The Falling Depression Debris

A computer-generated image representing space debris as could be seen from high Earth orbit. The two main debris fields are the ring of objects in geosynchronous Earth orbit and the cloud of objects in low Earth orbit. Creative Commons photo and description courtesy of Wikipedia.

Today, an image came to me while I was in the throes of depression: On days when that happens, it’s like running from falling depression debris. For instance, I start out in a usually productive space, like downstairs in my living room, and suddenly, it doesn’t seem so conducive anymore. I don’t feel like being there. I don’t feel like I can be there anymore. I didn’t even feel like watching television (Bones, which I’ve been obsessed with). Everything felt … off. A sort of claustrophobic feeling, like the force that depression is was forcing the walls closer together and the ceiling down upon me. And so I retreated, as if from the falling debris of the walls and the ceiling, back up to my room in the cocoon of my bed, where I’m insulated from the debris. It felt like a failure in a way, but at least it’s “safe” failure. I just started the day, but here I am back in my bed sort of failure. I know it’s not actual failure and I shouldn’t feel like it’s failure because there’s no failing or winning against depression. It just is. But still.

To be clear, though, I don’t think any of that is a function of boredom. I wasn’t bored with Bones. I wasn’t bored with my computer. Or anything like that. It was more so, I gotta get out of here. It’s a completely different feeling, which is why I liken it to falling debris and claustrophobia.

As I’ve written before, when I get in those modes, sometimes I do lean into it. I lean into the folds of the cocoon and take a ride down the spiral. Other times, I try to crawl my way back out like a half-formed Frankenstein butterfly to continue my day, mindful that the debris is still there, still falling, littering the ground. The way in which I do that is through the little things, and folks, I truly mean the little things. First, I gulped down a bunch of water. Yes, sometimes I procrastinate about even staying properly hydrated. Then, I trimmed off a part of my beard I’d been procrastinating on doing for weeks (the part of it that extends too far down my neck). I showered and brushed my teeth (again, as I’ve previously written, that’s always a big one to getting me going again). I washed my phone screen with a cleaning solution — another thing I’d been procrastinating on. And then finally, I accomplished a tedious task: clipping my fingernails. I also made lunch for myself. I felt … better.

Now, it didn’t last long. It was a sort of two-hour reprieve where I felt productive and good after eating a PB&J, and afterward, I took a nap (lol), and now here I am writing, but still, it was two hours I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

The thing about the depression debris, too, is it’s not like a natural disaster we might have fair warning is coming. There’s no weatherman standing in front of the green screen of my life saying, “Tomorrow, Brett, you will experience depression debris; bring a metal umbrella!” No warning sirens go off. It just is and it just happens. Whenever and wherever. The last few days, even weeks, had been strong and productive, but today, it floored me back into bed. No rhyme or reason.

What do you do when those moments come?

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