My depression is unproductive, not apathetic.

When one considers that I’ve struggled with diagnosed major depressive disorder since nineteen, my consistent failure to notice when I’m once again fighting the black dog seems surprising. Then again, even though I know in my bones that depression often has little to do with being overtly sad when I’m not sad, I can misdiagnose the issue. Identifying that you have a problem when you aren’t leaving the bed, bathing, or achieving verticality is easy. Identifying it when you’re ostensibly productive is harder.

I don’t like it when my depression gets sneaky. The consequences are unfortunate: when it finally does show its head, it’s stronger than I’d like and more entrenched. Sneaky flares are based on my depression’s determination to stay. I sympathize: I wouldn’t like it very much if I was the thing trying to be got rid of, but I’m unwilling to try peaceful coexistence.

I’d consider myself selfish save for the fact that my depression regularly tries to kill me.

The book cull continues. This is a good thing. Some of the books in my library are there because of my love for them or the author. Others are there because I thought they could fix what was broken: the attachment to those items is less affection, more obsession. I’m relieved to be at a point where I can think about letting them go. They’re less aid than weight, just another tangible representation of mental illness. They aren’t out the door yet, but they’re boxed, and the final countdown has begun. I used to think they were my refuge: I came to realize they were a prison.

I’ve been patching and painting walls. It seemed like a natural progression to the cleaning and organizing of everything. Even the garage is on the hit list: I can’t believe I organized it using storage bins that don’t match. I did it in the house too: what’s wrong with me? And fabric bins for my creams and makeup? I’m obviously a moron: germs and bacteria mean plastic was the correct choice. And I only just labelled my kitchen spices, separating them into sweet and savoury bins for all the cooking I don’t do. I can’t believe they let me adult unsupervised.

At least the wall art has been fixed: much of it wasn’t consistently level. They’re rehung now, with Velcro and sticky tack to ensure they stay put. Crooked is failing.

I’ve been shockingly haphazard with my home environment. I’ve not done nearly enough to ensure perfection.

I’m not working on the bathroom I demolished. I’m not moving the culled books to a new home. I’m not repairing things that need repair or getting done what needs to get done. That’s not what this is. This is cosmetic puttering, a distraction-noodle that keeps me from paying attention to the slippage. The busyness lets me ignore depression’s warning signs – the bitter thoughts, the hair-trigger temper, the sleeplessness, the ease at which I’m giving in to my brain’s exhortations to limit food.

I’d pay attention, but my desk drawers need work. They’ve been organized with clashing tins that are seasonally inappropriate eleven months of the year; this is obviously high-priority. I’d mention the mood lability and amped-up depression to my counsellor or psychiatrist, but I’ve been busy mentioning other things, such as the lousy luck besetting my family and the odd optimism that’s also a function of my life these days. Talking about the depression that’s stalking me seems repetitive and too much: I don’t want them to think I’m complaining, and I’d hate for them to get bored. [i] I’d find therapy easier if I were the one doing the listening.


[i] You can’t add endnotes to WP titles. The busy is unproductive because it’s primarily lateral moves: changing the colour of one’s storage bins or moving things from this location to that one isn’t forward movement. It’s not even really change. It looks like both though, so it’s deceptively soothing.

11 thoughts on “My depression is unproductive, not apathetic.

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  1. “Identifying it when you’re ostensibly productive is harder.” Truth. I think what’s worse is that people who don’t shower or even get out of bed think that others are imposters and since they were able to get out of bed are not depressed. If I was the type of person to shove my struggles in other people’s faces on a constant basis, I would just give up life and stay in bed to be the ‘proper’ type of depressed.

    Velcro and other adhesives? GENIUS! I was recently in an in-person meeting at an important person’s office and I just could not stop staring at one of the photos being hung 0.5 inches lower than others. How does that not bother anyone? (I consider subbing as a handyman, a painter, etc. at work since the outsourcing they seem to do is absolutely atrocious.)

    I think the organization you are doing counts. It does not involve stuff that has a major impact on you visibly. However, the things you do DO have a major impact on you and your psyche. When my brain is struggling, it does not need to struggle anymore with looking for spices mixed together. You don’t need to spill makeup onto your cloth storage bins as you’re focusing on something else.

    “I’d find therapy easier if I were the one doing the listening.” same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 😊 I’m certainly creating a lot of “to go.”

      That picture would’ve made me insane too 😂 My doctor’s office had one that was crooked but when I checked, it had been screwed down. The whole world needs a level 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. No one who has not suffered from severe depression can appreciate just how terrible it is. I have had it since my very earliest days and at 65 there are many times when I feel I can put up with it no longer. But then the sun comes out again, for a period. No cure in sight for this or any mental “abnormality” although perhaps the current vogue for psychedelics may yield some promise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My response to “at 65” is wow. To live that long with MDD is an achievement. We get so tired. My psychiatrist is very optimistic about psychedelics and also the ketamine nasal spray.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And yes, “65”. So many days have been such a struggle. Always assuming that some change in lifestyle, some success or some other factor would cure or at least make some sort of difference. Looking back over the years i too am surprised i am still standing.

        Liked by 1 person

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