this is not a newsflash but coming out of a major depression is hard work. it’s day in and day out effort. it’s trying this medication and that one, searching for the magic cocktail. it’s trying to explain to people that yes, you know you should go for a walk, have a shower, or eat something but you simply can’t be bothered. it’s getting better for a bit and then getting worse. it is countless talks with therapists. if you’re lucky, the hard work eventually pushes you in the direction of up.
stability while there, though, that’s something else.
i have been hanging out at a seventy percent mood for some time now and i’m pretty okay with that. i don’t wake up and embrace life, but i also don’t wake up and curse it. i fantasize about driving my car into k-rails less often. i’m starting to run out of shower gel again.
things go smoothly for a bit until bam! seemingly out of nowhere it comes back. i wake up and i’m down again. sunk deeply into “i don’t care” and “i can’t be bothered” and “what’s the point” and “i can’t do this anymore”. luckily, the recent hard crashes are far more temporary than my full-on breakdown. they can be pulled out of. you’ve got to find the offramp before you get too far off track though. wallowing is not something i can afford to engage in.
at this point in my recovery, i’ve got “what to do if you’re feeling down” posters tacked up everywhere. have a drink of water, get some fresh air, take a shower, be gentle with yourself, do something that you enjoy. the lists get my back up when i’m down but i follow them anyhow, aware that irritation notwithstanding, they help.
it’s still hard work though.
the day after i dip feels like i’m doing a post-disaster clean-up. i’m exhausted and enervated and i just want to sit on the couch and be still. i feel like i’ve been to war. i feel like i’ve been beaten with a bag of hammers. it takes a lot of mental and physical energy to pull myself back up.
i’ve been running a post-game wrap up of the dips. i’m trying to understand the reasons behind my stumbles. it’s not always biochemistry. it turns out that getting overwhelmed is a huge problem. too many people and too many events in a short space of time results in things going poorly for me.
this past week has been a busy one. working hard, coffees with friends, multiple appointments stacked up in a single day, and of course, the holiday dinner. family or not, fourteen people in one space is a little too much for me; there are too many people to attend to and too many wishes to take into account. when i get overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget to take care of myself. i forget, as things get busier and people make more demands, that i can say no. i forget that i need to.
i forget about my boundaries.
i forget that i don’t have vast amounts of energy stored up and when i let myself get drained, my mood heads south very quickly.
i need to work on the remembering, i suppose, and the identifying. i’ve got to start noticing when i’m putting myself in harm’s way. i’m tired of dark holes, no matter that they’re temporary, so i’m going to try to make paying attention to what i need, even if it’s in conflict with what others want, a priority.
(april 4, 2018)
photo credits: shutterstock; buzzfeed; collaboration quagmire; docs opinion