In my last depression, I forced myself to do this. I knew that shutting myself in would only make the depression worse. Of course, I had the fear that if someone saw me out and about they would accuse me of faking my depression – even though I had lost 20 pounds and looked like hell.
Once, I was spotted by a co-worker at Marshall’s. I liked going there because I could be around people but wasn’t considered odd if I didn’t speak or make eye contact with anyone.
Dammit, I thought, she’s going to go back to the office and tell everyone that I’m faking it and shopping. But I kept shopping. I just mindlessly dragged hangers across the rack, pretending I was actually look and could actually afford something.
I went to the gym. I would go later in the morning to avoid the early-bird over-achievers and stay-at-home moms who came in after dropping the kids off at school. I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I was like a junkie trying to cop some endorphins.
At noon, I went to a very large 12-Step meeting, where I could be around people. I didn’t speak and I avoided eye contact. I had one friend and she accompanied me to Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru and the meeting everyday. Then I went home for the rest of the day, where I prayed my depression wouldn’t wear off on my daughter.
Horizontal is the enemy. Fight it. Push yourself and keep pushing yourself to stay horizontal a bit longer everyday. Find somewhere you can go where you can be around other humans but aren’t expected to talk or make eye-contact. It may sound silly, but it’s a start.
And you have to start somewhere.
Woman standing image available from Shutterstock.