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The 3 Artifacts Displayed in the ‘Museum’ to My Depression

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This collection is a museum of sorts to my depression. It contains three artifacts from around mid-2017, which I recently found while cleaning my bedroom. All of them, in some way, relate to my experience with depression. From left to right: a sticky note, a piece of notepad paper and an uncashed check.

The first item, the sticky note, used to go next to my alarm clock. As is common with depression, I struggle with going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning. I’ve had poor handwriting since I was very young. Transcribed, it reads:

Do not touch alarm
Throw off sheets
and pillows!
No going back to
bed! No exceptions.

I frequently used to fall asleep long after midnight, and wake up well into the afternoon. Sometimes, I still do. Six months ago, I dropped out of college, what I thought would be my dream and career, because I couldn’t wake up for class. One day, I even woke up at midnight.

photo of three pieces of paper from article - a post-it note, a scrap of paper and a cheque

The second piece, the notepad paper, was left in my room by a family friend, who at the time was staying at the house to watch the family pets and me. In addition to not yet being 18, I struggled to get out of bed and so couldn’t be relied upon to feed the animals. Transcribed:

Brandon —
I fed the dogs & cats this
morning FYI.
Have a great first day in the
new world of independence!

The note was meant to be uplifting and celebratory. My parents had to leave for a trip late at night, but made sure to be at my high school graduation ceremony. The next morning, the family friend left this note to congratulate me on my “first day” out of high school. At the time, however, I was extremely depressed, as my parents had recently informed me I would be deferred from college for a year due to my aforementioned sleep difficulties. I had spent the past year attempting to fix my sleep schedule for this purpose; it wasn’t enough. I felt as though my life was being pushed back a year — like I was losing a year of my life in advance. This was around a year before I actually started college and a year and a half before I dropped out. I had kept the note because of how sad its irony made me feel. It was a well-intended welcoming into adulthood. I didn’t see it until probably around 6 p.m. I had begun my “new world” by wasting the first day of my fresh start.

The last exhibit, the uncashed check, comes from the summer after I graduated high school. In order to occasionally get me out of the house, my dad gave me some work to do for his company. I eventually invoiced my work for a total of $135. At a rate of $10 an hour, this piece of paper, now old and expired, represents about 13 and a half hours of my time. I never turned in the check because I didn’t even have the motivation to go the short distance to the bank. Ultimately, I simply didn’t feel life was worth it, had nowhere I wanted to go and there was nothing I felt like buying. So, I never even bothered to do anything with the check for close to two years. That was until now, though this is admittedly not at all its intended purpose.

Thank you for visiting my museum. Please exit through the gift shop.

Originally published: August 5, 2019
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