There are always signs in my life that my depression is in bad shape. There are the easy ones to look out for like not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, and also staying there all day. I can tell that things might be turning for the worst when I fail to take a shower for a few days. Generally, when I am failing to take care of myself, there is a good chance I am really depressed.
There is one sign that isn’t always an easy one to spot in my life because it is more subtle, and it is the mess in my personal space, my room. The mess that happens is usually over a period days or weeks of neglect. The mess begins to pile up with small things at first. My desk becomes a makeshift bookshelf with all the books that I pull off my bookshelves for school or for pleasure reading begin to tower over me when I sit at my desk.
I fail to pick up my dirty clothes from the floor and a pile starts just next to my dirty laundry basket but never inside it. I start to see water bottles half drank on my headboard and my desk. When I get packages the boxes start to pile up in my closet to such a point that it is overwhelming.
My research papers in different folders from semesters current and past with the research folders for my current literary works are strewn all over the place. On my desk. On my bed where I sometimes spend time writing and researching at night. I only use half of my huge bed so the other half usually has books, clean clothes, and folders strewn in piles. Lots of folders.
My life becomes a complete mess and it is a sign that things need to change. One thing that I have learned is that the messier my life is the deeper my depression can go.
Looking at my messy room, I feel like spending the rest of my night cleaning. But that would most likely be counterproductive for me right now because I wouldn’t get enough done tonight to justify the actual cleaning. I will have to set aside a day this weekend to some wintertime spring cleaning.
I wanted to spend the rest of this blog post breaking down why a messy life is a sign that my depression is starting to get worse. When I am normal, I am a clean and organized person when it comes to my personal space. I prefer things to be organized and neat. It is a lot like my writing. I am overly organized when it comes to my writing. Every chapter has its place and I feel better when things are written exactly the right way. When I have better control my personal space is clean and organized. I make my bed. I put books away in their rightful places.
So why does my personal space become so disorganized and how do I let it get that way? It starts with a little thing like not really feeling like I had the energy to do a simple task like putting my books back on the shelf. It starts with one and then another before long a semester of studying and writing has everything spread out all over my room. I start to not feel like making my bed. I start to take my laptop to bed to write because it is a comfortable place, but I know this wrong. I take books and research work bed, a place that isn’t recommended to do for good sleep hygiene.
At night I prefer to overlook a mess pushing it aside until it grows to where I am today. I get really annoyed at myself for letting the mess in my personal space get this bad and at the same time ready to reorganize and prioritize my personal space again. I know things are changing with my depression as the season gets colder and I see less sunlight. For me, it comes down to getting things right in my life to keep my depression from spiraling out of control.
I think it will be different this year. I can already tell that two days into what is always the worst month of my life, November, that I have a better grip on my depression. I am a few weeks away from my 10-year diagnosis/suicide anniversary. I have been better at getting through my depression so far even on the bad days. I can write here when things get bad because writing has been so therapeutic for me. I am working on trying to complete my memoir by the end of this year at least a first draft. I have hope that I will be able to sell my screenplay.
All this together gives me hope that things will change for the good, and for the better. I can use my writing to really focus my life each day. It has been a really tough week and yet I have been active with my writing. My depression has certainly taken hold again. I have had one day this week where I let it control me, and it was a tough day. But I am going inward and choosing to write about my life. Here and in my memoir.
Always keep fighting.
Photo Credit: Jesus Hilario H.