. Anger radiates from her core. Her lips touching my ear now, she utters to me, “If you don’t look at yourself in this mirror I’m going to bash your head into it, do you hear me?”
Yes, I hear her. I hear this rant every day.
Unwillingly, I accept her command.
Accomplishment #2: Looking at myself in the mirror
I peer into the mirror at my own reflection, staring at nothing but my groggy eyes. Tears bubble up and for the first time I notice how vibrant the hue of my eyes become when I cry. I like it. I like the look of them.
“Now do it,” she demands. I look to her in dismay. “Cut.”
My eyes grow wide and suddenly my lungs forget how to breathe. I muster up what strength and courage I have left to shake my head “no.” I can’t cut myself again.
But at the same time, what I feel afterwards is indescribable. How is what I do to my body harmful if I feel better after the action is complete?
“Cut. Scratch. Slice. Pinch. Do anything to your damn skin because you deserve it.”
Because you deserve it.
Her words alone cut me like my razors.
Despite my familiar weakness and vulnerability in this moment, I do not cut. I don’t want to cut anymore. Why can’t she understand that?
Accomplishment #3: Not self-harming today
This was my morning routine for four years, and for the first time, by writing this story, I stood up to her.
I stood up to my depression.
I acknowledged her, not as a person this time, but as my abusive illness. What I have learned in the recent months is that I am grateful to have felt such sadness and pain; it is the only real way to recognize true happiness and love. I recognize now the many people that love and care for me.
If you are battling with a mental illness like depression, my advice to you would be to…
Keep going and keep fighting hard.
Your struggle may last for weeks, months or even years, but if you continue to fight, eventually you too will find the courage to stand up to your mental illness like I did.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The Mighty is asking the following: For someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have your mental illness, describe what it’s like to be in your head for a day. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.