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Sunny Days Are Hard to Come by When You Live With Depression

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I strap on my shoes, feeling a little sick. My head aches; it feels like it’s full of cotton, that way it does when you have a cold. I’ve had the sniffles. I feel sick. There’s a wad of duct tape at the base of my right shoe where I had wrapped it around the sole and the upper part. For some reason, it’s always the right shoe that starts to fall apart first. I need to buy new shoes — the tape only stays on for about a day before it begins to peel away.

I need new shoes but I hate spending money on myself. I regularly ask myself, “Do you deserve it?” The answer is typically no.

I look up at the clock in the living room and realize that 10 minutes have passed. That cushion of time I left myself so I would be early for work is gone. I’m not even surprised, this happens so often. I get stuck inside my head, I fixate, I lose time. I hurry out the door and walk quickly to catch the bus. I cut through a church yard and shuffle across the main road in my town, wincing as the cars angrily beep at me. It’s drizzling rain outside; the grass and mud I’ve walked through soak my feet. The water seeps through the tape almost instantly and I know it’ll fall off before the end of my shift.

I reach the stop just in time for the driver to pull up. I yank my wallet out of my purse and show him my bus pass before taking a seat. The bus is full. My right sock is wet. I curl my toes against my feet as I stand awkwardly, swaying as the bus moves.

I blink and the bus has traveled a mile. It’s my stop. I walk off the bus, head bowed, shoulders hunched. I cross the street and head into work. I’m wet but I have no socks to change into.

The restaurant I work at is busy and my shift passes by quickly. My coworkers tease me for the way I arrange things on the counter, how obsessively clean I am. I dusted the display wine bottles for the second time this week during a slow period.

Before I know it, my shift is done. I’ve worked 10 hours today. I regularly work between six to 12 hour shifts. It is something I can do easily.

I help close and my co-worker drives me home. The radio is on a local station, she chatters happily about her boyfriend. The rain is coming down more, forming soft waves on the windows. I look down at my phone, check my messages, make the appropriate sounds as she talks. She pulls up by my house and I give her a quick hug.

Let’s hang out soon, I say. She smiles and nods but I get out of the car too quickly for her to respond.

I walk inside my house, throw my purse down in the living room. Peel off my shoes. The tape has mostly fallen off, so I take that off and throw it in the trash can in the kitchen. There is a small gust of hot air coming from the heater right by the door. I put my foot on it and wince, remembering how soggy and gross my socks are. I pull them off and drop them on the floor.

I’m hungry but the idea of eating has no appeal. It’s 9 p.m. I walk upstairs to my bedroom and pick my way through my room to sit down on my bed. I look at my bedroom and try not to cry. The desk is so cluttered I can only see my keyboard and my mouse and the monitor. There are books and clothes and shoes, scraps of paper and wrappers and empty cups on the floor. I count three cups and a bowl in my bedroom. I can’t walk across my room without stepping on something. I pull off my clothes and toss them to the floor before rolling into my unmade bed.

I set a timer on my phone for nine hours and then I close my eyes. I’m exhausted. Last week was a sleep deprivation week, I’d gotten roughly 10 hours of sleep in five days. I think I’m still catching up. I let myself fall asleep into dreamless sleep, and wake up to the timer blaring beside me.

I am a clean person, typically. I obsess over details. I hate when things aren’t exactly where I want them to be. I obsess over everything. I can work 12-hour shifts, I can socialize, I can do anything… except clean my room. My depression comes in waves. The more depressed I am, the messier my room gets. Depression isn’t just lying in bed all day being sad. It isn’t being unable to do anything because you feel too empty.

I regularly feel empty. I hate myself often.

There isn’t just one form of depression. Sometimes it’s as simple as being too tired and empty to clean up after yourself. Sometimes you can power through 12-hour shifts but you can’t feed yourself. I struggle with basic things like brushing my teeth, eating enough, showering. It’s an invisible illness but that doesn’t make it any better.

That doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s hard.

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Thinkstock image via MoreISO

Originally published: February 20, 2017
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