This post is about mental illness and my own welfare. If either of these things does not interest you, do not read on. You have been warned.
I have struggled with many forms of Depression and Anxiety in my life. This current episode of Depression is something I have experienced before. It is not Major nor is it Chronic Depression. I do not want to sit around and cry all the time, asking why people are so mean to me or why life is unfair. Rather, I find myself wanting to yell at all the morons and I am having to keep my temperament in check.
When I hear other people who are talking about Depression, they describe it as a black, all encompassing abyss.. I have to stop myself from saying anything. Just like any other disease, there are different types of Depression (Chronic Depression aka Dysthymia, Major Depression, Atypical Depression, etc.). I have experienced Major Depression in my lifetime and it did feel like a black, all encompassing abyss. This time, however, it’s different.
This time, the Depression is not what one would refer to as clinical – it is “circumstantial”. This is good and bad. Good News: It will go away. Bad News: Not soon enough.
The circumstances leading up to this episode of Depression include health problems, losing my job, and still not meeting those long ago set goals that have been looming over my head. Add good old Seasonal Affective Disorder to the mix and you have a Depression just waiting to burst forth. However, I do not feel as though I am in some dark abyss. Rather, I feel as though I am in a vat of quicksand. Everything is much harder to do and seems to take much more energy. My whole body aches and I simply “don’t want to”. I must push myself in order to accomplish simple tasks such as taking a shower, getting dressed.. hell, even getting out of bed. I find it far too easy to make excuses in order to not accomplish these things.
How do I overcome this? I pretty much have to ride it out. My saving grace is to work my hardest so that it does not get worse. I do this by putting my energy and effort into pushing myself to stick to as much of a routine as possible. Take that shower, get out of bed at a quasi-reasonable time, eat for heaven’s sake. I try to not add anything new to my plate because this would surely be suicidal. I would get a very temporary euphoric feeling from taking on something new, but when I do not continue with my new found goal, I will have more fodder to stay in bed. “I can’t even do such and such a thing now, so why bother with anything at all?”
And that’s another thing. Self talk. When I am in a Depression I find that being more aware of my self talk is vital. Not criticizing it, that is something altogether different. Rather, I am simply aware of what I am saying to myself and the impact it is having. “I don’t want to get out of bed, my whole body hurts, a few more minutes won’t be such a big deal.” This type of thinking can become a vicious cycle. Although that may seem like sound reasoning upon passing glance, it can start to devour other things. “I don’t want to get out of bed to eat.. I am fat enough as it is, I don’t need to eat really.” That is when I have a problem. I try to prevent my self talk from getting to this point by addressing it in it’s beginning stages. I get out of bed even though my mind and body are screaming at me to stay under the warm covers, snuggled next to my husband.
The odd thing I find is that when I get out of bed it continues. There is not some magical awakening as if I have suddenly been pushed into a state of enthusiasm. It’s strange because I almost expect this each and every time. No, the Depression continues. I must listen to my self talk to ensure that I eat breakfast, shower, don’t crawl back into bed, and watch my temper. This constant mental regulation is exhausting in and of itself, so for another rule of Depression’s thumb, I try to do things to keep my energy up. Rest but don’t go back to bed, drink a lot of water, eat healthy foods (don’t pig out on chocolate), and get some sunshine each day. I find that when I am able to do these things, I can ride out the Depression and prevent it from getting worse.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I haven’t been posting. I haven’t really been doing much of anything. Scratch that. I’ve been keeping the house clean which is like climbing Mt.Everest when you are in an episode of Depression. I’ve been keeping myself on a dietary and hygienic routine. I’ve also been shuttling family around town. In all honesty, having people to take care of has helped out a little bit. I have a reason that I have to get out of the house. If I don’t do it, these people can’t get to work or get to the store to get food. It also makes me feel good, as if I am doing them some good. And finally, they give me gas money. Although I’m not making money because I usually get just enough to cover trip expenses, it feels like I am. This does help that whole “lost job” thing a little bit.
All in all, I think I have this Depression thing down but I don’t want to count all those eggs just yet. Cockiness can oftentimes land me in big trouble when it comes to these things. I guess I am going to be riding this storm out for a little while so if you don’t hear much from me, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth. I’m just busy trying to get my ass in the shower.