275mg and The Insidious Depression

Today, my world is dark. The sky is grey, and the rain is heavy. I mean that literally. Not metaphorically. Although it’s fitting considering the circumstances.

Depression always takes me by surprise. I’ve never known it to knock on my front door on sunny Sunday morning. It never greets me in broad daylight and invites me out to play. Instead, it waits until I am sleeping, until I am vulnerable and my defences down. It sneaks in the back door in the middle of the night. It moves itself in, silently, so I won’t notice. Piece by piece it fills my room, my house and my body with it’s presence. As it becomes larger, I become smaller. The smaller I am, the harder it is to fight against it. My voice is softer, my body is weaker and my perseverance fades. I falter. I can’t concentrate. I sleep more. I get bored. I fail to do the things I need to. I give up the fun stuff. And I blame myself for all of it. I blame myself for not being able to work efficiently, to think, to finish.

Over a decade and you would think depression wouldn’t be a surprise anymore. But it is. I rationalise. I tell myself, “but you don’t feel depressed, you’re just tired”, “you just need to get your act together, and get on with it,” or “if it was depression, exercising would help, not make you feel worse.”  I always forget that depression takes me physically before it takes me emotionally.

When I say it takes me physically before emotionally  I mean, my body is depressed before I start feeling low. And then I start feeling low because I can’t function, and that’s when I notice. There have been times when I haven’t noticed. Once, I was so depressed I was basically bed ridden for six months. My doctor told me she thought I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). A stupid suggestion considering she knew I had a history of depression. But I can’t blame her can I…I didn’t report low mood. I only reported physical symptoms.

That was 7 years ago now. I figured it out on my own. That it was depression, and anxiety, not CFS. But time and time again, I forget.

*

Maybe if I’d been keeping my mood diary I would’ve noticed. But I know that’s not true. I would have coloured in the “stable” mood circle and written that I was fatigued. I might have noticed a little sooner, but not much I don’t think. And besides, I was too tired to keep it. I kept forgetting about it.

For weeks, I have been getting tired in the evenings. Like really tired, so tired I could barely move or stay awake. At about 7:30-8pm. I thought I was sick. I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I felt dazed and confused and heavy. For weeks I’ve been sleeping the whole night through. Not waking at all, not even to go to the bathroom. For weeks I have struggled to get out of bed in the morning. Last night I slept for 11 hours. My alarm went off and I went back to sleep until 10:45am. That is not normal for me. I like to be up early, before 7. But this has not been happening consistently for a long time. And the sleep isn’t refreshing. I wake up, feeling better than I did in the evening, but still this same old unconcerned feeling. A pervasive level of reduced functioning. For weeks I have not felt like doing anything, and I kept telling myself it was because I was so tired.

I had classes two weeks ago. I was bored out of mind. I couldn’t concentrate, or focus on what the lecturer was saying. She was talking, and I tried listening but I ended up spending about 30 out of 40 hours staring at a piece of paper. I even missed classes. That should have been a clue.

I’ve been disorganised. Not completing tasks for my job, for my study. I have a huge assignment due in a week and I haven’t even bothered to get confirmation from my lecturer about my topic choice. I tried, once, and never followed through. Because I forgot, or couldn’t be bothered or just found it too much hassle. I don’t know. But that should’ve been a clue.

I haven’t even thought about The Bipolar Project. I mean, I did, once or twice fleetingly. I haven’t checked the email account. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t had anything to write. And that usually happens when I am depressed. That should’ve been a clue.

So many clues, and I still failed to notice.

It is 1:16pm, and I am in bed.

I’m heavy. My head aches, and my eyes want to close.

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