I get it. What others might see as a chronic case of laziness, is actually paralyzing depression. The thought of getting out of bed is like running a marathon. The thought of getting better is like getting a PhD in life, something you want no part of. You haven’t even changed your clothes in four days.
Today, we’re going to take it easy. Forget about all those thoughts that are slowly crushing you. Today we’re just going to take a shower. That’s it. Don’t worry if you forget your meds right now. If a shower is too much, run the bath. Just put two feet on the floor, get in there and soak.
Take as long as you need to. Don’t think about the mean things people have said while they thought they were helping. They don’t get it and it’s not your problem. You don’t owe the world anything but your best effort, and it already got you in here, so you’re doing great.
Now look at what you’ve accomplished. More than you have in days. You’re doing it. Let’s build on that…
Time to take your meds, if you have them. It’s an important step. The only thing you have to do today is take your meds.
You’ve done some very important things. Facing the day can be tough, but you’ve already gotten so much out of the way. But there’s just one thing you need to do. All we’re going to do today is get dressed. It can be ugly, it can be comfy, it can be something that makes you feel beautiful. There are no rules. Wear what you want. Don’t worry about impressing anyone. There. Doesn’t that feel better already?
All we’re going to do today is eat. I know you haven’t been hungry, and if you were you don’t feel like you deserve to eat anyway. But you have to eat to live, and for now, for just this moment, that’s what’s going on. You’re living. It’s a big deal, but a bowl of cereal isn’t. You can sit under your therapy light while you eat. You can cuddle your animal or a teddy bear while you eat. Just eat. Eating is showing yourself some of the love that you need right now.
It’s over. You’ve done so much. There are no expectations placed on you today, but do remember that there can be a correlation between depression and creativity. You might not realize it, but there’s something in there that you’re amazing at. Write, paint, compose.
It doesn’t have to be good. You don’t have to finish it. You don’t have to show anyone. But just look what you can do.
Look at simply what you can get done. You who thought, just an hour ago, they couldn’t even get out of bed. This is huge. You can do this.
For more explorations of the interplay of depression and creativity, check out the graphic novel that the image in this post is from, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney.