I’m stuck in the doldrums again.
Maybe it’s the fact that it is August and things are just hot. People are in vacation mode after missing last year due to the Pandemic. Everyone is getting cabin fever and is doing things to escape the house. In June, we got out of town and visited family for the first time in more than a year. And we have trips to visit relatives scheduled in September, October, and November.
Or maybe it’s just that I am feeling alone.
I know from my WRAP training that this can be an early sign that my depression is trying to make a come-back. Feeling isolated, alone, has for me often led to pushing people away. Then comes the secrecy. This becomes a sense that I cannot trust anyone, except depression.
All of this starts my slow plodding towards the abyss.
Now I am nowhere near circling the drain. I don’t spend time up against the wall, with the highlight of the day being an excuse to go back to bed. My days are not filled with hours of unhelpful thinking. I am not spending the day time-traveling. You won’t find me spending time reliving old memories, where I then beat myself up for how they turned out. Well, maybe I’m doing that just a little.
Before I understood my relationship with depression, this scenario would repeat itself, over and over.
Times of productivity would give way to times of “deep, dark, depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all, gloom, despair and agony on me” (from the TV show Hee Haw). And I would not want to know what was happening. All I wanted was for it to be over, for things to get back to normal.
Instead of learning from the experience, I took great effort to sweep anything related to the episode under the rug.
Avoidance and ignoring were my go-to moves as depression would ease. As soon as I could, I would be back to acting as if nothing had happened. There were most certainly people I impacted during these depressive episodes. I’m sure I am still impacted by some of them. Yet all I could do was move forward and keep a stiff upper lip, dodging at all costs the real reason for my troubles.
So, I have gotten out my WRAP plan.
I am examining what I wrote. There is a list of how I look when I am well. Then a list of possible triggers, signs that things may not be 100%. And then, I have a list of actions I can take to address these triggers. Seeing what I look like when I am a little off my game, I can adjust get back on course.
This tool and many others I learned from On Our Own.
I can also say that I have Peer Support now. For over 40 years, I tried to work through each episode on my own. Even when I had support, years of listening to depression would kick in, making me secretive with any supporter. They couldn’t really know what was going on. My perception was I alone could see what needed to be done and doing it was only for me.
Of course, in the background, calling the shots, was and is, my depression.
“I have depression, depression does not have me.” This has been my mantra for the past 2 ¼ years. This means I am still learning how to keep my depression visible to me. I don’t want to and never plan to flaunt my depression or use it as an excuse for my behavior or actions.
Therefore, I take full responsibility for everything I have done, or not done, the good and the bad.
Yet I have had a partner. And where the line is drawn between what I choose to do and what I choose to do with depression is not clear. Separating myself from depression is not possible, so I must find ways to see between the lines.
My life with depression is complicated, but then everyone has some complication.
My complication happens to be that I have depression. And this creates specific challenges that I must face. Other people live with addictions, obesity, the death of a family member, and things we cannot begin to imagine. Yet everyone has a face they present to the world. This is one way we are all similar.