When Depression Turns You Into a Zombie

Risa Romano
silhouette of a woman sitting cross-legged on her bed staring off into space

Some days I’m fine. Not “fine,” but, like, actually fine. And in the afternoons, I’ll get a second wind. And I’ll have the energy to see my friend after work. I’ll go for a nice long walk, while listening to energizing music. And when I get home, I play with my kitten for as long as he wants. Maybe I’ll even get some writing done. I think I like writing. These are categorized as “good” days. They’re the best I can hope for.

Some days I’m the zombie.

The zombie doesn’t care about these things. The zombie doesn’t care about anything. She shuffles through, because it’s just what’s done. It’s like sleepwalking. There’s no reason day-to-day for me to be fine or to be the zombie. The zombie is drained and it, in turn, drains.

“We’re running late!” It doesn’t matter. “People are waiting!” It doesn’t matter. “This has an impact on the future!” It. Doesn’t. Matter.

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Sorry, I can’t come out after work, I can’t let you see the zombie. Sorry, no walks today, I better keep the zombie indoors. Not right now kitten, the zombie is tired. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something. The zombie doesn’t write. The zombie exists. But only in the bare minimum of that definition.

Sometimes I’ll recognize another zombie and maybe feel the tiniest tug at my heart. I want to explain, “I’m like you.” But we don’t interact. The most that ever happens is their eyes will flick over to mine, and they’ll know too. I guess that’s a connection of sorts. In a way. Maybe that’s enough.

Sometimes I’ll try to jump start the zombie. Drag her around and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. It’s never quite successful. I feel clumsy, uncoordinated. The zombie wants to go back to bed. Maybe zone out to some YouTube videos. At most.

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Colors literally seem duller when the zombie’s at the helm. Like the world’s in grayscale. It doesn’t help that the light seems harsh, and I keep the drapes drawn.

There’s a vague understanding of the word “cozy.” The zombie knows cozy. Cozy is good. Hoodie, jeans, sneakers. These are essential if it’s necessary to go outside. Lots of coffee. Too much coffee. I have an addiction and the zombie doesn’t want the added headache that comes without the three cup minimum.

I’m hoping the zombie will learn more positive words. But it seems unlikely. What’s good when nothing matters?

But on some days I just want to give up. Leave everything behind. On those days, the zombie keeps me going, cycling through the motions.

“I can’t do this anymore!” It doesn’t matter. “Don’t make me leave the house today!” It doesn’t matter. “I’m giving up! Why aren’t you?!” It. Doesn’t. Matter.

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Still, I don’t like being a zombie. Why couldn’t I be a cooler supernatural creature, like a vampire or a banshee? Zombies kinda suck. This one’s certainly draining the life out of me.

Some days I’m not the zombie anymore. It may take awhile, but I wake up. And it’s different. And I breathe. It will be back, but in the meantime, I can try and get some writing done.

Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

The Things I’ve Learned From My Experiences With Depression

12 Salty Comebacks for When Depression Says 'You Suck'

When You Want to See Friends but Depression Wants You to Be Alone

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