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'Hi, It’s Me Again': When Depression Keeps Calling

I wake up later than I mean to, but somehow by 8 a.m. I’ve dragged myself out of the house for a run. Over three miles later, I’m back at my front door, drenched in sweat and feeling good about the day. I head upstairs, grab a bowl of cereal, whip my hair into a bun, throw on makeup, grab my yoga mat and head to the gym.

Do a yoga class, feel good, go home.

Finally clean those shoes caked in mud from the hike I did two months ago. Get some things at Target and Barnes and Noble.

Open email.

Realize there’s been a slight miscommunication with someone.

And then comes the message from the voice in my head.

Hi, it’s me (Depression). Sorry I left you for a bit. It was difficult to reach you through all those endorphins and to-do lists! But now that I’ve caught you, I really must inform you that it is so irresponsible of you to have not checked your email in the last 24 hours. How could you do such a thing? You know that person probably hates you now. Those plans you had? You should probably just give up on them. They aren’t going to happen. By the way, why did you bother going to the gym today? You look the same and always will. 

Hey, have you checked Instagram lately? You probably should. There are some really pretty girls on there. But you’ll never look like them, so…maybe you should just take a nap? It’s probably better that way. You really stand no chance of getting everything done that you want to, and since you’re going to fail anyway…

Hey, want to meet my best friend? Her name’s Anxiety. She can help you remember not only the people you let down this weekend, but all the people you’ve ever let down in your entire life! Like that one time four years ago in 12th grade…

Oh look, it’s hailing. Dreary weather to go with a dreary mind! You could read that book, but it’s really lazy of you to just sit around and not do anything. Remember how you wanted to go on a hike today? Too bad you can’t. Not that it would have made a difference, but…

Yet somehow I shake myself back to reality. And I try to get a grip amidst the panic prevailing inside of me. So I make a list of appointments I need to schedule and call the numbers. Write them in my planner. Feel good about being organized. Decide to pull out that new teacher planner I bought for next school year. Start numbering the months. Get to June. Realize I’ve numbered the last six months based off of 2016 rather than 2017…

Hi, it’s me again (Depression). Sorry we lost the connection for a bit. You were almost getting productive there! But don’t worry. You weren’t really. Now you’ve messed up that nice planner you bought for yourself. That’s a shame. And a waste of money. Oh well! Could you really expect anything different from yourself? You always mess things up… 

Hey, check your phone! Oh, those plans fell through? Hmm. That’s a shame. But really, who’d want to spend time with you? My suggestion is that you stay right here in your room and let me tell you all the ways you’ve failed and let everyone in your life down! We can also go through all those dreams and ambitions you have and discuss why they’ll never happen. Then we can invite my BFF Anxiety over to the party to play the fun game of “What if?” where we can go through all of the things you should not have said or done and the things you should have said or done. It’s a personal favorite of ours. Hey, get out your phone again. Let’s get on social media. 

But instead, I open my camera app. And I see the pictures I took from the last week of school. I see my students mobbing me for a big group hug after field day, soaking wet from running in the sprinklers.

I look at their little faces covered in blue frosting from the cupcakes they ate as a birthday treat.

I watch them “whip” and “nae nae” on the last day of school in the dance festival.

And I realize the voices in my head just need to shut up.

And the only way to make that happen is to keep on keeping on. So I drag myself out of my room and try again.

And maybe the next time I hear, Hi, it’s me (Depression)…

I’ll get a little bit quicker at cutting off the conversation.

Image via Thinkstock Images

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