Well I’ll try not to make it too self indulgent but I don’t hold out much hope for that quite honestly. I need to talk. I think. And by talk I mean write, since these words come from my head.
I am feeling very low at the moment. I finished a group and a course a couple of weeks ago and these two things were the structure that kept my mental edifice stable.
Depression is a brute because it doesn’t show itself as depression immediately. At first, the odd bad day, you can put down to the vicissitudes of life and push through. I knew it was going to suck for a while after the group/courses finished, but I also felt I needed to sort out replacement activities after rather than before they’d ended, since I didn’t want to add to my stress levels (I was doing coursework, trying to rest enough in between for the CFS not to become an issue).
Now I am feeling low. Low in mood and low in energy. I’m self-critical, over-sensitive and not caring for myself properly.
Yesterday was a fuzzy depression, which is actually not too bad. It was a sleepy, drowsy day that didn’t demand my attention with any more force than a warm breeze stroking the hairs on my neck. So I let myself fall into the cocoon. If my body and mind didn’t want to deal with the world and I could comfortably lie under the duvet, what was the problem?
The answer: nothing. Apart from the fact that today hasn’t been fuzzy depression. Today has been much harder. I’d already planned to start being a house-leaving human-being again today – I got dressed and went for a walk earlier. But it seems that my days of lassitude have left their mark. It was bloody difficult to get myself dressed and out of the house.
It’s not just that it’s difficult to do things when you feel depressed (hence demotivated, lethargic), it’s that those things you do don’t hold any pleasure whilst you’re doing them, so it’s up shit creek again for a while. Like going for the walk today (nipping in to the local shop) – I don’t feel better for it.
The only reason I did it was that, thankfully, I’ve come to understand that there’s a payoff, delayed gratification, that kicks in after an amount of time of doing these things that don’t feel like they’re doing you any good.
I have lots of books on my bed and one of them is the overcoming depression book. Sometimes it gathers dust with the other books on the bookshelf (the good times) and sometimes it gets taken off the shelf, wiped down with a tissue and plonked on my bed.
Yesterday I read a paragraph about reduced activity worsening any mood problems. I now know that I need to make an effort to get back on track. As I said before, though, it creeps up on you, but now I can see what pattern I have:
- not doing things that used to give me enjoyment – check
- not wanting to socialize – check
- feeling raw – check
- feeling unenthusiastic about doing anything – check
- crap sleep – check
- mental dullness – check
So, there it is. Now it’s down to me to put the structure back and rebuild again. Incidentally, the other part of depression I’ve noticed and that this post illustrates is that one becomes completely self-absorbed. I say that without the critical association such a statement would normally evoke. I’m hoping I can hop out of this downturn now I can see it’s there. What I mean is that when you spend so much time in your head you have no room for other people and you forget that you are not alone, that other people suffer in many ways, and that this is a normal part of the human condition. When a depressed mood turns to the outside world it begins to assimilate the spaciousness around it and slowly there are moments of engaging in other trains of thought that are not all about me.