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Negotiating With the Voice of My Depression in the Morning

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It’s morning, and my alarm just went off for the third time. I don’t remember what time I fell asleep, but I know it was late. Two a.m., maybe? I know I woke up around 4:30 a.m., tossing and turning because I couldn’t get comfortable.

I look at the clock; it’s 8:30. I see my running clothes laid out over the chair, and I roll over. My alarms rings again, this time with an annoying fire alarm sound, and I know it’s time to get up. I reach for my phone and see that it’s now after 9 a.m. Instead of getting out of bed, I unlock my phone and scroll through my email, deleting 30 or so spam and junk emails. Still not ready to face the day, I open Facebook. Somehow another 25 minutes go by. Now it is nearing 9:30, and I know that if I want to accomplish anything today, I have to get out of bed.

I look over to the nightstand and see that my fiancée has brought me a cup of coffee. I notice she used my favorite mug, and I smile. Then the guilt hits me. She has been awake long enough to make breakfast and coffee, and likely she has already ran two miles and is back, ready to face the day. I feel worthless. I have slept in yet again, and I’m on my way to wasting yet another day. I know that if I want to keep the anxiety, guilt and depression away, I have to get up.

I move slowly, throwing the blankets off and then sitting up. My heads pulses with the lack the sleep; my body feels weighed down. I put my feet on the floor using all my strength to stand. As I stumble out into the kitchen, my fiancée is there greeting me with a cheery, “Good morning.” I somehow make it to the couch, coffee in hand. Still arguing with myself about going for my morning run, I brush my teeth and put my contacts in. I head to the bedroom and stand in front of the chair, staring at the leggings and sports bra I laid out in hopes that they would motivate me. To be honest, they have been there for three days, and with each passing morning, they become more a symbol of guilt then of motivation. I know that in order to move out of this depression, I have to do the work. I have to get moving, I have to exercise, and at the very least, I have to get out of bed and get dressed.

With every fiber of my being, and with my brain screaming insults, I begin to get dressed. Maybe I’ll just take a walk, I tell myself. I don’t have to run, or maybe I can just do a short run. I am negotiating with the voice inside my head that tells me I don’t have to try, the voice that tells me I am in fact worthless and no amount of effort will have any effect on this reality. But still I push through.

Suddenly I am lacing my shoes. I don’t remember actually making the decision to run, but here I am, lacing my shoes and grabbing my headphones. Once I am outside, I do feel better. I take a deep breath, roll my ankles a few times and start running. The first few steps are torture, every cell in my body screaming at me. The voice in my head gets louder at first, but as the pavement moves beneath my feet, the voice loses power.

Suddenly it is silent; the sound of my breathing drowns it out. By the time I finish, I have gone further then I planned.

The rest of the day still looms in front of me, and I am anxious about how I will get through it. But the cobwebs are gone, and the voice is quiet for now.

Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: August 21, 2016
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