- Emo Phillips
Well-meaning people keep referring me to the spoons analogy but the thing is, that's more about chronic pain and other illnesses and depression isn't really like that. While it's a great analogy in its own right it doesn't really apply to how it feels to have depression. So at the risk of alienating people and going on too much about this I'm going to try and explain what it's like - at least for me. I don't claim this to be a brilliant analogy and I don't claim that it applies to everyone, it's just for me and in trying to express it I'm trying to exorcise it, just a little bit, for me today because I'm having a particularly bad day.
Imagine that you're on the surface of Jupiter. Ignoring the fact that the core if likely metallic hydrogen and that you'd be squished flat and popped by the atmospheric pressure alone. The gravity there is about 2.5 times that on Earth so everything is instantly heavier. You have the same energy and so forth that you might normally have on Earth but the difference is that everything takes a massively increased amount of effort. It's not that you CAN'T do certain things it's that suddenly they don't feel like they're worth the effort. Is it worth getting out of bed if your normal 140lbs or so is suddenly over 300? Wouldn't it be easier just to lay here and not move at all?
Imagine if every single task you did in a day had a threat or an obstacle in the way of it. Wouldn't it be harder to muster up the will to do it? What if in order to get dressed you had to root around in your trousers and dislodge a dozen scorpions first? Wouldn't it make more sense just to stay in your dressing gown all day?
Imagine that you're out of most of your staples of food etc that you like to eat. It's only five minutes down to the corner shop but someone's tied a heavy ball and chain to both your ankles. In order to get down to the shop to get a tin of nice soup and some fresh bread you've got to drag those heavy-arse things down there so... why not settle for crackers and the dry dog-end of some cheese rather than make the effort until you have to?
Want to take a shave? Fine, but you have to beat the arse of that sumo wrestler who's guarding the bathroom. In fact if you didn't HAVE to take a shit you wouldn't even bother going in there.
Tidy up? Fuck it, it'll just get dirty again and besides, there's that cobra living in the hoover. Is it really worth getting venom in your eyes to hoover up some spilled rice you'll just spill again tomorrow?
Things that you absolutely have to do you can just about muster the effort and willpower to overcome the obstacles for, but anything else becomes all the more difficult the more things you've had to do. The constant effort of exerting your will on every single little task takes its toll; It's exhausting and you're already tired before you start.
If it's like anything it's like Sisyphus every time you make all that effort and roll one boulder up the hill, there's another that needs the same thing doing day after day, time after time for every single thing you do.
Today, for example, was pretty bad:
- I woke up early - before the alarm - which is never a good start.
- Had to muster the energy to get my wife off to work though I didn't make her lunch today which helped.
- I had two pieces of paperwork I had to do but in order to do one of them I had to check my bank account. Doing this is normally a chore because I always fret about passwords and things. Recently they changed the way you do things so you have to put your card in a special swipe machine and get a multi-digit code every time you do something. Now the amount of effort to check my account has gone from the jungle temple at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Just thinking about putting in all those codes is making me tired.
- I've been trying to exercise again, daily, like I used to. I only managed half my normal time by a supreme effort and then fell over.
- I managed, perhaps, an hour and a half of work on SWING but through tired eyes it looks crap and incomplete.
I feel like I've run a marathon and just going back to bed or to the couch to lay down and rest feels like it'd be too much effort. If I visualise it I see a great big block of rusted metal that needs to be pushed to either location and I just stare at it and wonder if I can muster the sustained effort to even shift it, scraping noisily, across the ground.
I should be excited and happy. I've got several project irons in the fire, I'm excited for SWING and I was hoping to have it done by the end of this month. I tracked down an old project I want to make happen... but I'm just tired. I guess the effort that's gone into making this post could have gone into something more productive but that's just another source of exhaustion, guilt and second-guessing oneself.
Now I'm rambling and the point's been lost... but OK, if you want to know what it's like, don't think about being sad, just tie a bunch of weights to your limbs and stay up