I'm sitting on the couch with my feet up on the table. My tea is Pomegranate Pizzazz. The three year old is sitting next to me, her feet occasionally on top of me, drawing on her Doodle Pro board while she watches the Sid the Science Kid episode about rollie pollies. The baby is carefully examining a bag of Mega Bloks with a critical and patient eye that always surprises and impresses me.
Yesterday, I didn't get of the couch all day. I was on my computer all day, zoning out and wasting time. The TV was on all day. I felt tired and burned out and useless.
I was sick. I had a cough and a runny nose.
But it felt like depression.
Even though it wasn't.
So. That's weird.
I'm realizing that I'm afraid to need a break. I'm afraid to rest. I'm afraid to have an off day. And it isn't guilt, and it isn't that it feels like I'm a failure. It's that it feels like I'm falling apart.
Every rational part of my brain knows that everyone has off days. Knows that when you haven't slept enough, you feel tired. That when I'm meeting everyone else's needs and no one is meeting mine, I can get resentful and angry and that isn't pathological.
But that's how it feels. It's scary. I'm always afraid that I am right on the edge of the pit.
And so I try to fix it. I try to make myself feel useful when I want to take a nap. I try to keep running all the time, to try to outrun all the gross feelings. I show up. I host playgroups. I write every day. I check on everyone else.
And those things are good for me. They really are. I don't regret the time I spend doing those things.
But sometimes I get run down. Of course I do. Sometimes I get sick, sometimes I get tired, sometimes I just need a break.
And those things are okay too.
And when I try to explain it, when I try to work through in my head WHY I don't want to get off the couch, when I analyze and justify and fight with myself, that's where the spiral starts. I get sucked into social media hoping to find reassurance that I'm not falling apart and when I don't find it (because where on earth would I find it there?) I get sucked in further. I spin down. I get scared and lonely and sad. I worry that I'm too whiny and self involved, that no one will ever love me again. I try harder to help everyone else other than me, and if there's no one to help I feel even more useless. I feel even more alone and hopeless and lost.
It's okay to have an off day.
And the truth is I did get off my couch yesterday. I made baked ziti. I played hide and seek. I cleaned my bathroom. Why don't I remember those things when I try to describe the day?
My depression is a very real presence in my life. It's always talking to me, always making me doubt myself, always threatening to overtake me.
But. That doesn't mean I'm not getting better. It doesn't mean that the stories I tell myself about sinking and being lost and never feeling better are true.
I'm so much better. I get up and do the things that need to be done and I see the good things around me and I write. Even when I'm having an off day.
So there, depression. Take that.