Depression: Chronicles of Wasted Time

Creative commons photo.

That title is a play on Malcolm Muggeridge’s two volumes of uncompleted autobiography entitled, Chronicles of Wasted Time. Admittedly, sorry to say, I had not heard of Malcolm Muggeridge until yesterday. But, what a great name, and what a great title for a book, particularly an autobiography.

But it parlays well into something I’ve been thinking about the last few days.

Depression takes much from you. It takes away the ability to engage with that which you previously did, whether it’s enjoying art, partaking in hobbies, and even fulling your end of the bargain on relationships. Depression takes both little and big things in a silent war of attrition.

And of course, the biggest thing it can take is your life.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the United States) is available 24/7 toll-free at: 1-800-273-8255.

Something else it takes is time. All of us human beings are here for an indeterminate amount of time. We don’t know how long we have, but we know it will end eventually. Time, in that way, is a valuable commodity. We only have so much of it to do the things we want to do, accomplish the things we want to accomplish, and live the full lives we envision.

Yet, depression takes so much time from you. So much time is spent dealing with it — trying to survive it, another day, even another hour with it — that days turn into weeks that turn into months that turn into years that turn into a Lost Decade (a play on how they refer to the 1990s as the Lost Decade for Japan’s economy).

I sometimes feel like my 20s were a Lost Decade in that way. The latter half of the 2000s brimmed with possibilities after high school and that ever double-edged sword word of “potential.” Life seemed to be tracking upward with fear (the good kind, in a way) and anticipation, like a hill on a giant roller coaster. But then, instead of the thrill of the drop and the excitement of the loops, we coasted over the tipping point and meandered.

Functioning through it is possible, in point of fact, necessary. But that’s the real point: Functioning through it or with it instead of free from it. It’s a life half-cocked; a life of half measures. A life of just getting through it.

Sorry, I can’t think of the phrase “half measures” without thinking of one of the greatest television scenes from one of the greatest television shows ever.

It’s an exhausting endeavor, like fighting a two-front war to accomplish basic day-to-day tasks. But since you’re doing it half-cocked, the other half starts piling up behind you; those things you still need to get to become things you’ll never get to become things you feel guilty about never getting to and on and on it goes.

I used to think procrastination was the word for it. I’m a procrastinator, I would tell people. But when you’re procrastinating on doing the things you like doing, and the things you’re good at doing and even the smallest possible tasks, I’ve since learned that the words for that are “depression” and “depressed.”

Depression takes time, and time’s the one thing we don’t have much to give.

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