Here’s the trick about recovering from depression: It’s not a linear process. It’s not math; it’s not simple addition and subtraction, where you work your way down a numberline, taking away bits of your depression until you’ve reached a value of Zero. Oh, but if it were only so simple.
This road does not accurately depict my recovery from depression.
But it isn’t. Instead, there are times when I think that I’m doing better. Times when I go for a couple of days or a week without going to this place in my head where everything is slow and cloudy and wrong. In those times, I don’t even think about how I’m getting better because I don’t even think about depression at all. I mindlessly take my antidepressant every day and I give no space in my brain to active thoughts of depression or depression recovery or anything of the sort, and it’s wonderful.
I still haven’t learned to see the changes coming. I’ll just be going about my day doing normal things when it rolls in. And then I’ll feel tired. I’ll lose my appetite. I’ll want to go take a nap. I’ll want to be by myself, which, as you all know, is rather strange for me. Sometimes I don’t even recognize it in this stage. It’s still subtle enough that I can block it all out. I blame it on extenuating circumstances and refuse to assign my feelings the weight and validity that they deserve.
Other people do notice, though. People who know me well will remark about how quiet I’m being. Family and friends start to ask me questions about my eating, concerned because they can see I’m losing weight. They see me canceling plans, leaving parties early. I guess from the outside it’s easier to notice as I close myself off from the people around me. By the time everyone starts talking to me about these things, I am forced to face up to the truth: it’s getting bad again.
Zack deals with the ebbs and flows of depression pretty well, but when I get to the point where I stay in bed until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, he starts to worry about me. He hasn’t said it in those words exactly, but I know he worries about me. I know he worries that I’m going to go back to the place where I was last year. Hell, I’m worried that I’m going to go back to the place where I was last year. I think everyone is.
That’s about where I am right now. Isolating, in bed for 12-14 hours at a time, not eating much, obsessively cleaning–you know, the usual. Part of me isn’t scared because I’ve been here before and things that you’ve done before aren’t usually as scary as things you haven’t done before. The other part of me is terrified because I feel out of control. Now that I’m sliding towards the wrong end of the (over-simplified) depression-numberline, I want to do something to stop it, but I feel helpless. I mean, I’m already taking the little magic happy pill every day. What more does my depression want of me?!
It probably wants me to be more purposeful. It wants me to eat, and it would be happy if I would do some yoga, or really, any kind of exercise on a regular basis. It wants me to take Scout on more walks, get out of the house more often, and make more dinner dates with friends. Those are the things that helped last time, so I won’t try to reinvent the wheel this time. I’ll just do the things that I know to be helpful, and I’ll hope for the best.
Hope with me.