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Depression Doesn't Care About Your To-Do List

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I’ve always been an “up and at ’em” type of person. I follow a to-do list and tend to schedule out my day for the best possible maximization of my time and ability. I am a “doer.” I have goals, focus and purpose for everything I participate in.

I am new to experiencing the world of chronic depression, and what I have learned is depression doesn’t care about my schedule or “to-do” list. Depression doesn’t give a crap about my goals or purpose. Depression kills motivation, focus and even tries to snuff out long-held dreams.

Some days are absolutely normal. I have the needed motivation, and I lean into those days using every moment to do all the things that need to be done. Today is not one of those days.

This morning I struggled to get out of bed and get my kids off to school. The 10-year-old rides the bus and walks by himself to the bus stop, but the 5-year-old requires me to sign him on and off the bus. This requires me to put on a bra and get dressed. Normally, this isn’t a big deal, but today, today is a depression day.

After I return home, it takes everything for me to not go back to bed, even after two cups of coffee. I look at my list for the day and think to myself, “OK, just do one thing at a time.”

Everything, even one thing, seems like too much today. It’s painful to try to load the dirty clothes into the washing machine, to unload the dishwasher, to take the dog on a walk, to work or even sit upright on days like these.

I am not typically an anxious person. Yet, as I realize deadlines are looming near and tasks are not completed, I become more and more anxious. I tell myself it’s the depression, that I can overcome it and I just need to push through.

I pull out my laptop to work on some writing, trying to tick off at least one item off my deadlines list before the kids get home. My foggy brain wins and nothing I write makes any sense. I feel defeated. I put the laptop away, lay down on the couch and cry.

I cry for the motivation I needed to have today but am lacking. I cry for the pain my body feels and the worthlessness I feel. I cry for the way I used to judge other people who told me they were depressed and the difficulties they faced.

I cry for my kids who will come home soon to their tired mom instead of their vivacious, fun mom. I cry for my husband who will come home to a house that hasn’t been cleaned again, laundry not finished again and dinner not made again.

I cry for the mom, wife and person I want to be but can’t be right now.

The moment passes, and I try again, determined to finish just one item on my list for the day. I pull the laptop back out, and I start working on some reports for work that shouldn’t take too long. Yet, because of my fog brain and unfocused thoughts, I can’t seem to get through them as quickly as I usually do.

I feel frustrated. Defeated. Sad and weary.

This is depression. It takes small things and blows them up into big things with giant, heart crushing feelings. It deters you. Depression lies to you and tries to defeat you.

But not today, depression. Today, you will not defeat me. Today, I finished those reports, even if they did take three hours instead of one.

I am still me. I am still the “doer.” I still have goals and purpose.

On depression days, it’s one day at a time. One task at a time. One moment at a time. This is how I will defeat you, depression, and I will defeat you. I am still me.

Originally published: September 8, 2016
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