A few weeks ago, one of my friends headed back to my dorm room with me to get some work done before her next class. The first thing I said when we entered was, “I’m sorry for the mess.”
My desk was piled high with notebooks, papers, makeup and an array of miscellaneous things. My desk chair was covered with clothes, both dirty and clean. My dresser was covered with bottles of pills and empty water bottles. My bed was unmade, the sheets falling off, blankets and pillows on the floor and the carpet was not vacuumed. Compared to my roommate’s side, my side looked like a hurricane had hit. But I couldn’t gather the energy to tidy it up. I simply threw my comforter over my sheets and pillows and sat on top of it all. Normally, I would spend the first ten minutes or so at least cleaning off my chair so my friend could sit. Normally, I would have my bed made, first thing in the morning, and be putting on the kettle to make some tea. But I wasn’t and I was too tired to care.
My friend didn’t know I had been struggling. She knew about my history with depression and she was one of my best friends at college, but she didn’t know it had been making a reoccurrence. I was too afraid and too ashamed to tell her. I was too afraid to admit to her, and also to myself, my depression was back and I was losing its battle. I couldn’t explain my messy room to her and didn’t even put up an excuse. But she didn’t say anything. She didn’t care. She simply sat on the floor and did her work, and so did I.
After an hour or so, she began packing up her things to get ready to go to class. But she didn’t leave. She packed her things and then headed over to my desk. She organized everything. She put away my makeup, put things into drawers, rearranged the drawers and everything on my desk, put away the dirty clothes on the chair, and headed over to my dresser to organize everything in a way that left me room to put my laptop on top when I was done using it. She warmed up my Starbucks coffee that had gotten too cold and folded my blankets, leaving the room looking almost perfect.
At the time, she didn’t know I was struggling. She didn’t know my mind had been in a billion different places those past two weeks and it was a struggle to even get a simple assignment done because I couldn’t focus. She didn’t know my messy room made it harder to focus; it made me anxious and was a constant reminder of my declining mental state. To her, it was something simple. She didn’t think much of it. She cleaned my room just because she wanted to. But to me, it meant the world. It meant someone cared and it reminded me I had people out there who loved me and supported me.