The Guilt of Being Depressed on a Summer Day

It’s summer and the sun is shining brightly — there is not a cloud in the sky. I live five to 10 minutes from some of the most gorgeous scenic lakes in the area. I have my kayak ready to go… and I can’t get off the couch.

I draw the blinds, pretend it’s raining outside, pull the covers over my head and fall back asleep. I wake up with the weight of enormous guilt — I have wasted a perfectly beautiful day.

But when you struggle with depression, you sometimes need these days to recharge your batteries. I remind myself of this, but it usually doesn’t lessen the guilt, or the nagging feeling I am just plain lazy. But logically, I know this isn’t the case. For me, there was a time I didn’t live with depression, and these days of sleep did not need to exist for me to function. I know it is not my fault. But that doesn’t change the fact that summer is slipping away and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to enjoy it.

To my credit, I do a lot during the week. I work full-time. I am on the road a lot. I push myself sometimes past my limits. And if you have depression and can’t do these things, I would never, ever judge. I only judge myself, as many of us do all too incessantly.

This past week for example, I responded “yes” on Wednesday to a tennis meet up that took place on Saturday. I was so excited for this meet up during the week. I looked forward to it — I looked forward to grabbing a new grip for my racquet and fresh tennis balls from the sporting goods store. I would do that Saturday morning I told myself, then go straight to the meet up. But when I woke up on Saturday still exhausted from the week, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. So I stayed in, rested and later felt the abject guilt.

I have a great support system around me that I know understands my need to, well, do nothing on some days. They would never judge, I just need to learn to do that for myself.

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Thinkstock photo via alexandralarina.

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