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When You Need to Be Productive but Depression Makes It Feel Impossible


Here I go again.

It’s another beautiful, sunny spring day in the 70s and I’ve locked myself inside. What’s even better? I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed until 2 p.m. When I finally did manage to pull myself up and get moving, the sheer physical force it had taken made me feel so void of energy that I didn’t make it past the couch.

I let my dogs out to pee, filled their water bowl, and poured myself a black coffee — but that’s all I could do. I need to clean my house in anticipation of my parents’ visit tomorrow. I need to do the dishes. I need to take a shower. But I can’t. Am I lazy? Some might say so. Undisciplined? I’ve heard that one before, too, but the reality of the situation is the people who say those things to me don’t get it. I want to explain it to them the best I can, for I want no one else to experience what I experience on a daily basis.

I’ve struggled with a potentially lethal cocktail of anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I am medicated, but it only serves to keep me functioning on a surface level. It keeps me able to go to work and do my job; to halfway maintain relationships. Sometimes, though, the demons are front and center. They usually come out when I have 10 minutes to sit and think. I think about everything — what I ate for lunch yesterday and how it may impact the rest of my life moving forward. I think about going to sleep tonight and how I hope I can actually fall asleep and not lie there awake and then suddenly my mind is wandering off to a million different places at 500 mph.

I find myself thinking about war and our political climate and the awful things humans are doing and saying to one another.

I think about all of the things I have to do at work tomorrow instead of just enjoying my day off.

I think about everyone I think hates me and what I can do to make them like me more.

I think about all of this and then some for hours upon hours until finally, my body tells me no more. It shuts down and I can’t move; can’t do anything productive because my energy and drive are zapped.

I want to blast music and put on my scrubbing gloves and get to work. I know my house needs it and I know today is the only day I can do it. I know it will make me feel better, but I absolutely cannot force myself. My body screams. My demons scream. The logical side of my brain is shut down by the exhausted side that only serves to spread more exhaustion.

Maybe in an hour, I’ll feel better. Maybe then I can do it. Here’s hoping.

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Thinkstock photo via vladans