Why You Shouldn't Be Jealous When Depression Makes Me Do Nothing All Day
My dad is enjoying his retirement: he golfs as much as he can, enjoys early weekday mornings on the patio with his cup of coffee and crossword puzzle, and no longer has to carry a second cell phone to field work calls at the most inconvenient of times. He spent 30 years of his life working towards his pension so he can sit down, do nothing and feel good about it because he deserves to.
Most days, I find myself bringing my computer out to the living room to join him while he channels surfs and, depending on the time of day, complains there is nothing on television. “Yep,” I say, as I continue on my third, fourth, or sometimes sixth hour of “World of Warcraft” that day. Occasionally, he might look over at me and mention how great it is he doesn’t have to worry about work emergencies anymore and he can just relax and do what he wants to do. It makes me feel a little guilty because when he says this, chances are I’ve been wearing the same clothes for two days straight and haven’t showered in five. I probably haven’t brushed my teeth or eaten anything in that time, either.
While we share the same lack of urgency, he is happy and I could not be less so. I have long lost track of the times my parents have walked into a room to see me in a bathrobe watching television and playing video games at noon, or sprawled on my bed staring at the wall. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are the best; however, there is something about being a dead weight around loving and supportive people that makes you feel burdensome and even worse about yourself. If shame and self-pity were enough to cure my depression, all I would have to do is sleep until my mom wakes me up to tell me I forgot to take the garbage out, or that I’ve spent all day in bed staring at my phone.
These are the days I have to fight to do anything and everything, yet my mind races with anxious and self-defeating ideas. I would love to be able to get up and clean a room to distract myself, but being that my life is a perpetual catch-22 and I can’t make myself leave my bed or the couch, sedating my thoughts with video games and “South Park” reruns becomes the most easily obtainable goal. Normally I would drink, but my antidepressants now prevent me from doing so, even though I still find myself in these debilitating depressive states. Instead, I sit here, after weeks of telling myself I would start writing, tired of being tired.
I tell people I did nothing all day and I’m met with either a jealous, “Good for you!” or a look that says, “What a useless failure.” More often than not I feel like the latter, but I want to get out of bed. I want to shower and start my day. I want to eat something and be healthy, but sometimes it all just feels impossible. I am not enjoying a carefree vacation; I feel trapped in my own head and unable to control my own life. If you see me in bed numbing my thoughts with mindless nothing to avoid the bottle, I’m not happy about it. I’m trying to get up, and I will soon.
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Getty Images photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz