What a week. I think the meds have left my system and I have to say, I feel no better or worse. I have had a week of dark, shipwrecked lows, and bright loud highs. There were days when I felt I had been kicked to the ground, then days when I could barely keep up with myself. I started to level out a bit yesterday, thankfully, and just felt a bit .. ‘normal’. I must admit, I am jittery about going back to work. I start a new job in a warehouse, and having left my last two jobs in a car-wreck fashion, I am trying to get in a good headspace for the new one. It’s a battle.. Not that I’ll let on too much..
So, let me backtrack a little. Episodes of depression can arrive at any time. This latest fight is probably the first one I have had in eight years. Knowing that they will eventually dissipate, is a comforting thought. It’s like being in a small boat on the sea, most of the time the water is calm, and fairly easy to sail on. But from time to time, a big noisy battleship sails past, and disturbs the water. You have no choice but to hold on, as the waves dip and peak, and your boat moves with it. If you are a seasoned sailor, you have some knowledge to fall back on, but that doesn’t always make the struggle to level out an easy one. One just does what one can to manage, and not sink.
I am trying to describe what it’s like when the depression kicks my arse and sometimes I can only do this via metaphors. In a ‘dip’ (or cloudy day, as I have been calling it), when the down times hit, the only feelings and emotions I can describe, are hopelessness and despair. Over what? That’s just it. Nothing. No reason. I just feel bloody awful. I can’t get out of my own way, and the frustration does not leave. Being outside is like walking through a jungle, and there are predators. Human contact sends me wrong, the sounds of peoples voices is like nails down a chalk board, and no, I will not take my sunglasses off, I don’t care if it’s raining, I cant entertain the thought of making eye contact with anyone. Then I start beating myself up. Again, over what? Really nothing. But everything is because I’m a horrible arse, and oh my god, is everything that has ever come out of my mouth the stupidest thing ever said?
No. Of course not. I know deep down that im a top bloke, and not the horrid person I try to convince myself I am. Hey, like I mentioned previously, If anyone else spoke to me the way I speak to myself, I’d knock them out. I am fully aware of what is happening, when it happens, and I know it’s just a tricky chemical imbalance, affecting my moods in a way I have little control over. And, this short explanation of what actually happens is only the tip of the iceberg in many ways. There’s the feeling of every movement being like trying to walk through wet concrete, the buzzing in the head and ears, the physical and mental exhaustion.. It’s not easy to put into words, but I’ll do my best as I write.
So, what do I do about it? That’s a question I ask myself in many aspects of my life, not just in my depression. If I am unhappy in a situation, well.. What do I intend to do about it, and what do I actually do to change the situation? Just reminding myself of this is a good start. I make it simple for myself. Are you unhappy? Yes. Want to be happy? Yes. So.. What needs to change to make your situation better? That’s when I start looking at just that, making changes. Sometimes, even if it is just a small thing, it is an accomplishment. Today, I feel pretty good, just because I changed the strings on my wife’s mandolin. On a really bad day, just doing the washing up, or cleaning up my messy music bench is an accomplishment. Getting 15 miles in on my bike is a huge deal! Finishing a piece of music, or even just getting another one started can have me feeling like I am at least being active, and getting productive and creative things done. Even just writing this blog is a challenge, but here’s the thing. I know that I can be unreliable at times, I don’t beat myself up about that, I am just that way. So, I said I was going to write about my personal experiences with depression more often, and when I began I fully intended to. The thing is, I’ve said many things like this before, got all excited and positive about it, then the clouds gather and I just go ‘Oh, sod it’ and lose interest. So, here is me making one of those changes. The change here is to finish what I have begun, and see this through to it’s conclusion, whenever that may be. If I can do this, and apply it to other aspects of my life, it will be a rewarding recovery, and I will have improved myself in the process. I said I would write about this, and I said it out loud for everyone to hear. I’d better bloody well make sure I do!
Thank you for listening.