(Maybe) Getting Better, Slowly: Depression Naps & Progress

I’ll be blunt: Yesterday sucked.

A lot.

My alarm went off at seven but I was so exhausted and desperate for more sleep that I reset it for nine. At nine I promptly got up, got dressed, and got back in bed, where I took a four-hour Depression NapTM because I was sad and tired and more than a little mad at myself for sleeping in by two hours in the first place. Yes, I know that solving my frustration at being sleepy by sleeping yet some more doesn’t make any sense – but then again, neither does depression.

I tried a new schedule this semester, one that involved taking one day off per week. I’ve set aside each Sunday as a time to read, write, and just generally relax. I don’t worry about school on that day, or at least I try not to.

And I botched that schedule yesterday. I didn’t write at all, although I tried. Didn’t work. I sat and stared at my laptop screen for several hours but no words came.

I read, like, one page of the book I’d planned to read from cover to cover that day. (I’ve made it a goal to read one entire book each Sunday! Since I’m generally too busy to read anything for fun during the rest of the week, Sundays are my special reading day.)

I spent most of the day feeling miserable. I wasn’t very productive. I felt groggy and disoriented from waking up so late. I was mad at myself. I didn’t eat enough and so felt listless later on.

But honestly? Yesterday wasn’t a complete waste, because towards the end of it I realized something: I haven’t had many days like this this semester.

In a surprise plot twist, this photo IS actually related to the rest of this post! I went for a walk on Sunday afternoon to clear my head and get some fresh air. I took some pictures of the first snowfall of the winter (more photos coming soon, in a separate post!) and of course I had to take some cat pictures too, because - well, you know me. That soft focus! That head tilt! Why are all cats more photogenic than me?

In a surprise plot twist, this photo IS actually related to the rest of this post! I went for a walk on Sunday afternoon to clear my head and get some fresh air. I took some pictures of the first snowfall of the winter (more photos coming soon, in a separate post!) and of course I had to take some cat pictures too, because – well, you know me. That soft focus! That head tilt! Why are all cats more photogenic than me?

Last school year, as well as this entire past summer, I spent at least half (if not more) of the days in any given week feeling like this, acting like this. That may be why I don’t actually remember as much of freshman year – not to mention this summer, which seems blurrier and blurrier the more I try to remember it – as I’d like to. I was SUPER out of it. All the time.

It really, really sucked.

One of the reasons yesterday messed with me so badly is that, well, I’m not used to it. I hated always feeling groggy and disoriented last year – last year, when I’d wake up for my single Wednesday class, held at 3:30, at approximately 3:15. But… well, like I said, I was used to it.

And this year I’m not. This year I’ve been much better at taking care of myself, much more successful in terms of forcing myself to push through the haze of depression and anxiety and OCD. It doesn’t always work, but damn do I try. I’m used to getting up at seven in the morning every day, even on weekends, and pushing through mountains of classes and homework and extracurriculars until I go to bed at eleven sharp each night.

So in a way, yesterday actually kind of made me feel better… by first making me feel worse. Once I realized that I felt bad not only because I was super depressed but because I wasn’t used to having days where it was this hard to get myself out of bed, I felt immensely relieved. (I also felt a bit proud of myself for dealing with this day slightly better than I probably would have a few months ago, since I made the small effort to cheer myself up and distract myself with things like going for a walk, talking to friends, watching happy TV shows with my roommate, et cetera.)

I’m still a little annoyed about yesterday. But hey, what can I do about it? I can’t go back in time to do it over. I can’t change anything about that day.

What I can do is look back at it, then look back even further to days from last fall, spring, and summer and see that in reality, I’ve improved so much. Sometimes, though, in those moments of depression, it’s hard to notice that. And even harder to believe it. I guess it’s a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees?

And it made me super mindful of my plans for next semester, too. I’m at the point in this semester where I want a fresh start, so I’ve been making lots of lists, plans, goals. That’s perfectly fine, but I do need to remember to build in time for days like yesterday.

I hope that next semester will go even more smoothly than this one has, but I’m not perfect and I need to remember that not every single one of my days will be perfect, either. They can be better, though – but even then, I must do my best to take days like Sunday in stride. It’s frustrating to have days like that, but if I can remember even on those difficult days that I’m having fewer days like that than ever, then I think I’ll be all right.

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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5 Responses to (Maybe) Getting Better, Slowly: Depression Naps & Progress

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    🙂 I’m glad you’re feeling better. As you say, one bad day can serve to highlight the overall trend towards betterness! Also, setting yourself goals to read entire books even on your days off might just mean your brain needs a bit of a break here and there. Sometimes thinking is too much like hard work.

    I woke up at 6pm today. I think it’s partly physical fatigue (I did four hours of baking yesterday which is hard work), partly introvert fatigue (I then socialised for like three and a half hours which tires me out), and partly my general propensity towards hibernation because of mental health. I just looked at my to-do list and have decided to make it tomorrow’s. Although some of the things on it were urgent / time-sensitive. Too late now. I am sleep.

  2. Shalom says:

    i love you and i am proud of you and i cannot wait to meet you and give you SUCH A HUG. also send me your address pls i have a gift to send you.
    love u and the internet because of you

  3. Heather says:

    *sends hugs and cupcakes*

  4. Pingback: A Snowy Day In Iowa City | Musings From Neville's Navel

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