It probably hit me yesterday when I was watching President Obama address reporters after the bill for strengthening background checks and closing loopholes failed in the Senate. All the sad, familiar faces behind him — either victims of gun violence or had lost a loved one to it, coupled with the round-the-clock, often incorrect reporting coming out of the Boston Marathon bombing.
It hit me how even after I turned the TV off and went to do something, anything else, the feeling still lingered. It was there when I went to the gym to work out. When I ate my oatmeal in the morning. When I combed my hair. Even when I spent time with others I should have been enjoying.
I was depressed. And I didn’t know why. After all, I was doing all the right things.
I was staying active and engaged. I was leaving the house every other day. I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was exercising. I was taking my medication at the same time every night. I was getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Managing my Bipolar Disorder goes hand-in-hand with me being healthy and taking good care of myself. Yet, the infinite sadness of both everything and nothing in particular was gripping me and dragging me down.
I always say there’s no way to get around a problem but to go through it. And so that’s what I do. I push myself when I exercise even though it feels tedious and smelly and painful and boring. And I keep making sure my needs are met. I do breathing exercises when I feel a twinge of anxiety coming on. And I try to keep writing, even though it’s the last thing I wanted to do. Because all I wanted to write about was this, that pointless feeling, compounded with the sadness of others, causing inertia.
Sitting on the doctor’s couch, I told him I had no real reason to be sad. I was working on a book. I have lots of friends. I’ve started dating again. My family supports and adores me. I’ve never looked better or been healthier. Yet, I was sinking deeper and deeper into the land of “why bother.” Why bother going to the gym? Or putting on make-up? Or combing my hair? Or going out? Or writing on the blog? Or writing for anyone? Or working on my TV show or book or planning my trip to New York later this month?
But rather than reduce myself to eating garbage and watching reality TV all day, I slug on. Even though it is dull and tedious and feels pointless. I keep going through it and going forward because the alternative is to let the depression win and it doesn’t get a say in my life anymore. I’m going to live it.
Whether I “like” it or not.