When the Blackness of Depression Says Tomorrow Won't Be Better
I keep telling myself that tomorrow might be better than today. Maybe tomorrow I will have the energy to do something with my children. Maybe tomorrow my head will be clear enough to make a proper meal, or drive to the shop to get the milk, bread, fruit and vegetables we desperately need. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to sort out one of the piles of clothes and other stuff in the bedroom. Or take the kids to the beach. Or do something I want to do.
But most of the time lately, tomorrow is no better. Quite often (like today), it is worse.
I got out of bed about 6 am. and made a coffee, took my pills and made my youngest his breakfast. And I have been back on the bed since then. Not doing anything, just lying there. I should have some breakfast (lunch?), but what would I have? Feels too hard to decide what to eat, even harder to prepare it. I should see what the children are doing, but that is too hard as well. And if I go near them they may want something from me, and I don’t have anything to give.
Occasionally, throughout the morning, the blackness and despair in my head get so bad they scare me. I struggle off the bed and go into the study where my husband is trying to work. I stand in the doorway looking at him, then realize I don’t know what I need from him. There is nothing he can do. The battle in my head is mine alone. I go back to the bed.
It is 2 p.m., and I can’t understand how it got to that time – the minutes drag, but the day is going so quickly, and I have done nothing.
My thoughts remind me it is school holidays, and my children are just sitting at home doing nothing day after day. My thoughts tell me the kids need to go somewhere, do something. They need me to interact with them, spend time with them. And the guilt washes over me, useless mother that I am, making the blackness even darker.
My thoughts say I am wasting time lying here day after day. I could have been to the shops and gotten what we needed. I could have cleaned the toilet. Or made a loaf of bread. Or done a load of washing. Or played a game of Uno with the children. Or something… anything. Even if it was only 15 minutes of something. But instead I lie around because I can’t make myself move, everything feels too hard, the black fog over my brain is too thick.
I think about the techniques I have been taught over the years to manage my mental health. Maybe I need to break things down into smaller, more achievable goals.
OK, so doing all the dishes is too overwhelming. How about I just go from room to room and make sure all the dirty dishes are on the bench near the sink? Then worry about the next step after that.
Or how about I just get the dry washing off the line as a starting point? I can sort it later.
Or how about I just put some rice on to cook as a start to dinner? I can cut up the other stuff for fried rice later. Just get some rice cooked for now.
Or instead of a shower, how about I just wash my face and comb my hair?
I can break things down to tiny steps, but the heavy blackness in my head means even the smallest thing seems too hard. The black smothers me. The black stops my body moving easily, any movement feels like wading through chest deep water. The black weighs down my thoughts as well. It reminds me of everything I could be doing, should be doing instead of lying here. It keeps the guilt about all the things my children are missing out on while I am lying here swirling through my head. It keeps the guilt and shame I feel about my husband having to do my share of things on top of his own workload going.
I am no stranger to depression. I know this place. I have been here before. Logically, I know things will improve at some point. But at the moment, in the black, I can’t imagine that will ever happen. I hate being like this. I feel trapped by my own uselessness, my inability to move myself from this place.
I need to believe that maybe, somehow, tomorrow will be better. The darkness in my head smothers me, and I am tired of fighting it.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo by stevanovicigor