I’m writing from the inside of a depressive episode, in the hopes that it might help someone who finds themselves in the same place, and wonders if the feelings they’re having are “normal” for depression.
So. Apathy. That feeling of “I don’t care.” Not quite the same as “What are you hungry for?” “I don’t care.” …when searching for a restaurant. No, this is more like indifference, uninterestedness, lack of concern or opinion.
I have no opinions, no interests. If I have to lie in bed all day, ok. Actually, that would be great (there’s an opinion!). If I need to get something at the store – well, I’d really rather not (that’s actually an opinion, too), but if I can muster up the strength and energy, I can probably do it. If I need to make a call,…well, I hope it’s not urgent because I won’t get to it for a few days. I mean really, how pressing is it?
I used to keep a very clean house, and I still do by others’ standards. But I know I haven’t dusted in two weeks, and the bathroom sinks need to be cleaned and sanitized. But does it have to be done right now?
Apathy as described through my depression – I don’t care what we eat, or even if we eat. I don’t care where we go – do we have to go? I don’t care what I look like, but maybe I should shower since I might care if I run into someone I know. But I’m not putting on make-up – I don’t care that much about my appearance. And a new one for me in this depressive episode (only happened once) – I don’t care what I should be doing today, I don’t care enough to get out of bed. (I couldn’t stand it, and finally roused at 11am. 11am! Then I judged myself on how lazy I am – but negative self-talk and judging harshly are discussions for another post).
This is where making appointments with other people really helps me. Especially since I won’t cancel on anyone who is not a friend, and everybody here where I now live is still in the category of medical team or good acquaintance. Isn’t that awful? I’d cancel on a friend, but not on a stranger.
Why is that? Stigma I think. I don’t want people who are still getting to know me to find out that I’m actually quite a mess. I’m not close enough to them to be that vulnerable.
But what if I don’t hold back? What if I am honest right away? Won’t that end friendships even before they start? Would I be off-putting? I’d be honest, but being that vulnerable is setting myself up for possible rejection, too much pain. And it’s not necessary. Everybody doesn’t need to know I’m struggling.
Maybe it would be better if I don’t build a support team here. I mean, I have Jesus, my husband, my therapist, and my psych doc. Why can’t they be enough? Do I need a friend in this? I have my old support team, just an email or call or text away. I have my “blogging friends support team.” And all the encouraging words mean the world to me. But these friends are not here.
Making friends – real, deep friendships – takes time. I’ve only been here 5 months (is that all?), and that is not enough time. Even a year is not enough time.
How did I get to writing about loneliness when I started with apathy? You know, I really don’t care.😉
But here’s the part I need to remember in the middle of my apathy or loneliness: God cares!
Give all your worries and cares to God, because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7 NLT
(Jesus speaking): Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for the wildflowers that are here today and thrown in the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Matthew 6:28b-30a NLT (These verses in context are actually about worry, but I wanted to emphasize Gods’s care.)
(Paul writing): And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19 NLT
God cares – deeply – about me, and about the pain of depression that can sometimes be overwhelming. He cares, He understands, He loves. And that it something I do care about.