Someone once asked me what it was like to be depressed. The question alone fascinated me, because, like, bitch, have you never been sad? But as I tried to explain, I found that it was a lot harder to articulate than just describing a scene in which I sit next to a rain-spattered window in the dark, crying while listening to the song “Everybody Hurts” on repeat (although actually, that is weirdly accurate).
I mean, yes, there is some actual time spent feeling sad. About what, you ask? That’s an excellent question, because most of the time, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be sad about. Is it the futility of life? Is it the exponentially increasing speed with which time is passing, stealing from me my youth and vitality? Is it the fact that at this point in my life, there’s a very good chance that I will never actually get to hold a three-toed sloth? I don’t know, man. Point is, I’ll be fine, and then I’ll just be sad.
Fortunately, the majority my time is not spent actively being sad, which is good, because my face swells up to Elephant Man levels if I cry for more than ten minutes. But depression has other tricks up its ugly crocheted bell sleeves, and the one it likes to pull on me the most is actually far more disruptive to my everyday life. Because every day– every single day– my depression informs me that it’s just Easier to Not.
“Today,” I tell myself, “I am finally going to sit down and write out the timeline for my novel. And then I am going to write my novel, and get it published, and roll around in the giant piles of money my novel makes me.”
“Hey, though,” my depression says. “You know what’s even better than doing this thing you used to enjoy? Not doing it.”
“What should I do instead?” I ask, confused.
Depression rubs its hands together with glee. “Like, literally nothing.”
And so, I do literally nothing. All day.
The word on the street is that exercise is apparently the best cure for depression, so every day I make a plan to finally get on that– I made a kick-ass playlist (with the extremely motivational title Operation FU Fat), I bought clothes that Experienced Exercise People might wear, and each night I lay out those clothes and I charge my headphones and I add to my kick-ass playlist and I set my alarm for 45 minutes earlier than I would normally get up, because tomorrow, I’m going to make it happen, and I will exercise away my sads.
But then the alarm goes off, and before I can even get out of bed, depression rolls over and plants an elbow in my back and says “Hey, I know you’re psyched about spending three quarters of an hour listening to ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang while sweating profusely on an elliptical set to a resistance that even a senior citizen wouldn’t find challenging. But– and hear me out– wouldn’t it be easier to just not do that?”
So I go back to sleep.
Depression has informed me that it is easier to not cross stitch swear words onto pillows, that it is easier to not write in my journal, that it is easier to not call my friends or my parents. In fact, depression forced me to play about an hour of games on my phone before I could sneak out long enough to write this blog.
I did it, though. So there’s that.
Unfortunately, depression isn’t the kind of thing you can defeat by writing one blog post despite its protestations that it’s even easier to spend an hour reading the Wikipedia article on Sir David Attenborough. To be honest, I haven’t quite figured out yet exactly what can defeat depression– yogic breathing? Pizza? Napalm? But I’m working on it. Even though it would be easier to not.