Not Quite a Windowless Room: Brief Optimism in Depression

I have not left the state in over 3 years; I didn’t realize until recently that this is not something I like. I say that even as I actively plot ways to stay home as long as possible before going to work tomorrow. I am shut-in and a homebody and would rather hide from the world than have it take any notice of me, but I also want to leave and go do things, outside things, near-people things, maybe some things that involve water that isn’t boiled and mixed with delicious, delicious herbs.

Oh who am I kidding, I could never leave you

I wonder how many people relate to this weird feeling I’ve been having lately. I’ve suddenly both felt like I’ve been stuck in one place way too long without a break, but when I try to zoom in on the specifics to pinpoint when exactly the stuck-ness started, I can’t. Maybe it’s easier to see how much we need a break from what we see everyday when a break actually becomes an option.
And a break is finally an option, at least for me.
In a few weeks, I’m going on vacation with my partner and their family, and this has given me a few things to think about. 1) Wow, these wonderful people are really gambling that they can like me for a week without a break. 2) The closer I get to leaving, the more I want to already be gone. 3) Are there other things like this?
That last one is the question that is going to keep me awake through the night and make me grumpy all day tomorrow. If it took me until I had the option of leaving town to actually realize I really wanted to get away, then does that mean there are other things I don’t realize I want? What are those things? Can I have them? Can someone tell me what they are so I can devote all my time and energy and laughably limited resources to obtaining them? Like every philosopher and angsty teen past midnight, I have to wonder what else is there to life beyond what I have now.

Not one of these boring, shitty monochrome pens. I’m talking pens that are at least pentachrome

You know those pens that have all the different little clicky bits that make different colors ink come out? I know those exist. I could probably get one if I wanted to. That knowledge does not fill me with anticipation and energy and unfamiliar excitement. But what if I take a moment and consider something I never thought would be possible and decide it can be mine. Hmmm finally having a hat that doesn’t make me look like a stoner? No, that doesn’t do it for me, and maybe too unrealistic. Cheesecake? No, too nebulous. I can’t decide if I’d want to eat it or learn to make it or drop it off a skyscraper. Skyscraper, there’s something to that one. Why is the idea of a colossal building appealing to me? Is it because it’s so strange and frighteningly tall like nothing around me could be? Do I want to stand at the synthetic peak of humanity’s world and spit on the invisible people below? No, I already decided I didn’t want to get high or I’d just get the hat. Still, getting things doesn’t sound as appealing as this idea of doing things. That’s new. I want to do things.
I haven’t wanted to do things in years.
Or, I have, but not in the same way. I’m the kind of depressed person that will say they want to go ice skating with the same level of intent as I’d have when I tell an acquaintance “we should hang out!” I wanted to do things, but there wasn’t any practical energy behind it. I’d want to do something, but there was the same chance of me actually doing that thing as there was of me ever returning a call. Strangely, however, I don’t feel quite the same lately. I feel like I actually have the energy to work on the things I want to do. Consumption, whether it’s food or buying shit I don’t need, has been my way of giving myself some form of reward for minimal effort because I didn’t have the time or energy or ability to put effort toward bigger rewards because all my energy was being taken by just getting out of bed and appearing functional. That’s what my specific brand of depression feels like: I want to do things, but actually doing them is an abstraction that cannot ever be real.
And the fact that I don’t feel that way anymore doesn’t mean I’m all better and the depression is all done and now I’m going to be a big happy forever and ever and fuck the therapists that said this might be something I struggle with all my life.

Fuck you Dr. Nerd! Looks like you were wrong about needing to make lifelong changes that can never guarantee happiness

What it means is that I have this nice little window where things get to be a bit easier before they’re difficult and abstract again. In describing these windows in which the depression may have momentarily retreated, I’ll say exactly what I’ll say should I ever encounter one of those cathedrals with the enormous stained glass and all the weight of time on them: I really dig these windows.

35 Replies to “Not Quite a Windowless Room: Brief Optimism in Depression”

      1. I feel like the place you have in mind isn’t my bathtub, which is somewhat isolated. The forest does sound wonderful. I used to love taking naps on conveniently flat rocks or while tied to a branch with my belt way up in a tree

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😁 I wasn’t thinking of your bathtub. Wherever feels comfortable. The only problem with is a bathtub is the possibility of falling asleep and drowning. Just saying…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Enjoy the window! May it be a long-lasting one, because Flying Spaghetti Monster knows how needed those windows are. I’m super excited for you that you get to take a trip, I hope you have ALL of the fun. All of it. (Though you can share with your partner and their family if you want to!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The amount of times I’ve pitched a fit about want to omg leave the house and actually DO something, only to then not be able to actually think of a thing I want to do enough to…you know…leave the house, is a lot. A lot of times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, I can relate a little too hard. Sometimes I just want to be out or to somehow just be suddenly having a pleasant experience somewhere, but the actual act of doing the thing and going to the place is just… too much

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not going to lie, I might be willing to pay someone to physically push me into the shower, pick out clothes for me, probably comb my hair, and get me to the place I feel like going to without any thought or actual effort required from me – more or less treating me like an oversized baby. Just “I wanna be at (place), but I don’t have the physical or emotional energy to make it happen”, and the person would make it happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I so relate to this. It makes me sad for my partner cos I feel I’m clipping his wings by my being so scared of everyone and everything and having no interest in much. But I’ve just read someone’s travel blog and it really made me think ‘I’d like to go there’. Have a wonderful vacation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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