There are days when I literally don’t want to get out of bed. It is as if my eyelids won’t respond to the commands from my brain to open. My limbs feel lifeless and numb. My thoughts are jumbled and incoherent. Sleep hangs onto me tighter than the covers I am wrapped in. This has nothing to do with how much I may or may not have slept the night before. Ten hours or three hours, it doesn’t matter. Some thorn in my mind is telling me there is nothing worth getting up for, and I am struggling to not believe what I am thinking.

What do I do? I get up.

There are mornings in the shower when the thought of actually lifting my hands over my head to wash my hair seems inconceivable. As the water falls around me, all I can think of is how heavy I feel. Not heavy in the sense of being overweight, but as if someone has tied great weights around my wrists and ankles. Instead of standing up, I want to lie down. Instead of moving, I want to be still. The importance of cleanliness seems to be momentarily lost as I contemplate the effort which is being required of me.

What do I do? I wash my hair.

I sit at my desk sometimes and drift away mentally. It goes beyond simple daydreaming. For a moment, I am lost, in some other space and time completely. Instead of visions of grandeur, I feel longing, regret, and sadness. I feel a sudden urge to leap from chair and run from the building, testing how far my legs will take me before they give out completely. I want to get away. I want to escape.

What do I do? I do my job.

Fake-It-Til-You-Make-ItMy friends invite me out to do things socially sometimes. I always appreciate being invited, but I don’t always want to go. I usually end up dragging myself to whatever is going on, but I feel strangely removed from what is happening. I want to feel the joy and happiness good friends and love can bring, but instead I feel a void between myself and those I am with. I find myself struggling for words, forcing laughter, feeling awkward. I wonder if it would have been better if I had stayed at home. Sometimes I make an early exit, even though I really have nowhere I have to be.

What do I do? I hang out with my friends.

Is everything I have described here what every day is like for me? No. If it were, I would likely have found myself institutionalized by now. There are days, though, when I feel the full weight of depression on my shoulders, and those are the worst days. Those are the days when I am offered a glimpse into the life of someone with no hope or joy or happiness whatsoever. Those are the days when I have to be the least genuine, nearly having to drag myself through every task.  I have managed to cope with those days the best I can, but when they come they are overwhelming.

How do I make it? Well, that’s simple. I fake it.

I’ve had to fake it a lot lately, but I’m not so sure that’s an entirely bad thing. Instead of feeling as if I am a fraud, I feel as I am trying, putting my best effort into reclaiming the parts of my life depression has stolen away. Do I always feel good? No, I don’t. If I do not try, though, how can I ever break the chains which hold me? Even if I hide my pain and go through the motions, that is better than not making the attempt at all. To stop moving right now would be death. In essence, I am embracing “fake it ’til you make it.”

Genuineness and honesty are treasured traits, and they should be applauded and celebrated. Sometimes, though, in an effort to just get by, they have to be tucked away by the depressive person. I realize this sounds counterintuitive, but to try sometimes means placing fear and apprehension aside. This is no different than someone conquering a fear of flying. They may still be terrified on the plane, but in reality they are soaring. I may struggle, but I make it. The only illusion is that I cannot.


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