Today I lost the morning battle. It’s that daily battle with yourself to get out of bed, get breakfast, brush your teeth, take a bath, get dressed, and walk to school. There are two rate-limiting steps (sorry, we’re doing Biochemistry right now) to this daily battle: the first being awoken by the alarm and deciding to get up or continue sleeping, the second being going to take a bath after eating breakfast. The first step is the most difficult one, but both steps cause as much trouble. Plenty thoughts and feelings go through my newly roused mind after the first alarm goes off.

“What time is it?” “It’s too early.” “I can wake up later and still be on time.” “I’m tired.” “I can be late a little.” “There’s still time.” “Why bother going to school? I’m already late.” “Why bother sitting in the lecture? I’ll fall asleep anyway.” “Why go to class when you can read the book?” “Is there a graded requirement this morning?” “Why go to class at all? “We’re all eventually going to die someday.” “I just want to die now so that I don’t have to go to school.” “Do people at school even like me? Maybe they’re just tolerating my presence.” “When I arrive, people at school will tease me for being late. I feel ashamed already, thank you very much.” “I have to do this paper later, will I have enough time to finish it after school?” “Why do I have so many problems?” “How the hell is one person supposed to solve all these problems?” “I guess if I die, there’d be no problem I’d have to face anymore.” “I should just die.” “I want to die.”

And then if you fall asleep and wake up 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour later or so, you wake up feeling bad about yourself. Berating yourself in your head.

“You’re so lazy and undisciplined.” “You’re a terrible, horrible person.” “You should be more ashamed of yourself.” “Oh, you’re blaming your depression again?” “Are you sure you’re not just lazy and undisciplined? Stop making depression your excuse.”

More than once, even if I have been hospitalized and even if I am taking medications for my depression, I question myself. I doubt myself. I tell myself that I don’t have it bad like other people. I think I’m using it just as a scapegoat and that I wasted my parent’s money by getting myself hospitalized in a private, tertiary hospital in the Philippines for about sixty thousand pesos (about 1,200 USD).

I should just die.

Sometime later in the morning, I wake up, eat breakfast, if I haven’t, or go take a bath if I have. After berating myself and beating myself up, I stand up and go to school. I’m late.

“I don’t come from my parent’s home anymore and I don’t have to go through traffic. I wonder what my classmates think of me now, being late to class even if I don’t have to go and suffer through Metro Manila traffic anymore. They probably think I’m just so lazy.”

I get to school and my classmates smile teasingly at me. I just smile back, shrug my shoulders, and say, “I didn’t wake up.” Then, I would go through my day in a better mood or in an unhappy one, like today. I would say, “hey, at least you still managed to get up and go to school today.”

On the days when I get to school on time, I feel happy and I congratulate myself. On the days when I wake up and get off my bed, I congratulate myself. I have missed quite a number of classes in college and in med school because of this morning battle, but I know I’ve had winning moments, as well. I can’t always win and that’s fine. Tomorrow is another day.

Ever since I started going to a psychiatrist and sort of came out of the closet with my depression, I’ve noticed how many other people around me have it, too. The morning battle is a struggle I’ve noticed that a number of us face. It’s a battle with ourselves and it takes all of the energy we have to be on the winning side. If you have it, too, know that you’re not alone. We can do this 🙂