Sunday, March 4, 2012

Treading Water

You know what? Depression sucks balls. There are days (a lot of days lately) that I feel like depression is what’s running my life, not me.

When I visualize depression, I picture myself treading water. If I stop, I’ll sink below the water and drown. So I keep on treading, trying to keep my head above water. Depression is like that to me, a daily struggle to keep my head above water. There are moments, hours, even whole days or weeks, where it’s easy. But then there are the days when it just seems easier to stop treading and let myself sink below the water.

Those are the days when I can’t even be motivated to feed myself, even if I’m hungry. I’ve been having a lot of those days lately. I look at other people, and they seem to take care of the basics so effortlessly. They can keep their homes clean, get their work done, eat regular meals. Why is it so hard for me? Sometimes it almost feels like there’s something physical holding me down, preventing me from taking care of myself adequately.

Today has been one of those days. I desperately need to clean, and there’s a ginormous stack of grading on my desk that absolutely must be finished by Tuesday. I have a headache because I went too long without eating.

These kinds of days suck, and I’ve been having far too many of them lately. But I’ll keep on treading water. It’s the only thing I can do. Because there are always going to be bad days, that’s life. But there are always going to be good days too, and I keep on treading, hoping that soon there will be more good days than bad. And who knows, maybe today will turn out to be a good day after all. The day’s not over yet. 

UPDATE: It's amazing how little things can turn one's day around. I cleaned my bathroom counter (which really really needed it). A friend called and reminded me that I've had a big week (I finished the first chapter of my dissertation and presented it at a conference on Friday) and perhaps I needed a little time to decompress. And that it's not the end of the world if my students don't get their papers back on Tuesday. Today, depression didn't win. 


jessica k said...

hi, can totally relate. PhD trying to finish my dissertation. committee decided that my dissertation wasn't framed properly so I have to completely recast everything in a different light. they reassured me that I have good data, but want it framed differently. I know what you mean about treading water and seeing other people managing somehow. just got feedback on my new intro, too much use of the passive voice. I like the passive voice! what is so wrong with the passive voice? I feel like I have something interesting to say but am not sure I can finish. I keep wondering if it's worth it. I could be doing something else and be happier. I hesitate between thinking I can do it and just thinking it's not for me and shouldn't waste any more effort on it.
anyway, I understand your pain. Congratulations on presenting a paper on your first chapter, that's really good.

Barbi said...

Dissertation writing is not for the faint of heart. But I figure if my friends can do, then so can I. And you can too! I had a lot of those same thoughts when I was writing my first chapter, but in the end it was worth it, because what I wrote represents some of the strongest work I've ever done.

I also just got feedback on my first chapter today, so I'm about to begin the (hopefully short) process of revising it. Then I'm going to try and submit it for publication. My chair is really pushing me to try and get something published this year, since I'll be going on the market next year.