I am lazy. There’s no two ways about it.
If people really knew what filled a typical day for me, they would probably be appalled. For instance, I’ve never held a full time job longer than two months in my whole life. Currently I don’t have a job at all and I don’t intend to get one. Neither do I have a driver’s license, or any savings, or a ‘life’ at all by any standard. I’m also getting fatter and heavier by the day – so much so I can barely recognise myself and I’m spotting new stretch marks on my shape-shifting body on each occasion I take a shower. And yet I’m apathetic. I’m 24 now. Oh, and I live with my parents.
I’m a creative person but even then I don’t create nearly enough to truly warrant wearing that badge. Sure, I have a few ‘achievements’ to show for myself – some drawings demonstrating skill, folders full of attempts at poetry and short stories, a pointless film production degree, a moderately successful short film that’s won an award, some scripts and a film or two in the works, the ability to edit videos and tell effective stories through montage, the odd painting, a few songs. Some might even look on all this and fall victim to the illusion that I do ‘so much’!
For the past six or seven years its been impossible for anyone to gain a proper understanding of just how lazy I am simply because I don’t allow myself to be seen. I’m not on facebook anymore. I refuse to buy credit for my phone. I reject event invites and now I no longer receive any. I’m never around. Because for years I’ve hidden myself out of sight in a stinking hot bedroom, ruminating in depression; living as a recluse, a ghoul, emerging only in the odd and unpredictable times I‘ve felt brave enough to polish up my face and show it to the outside world.
And throughout my growing and changing relationship with depression I’ve battled with the question (kind of like a ‘chicken or the egg’ thing) of whether or not I’m lazy because I’m depressed or depressed because I’m lazy.
For some this is probably a no-brainer.
And maybe I have no brain.
Maybe if I just got off my butt and went to the gym, lost this weight. Had myself a daily dose of endorphins and learned to like what I see in the mirror. Maybe if I sucked it up and got myself a job – a shitty job – and gave myself that regular routine, no matter what it was. And then I guess I’d have more money and an overall ‘higher standard of living’ than what I’ve acclimatised myself to with the dole. Perhaps the thought alone of ‘earning my keep’ will instil in me a sense of pride. And maybe if I just bit down on my social fears and went out and tried to make friends – maybe it could actually produce a friend? Friends are good? Maybe if I just dedicated myself to my creative endeavours. Whole-heartedly. And drew every day. All day. And wrote every day. And turned these scripts into films. These sketches into comics. These guitar riffs into songs. These ideas into reality.
But this one thought finally occurred to me the other day, which put me at ease, at least a little.
Laziness may be a symptom of depression – but depression is not necessarily characteristic of laziness.
That is – laziness in itself does not directly result in a damning disbelief in yourself or lead unswervingly to the demonising thought to hurl yourself in front of a train or slash open your arms or find some other violent way to kill yourself.
Laziness doesn’t bully you into not enjoying yourself (your time or who you are). It doesn’t strip away your desire to socialise and be with friends, doing the things that give pleasure. Rather, by nature, laziness encourages pleasure. Laziness doesn’t demand that you focus your thoughts on the things that bring you zero pleasure at all and place you in the corner away from the others like a bad child.
In other words, laziness does not equate self-hate.
So as I have beaten myself up with the thought that ‘I need to do more’ in order to be happy, it’s been depression that has told me not to move. It was depression that smothered me if the thought to move ever flickered in my brain. It was depression that worked tirelessly to slow me down to a halt at all times and humiliated me whenever I gave it a try. It was depression that ever fed the thought that I was a lazy, no-good-for-nothin’ bum in the first place.
But all this being said there have been periods in my life that I haven’t been followed around with depression.
I remember one such time last year on an afternoon I wasn’t feeling quite as ‘chirpy’ as I had been. And as I almost slipped into confusion as the familiar feeling of darkness threatened to encroach I had to tell myself ‘Don’t confuse laziness with depression!’ Then it was an easy fix.
Laziness is curable. Simply do something and it’s gone. Depression isn’t so simple.
And so now the problem remains more or less the same. Nothing changes the fact that for nearly a decade I’ve been depressed. And that doesn’t change the fact I’ve been lazy. And these two problems will continue to fuck like an incestuous family of maggots in my brain until something entirely fresh and new comes into the equation to make more sense of it.
Editor’s note: Mikael (the dude who wrote this) drew that fat elephant. His talent really does shine, though he’d probably say otherwise. Visit his Tumblr: Mikael
It’s a manic world.