Last Wednesday, I went to sleep. I didn’t wake up until Saturday. Barely.
I call it “under the blanket”. That sounds nice… it could mean I’m toasty, or playing hide-and-seek, procreating… any number of things. However, what I mean by under the blanket, is that I’m depressed. Not bummed, not sleepy… depressed. Bad enough, but toss in some anxiety over it all, and it becomes a cocktail of horror.
I am terribly fortunate in that I have a support network that understands how depression manifests itself in me. I already feel rotten about being “lazy” and “decadent”. Otherwise, my life would be much harder. I don’t like “napping”. I didn’t when I was little, I don’t now. It always feels like I’m going to miss the ice-cream man or something.
Speaking of the ice-cream man, it was beautiful out last week. Global warming, for the time being, is working out well in the Northwest. The problem is, I can’t stand sunshine when I’m under the blanket. It’s like walking around Disneyland without being able to enjoy the rides and the elephant ears. That’s part of the reason I cover my head… the sun coming through the window feels like God’s accusatory interrogation rays asking me what the fuck is wrong with an otherwise healthy forty-five year old man.
I’ll tell you what’s wrong. Nothing. Nothing at all. I’ve got a roof over my head, food in my belly, loved ones, and great bone structure.
I take that back. Everything is wrong. I feel ungrateful, useless, ugly, and physically taxed like I have actually been doing something other than listening to CNN from the couch. Granted, CNN could make anyone reach for the razor and draw a warm bath. Comedy Central doesn’t help, either, so pipe down.
Here is just one example of how ridiculous depression can be. I found myself experiencing a burst of energy in the middle of all this, and I sat up. Hooray for mankind, right? Well, I had my feet resting on my coffee table, and the edges of said table were digging into my heels uncomfortably. I was too depressed to move them… even an inch. I probably sat like that for thirty minutes until I went down again.
Fortunately, my daughter had such a busy weekend, I was able to tell her that we could see each other sometime later this week, instead of our usual weekend together. I can’t tell her I’m clinically depressed… an eleven-year old can’t comprehend that, at least mine can’t. I hope. Otherwise, the weekend would have been a disaster beyond my inability to brush my teeth and get out of my filthy clothes. Thank God for that bone structure I mentioned.
There is no amount of coffee or motivation that can rouse me, even for my child, when I’m in that space. Getting loaded would snap me out of it, but a lifetime of experience tells me that doing so would make things worse. Much. Besides, even when I was in my deepest, darkest drinking, getting to the store for alcohol just isn’t going to happen. Back then, if I had a little bit of a heads up, I would stock up, and hope that I had enough. I know now that depression trumps alcoholism, simply in that I can’t fucking move. Little blessings, huh?
Historically, nothing situational has triggered these depressions. Life can be sailing along smoothly, then it hits the rocks. Life can be a slow-motion car wreck, and I’ll still get up and laugh. It is purely organic… free-range and gluten-free, too.
Sometime during the late afternoon on Saturday, I hopped up, and I fucking mowed the lawn and trimmed the St John’s Wart out in the front yard. Boom! Out of the blue, I was fine. There is no rhyme nor reason. Not only was I up and moving, I was happy. I’ll take it. Granted, the eighty-year old man down the street looked like an Olympian compared to my hobbling around the yard.
Here it is, eight days after I went down, and I feel great. That’s not to say I have physically recovered completely. Sleeping like a house cat for several days takes awhile to recover from. I’m still taking a couple of naps a day, simply because my body is trying to re-acclimate to moving. In more ways than one. My legs lose strength when I’m immobile for such periods of time (the longest being three months).
Try this: Pull the blinds, go to bed, and stay there for twenty-four hours. Don’t wash, don’t eat, just lay there. Set the alarm. Now, when the clock tells you that you’ve been close to mummified for a day, jump up and take a few quick steps.
You will fall down.
CEO, Sleep Country USA