Appearances can be deceptive, especially for those of us who are living with depression. Which is why the ‘lazy’ label can feel like a particularly cruel one. And it’s not just other people who might think we’re being lazy either – it’s often a term we use to beat ourselves up with too; for not doing more, being more.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT WE MAY APPEAR LAZY
We understand that at times we may look lazy. We know that we often spend more time in bed than others. We know that we sometimes procrastinate things which seem as though they are really simple to do. We know that we cancel social things more often than other people. We know that it can be hard to meet up with us because we never seem to have the energy to do anything. Our house might become messy and the dishes pile up because we don’t have the energy or motivation to sort it out. From the outside, we can look really lazy, but we’re not. We’re not choosing any of these things, depression is pinning us down and impacting our self-worth, our energy levels and motivation.
WE OFTEN SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN BED
We often spend more time in bed than the average person. This does not mean that we’re lazy. We have an illness which can cause us to be incredibly tired. Depression is also a frightening illness and for many of us, bed becomes the safe place. It can stop us sleeping, or cause us to sleep too much. In the same way that flu can glue us to our bed, depression can do the same. Our bodies need time to rest. Our minds need time to rest. We aren’t being lazy, we are listening to our body.
EVERYTHING GETS SLOWED DOWN
Depression can cause everything to go into slow motion. People often explain depression as a ‘numb-ness’, as though we’re ‘walking through treacle’. We may walk slowly, talk slowly and think slowly. It can take us a lot more time to do things than it takes other people. We aren’t being lazy if we don’t manage to pack as much into our day as other people do. It’s just that everything we do takes longer, as we fight the self-doubt and the lack of energy, and there are only so many hours in the day.
We often procrastinate tasks. It’s not because we don’t want to do them. It’s not because we’re lazy. Completing the basic things we need to do to keep functioning, can make us so tired that we struggle for the energy needed to do much else. We know that we have things to do. We want to do them. But we are exhausted so we keep putting them off. We also doubt our ability to do the things we used to be able to do, everything feels harder and our confidence is often at an all time low. We don’t want to make mistakes as they play into the negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness and helplessness, and so sometimes, it’s easier to avoid the task, rather than muck it up.
WE FEEL USELESS
We feel useless. We feel as though whatever we do will not be good enough, so we end up not doing anything. We are crippled by the fear of failure and inadequacy. We would rather do nothing than do something badly. We are not lazy. We have such low self-esteem that we feel that anything we do will be rubbish. So doing anything can feel pointless and impossible.
WE ARE FIGHTING
Every minute of every day we are fighting ourselves; the relentless intrusive thoughts, the lack of energy, the lack of interest. This is before we ‘do’ anything. That’s before we even get as far as making breakfast or leaving the house. This means that even basic tasks take a huge amount of energy. So, we might not get as much done as others do, or it might take us longer to do things. We are not lazy, we are fighting for our lives while trying to function and keep everything ticking along.
WE ARE NOT ALONE
We are not alone in feeling this way, other people do too. We need to try and be kind to ourselves, and patient with ourselves. We are not lazy, we are fighting. We are doing our best and we’re giving all we have to give.
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