I’ve been pretty good for months now but last week was rough. Last week, I caught feelings and they weren’t fucking good. One day I felt fine, the next I felt like a storm cloud that got gangbanged by the Cure. I had no energy, I got all weepy, and sad and empty and…depressed? My first thought was, “Oh shit, the depression is back!” And I started to get a little panicked because depression for me isn’t just sadness and fatigue, though those things are worse, depression in me manifests as constant panic and terror, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. It’s like my entire body goes on strike and just implodes. It sucks.
My therapist once told me to be extremely careful with labels. She said, sometimes people dip down and get sad. Everyone has low moments but that doesn’t mean you’re depressed. In fact, telling yourself you’re depressed can actually make you feel worse and cause the issue to manifest. So, I stopped myself and started that weird internal babbling that I’ve learned to do, the fancy self-talk. I told myself, “I’m not depressed, I’m feeling blue. It’s going to pass.” I got out my notebook and went down the line of self-care acts to stave off shitty feelings. I hit the gym, put on my depression meditation on my headspace app, wrote a long list of things I was grateful for (the list included: air, shiny things, books, puppies, gravity, paper, notebooks) and looked forward to my sister coming. Against my therapist’s advice, I tried to look for a cause. What triggered it?
For a lot of people, depression comes out of nowhere. But mine usually doesn’t. Usually, one small, seemingly insignificant thought snowballs in my brain like a silent bomb and days later I feel the painless explosion. What had triggered it?
I traced it back to a thought. One single thought: I’m not good enough. I revisited something I’d done not too long ago and thought, “Wow, this is way worse than I remembered it being.” Then that turned into, “I’m never going to get where I want to be with writing, with my projects, in life, I’m decades behind.” Instead of stopping the obsessive loop like I’ve been doing for the past year, I just let it go. I took my foot off the break and just let my brain speed toward a crash for most of the day. In addition to the shitty thoughts of inadequacy, I’ve been spending a ton of time alone. I need solitude to write, but too much does bad things to me. The day after the negative dialogue with myself, the blues came and obliterated my mood.
My husband came home and took one look at me and said, “Jesus, what’s that look on your face? Are you okay?” At my dad’s house that night, my stepmom did the same thing, “I’ve known you forever, I can take one look at you and know something is wrong. What is it? Why do you look like you might cry?” Three days of that. Three days of what’s the point? Everything is dark and cloudy and shitty. Three days of feeling like my life didn’t matter and 5.6 moments of fantasizing about my death. When I get the blues, the first thing that happens is I either become terrified of dying and panic or I start having fantasies about what people might say at my funeral. Will they even go? And if so, will they say nice things?
Then my sister came and I spent two days laughing and talking and getting out of my house. I wrote more about being grateful and to a few Barre classes and took Omega 3 and 6 oils, Vitamin D, B, C, E and wrote a letter to my therapist that I haven’t given her yet. And the blues lifted, slowly.
The clouds always lift at some point.
But it was a really important reminder that I’m in a space right now where I can’t skip on self-care, I can’t let my brain go rogue, can’t skip exercise or meditation, and can’t avoid people for long periods of time (not even if I’m working on a book). It’s a reminder that self-care needs to be a part of my daily routine for pretty much ever. And, a reminder that the stories we tell ourselves matter and have a large impact on our happiness (or unhappiness).
And honestly, this post is a reminder that I need to GTFO of my house right now and go stalk my neighbor’s new puppy because I haven’t talked to another human in person since yesterday and puppies more or less fix everything. It’s science.
While I was finishing this, someone left an invitation on my door to attend Jesus Christ’s funeral next week. So, if things get bad again, at least I have that to look forward to?