So the depression thing hangs around, and especially rears its ugly head for me when I am extremely busy, which leads to mega tiredness. For short periods, I tend to be able to run around like a crazy thing getting lots of stuff done, but it usually tends to be the Stuff of Least Resistance. If it’s anything complicated or anything that will take me too long, I tend to leave it til later, and keep busy with the easier stuff. Unfortunately, that means the harder stuff starts to pile up.
But I always think “I can do it, it’s okay, I can do it…I’ve just got to extend that deadline…or avoid that person until I can get it done…” This is a terrible technique for obvious reasons, leading to stress, anxiety and guilt when I let people down. I had a friend who was waiting on something from me today gently rebuke me, saying “communication is the key”.
I fully agree! But when do I communicate? Do I say at the outset, “look I know I’m fully capable of doing whatever it is you’ve asked me, but you should know that I might not get it done when I say I will, and it’s not because I’m lazy but just because I struggle with depression”? Do I just do my best and then when I find I can’t manage, say “I’m having issues with depression at the moment, and I am sorry but this is going to be delayed”?
Both tactics make me feel guilty and like a total hypochondriac. I know depression is real and I know it is something I am very slowly working through, and some days I will be good and other days I won’t. But it just feels like such a cop out to admit it.
Dave has said to me more than once that he’s startled to remember I have depression because I seem so capable, like I’ve got everything under control. That’s because I want everyone to think that! And, to some extent, I am still that person which is why I keep saying yes to things when people ask me to do stuff. Because I want to still be involved, I want to contribute, I want to use the gifts I have. And yet…it doesn’t do anyone any good when I fall over.
If you were working with someone who had depression, how would you prefer to work around it? Would you want to know upfront (and maybe choose to work with someone else)? Would you want to be told at any stage of the process?
Edit to add:
I started to read CJ Mahaney’s series on procrastinating and but stopped because I was feeling too guilty, then had to remind myself that a large part of the reason things slip by me is because I’m unwell (I also wonder about the whole ‘procrastinatrix’ title of this blog…this is constantly reinforcing to me that it’s in my nature to procrastinate). Probably where the guilt thing comes in is because there is some truth there; I do procrastinate. But the depression completely warps it.