When one is coming out of a weeks-long major depressive episode, productivity returns gradually. It’s a bit like sleeping on your arm funny and waking up to find it all numb and useless. You can’t then immediately go play a piano concerto, or knit something, or type or do anything else particularly dextrous with your blood-deprived limb. It takes a little while for movement to come back. Its the same thing with the will to Do Things in a that post-depression numbness.
So productivity reappears in fits and starts. I make myself a list of things to do at the beginning of the day, then do maybe one of them before returning to an hour-long couch-stupor. (Sometimes, truth be told, making the list is exhausting enough to leave me feeling ready for a nap.) So my day runs about like this:
Get up. Consider working out before breakfast. Sometimes do. More often, eat a bagel instead.
Check email, Facebook, read blogs, check on applications…acknowledge that what I need to do is SEND emails, FILL OUT applications etc. Realize that it is 9:00 and I’m already failing at my day. Languish in my failure for a bit, while looking at Pinterest.
Rouse myself from this distraction and Make a List. Making a list is good! It shows intent, and thoughtfulness, and requires me to actually address the things that need doing! Yay!
Realize that my list is reeeaaally long, and will require me to either a: talk to people or b: put on clothes and leave the house and THEN talk to people. This sounds really cruddy. Sit for awhile and contemplate this hardship. Check Facebook again.
Realize that it’s now lunchtime. Regret the wasting of half my day–feel like a failure some more. Reevaluate my list and strike things that I have now waited to long to do. Do one very simple list item. Make lunch. Eat sullenly.
Energized by my meal, I decide to practice for awhile. This has to happen soon, before people start getting home from school/work and the volume of my singing causes some kind of torch-bearing mob to descend on my apartment. Woo! I’m so productive and motivated!
Finish practicing. Mark it off the list (it’s always on the list). Realize how much of the list remains. Check Facebook again.
After a couple of hours of knitting and watching reruns on Netflix, I am suddenly moved to start dinner. Make a nutritious and delicious meal for my husband and myself. Or, (more likely) throw together something fairly painless that requires no trips to the store.
Gripped by an inexplicable urge to Accomplish Things, I strike off several more list items. Woo! Check me out!
Decide to make a cheesecake. At 10:00 pm. Of course.
Stay up too late. Feel bad about waking husband on the way to bed.
So it’s not that I don’t Do Things. Hey, I just did at least three things in the last 20 minutes! (Pay rent? Check! Call to replace that debit card I lost in the house sometime in October? Check! Blog post? Check! I’m on FIRE!) I just don’t FEEL like I accomplish things, since those little victories are so unpredictably spaced throughout the day. This is the mental version of pins-and-needles, my brain coming back to life. Ow.
*I swear I’m going to start posting more normal, happy things soon. Like stories about my husband cooking! And maybe that cheesecake recipe i just tried! Or something funny about my cats! I have no idea! Exclamation Points! Eee!