Meandering in the Mattress


Laying in bed depression

There’s an old saying: ”when Momma’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  Embarrassingly I carried this anthem into two households.  I don’t know why my unhappiness affected the rest of my family when I was married; and now affects my current household, but I am beginning to discover many things about myself that I would love to share, if you have some time to kill.

I think I have always been the kind of person that loves really hard, takes things really hard and finally falls face mucking first really hard into the muckedy muck muck of my muck.

Therefore, I will get real ooey gooey honest and tell it like it is.  Those that judge or wanna be peeping into someone else’s crisis can mosey and meander on down the road.  This is real life, no-joke, mental health issues that I am discovering doesn’t just affect LIL OLE ME; there are thousands of people that suffer from this condition too.


Yep, depression is completely debilitating and can impact even the smallest pleasures in life.

My bout of living in the darkness occurred recently. Usually I have a one day ‘stay-in-bed-watching-crap-and-eating-crap’ session about once a month.  If I have to be honest, something almost always triggers it, but at the time, I don’t really know what it is. I find myself completely devoid of any emotions and motivation.  There’s always tons of stuff that I need to do, but I cannot find a way through the density of gloom to do anything. If by chance I allow the cork to pop and the floodgates to open, then I’m in trouble. When these incidents happen, God Bless the men and children in my life, as they just meander on through their daily routine and hope that I come out of the shrouded mist and ascend into the light again. And I always do – where tasks get done, food is cooked, hugs and smiles are distributed and everyone sighs with relief.  Momma is back!

The reason I am writing this is that I hope I allow others to recognize that this ‘phenomenon’ happens to many, many people.  I believed for years that it was my cross to bear, my mucked up genes, traveling back to at least three generations.  I felt alone and very messed up.  Am I really this flawed that I cannot even manage to brush my teeth or shower?  Here comes some real muck…this last time, I went from late Saturday evening, to Tuesday morning where I didn’t shower or brush my teeth.  YES. Gross! Gag!  I know.  Right?  Pretty bad, except there are others that have gone longer without performing basic hygiene, ON PURPOSE, because they just can’t!  It’s devastating to think about it.

Well, we are NOT alone.  I recently had conversations with two of my closest friends who admitted that they had been doing the very same thing.  WHAT?  For real?

We are all drowning in our beds, developing gingivitis, chomping on crap and feeling as blue and faded as your Daddy’s best jeans, Denim blue fading up to the sky. And the patches make the goodbye harder still. Ah Cat!

I digress.

When I learned that these women whom I love deeply were experiencing the same damn blackness that I was, I knew I had to find out if this really is a ‘thing’.

If you search phrases like:

  • laying in bed all day
  • staying in bed all day depression
  • why do we lay around in bed when we are depressed?

You will find a treasure of advice, testimonies, forums, support, and psychological jargon to explain away all the nuances of experiencing depression.

I was floored to discover hundreds of people take to bed for a myriad of reasons, but only one common denominator – DEPRESSION.  It’s such an overused clinical word that packs a huge wallop.


We might feel like we are broken because of this malady, but it doesn’t just get fixed in a day like a car repair.  I found an article in Huffington Post where Dr. John F. Greden, the executive director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center explained it like this: “Depression can make people feel like their minds have completely rebelled against them. The hard truth is, depression is not the sort of thing you can just wake up and be over one morning.” He explains about it being cyclical similar to lunar cycles, menstrual cycles and motorcycles.  Particularly Harleys!  HAH!

Each person cycles through their days and nights grinding through work, kids, school, social life and doing pretty darn ok with life on life’s terms.  And then KA-POW.  The bed becomes the refuge against the big, bad world.

The good doctor furthers encourages, “It’s not a moral shortcoming. It’s not something people brought on themselves. And understanding that is a pretty powerful beginning to helping a loved one with depression. At the end of the day we have to decide if we are going to let this nasty illness beat us and take over our lives, yes we have some good days and lots of bad days, but stay strong and don’t let anxiety win.”

Easier said than done huh?


Some of us handle depression OUT of the bed.  We drink. We smoke. We eat. We have lots of sex. We pop pills. We yell at people. We enable people. We are co-dependent.  We never relax. We go, go, GO.  We DENY.  Pick one.  Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by how underwhelming we feel as a person, the bed beckons us, guiding us towards the reefs and rocks like Calypso’s sirens.  Rather than navigate through the rough waters of our lives, we find that we must crash.

So I dug even deeper and found another article that focused on different aspects of why people hunker down under blankets.

Reading this article got me asking questions. How do we lose that desire to pursue goals in the first place?  What about moods?  Again isn’t moodiness kind of cyclic too? High moods keep the wheels churning.  Low moods slow down the progress. What happens when we hit a wall towards that goal?  A big fat obstacle smacks us down.  But we’re tough bitches, right? We keep pluggin’ away.  We re-route, redirect, reevaluate and try again.  But damn it to hell, that muckin’ goal is still out of reach. Uh oh, here comes a low mood because the effort has drained the batteries of our energies and once again, the bed gestures to us like a ripple in the wind. Or like the ripples of Joe Manganiello’s abs. Well perhaps not THAT inviting. I’m too depressed to even enjoy Joe at this point.  Go away Joe!


Even Joe can’t get me out of bed

Needless to say, moods, goals and efforts do align with whether we end up mattress-bound or not.

Another smart dude, Jonathan Rottenberg, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida, where he directs the Mood and Emotion Laboratory, summed up this whole theory that had me saying ‘ah hah’. According to Rottenberg, “depressed people don’t end up lying in bed because they are under-committed to goals. They end up lying in bed because they are overcommitted to goals that are failing badly. The idea that depressed people cannot disengage efforts from failure is a relatively new theory.”

This next quote hit home for me.  “It [this theory] fits well clinically with the kinds of situations that often precipitate serious depression — the battered wife who cannot bring herself to leave her troubled marriage, the seriously injured athlete who cannot bring himself to retire, the laid off employee who cannot bring herself to abandon her chosen career despite a lack of positions in her line of work. Seeing these depressions in terms of unreachable goals may be useful clinically, and may help us better understand how ordinary low moods can escalate into incapacitating bouts of depression.”

Yessir.  I’m one of those people. The employee.  The over-weight, middle-aged, out-of-work woman whose Love and Soulmate is battling cancer.  Of course I’m depressed. DUH! And ya know what?  This ain’t my first rodeo.  I’ve carried this around like a precious brooch heirloom.  I pin it on the underside of my lapel so it’s not exposed to the public but it’s presence nags at me and reminds me that I am a Ponton woman.  I love how one gal explained how her depression is a family thing: “And it’s just the way it is with me. My family tree is poisoned with melancholy right down to the roots. Some of us manage our depression through alcohol or pot. Some of us don’t manage it at all, just wallow in it while simultaneously denying its existence.”


I do the best I can with what I have to work with.  I do small projects around my house that actually gives me joy and purpose.  I hang with Dave and laugh at all his silly Chano-isms because I do love him. I go to doctor appointments because I know it makes him feel like he’s not alone.  I make sure that I keep in contact with my daughters.  I have regular Meema time with my grandsons.  I started walking (FINALLY). As I mention this, I realize that I didn’t feel like walking for a long time because I was depressed.  So there ya go…cycle. I make sure that I spend time with friends and plan small outings when I can. I try to keep up with my aging parents and make memories with them that will last me through when their time comes to dance off this Earth.  I listen to music, watch movies, read, blog, drive, meander around in my garden…  Hmm.  I guess I’m doing ok.  Today I can say that. Last week I couldn’t even form the words to express how I felt.  One person said in the research I did, “My depression doesn’t feel like sadness, anyway; it feels like a void, an absence of emotion. I don’t feel joyful or devastated. I feel nothing, except maybe exhausted.”  Wow!  That also rang crisp and clear in my heart, because sometimes I do have a dull, sad ache in my heart; but other times I feel absolutely nothing and completely spent.


Serenity is just a backyard away


If you have read this all the way through … congratulations and THANK YOU … I hope this helps.  I want people to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  We will hunt you down and kick your ass.  Well the depression will.  But don’t kick your own ass for doing this.  Allow yourself a day here or there.  If you’re coming up on the third day of wedded bliss with your bed, well then I might have to hunt you down and kick your ass.

In the meantime, I say to my sister friends, text me!  Let me text you!  When the blues begin to consume us, we need to send out an S.O.S… Take a minute from marinating in the mattress and simply say, “I’m in bed. I’m ok, but I feel crippled.”  That’s it.  We aren’t asking help to get us out of there so much as merely taking some ownership of our situation and letting someone else know that we are not alone in this.  That gets us out of the basement of our soul knowing that the sunlight will once again warm us back into the world.

No one should ever have to meander through their muck alone.

Love and Light

OTHER INFORMATIVE LINKS (and one not so informative, but rather funny)


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