Thought of the Week: Depression and Work

I apologize for the delay in this week’s post (it should have been out on Monday). Truth be told, I wasn’t sure I was going to get around to it at all; I’ve been visited by the black dog again, and it’s preventing me from getting much done.

In case you didn’t know, I have a day job. I wish I could say writing was a full-time occupation for me, but with $2.00 in sales from The Redemption of Erâth last quarter it’s hardly proving lucrative at the moment (come on, peeps—why aren’t you buying it?). I work shifts, which means a lot of weekends and late nights, and this sometimes gets in the way of blogging, too. I like to try and write Monday’s post sometime on Saturday or Sunday, but I never got around to it this week.

As if that wasn’t depressing enough, I actually suffer from depression. I’m on medication, but it doesn’t always work. It’s hit me particularly hard the past couple of weeks (no reason I can tell), and the world has become enveloped by a black fog I swim through day by day. It’s hard enough to get out of bed, never mind spend time thinking hard and writing out those thoughts.

Somehow, depression isn’t an excuse when it comes to ‘work’.

The funny thing is that my depression has almost never—never—interfered with ‘work’. What I get paid to do, what makes my living, has a way of pushing my depression into the background, placing it on hold until I get off work at the end of the night. I’m an utterly different person at work—one that smiles and laughs and cares. Ironically, it’s that person my wife fell in love with (we met at a previous, shared job). I hate feeling like I’ve tricked her, but I haven’t ever found a way to harness ‘work-me’ at home. Once I leave my place of work, depression slams down on me like a ton of bricks. There’s no escape.

It’s an interesting psychological artifact, and one that’s come out again in another part of my life. Recently I was accepted among the ranks of Girl Who Reads, a book review blog, as a feature writer. It’s exciting to be a part of someone else’s blog in addition to my own, and though the gig doesn’t pay, it feels very much like ‘work’—the same feeling I get every day at my job. In this regard, even in the depths of my depression I’ve been thinking about my next article for Girl Who Reads, and how to make it relevant and interesting. I already have some ideas, and will probably be typing them out today or tomorrow. Somehow, depression isn’t an excuse when it comes to ‘work’.

I wonder why I can’t summon the same mentality when it comes to housework, or my family life? There, depression is crippling and debilitating, a constant threat over my marriage and fatherhood. It strains the relationships throughout my personal life, and makes it impossible to have a normal life. Why is it that I can put it aside for what my brain considers ‘work’, but not for anything else? Weird, huh.

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