Note: I wrote this yesterday when I was in a pretty bad place. I’ve kept it as close to original as possible. I have an amazing wife, an understanding boss, a supportive family and great friends. I am on medication and see a therapist regularly. I work out and eat pretty well. The support system and the meds keep me pretty stable, but I still have days like yesterday.
I have not been able to find the right time to write about my depression.
I had a post planned for after Robin Williams’ death, but that time was followed closely by the events of Ferguson. I felt like I would be distracting from an important time in our country’s history.
Before that, I had a post planned for after I moved out to Portland; I had a wedding, a new job and my wife was struggling with our relocation. I couldn’t find the words.
Honestly, I still can’t.
I thought today might be a good day to try again because I am feeling awful. Writing can be therapeutic. Whether or not this is ever published, I know I can find some solace in expressing myself.
I’m currently listening to “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc. There is a line in the song where a woman is whispering in the background:
Be quiet, big boys don’t cry.
Big boys don’t cry.
Big boys don’t cry.
Big boys don’t cry.
I cried last night.
I still can’t really tell you why. I was watching the Agents of Shield TV show with Clare, and a character’s altered mental state hit a little close to home.
It wasn’t something that would normally leave me in tears.
We set the alarm for 0600, giving us an extra hour of sleep after a later than usual night.
One of my strategies for dealing with depression is making sure that my alarm is out of arm’s reach. This forces me to get out of bed to silence it. I knew I couldn’t get back in bed, but I could feel the darkness settling in already, my inner voices kicking into gear.
“Remember that time you swful thing…”
“You probably shouldn’t go into work today, you’re just a waste of their resources.”
“Clare would be better off with someone who wasn’t such a fucking loser.”
“When people find out what a fraud you are… who are you here aren’t even enough people who care whether or not you are a fraud”
Yup. It was not going to be a great day.
Clare isn’t the morning person I am. Even when I wake up on mornings like this one, I wake up ready to go.
Clare stayed in bed. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, naked. I browsed Facebook on my phone, checked Reddit, Twitter, Secret — anything to escape the moment I was in and the voices echoing in my head.
There was nothing there to drown out the voices or to ease the sadness.
So I asked Clare to get up. It helps when there is something or someone to distract me. Her voice is often enough to bring me to a reasonable place.
I made myself make coffee.
I got the stuff out to make eggs.
I stared at the frying pan and the butter. It seemed like a difficult task.
I could turn a dial. If I turned the dial on the stove, the pan would get hot. I’d have to make the eggs then. One foot in front of the other.
At some points during my morning routine, I just couldn’t move forward another inch. Clare would give me a gentle push, enough to take one more step.
I was finally ready. Clare hadn’t been able to get herself ready, too busy caring for me. Also, I got the impression that if I ve in pretty short order I would start to grate on her.
So I left.
And, as much as I didn't to go to work, I knew I needed to keep moving.
I am at my desk working in 25-minute spurts; Pomodoros are one of my many strategies for getting through days like today. I am getting a line of code done here and there. I’m writing this during my 5-minute breaks in between spurts.
I just finished my 5th pomodoro. I spent the second one aimlessly staring at my screen. The day is getting better, though. I was able to write some code that ran. Small victories.
The voices aren’t as loud while I’m listening to music. Today it is AWESOME MIX VOL. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve got my Scala study group at noon. I will revisit this post after that.
Back to work.
The day was salvaged, mostly. It is 5 pm, and I’m packing up. I will go home and see my wife, and all will be well.
P.S. this was posted first over a year ago on medium.