I awoke at 7.30 this morning. Unlike some mornings I wasn’t sad or crying but rather I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I sat up and took a sip of my iced tea (I always have a glass by my bed at night). Still not feeling anything. I lit up a cigarette and began pondering. How did I feel physically? Was I ready to get up for the day or did I need to go back to sleep? Neither question had any clear answer attached. I continued to ponder the pros and cons of getting up and those of going back to sleep.
Part of me could envision drifting back to sleep in the hope that when I awakened later I would have answers to those questions. Like I would somehow magically be filled with energy and excitement about the day ahead. I would get up with gusto and make a darned good start on all the millions of “To Do’s” on my ever expanding list. Things would get done; rooms would get clean, the laundry would get washed, the rubbish would magically relocate to the big bins outside. I would possibly even tackle the grass out back that desperately needs to be cut or I’d tend to the plants which have been neglected for about 2 months. Oh and my sink would become devoid of dirty dishes and would sparkle from a thorough cleaning. Just thinking of all this began to wear me out. I looked about my room at saw all the clothes that still hadn’t been put away after washing, the bin overflowing with rubbish, the dirty windows, the laundry bin and my mood began to sink. This made the idea of getting up seem even less appealing. If I couldn’t countenance going back to sleep and having the energy to do anything then how could I do it without a few extra zzz’s?
I was halfway through the cigarette and feeling despondent. There was nothing I had to do this day (I rarely ever have anything I have to do) and no one counting on me. This has been a difficult aspect of living alone to cope with as I’ve always had people depending on me. As a result, I have never had to make decisions purely for me. Thanks to depression and a marriage which pretty much squashed my fragile confidence, I don’t value myself enough to make good choices when it comes to how to spend my time. I tend to waste my days escaping into books or the television. My mind is constantly battling with the question “Why expend your little energy doing that when it’s only you here?”. Inevitably, it convinces me to not bother as there is simply to much for one person to do. Well for one person who has physical and mental health problems.
Years of depression have left the house in dire need of a deep clean from top to bottom. Those years have also sapped my energy and lowered my stamina to nearly zero. As mentioned before, I can get exhausted just thinking of all that needs to be done.
Lights cigarette #2. Still in bed. Still deciding whether to get up or not.
The silence of the house hits me. I am truly alone. The only things I can hear are coming from strangers outside. Their cars driving by, the neighbour in his garden and someone walking past either speaking to their companion or on their phone. My bedroom is at the back of the house so I couldn’t eavesdrop even if I wanted to. I don’t. I don’t want to risk hearing that their on their way to meet up with a friend or how they’re looking forward to doing something or seeing someone later. That they have a life and people in it. I turn my ears off and my mind drifts back to my past.
While in my first marriage, I was a housewife for a time and I developed a schedule for my weeks. At the time I had my husband, two children and my mother lived with us. I had a purpose, a reason to get up. I would see my husband off to work and my children to school. I would actually dress for the day (and not in sloppy baggy pants paired with whatever to I found that suited the weather). I dressed as if going to work and viewed my role as housewife as just that – my job. I had my cleaning rota (a room a day), a menu for meals, laundry schedule and errands all planned out for the week. I allowed some time for my hobbies (sewing and making jewellery) but my main focus was on running the house and raising my children. So this worked very well for me back then (but any attempts to do this in recent years has failed due to lack of motivation). I kept busy and at the end of the day my children and husband would return home and fill the house with life once again. I didn’t have time to be lonely, depressed or sad. I had the life I wanted and felt it was rich. When your mind drifts to the past like that, it’s easy to think of it as perfect. It’s hard to remember the negatives as you tend to focus on the aspects that you miss and wish you still had. It is a very slippery slope for one with depression.
Luckily, I couldn’t go far down that route because my hips began to hurt from sitting in the bed. They don’t like being in the same place for very long no matter what position I am in (sitting, standing, lying down). I gave in to the call of sleep and laid back down with the intention of drifting off thus delaying having to find those elusive answers. But I couldn’t settle. My mind had begun it’s daily chatter that plagues me every waking moment. It is relentless in it’s judgements, commentary and harsh taunting. It constantly second guesses every little thing I do making me feel incapable of doing anything. It persistently says “You will screw that up” especially if I am doing something out of my comfort zone (which is reading and watching telly). As I type this, it is commenting on every typo I make.
I got my phone out and tried to Google “why bother getting out of bed”. All the results centred on finding a job or volunteering. I cannot do either right now. I don’t if I will ever be able to do those things. I cannot be reliable enough to turn up. If I’m having a bad day (physical or mental) I can barely manage to exist.
I go to light a third cigarette and stop myself. The pain in my hips is too bad to stay put any longer.
So, I got up. I threw on some pyjama bottoms and made my way down the stairs. I made a coffee and let the dog out (I’m currently dog sitting). I glanced over Face Book then began writing this. I still have no idea what to do with my day. I would like to think I will fill my time doing meaningful things but wouldn’t be willing to hold my breath on that happening. These days I have to rest often in between doing things and those rests have a tendency to last far longer than I intend.
This is a brief glimpse into a typical morning for me. There is so much more that has gone on in my head but it include it all would only confuse the reader. Mine is not a mind any would want to delve too deeply into for it is a chaotic place where thoughts swirl about as if trapped in a tornado.