When I am in bed, there is no one around to judge me. I am free. In bed, I can do whatever I please. I can close my eyes, play with my feet, toss and turn, hold my teddy bear, curl up, stretch out, lay on my side, my back, my stomach. I can stare at my paintings on the walls with the daylight streaming through the cracks of the closed blinds of the patio glass door that I never use. I can day dream. I can suffer. I can cry; I can smile. I can have my hair braided to the side or loose and wild, draping over my pillow and shoulders. I can wear cotton underwear with no one telling me I can’t. I can wallow with zero makeup on. I can breathe. I am in control. This is my choice.
When I am in bed, I don’t have to deal with people. I don’t have to share space with my roommate, because my room is my private space. I don’t have to be alert and have engaging conversations, except for with myself. I don’t have to think about paying bills or earning money to survive. I don’t have to remember the trauma that I have been through unless it comes up in an inescapable nightmare, which doesn’t happen very often now because I live in the present. I am an overcomer because I have nearly overcome my past.
When I am in bed, I don’t have to have sex. I can think about it, but I don’t have to masturbate either. I can simply fantasize. I am in control. I can choose to not take my pills because I am in bed, and they’re all the way, five whole steps away, in the mirror cabinet above the bathroom sink. I don’t have to shower. I don’t have to put on deodorant. I can have greasy, unkempt hair. I can scratch my ass. I can marvel at the softness of my down pillows. I don’t have to change my bed sheets every week. I can be dehydrated and hungry and not give a fuck about doing anything to ameliorate those physical symptoms. I can nap and sleep and wake up every hour, looking at the clock on my phone. I can ignore messages. I can keep my phone on silent.
In bed I don’t have to be creative. I don’t have to be strong. I don’t have to say I’m okay when I’m not. I don’t have to smile politely at a passerby whose name I don’t remember even though I’ve seen that person a hundred times in the office over the last year. I don’t have to wonder whether I am pretty enough. I don’t have to wear the same bra every day, the only one I have which fits me properly. I don’t have to look at myself in a mirror.
In reality I should be getting out of my apartment on the weekends. The sun should be gracing the skin on my face and on my arms. My feet should remember what it feels like to be in sneakers, walking shoes. I should be exchanging glances and perhaps conversation with other souls. I should, upon my own, internal motivation, go to a coffee shop, and sit and drink whilst people-watching. I should learn to be comfortable in my own skin. I should take my books away from my couch and actually open the pages. I should have a reason to live outside of the 40 hours I spend at work each week. I should know what it’s like to see friends regularly. I should know what it feels like to be spontaneous more often. I should practise being out of my home at night in the dark to relearn that darkness doesn’t have to equal fear. I should dare myself to actually turn on my electronic piano and play it. I should carry my Nikon camera with me at all times just in case, on my outings, I see something worth photographing. I should continue to write poetry, which I stopped doing a year and a half ago. I should play with words again. I should have someone over to play Scrabble with me, my favourite board game. I should cook food instead of eating frozen food which is high in sodium.
But the thing is, I like it in bed. Even though, afterwards, I am never pleased with myself. I can spend up to 22 hours in bed per day on the weekends. I do look forward to the work week ending every seven days, but I never look forward to the weekend, because I know what my weekend will entail: exactly this.
Yesterday I was in bed for 20 hours. I woke up early evening to have two large bowls of cereal with soy milk and then continued to lay in bed until it was late evening, upon which I woke up and scrolled through social media feeds for hours to pass the time, only to go right back to bed again. Today is Sunday. I was in bed for 14 hours, from midnight onward. I actually had coffee and cookies and have been on my couch ever since. I have been corresponding with an old friend on Facebook. She has read my story and has been ever so empathic. It feels wonderful to connect with another person.
I have been connecting with some people over Match.com. None of those conversations have resulted in actual in-person meetings as of yet. But who wants to hang around a person that sleeps all day? Who would want to even consider dating someone whose favourite “hobby” is sleeping? See, I need the external motivation to do things, because I don’t have the internal motivation. I got up out of bed today on behalf of a lovely friend who told me to. I didn’t kill myself for my therapist. I chose to stay alive for my therapist. I got a job because I was running out of money. I go to the job every day because I have to. I don’t do things that I don’t have to do. I don’t have motivation to do things. I need internal motivation. I need to do things for me.
I haven’t showered since Thursday night. Haven’t been out of pajamas all weekend. My hair needs washing. There is a treadmill at the gym with my name on it. The sand on the beach misses my footsteps. The air outside is at a standstill waiting for me to breathe it in. There are people who don’t even know me who are just waiting to meet me. My foreign languages are yearning to be spoken. It’s just that, I don’t think of these things. These things don’t usually cross my mind.
My behaviour fits the criterion for Major Depressive Disorder. I don’t have an anxiety or panic disorder. I was never officially diagnosed with PTSD, of which symptoms I have overcome by now. I have what one psychiatrist called “anhedonia,” which is the inability to feel pleasure or to engage in pleasurable activities. Does eating cookies count?? I rarely have suicidal thoughts any longer and I’ve been told by a wiser, older friend that passing thoughts of suicide are normal, as long as they aren’t obsessed over.
Is this blog entry a justification of why I spend my weekends in bed? Maybe. Do I feel as if I need to justify myself? Sometimes. I used to get very angry with myself for sleeping all day and I suppose the self-hatred was another way of punishing myself. But right now I am not angry at myself or others, I am not sad or crying, I am not anxious, I am certainly not sleepy. I am not afraid of any tangible or intangible thing, other than sometimes, my mind itself. The disease of the mind is a tricky one. It is a hidden disease. It can be the cause of many physical symptoms, yet it is incredibly stigmatized. My mind has been becoming stronger and healthier in the last four years. ECT’s helped me to not kill myself. And now that I can choose to live again, of my own volition, it opens up possibilities that I could have never before imagined.