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Depression is a Ten Letter Word

One Thing a Day - New Year's Resolution

New year’s resolutions can be a tricky thing to stick with, especially since good habits...and bad ones, I suppose, can take about thirty days to develop. With perseverance and grit, continuing that resolution of hitting the gym, eating healthier, or even just spending less time on social medias can become second nature. And each year our society has us conditioned to set up some overarching goal to challenge the best within ourselves. Last year, quarantine left my friends on their own with workout challenges, binge-watching The Outer Banks (no, I haven't seen it yet, John B.), and learning how to fail at becoming Tiktok famous. I watched strangers across the internet pick up new hobbies and recreate themselves in truly unique ways.

So, what trends did I partake in, you may be wondering. Unfortunately, I didn't learn to Renegade and I certainly didn't teach myself how to make homemade bread. For the first few weeks, I spent it coming to the realization that I wasn’t going back to finish my spring semester, staying up until 3 in the morning (something I never had done in the past), and struggling to brush my teeth. And by the end of the year, as odd as it may sound, I was still struggling to brush my teeth. And brush my hair, and make my bed, and cook a meal without the feeling of exhaustion come over me like a thick blanket only just after getting out the ingredients of the pantry.

While others filled their time with various activities and Zoom meetups with their distant friends, I did nothing. Truly, nothing. If I gathered enough energy to make it down the stairs by early afternoon, I made it to the couch where I felt was a good resting place for…the remainder of the day. And this was how I spent quarantine day in and day out – Friends playing in the background so that when I grew bored of mindless phone scrolling, I could stay preoccupied with a comfort show. I felt pure guilt having no energy or desire to do things with my own mother for the brief time she had off work and recognizing that we will probably never have such free time again is distressing to acknowledge. Days and weeks ran together and when summer came around, I was still on that same couch listening to the same show with the same unbrushed hair. I have had depression for years – my general lack of pleasure and energy was not a sudden problem, although I must admit the severity of it was rather concerning.

Despite all of that though, I look back on 2020 as the year where I did nothing every day to the point where if I had done something, I wouldn’t even be able to remember doing it. Each day was…for lack of a better description, an endless pit of despair as I recognized how much time I was wasting. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to do a single damn thing about it. Pretty ironic, huh? Reflecting on that time, I came up with a promise to myself that no matter the day, in 2021, I would try my best to do just one thing. One thing a day. And I would have to find some joy or pride for myself in doing that one thing because I learned that sometimes, that’s all I was going to have. Today, as I write this entry, I would like to share some of the things that I have done for my resolution because quite frankly, I’ve nothing left to lose.

Some days, my one thing helps bring me to do multiple things and before I know it, that day has been more productive than all of my quarantine days put together. Other times, I still struggle to brush my teeth and hair, and more often than not, my bed doesn’t get made. Today, my thing is painfully simple, and yet it is the thing I am most proud of doing to date this year – I wrote this short story. And while I think I wrote it more for myself than anyone else, I truly hope at least one other person can take away something from my writing. For the first time in a long while, I’m extremely proud to have taken the time and energy to put this out into the world as I have not been inspired to write in over two years. Yes, two whole years. Despite my shortcomings last year, I learned that resolutions can be whatever you need them to be – and perhaps I just needed mine to be simple. That doesn’t make me any less of a person or any less determined by only trying to do one thing a day but speaking from personal experience, doing one thing is ten times better than doing nothing at all.

So, if you ever find yourself struggling to get out of a rut, start with doing any tiny thing that you wouldn’t normally do and try to make a habit of it. Celebrate doing the small things because more often than not, they end up being the most important things of all. Depression is a ten letter word, but determined is too, and I think that is a crucial thing to remember on the days where you just can’t quite brush your teeth.

Read next: Never In the Cover of Night

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