Friend: “OH MY GOD YOU EVEN SWEAT IN EMOJIS!”
Note: This was after an 8 mile run**
**Not actually relevant. Sometimes I wake up like this.
This whole time I thought I needed to lose weight and get toned, but it turns out all I really needed to do was purchase this full-length skinny mirror.
As I leave for my daily run, trying to get out the door and get started…
Doorman: “Wow, you sure do run a lot. Even in this heat?”
Me: “Yup! But this is nothing compared to how much I used to run! I used to run marathons and half marathons on the regular.”
Doorman: “Wow. But I find that people who run THAT much are running away from something.”
Oh. (awkward stare-down)
Me: “Ok, bye!”
Eric, bless his soul, offered to escort me on today’s walk/jog, as he could see, thanks to a current low-level bout with depression, I was struggling to get started.
Three minutes in…
Me <internally>: This fucking sucks. I hate that I can’t run. I hate that all I can get my body to do is this pathetic, sluggish, barely-trot.
Eric (bouncing along next to me, 100% genuine and full of enthusiasm): “Wait– isn’t this running?”
You woke up this morning at the ripe hour of 10:00am, took one look at the beautiful sunshine cascading through the window and thought, “Fuck. It’s a gorgeous day.” Then you covered your head with your pillow and sobbed.
Because you know who doesn’t care that it’s a gorgeous day? Your Depression.
Depression isn’t impressed by the abundant sunshine and the flowers blooming, because all Depression wants to do is lie down, hold its head between its hands, play a reel of guilt-ridden thoughts on loop, and pray for bedtime. But gorgeous weather gets in the way of this. Gorgeous weather causes friends and social media to say, “You should definitely go outside– it’s gorgeous out!” And of course you SHOULD go outside. And if you were you, you WOULD go outside. But you’re not you right now. Depression has the reins, and Depression laughs in your face when you think about leaving the bed. Depression says, “Go ahead, sad sack! Go try to ‘enjoy’ that weather. But if you think that weather is going to get rid of this headache, infuse you with energy, or make you stop hating yourself, then you really haven’t been paying attention for the past 20 years. Worthless idiot.”
Yeah. Depression is THAT mean.
But you try anyway. You swallow three Advil, force yourself to drink water, and put on your sneakers. You jog a whole city block before Depression says, “Nope, not happening, loser!” and slows your jog to a brisk, then painfully slow, walk. YOU are a marathon runner. YOU have trained for and finished 7 half marathons and 3 full marathons in the past five years. But Depression laughs at you for thinking that makes a difference right now. What YOU can do doesn’t matter. YOU are not running the show right now. YOU just get to watch while Depression takes a body that normally sprints every single morning and paralyzes it to a slow, walking-through-mud trudge.
But you run anyway. Not in the way you want to, or as fast as you want to, and only intermittently, for less than two blocks at a time. Because while you’re powerless to fight Depression in its entirety, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a quick FUCK YOU every few minutes. You make it to Central Park, and inherently, somewhere inside you, you know it’s beautiful. You know you’ve been waiting all winter for this kind of weather, for this kind of scenery, and you know what you should feel. But Depression doesn’t give a fuck. Depression takes the opportunity of a gorgeous day and uses it to make you feel even worse about yourself. Depression says, “See all these happy people enjoying the day? Bet you wish you were one of them! But nope, you’re just here, wallowing in your misery, looking around and feeling sorry for yourself. You can’t appreciate ANY of it. Because you’re selfish. And spoiled. Do you know how many people would kill for the luxury of being able to spend a whole beautiful spring day in Central Park? You’re pathetic.”
Like I said. Depression is a mean motherfucker.
But you keep going. Because while the walk/jog isn’t making you feel any better, and the weather isn’t giving you even a modicum of the energy that everyone swears it will, and every step feels like it’s sucking out a piece of your deadened soul, you know that if you can at the very least hit your daily Fit Bit step goal for the day, you will have ONE victory to hang your hat on. ONE little seemingly superficial victory that you can point to and say “I did this thing today.” ONE tiny victory before you crawl desperately back into bed and cry into the Kindle that you so badly want to read but Depression, with its crippling assault on your concentration, won’t allow you to. ONE minuscule victory that will allow you to whisper a semi-satisfied, “Fuck you, Depression” as you fall into a pill-induced, fitful slumber tonight.
And you do it. You hit the goal.
ONE small victory against Depression.
Maybe tomorrow there will be two.
Eric challenged me and his friend Ari to a “Workweek Hustle,” so I spent all week strapping my FitBit to the most hyperactive kid in my class.
(Part of the Ebola Mom series)
I was going to bring a handwritten thank you note next week, but now you can go fuck yourself.
Also, I gave the cookies to a homeless man.