Depression hit hard today, with residual mania from yesterday lingering behind.
I spent the first six hours of today laying on the couch. Thoughts of undeserved worthlessness cycled repetitively through my mind; like a rabid swarm of self-hatred bees. I had so much to do today – so many things planned. I was up half the night thinking about all the things I needed to do today.
Last night, my mind acted like a broken record of to-do-lists. A record playing, tragically, over-and-over. Yet, when today came, none of the things were done. No laundry. No walking. No yoga. No grocery shopping. Just the couch, and worthlessness. So much worthlessness.
By hour seven I was feeling especially horrible. A pitiful desperation started forming in me. I was sick of feeling worthless. And I mean that, literally; my repetitive feelings of worthlessness were making me physically ill. Nausea. Headache. Dizziness. Aching hips and shoulders from laying all day. Dehydration. I was accidentally willing myself ill.
I needed to accomplish something today. I couldn’t let this happen to me, not again. I couldn’t let depression come in, and make a prisoner of me again. Once depression is in, it stays far too long. I needed to kick it out before it made a home for itself… before it went too far, and became something I couldn’t escape. Before seven hours turned into two weeks.
My mind landed on reading. Reading outside, to be exact. Good idea, right? A little sunlight, a good book; sounds like the perfect cure for early-stage-depression.
To clarify, this isn’t a normal “depression situation”. People can’t “decide to not be depressed”. That’s not how it works. Depression is demanding. Depression is often inescapable. But, in my case, just for today, I felt efficient enough to try. Maybe it was the residual mania, still lingering from yesterday … I had just enough residual mania to kick-start my system.
I was slightly proud of myself. I’d made a decision to do something… and now, I just had to do it. However, this presented an entirely different problem: my indecisiveness in picking a book. This seems like an easy decision, and most days it would be. But not today. Oh no. Not today.
One-by-one, I started pulling books from my bookshelf. I analyzed each book, individually. Each book, after quick consideration, was rejected. There was something wrong with each book; the first book seemed too sad, the second book seemed too cheerful, the third book didn’t seem cheerful enough… And each rejected book ended up in the floor. Stacked in chaotic piles, with no rhyme or reason.
This process went on for five minutes. During which I found myself sitting in the floor, surrounded by the de-shelved books, crying hysterically. It was an absolute mess. Hyperventilating. Crying. Rearranging stacks of books. Hyperventilating. Looking at a book. Crying. This book isn’t right. Crying. That book isn’t right either. Hyperventilating. I want to throw this book. Crying. I can’t throw this book. More crying. Sit the book down before you throw it. Headache. Sit the book down before you rip it in half. Dry throat. Dizziness. It’s a good thing I’m sitting down. Crying. I never should have gotten off the couch. Hyperventilating. I’m worthless. This was stupid. Frantic. Exhaustion. Dehydration. Energy is gone. Headache.
Anger. Anger happened.
The anger surprised me. The anger caught me off guard. I was so confused, I actually snapped out of my “book fit”. Anger isn’t an emotion I’m used to experiencing during depression. It was almost like my depression became indecisiveness, which became frustration, which became hysteria, which resulted in anger… This was something I had never experienced before.
I was angry. I was angry that I couldn’t make one simple decision. One simple, silly decision. For once, I was actually making a conscious effort to fight my depression. But I was failing. Really failing. And it was making me really angry.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do; I grabbed the stack of random books closest to me, and I walked straight outside. Weird reaction, I know. But it’s what I did.
I sat down in the backyard and immediately felt a wave of accomplishment; I’d made it outside. Sure, I still had seven books to choose from, but at least I’d made it outside. Making it outside might not seem like a big deal. But in that moment it was huge.
I sat out back, and felt the near setting sun on my skin. I felt warm. I felt nice. I sat, for what seemed like a long time. I was probably in a trance from the overload of emotion I had just experienced. I needed a moment to recharge. I felt exhausted, yet replenished. Being outside was a big deal, and it felt great.
I wasn’t ready to select a book, but I had a sudden rush of adrenaline. So, I decided to skim the pool [You know, when you take a pool skimmer and get the leaves and stuff off the surface of the water? That.]
I grabbed the skimmer, and started dipping leaves out of the pool. It was oddly therapeutic. I was accomplishing something. I was doing a chore that needed to be done. I dipped the skimmer in, and it would come back out holding leaves, I would re-dip it, and it would come back out with even more leaves… it was rewarding.
But then, between the fourth and fifth dip, I noticed something; there was a live bug in the skimmer, and it was panicking. I thought to myself; “Dear God, I’ve been dipping this little guy under the water, over-and-over, and he is struggling to survive”. I quickly pulled the skimmer from the water, and sat it in the grass. I watched as the bug scurried away.
The poor little guy had been dipped, over-and-over, under the water… and had been struggling to breathe. Then I realized; “I’M LIKE A BUG STUCK IN A SKIMMER”. There were so many similarities between my reality, and what I had just seen the bug experience.
Gasping for breath. Hanging on. Just trying to survive.
Surviving like a bug stuck in a skimmer.
Sincerely, Uncustomary Housewife