Why Get Out of Bed?

Would I slip over the edge of depression if I simply stayed in bed?

Posted Oct 16, 2017

 Jennifer Haupt
Source: Photo: Jennifer Haupt

Why Get Out of Bed?

Because that’s what people do; it is the healthy thing to do.

Because I have to pee.

Because there’s a sour film on my teeth.

Because I should clip the hangnail on my right index finger.

Because the dog needs to be fed, there’s a load of laundry on the bathroom floor—not to mention my job. There is work to be done. It is what is done.

Because getting out of bed is the right thing to do; it is the responsible way to live. But what if I did not do the right thing when I open my eyes in the morning?

Because it’s a little scary when I lay in bed and ask myself this question. I imagine there is a choice as I slap the alarm and roll over and wonder: Why? What would happen if I didn’t rip back the sheets and slap one foot on the floor and then the other, and then keep on moving all day long?

Because if I decide it’s okay to sleep in for an hour or two, then what’s to stop me from choosing to sleep until noon, two, dinner time?  

Because I might decide to turn on the radio or TV. I might decide that “Judge Judy” and “Oprah” and smelly sheets are preferable to feeding the dog and laundry and sitting at a desk being semi-productive for eight hours. Fuck being responsible.

I mean, really, why haul my ass out of bed in the morning?

Because now I really have to pee and the dog is barking, and this sliver of a nail is digging into the palm of my hand.

Because people will worry. My husband, Eric, will worry and my sons will worry. My dog will just be pissed off. My boss will fire me if I don’t show up, maybe not the first day but for sure the next. My friends will think it’s just plain creepy if all of my Instagram posts depict a mussed-up, stony-eyed version of me in bed.

Because if I stay in bed all day, then I’m not just suffering from “mild depression” as my therapist classifies it. Functional. That’s the key word that defines my well-being.

Because if I don’t get out of bed in the morning, then I’m full-tilt over-the-edge Depressed.

Because Major Depressive Disorder is defined by inappropriate “sickness behavior.”

Because Eric will come home from work to find me unwashed and watching reruns, eating popcorn and sucking down Dr. Brown’s cream soda. Because, I will tell him, today my biggest joy has been the way that the kernels soak up the sugar and melt in my mouth.

Why get out of bed this morning?

Because I hear Eric scooping chow into the dog’s bowl.

Because there’s the sound of the shower turning off. My son, Drew, is humming as he walks back to his room.

Because there is the release of a pinpoint of pain as I unclench my hand and kick one leg over the edge of the bed.

Because gratitude kicks in as I sit on the toilet and I empty my bladder, and Eric yells down the hall before leaving, “Love ya!”

Because I do, thank God, have the choice to get out of bed one more morning.

(A version of this piece was originally published in the August 2017 issue of The Sun Magazine.)