I Think I Can’t, I Think I Can’t

Depression turns things upside down, backwards, inside out. Early this afternoon, after accomplishing nothing in the morning, I was trying to push myself to get going – to do housework, to do some garden work or, most important, to do some WORK work. And all I wanted to do was go back to bed. I didn’t even feel sleepy, as has been the case the last few days when I’ve taken naps. I just felt the overwhelming urge to get back in bed.

As I tried to work on myself, the mental message gradually changed. First it was, “I’ve got to get moving.” Then it was, “I’ve got to get moving, but I really want to go to bed.” It moved on to: “I can’t go to bed, I have too much to do!” and then, “I’ve got to stay out of bed…” and finally, “I can’t stay out of bed.”

There never was the non-depressed statement, “I’m going to get moving.” Maybe I need to make a sign that says that and plaster it on my monitor. Anyway, the reason I went back to bed was that I had descended through the stages to where I thought I couldn’t do anything else. And because I thought it, I couldn’t.

After I got up three hours later, I was able to work on the one job that always has a Monday deadline – my About Bipolar Disorder newsletter. In fact, I worked quite hard on it. But at one point I looked out my office window to see my star magnolia in full, glorious bloom. For a moment I felt something ease… but the depression spoke up: “You still haven’t gone out there and taken a picture of it, and just look at the dead foliage of the clematis spoiling the view of it at the left, and oh yeah, you also haven’t cut down the sweet autumn clematis yet, and when the hell are you going to get back to work on sowing those seeds?”

When I can’t even look at something gorgeous in my yard without feeling guilty – that’s depression.

Now I’m wondering, though: I’ve caught it in the act. I’ve actually heard what it’s doing. Maybe if I listen harder, I’ll be able to talk back to it. Tell it to shut up. Tell myself better things.

Or maybe listening more closely will only make it stronger. Guess I won’t know until I try.

~Marcia

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