i ate too much for breakfast. i went back to bed. i stayed in bed. i slept restlessly. i stayed in bed long after i woke again. i got up only to eat too much for lunch. i realized while i was making too much lunch that these are the signs of depression returning. i sit at the computer half-naked, wearing half of yesterday’s clothes, with a blanket wrapped around me because getting dressed requires more energy, inspiration, and desire than i have. chocolate wrappers litter my computer desk. an open two-liter bottle of diet coke perches next to me. i won’t bother pouring the diet coke into a glass. i know i’m going to finish the bottle. i shouldn’t drink a glass. i definitely shouldn’t drink a 2-liter. yes, this is what depression looks like on tuesday morning that has already become tuesday afternoon.
i should call my therapist, but i won’t, because i have an appointment tomorrow, although she’d rather i call her and come in today and pour the diet coke down the drain. she never displays concern about the chocolate or the staying in bed or the not getting dressed. she tells me that chocolate is okay for me, because when counting the wrappers littering my desk, there are only two purple dark chocolate hershey’s kisses wrappers and i don’t get enough sleep and i can accomplish my work without wearing clothes. but diet coke is actually bad for my remaining kidney and i drink it because it gives me the sensation of someone strangling me because someone did and i thought i deserved to be strangled to death because i wanted to die and my current diet-coke-drinking apathy numbs me from a new formerly repressed memory, not about strangulation, but about a struggle from which i barely survived, and even though i did survive that struggle, i’m struggling within that struggle again today as i remember.
i do what i can, which is write. i can always write, even when i don’t want to read what i’ve written, even when the truths i’ve written as journal entries or fiction are truths i’m determined to ignore. i debate posting or deleting what i’ve written. i decide to post. here’s why: someday you may eat too much breakfast and go back to bed and get up only to eat too much lunch and fight the urge to go back to bed only to compromise by laying on the couch. or maybe you’ll forget to eat, not feel like eating, for several days (or weeks) and sit on the couch watching television and not sleeping or bathing or answering your phone. maybe you’ll recognize behaviors like these as the beginning of depression or maybe you won’t. maybe you’ll read this post and remember a time, a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade when you felt like this. maybe you feel like this today. maybe you’ll feel like this nine months from now. feelings lie. this depression lies. the thoughts and beliefs and memories that prompted this depression are lies. call your therapist. and if you don’t have a therapist, get one. and if you refuse to go to a therapist, call your wisest friend. call the friend who can listen with compassion. call the friend you trust most. tell this person, therapist or friend, the truth. the truth is not what you think it is when you are depressed. the truth is something else. find it. learn it. remember it. ask someone else to help you find it, learn it, remember it. the truth will not arise from your half-naked unbathed chocolate-eating diet-coke-drinking self on the couch. take a shower. get dressed. go outside. do something nice for yourself, something small, something you would do for anyone else you wanted to help smile. now. and if you can’t do that, pick the happiest book on your shelf that makes you forget yourself and feel better when you read the first three chapters. and if you can’t do that, then think of something you can do for someone else. do it. do something. get off the couch. take a shower. now.