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22 Things From My Everyday Routine That 'Go Out the Window' When I'm Depressed

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When you live with depression, sometimes even the smallest of tasks can feel hard to conquer. Your typical routine may become challenging, and you may start losing motivation to get out of bed, shower, eat or be social. If depression affects your day-to-day schedule like this, you don’t have to feel ashamed or alone. Try to be kind to yourself in these moments because you are doing the best you can.

Online, it’s easy to think everyone has it “all together,” but behind social media, that’s rarely the case. To make this more visible, we asked members of The Mighty’s mental health community to weigh in on what aspects of their everyday routine “go out the window” when they’re feeling depressed. We hope this brings you some comfort and acts as a reminder that taking time off to handle your condition does not make you lazy.

Here’s what our community had to say:

1. “Eating right. When I’m really depressed, I get so tearful and anxious that I hardly eat… I don’t know, it’s like my appetite’s nonexistent. I’d rather just stay in bed and cry it all out. Not encouraging the readers to do the same, though! We need to practice self-care when in the midst of an episode. We should still take care of ourselves no matter what.” — Noelle M. 

2. “Running errands. I don’t have any motivation at all for getting stuff done like doctor appointments, therapy, shopping, studying or homework.” — Alejandra C. 

3. “I just sleep. I don’t have the want or energy to shower, brush my teeth [or] cook… It takes me hours just to take the dogs out on a short walk. I even put off going to the toilet because I just don’t want to even move — I just want to lose myself in my dreams and not wake up to the mundane routine I have to try and follow daily.” — Rachel W. 

4. “I usually am up to checking my phone when I wake up, but if I’m in an episode, I tend to ignore my whole social media [and] phone.” — Orlene J. 

5. “Thinking. Being able to answer questions or make decisions. Even simple things like, ‘Are you hungry?’ I don’t know the answer to. My memory goes too. It’s like I live in a fog, and I can’t reach outside it.” — Kahla D.

6. “Socializing with people. I’d rather be on my own in a silent room than have to make the effort to talk to people. Personal hygiene. Pretty much anything that requires motivation to get up and do it. Fixating on the TV or something so I don’t have to think about things or make decisions is easier when in that frame of mind.” — Caitlin W.

7. “Talking to my friends. When I have a depressive episode, I don’t call or text anyone, even the people I would normally be in contact with daily. If someone asks to hang out, I’ll come up with an excuse not to. If someone tries to text or message me, I just won’t respond. I basically disappear for weeks at a time. It’s not that I’m trying to be a bad friend, it’s just that depression is exhausting and I don’t have the energy to talk to anyone.” — Emily H.

8. “For me, whatever I have planned for the day goes out the window. Whether it be work, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, general errands. None of it gets done.” — Ginger C.

9. “It might not seem like much, but shoes. When my depression hits me hard, I can’t even get myself to tie my shoes. I end up wearing flats or flip flops. Along with that, I put on whatever is easiest like a dress. It makes me look put together, but honestly, I just threw on whatever was easiest and took the least amount of effort.” — Joleen R.

10. “Cooking for my family… cooking has always been a source of relaxation for me and I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it as well. But when my depression kicks in… which lately, it has often, I’ve had little motivation to do anything, especially cook. When that happens, I feel even more depressed as I feel as if I’ve let my family down. I do everything I can to support my family, but it’s impossible to do when I can’t even support myself.” — Nelson T.

11. “Ensuring the comfort, peace and happiness of my spouse. I hate being or feeling selfish, but when I get lost in my own head, there’s no getting out of it for a few days. I’m glad he understands, but I know how much of a toll it takes on him most of the time. He does so much better when he knows I’m in a good place in my mind… Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often.” — Raven C.

12. “Brushing my hair. I only need to wash it once a week (thanks dry scalp and color preservation), but during a low, I won’t brush it once in that week. It becomes a tangled mop on the back of my head. At worst, I have had to cut the hair elastic out of it.” — Caro H.

13. “Waking up with time to do morning yoga [or go on a] short run. I’ve been active all my life and that is usually the first thing that goes out the window for me. That and putting simple things away like the DVDs and books.” — Cait L. 

14. “Talking. I don’t talk unless it’s to keep up the appearance of being OK for those who either don’t know about my depression or don’t need to know.” — Codi W. 

15. “I usually love to sing and listen to music. When I’m depressed, I don’t want to listen to anything but silence. I lose the song in my soul.” — Paige W. 

16. “My social life. I shut everything out and push all the people I love away. It’s probably the most painful thing to watch myself do and not be able to stop it.” — Savannah A.

17. “I wear same PJs for days on end. I don’t change my clothes at all if I can help it.” — Madison A.

18. “Taking my meds. Completely counterintuitive, but something just makes taking them seem like climbing a mountain.” — Shell B.

19. “Using time wisely. Sometimes I’ll spend three hours in bed awake just on my phone instead of getting up and being productive” —Simi W. 

20. “Leaving the house is not an option. It’s too daunting to think about doing anything. Any household tasks get put off. Personal hygiene is usually put off until later in the day as a last-ditch effort to help myself feel better. I usually avoid talking to anyone all day too because I don’t have the energy to hold a conversation.” — Cari R.  

21. “Pretty much everything. All I want to do is stay in bed, sleep as much as possible and drown my thoughts in television if I can’t possibly sleep more. I get discouraged easily if things do go quite right (spill milk, burn dinner). I have no extra willpower to push myself through a day. It’s taking everything just to attempt the day. Personal hygiene gets bumped down the list, eating gets bumped down the list, house chores go down the list. I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone for fear of saying something I don’t mean or being mean because I feel so bad myself.” — Rachel O. 

22. “Let’s be real. In a serious depressive episode, everything ‘goes out the window.’” — Michael V.

What would you add?

Originally published: June 1, 2017
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