Defeating the Darkness of Depression

Image: Rory Bristol

Image: Rory Bristol

Depression is a dark hole. A void in your soul, a black lens across your vision. Seeing through it can be hard, if not impossible. I feel like a worm in the bottom of a dry well. I know there is light above me somewhere. Everyone tells me I should be able to see it. I just can’t.

Everything feels too big, too difficult, beyond hope. I retreat inside myself, struggling to feel human inside. I feel lost, and listless. I become apathetic and avoid every day activities because I don’t want to be caught up doing stuff with other people. I don’t want to have to pretend to be happy, so I just don’t do anything.

As Jenny and I were planning this weekend’s activities, including work, I struggled to find anything that I felt capable of doing. In a stressed real-life-has-to-happen kind of way, I acknowledged that I would have to work today. But once I was done with my assignment, what would I do? Out of nowhere, I cheered “I can clean today!” I clapped my hands excitedly, and bounced up and down like a little kid.

Jenny looked at me like I had said, well… She looked at me like I was excited by cleaning. It was a look that would make a sane person consider their sanity. I considered my exuberance for a moment, and put it into words for the first time in my life.

Doing work when I don’t enjoy doing anything puts hope in my head, and lets me enjoy things when I can.

Procrastination can go both ways. When I don’t want to do unpleasant things, I distract myself with pleasant things. When I don’t feel like doing anything, I get through the day by doing the unpleasant things. When I’m able to enjoy the moment, I get extra pleasure by not having extra work looming over me.

Working when I’m depressed puts a tiny torch in my hand. That torch reminds me that even though I can’t see the other light, at least I know there is light somewhere.

My path might be lonely, dark, cold, and oppressive. But I can do shit, dammit. Depression can’t take everything away. I just have to find what it leaves, and MacGyver that shit into something great. You can do it too. In fact, I dare you to.

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