When you get a brand-new helium balloon you have to hold on to it. You can feel the gentle pull because it’s got that lift, a “lightness” to it. It’s got this energy you can feel. If you let go, it takes off – if you’re inside it bumps against the ceiling with a gentle thud. If you’re outside it rockets skyward out of sight, following the breeze. It doesn’t have to try to float – it just does. You don’t have to tell it how, or teach it how to fly faster, or float better. It doesn’t need courses or routines to improve its flight. It’s just doing what it’s supposed to do and that is simply to soar.
Fast forward 24 hours or so, and that same balloon is a changed creation. It’s still a sack of rubber and latex. It’s still filled with helium. It’s color and hue hasn’t changed one iota. But instead of skittering against the ceiling and trying to take advantage of it’s potential, it’s listlessly drifting and hovering a few feet above the ground. It no longer has the lift, the snap, the energy to soar. Instead it’s just sort of there. It doesn’t seek higher places like it used to. It’s not to the point where gravity has completely taken over, either. It just wafts along, neither soaring or sinking – powerless to change it’s altitude or direction.
Lately I feel like that helium balloon. Earlier this year I had energy, both physical and mental. I had snap, I had spunk, I had focus, and I was desperately trying to escape depression’s grasp. And I was starting to believe I had! But the last several weeks this heaviness, this fatigue, has really started wearing on me.
It hasn’t stopped me from going to work. But some days that’s about all I can manage, and those days are getting a lot more frequent. I get up, do the work thing, get home and I’m pretty much done. Finished. Sometimes I don’t have the focus or motivation to put a meal together. Going grocery shopping seems altogether too overwhelming – especially after work.
Of course being more physically active may help somewhat but even when the energy is there, the mental focus and determination to exercise usually isn’t. And so I often sit at home aimlessly scrolling through social media, or reading tech sites about stuff I can’t afford, or just half listening to music while my brain wanders and I wait for bedtime.
But where did that lift go? Why does it feel like I’ve got weights strapped to my ankles? I’m both annoyed, and afraid. Because I know how the last few winters have been – and it’s been a hard push to make it through the cold, short days back to spring – when everything comes back to life after the hibernation of winter. It’s not so much physically exhausting as mentally – but it’s no surprise that if the mind is worn out, the body soon feels the same way.