Indecision is one of the most annoying depression symptoms. Feeling unable to decide whether or not to go to work, or what clothes should I wear, or what to study. Granted, we all face indecision probably daily in our lives, but when depression is constantly on our shoulders the task of making a decision is sometimes unbearable. The simplest decision could make us unresponsive, unable to move because we’re just so afraid of the consequences we might face. And when this is accompanied by anxiety, it’s a matter of which decision would lead me to the less painful scenario.
Taking my Life to the Big Screen
When I’m indecisive about what my next step in life should be, I imagine my life shown in a movie. The protagonist of the story is a girl with a life a lot like mine. As part of the audience I think, how would I like the story to develop? What kind of decisions would I like her to take in order to reach a happy ending?
I can see her now in the big screen.
She’s going through a lot. Just a few days ago she almost had a meltdown in the middle of a shift. “I’m not fit for this job. I can’t do this.” she said to the co worker that tried to help her. This morning she wakes up scared. Afraid that the same thing will happen again. That she will be stuck at work, feeling obligated to perform tasks but her body will not respond.
She gets up and makes a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich as usual. I can see she feels troubled as her eyes suddenly stare in the distance, lost in thought for a few seconds. She has the weight of a thousand elephants on her shoulders so each step is slow and painful. That morning putting on her workout clothes seems impossible, her arms barely respond, so she gives up on it.
Beaten by fatigue, she sits down on the edge of her bed. She’s petrified at the idea of going to work so she stares at the clock, constantly, and her heartbeats become stronger and audible.
Not today. I can’t make it today. Nor tomorrow, or ever probably.
But somehow she makes it, and she’s now standing right in front of the building that brings her so much misery as well as joy once a week. Looking at it, she pinches her eyebrows together and sighs. Arms by her side, I can tell she’s doubtful about it.
At this point, would she run away or would she enter the building?
What would she do?
What would I do?
As part of the audience I’d love for her to smile for the first time in the movie. To take charge of her life and her destiny. And not in a cautious way but to dare be impetuous. I want to see the greatest growth story from this fictional character.
She smiles and turns around and starts running away as fast as she can. She reaches her car, opens it and throws her lunch and purse in the backseat. Instead of the usual tightness in her chest, she now feels an expanding sensation. It must be freedom. She’s being reckless but she’s living the moment. And when the time comes to tell her story to her grandchildren she’ll say with a smile:
I ran away from work that day and chose my freedom instead. It was the best and worst decision I have ever made. I’m glad I did it.
Back to real life…
Sadly, in real life things work differently. I lack the confidence and fearless attitude the main character has. I’m afraid of working, but I’m also afraid of unemployment and not having money to pay for food and a roof. I’m afraid my next job opportunity will depend on whether or not I was responsible enough to leave my previous job in good terms. There is so much to lose, yet the character is confident she’s making the right decision. Good changes are coming her way and she can feel it.
I’m utterly jealous, I want to be her.
Characters can make that choice and wait for that plot twist to change their lives in a meaningful way. A character can turn her back away from a stable job in a cubicle, in a room without windows without fear from uncertainty.
There’s no doubt in me that’s the way I should go. Because despite what people tell me, if I were to see myself in a movie or book, in that moment that she’s standing in front of the building, if she sighs and goes in, I would be so effing mad. I’d throw the bucket of popcorn to the screen, and walk out upset. Or if I was reading a book I’d definitely throw it against the wall, fully aware that in the next few chapters will be tedious and I’d be waiting for something to happen but nothing incredible will.
And if I feel that way so strongly, then why do I do that to myself in real life? I put all this hopes into a fictional character, I want her to be free and happy, I don’t want her to suffer like I do. If I feel this way about her why not take her example.
Why not take the leap?