(Just when you think you don’t know when to blog again, a student calls in sick. I hope she’ll be well soon, but this was my present for today.)
Still feeling a little low. Though I haven’t written here, I still have time to think. And I don’t like the phrase “I don’t have time”, because it isn’t true. I did lots of things during the past days, but I didn’t sit down and wrote anything. Maybe that’s my punishment. I had a writer’s meeting on Thursday and everybody went, “Oh, I just don’t know what to write about on my blog.” and I bragged, “Oh, having ideas is never the problem for me. Following them through is.” So for anybody interested in a topic, the topics I have waiting in line are: handicapped, sleep, transitions, life coaching, self-sacrificing mothers. Feel free to write about them if they appeal to you.
But for now I’ll write about the thing that is occupying me the most and that is depression. Maybe that is a “social justice” topic. It surely should be. (And I don’t really know where the line between personal and social is. They blur into another anyway.) I’m hesitating, because I don’t feel qualified to write about depression. But I don’t find another word to describe the mood I am in. It is like the problem I had when I found out I had an eating disorder. I watched TV and there were a couple of overeaters describing their eating patterns. They described my eating patterns exactly. Only I didn’t weigh 300 pounds. To this day most people who have known me for a long time think that I am a hypochondriac when I label myself as a former emotional overeater.
So I have light bipolar extra-light. Whatever. Currently there is a part of me that has gone numb, wants to go numb, a part that is constantly sitting in a corner wrapping her arms around herself. It feels like I’m wading through mud and rolling a boulder uphill all day long while having a vortex in my stomach. I’m tempted to feed the vortex food, chocolate in particular. And numb it with staring into the computer or TV. My energy is very low, I haven’t been sleeping well, I have been eating more than usual, especially more candy, I’m cranky and when my husband points out something to me that I forgot – and that happens a lot these days – I burst into tears.
And then there’s the other part of me, the aware and mindful part, that’s quite happy. The new conscious part of me that loves the sunshine and goes on exercising and doing housework, the part of me that goes out with friends and makes jokes and cares about herself and others. This is weird. I keep thinking that if only can immerse myself in that happy feeling the heavy rock in my stomach will melt. As it will, as it always does. It’s not that I’m depressed all the time.
When I still lived alone I treated this mood as if I were sick. I went to bed and didn’t get up for days. I went out only to get more potato chips, jelly beans, liquorice and chocolate. I’d sleep long enough to make me feel even weaker. I’d withdraw completely. Now I live with my family and this is no longer possible. I’m very happy about this, because not doing anything makes me feel even worse. I feel better, when I get out of the house and walk through the woods. When I eat real food my mood lifts a little.
In a comment to my last post Esereth wrote that there are deep reasons for depression and that I can kill it when I find out what’s causing it. So far I only have been able to find triggers: visiting my parents, not sleeping enough, not making enough music, staying indoors too much, listening to daily talk about the end of the world (okay, that was exaggerated). And who knows, maybe there is a part in me that loves this mood. I suspect this is the counterpart to the part that wants to have a highly streamlined, efficient, goal-oriented life. The hyper-organizer in me. And of course I haven’t played enough. There is the voice in me that once was my mother’s voice (and occasionally still is in real life) that says, “Who do you think you are?” There is the fact that there is winter and light is sparse. There is the fact that I am exhausted and overwhelmed. And there is the fact that I have been in manic overdrive mode for weeks without realizing it. That’s usually the main factor.
So, if there is a reason it may be the one that this lifetime around it is my turn to learn how to be persistent. I am not good at this. I’d like to live life in bursts and crashes. Work like crazy for a couple of weeks and then retreat to bed and do nothing for a couple of weeks. Either be the center of the party, shining, laughing, dancing, singing and telling funny stories or to stay at home and be alone. I could do that. I have done it often enough. The only catch is that it makes me neither happy nor content. So I’ll have to learn the “boring” path. The one where every day is the same as the last one. Where you work constantly without burning out.
I have a friend who told me that she feels slightly bipolar too. I asked her, “And what do you do about it?” She said that she just tries to enjoy that manic streaks and to treat herself as well as she can, when she’s depressed. I can’t accept that for my life. For one, real bipolar disorder is dangerous when not treated. The depression gets deeper and longer, and there are people turning suicidal. I don’t think that my mood swings qualify for a real disorder. I’m sure, if I’d go to a doctor with this, he’d laugh out loud. (And I have done the tests in my bipolar disorder books, thank you.)
But then there isn’t only healthy and sick. There are shades of grey in between. My first step now is to acknowledge that this is something I can’t control. No power of will can make me feel happy. If I ignore it, it comes back and hits me over the head. While at the same time I think that we can choose our emotions, I’m not yet able to do it constantly. And I think the main problem for me is to avoid overdrive mode. So my problem boils down to: How do you know whether you’re slightly manic or just extremely busy? And if I suspect that I’m in overdrive does that mean I cancel everything? Like my son’s kindergarten Christmas party? The trip to my parents that was higly anticipated by them and my son? Christmas? NaNoWriMo? And I can’t turn to my husband to help me, because he is showing symptoms of exhaustion too.
Thanks for listening to me. I’ll go to bed on time today. I promise.
Technorati Tags: depression