I first planned to write this as a ‘day in the life of’ style article to portray my day-to-day experience, but I fell at the first hurdle: where to start. When I wake up? Well, that’s no use. That could be any time of day. Who’s to say I even slept? Breakfast? Bold of you to assume I conform to conventional mealtimes or practices. Every meal can be brunch in a timeless void. At the beginning of my get-ready routine? Laughable. Most of what resembles that in my life is done hurriedly before making human contact. The rest of it is spread out over a series of days in light of some sort of big event such as a trip to Sainsbury’s.
So, where to start? Let’s start where prom night ends: in bed. It’s safe to say that if it’s the start, the middle or the end, I’ll be there. Seeing me, emotionlessly staring at the back of my door, halfway between sitting and lying down, with my laptop perched somewhere on my lower half, shielded from my probably naked body by an unwashed duvet, you would be forgiven for feeling a surge of sympathy.
However, your pity may wane, if we shift our focus to the rest of my room from the mixed piles of both clean and dirty laundry to the towel that I cannot remember when I last washed it. Or when you look at the Minnie Mouse dressing gown fragrant with BO and the unhoovered floor sprinkled with lint and unbreathing moths. And the seven tabs of obscure pornography open on my laptop split screen with a half-watched episode of Scooby-Doo. Then there’s the tissues we don’t talk about and the three crispy plants that no longer need watering.
You’re probably wondering how I got here, and it all starts with a sexy little molecule I like to call C₁₀H₁₂N₂O. Its friends call it Serotonin. Although, it’s actually still a contested theory, as a science as fledgling as neuroscience has very few concrete findings. You know, just in case your life had just too much certainty in it. I’m depressed. Let’s just leave it there, because fuck googling it. Uh oh, lack of motivation? You’ll become good friends with her, too.
I’m aware that the above paragraph seems like a narcissistic rant crying for help, but I promise it serves a purpose. All these problems with my room, all the little red flags for a potential housemate, I could fix them in literally half an hour, yet they build up over days. While my over-dramatisation makes it sound like I have the lifestyle of one of the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I do get up and do life—most days. I’m in a place now where I am, on the whole, dealing with my depression, recognising unhealthy thoughts and learning to cope.
Most days there will be that one small task that’s always stretch too far. I mean, let’s be honest, that one plate on the floor will take less than a minute to take to the kitchen. Thus, it can wait until tomorrow. But the next day that becomes slightly more difficult to do. If the plate has waited one day, it can wait two. And then that next day comes and another small task flies under the radar (let’s say putting away your clean laundry). I think you can see where this is going… And, sure, at first, it’s easy not to care and to ignore it. But staring down at that plate ten days later, you can really feel the dull shine of white porcelain piercing your soul. Hercules himself would not be given such a difficult task as washing it up.
I’ve mainly just talked about tasks around the house; however, I’m afraid to say this applies to most aspects of life. Every time you turn down a meet up with a friend, it gets that much easier to do it again. Each time you don’t have breakfast, the less you see it as the most important meal of the day. When I don’t get round to sleeping at night, the more comfortable I am with just being tired constantly. The small things add up. When your brain tells you nothing matters, everything becomes small. And, ultimately, everything adds up.
Hopefully, I have painted a very unromantic image of depression because I would consider very little in my life romantic, let alone my mental health. If there were a message I wanted to leave you with it’s this: sweat the small stuff. Both the good and the bad. A really fucking good cup of tea sometimes saves the day; some days the last straw is not feeling up to washing that very same cup. It’s surprising how much every action affects your mental health and, as a result, your life. And if I may be so bold, pay attention to yourself. Please. Oh, and clean your fucking room.