The Financial Consequences of My Depression
A fun side effect of my depression is that, sometimes, it feels impossible to get any work done.
My depressive episodes come in waves. I’ll feel fine for a few weeks, and then suddenly I won’t. When these depressive episodes hit, working becomes a lot harder. But I can usually grit my teeth and push through, at the very least getting the bare minimum done.
But this episode was a bit worse than normal, and so everything was harder. A lot harder. Work felt like a more-than-monumental activity. And since I’m a freelancer who works from home and there was no one around keeping me accountable but myself, it was very easy to just not do it.
If you’ve never been depressed, you might not understand how someone could be unable to work because of it. And the thing is, when I’m not actively feeling depressed, I also sometimes wonder why I can’t make myself be as productive as I want to be when I am depressed. I’m going to be sad either way, I think, so isn’t it better to be sad and making money?
But then the depression comes along, and any sort of rational thinking goes out the window.
Suddenly, work is pointless. No matter that I literally need the money to live. I just can’t see the point in doing the work, when everything is so painful and overwhelming. And with no outside source that I have to be accountable to, I don’t have to justify not working to anyone else but myself, and I don’t take a lot of convincing.
So now the end of the month is here, and the consequences for my week of very little work are starting to be felt. I’m not about to starve or be out on the streets, but things are a lot tighter than I would like them to be.
And then there is the fact that not having enough money for things causes the negative self-talk to start up, which can lead to more depression and another decrease in productivity. Being depressed and being poor is a vicious cycle, it seems.
Maybe the worst part is it that I know this won’t be the last time. I am feeling pretty good today, and I’ve been getting more work done. This period of feeling better could last for a month, or maybe just a week. No matter how long it lasts, though, there will almost certainly come another time where I find myself unable to work, and I repeat the cycle all over again.
And yes, before anyone asks, I am actively seeking help for my depression and have been for some time. Hopefully there will come a day when my depressive episodes don’t derail me as much as they do now.
But that day did not come this month, as my bank account is only too happy to remind me.
Grace Carlson is a writer from Washington. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and the occasional poem. She also writes articles on travel, mental health, writing, and books. Sometimes she’s funny, or at least that’s what her mom says. Visit her blog, A Passport And A Pencil.