Around this time every summer, my depression wakes up, realizes I’m happy, and says, “Oh no, no, no, we simply cannot have that.”
It then proceeds to launch an attack of epic proportions.
For about 3-4 weeks every summer I feel no need to interact with the world, make pleasant conversation, get out of bed, eat anything but toast, or feel anything but miserable.
This happens every summer, so I can usually brace myself for the coming onslaught of despair, but this summer, I made the very, very bad decision to go on facebook when my depression was at its peak.
The problem with going on facebook when I’m depressed is that EVERYONE’S LIFE WILL BE BETTER THAN MINE AND THEY WILL HAVE THE PHOTOS TO PROVE IT.
Of course it’s not true that everyone’s life is better (at least I hope it’s not), but it still feels that way when I’m depressed and I only got 3 days of vacation for the entire summer.
And I used those 3 days to go to NY to run a 10k.
Unfortunately, this time around my depression coincided with all of my friends going on vacation. Because they’re on vacation, loving life, and posting pictures on facebook, they don’t have time to call or text me, so I feel unloved and unappreciated.
Mind you if they dare to call me when I’m depressed I’ll most likely cry and then yell, “Leave me alone! Can’t you see I’m indisposed!!!!!”
It’s a vicious cycle.
Once July passes I’m usually back to my old relatively content self, but the weeks where I hate life and want to dramatically throw myself through a stained glass window with a picture of the Madonna and baby Jesus on it are intense.
It takes time and prayer, but I eventually get out of it and start finding happiness in the world again.
The reason why I’m boring you with this is so I can tell you about my fort.
In an effort to kick my depression in the butt and start feeling more like Gyasi and less like a waste of flesh, I built a fort.
It wasn’t a very beautiful fort, but it was my fort, and it had a sign on it that said, “The Queen is in.”
I was the Queen.
So let me tell you about my fort:
Next month my office is moving to a new location. If any of you have ever moved before you know what a long and complicated process it is. You also know that in an effort to move all of the things you have accumulated over the years, you will discover that you have accumulated too many things over the years and you will need to throw some of it out. When I moved from NY to FL I threw out about four garbage bags worth of stuff. In the two weeks that we’ve been preparing to move, my coworkers and I have thrown out or shredded about ten garbage bags worth of stuff.
And we’ve still got another two weeks before moving day.
Lord help us.
Monday I was helping one of my coworkers clean out some files from her office and get them ready to go into storage. We had a great system going; she brought the files to my desk, I boxed them up, and then I put the boxes off to the side. When we started, I thought she would have 4 boxes max. She had about twelve boxes of files that needed to go into storage. My desk area isn’t that large. That’s part of the reason why we’re moving: nobody’s desk area is large. We need more space. Unfortunately, as I was boxing up her things, Fedex dropped off three boxes of documents.
A towering wall of boxes was forming around my desk.
And I was standing at the base of it ready to crumble.
I don’t handle stress well when I’m in a balanced state of mind; therefore, I was ready to fly off the handle in my emotionally compromised state of mind.
Cue the divine intervention.
“I should build a fort,” I said to no one in particular.
My desk is isolated from everyone else, so I often talk to myself.
“Yup, I’m definitely building a fort.”
Then I emailed Joanna and told her about my need for a fort.
Thankfully, she was supportive of my foolishness.
At 5:30, I turned off the phone, shut the office doors, called Joanna and said, “Fort” to which she replied, “I’m coming,” and started building my fort.
Joanna’s an interior design major, so she was necessary to the construction of my fort.
She was the reason my fort ended up with windows and a flag.
At 5:45, I stood back, looked at our handiwork, and thought for the first time in a long time that life wasn’t that bad.
It is true that I’m not jetsetting to Mumbai this week. Neither will I be going on a weekend getaway to Key Largo. It is highly unlikely that I will become a world-famous writer in two weeks. There’s a slim possibility that will get up tomorrow morning and find that I’m feeling 100% again. There’s an even slimmer possibility that I will wake up tomorrow and be the Queen of France with nary a care in the world. Yes, I know that France no longer has a monarchy.
Yes, I am also aware that royals have problems too.
However, I able to hope that I will feel better.
When the depression sets in I’m incapable of hope.
There is no end to the sadness, just a deeper level of sadness for me to wade through. When the depression gains momentum, it’s like a hurricane that blows through your front door, tears the pictures off the walls, hurls your couch out the window, and rips the floorboards off the floor. Nothing is where it should be and you don’t know how to put things back together again.
When I’m able to find hope again, it’s like putting the door back on the hinges, rolling up my sleeves, and being ready to tackle the mess.
So what is the moral of this story?
Perhaps when life is kicking your butt, you’re in a funk that you can’t get out of, you feel like every one else in the entire world is at a party and you’re stuck at home, or you just feel like you’re done with the world and want to get off, take five minutes and build a fort.
I’m not saying it’ll change your life, but things don’t seem so bleak when you have a fort.