Depression has many challenges. It is also full of contradictions. One example of that is the fact that depression always seems to leave you feeling like you are not doing enough while at the same time feeling overwhelmed with how much you are doing. And trying to manage both feelings simultaneously, on top of managing the many other challenges of major depressive disorder, is exhausting.
Let me expand upon this.
Depression, for me at least, and for many others that I know, saps the will and energy to do, well, anything. And with that as a starting point, the fact of the matter is that everything feels like too much. Even taking a shower and getting dressed can be a challenge for me when depression is at its worst. And everything that I do do feels like to much and what energy I am able to muster up from caffeine or whatever feels depleted with even the smallest task.
By contrast, we all have obligations in our lives. Work. Family. Bills. Etc. And sometimes when we are in the midst of depression struggling to do anything we look around and say, “fuck, everyone else is doing so much and I am doing so little.” And this is dangerous for a few reasons. First, whenever we compare ourselves to others we will inevitably fall short sometimes. Second, when physical illness strikes, people understand how that impacts our ability to fulfill certain obligations. For example, that is why we have sick days at work.
And for me, this is something I realized recently as I was trying to honestly assess the fact that so often with my depression I feel like I am failing. Like I am struggling to keep up. And while I have many obligations that I can’t simply ignore, realizing this contradiction that is such a part of my depression has helped me realize that I have to be better about prioritizing what I do, I have to be mindful when planning my day that I need to take care of myself as well and spread out the obligations. And most importantly I have to keep repeating that my value is not tied to my productivity.
And neither is yours. If you constantly feel like you are ping-ponging between feeling like you’re doing too much and feeling like it still isn’t enough, remember that life isn’t a race. Go at your own pace because the most important thing is that you take care of yourself. It should never be a question of are you doing enough but rather it should be a question of are you enough. And even without knowing all of you I can say that yes, you are enough.
And so am I.