Coping Strategies / Depression

Depression has a way of sneaking up…

Man, I feel terrible. And…it’s been coming on. In the event that my hormones might just be doing something horrible, I’m holding off on calling my prescriber for a few days. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve lost all desire to participate in self care activities…you know, stuff like preparing food, personal grooming, getting out of bed. It was ignorable. It’s not ignorable anymore.

Thus, I have activated my first line of defense against depression – alerting my husband to the problem. Interestingly, he usually notices it before I do, so I don’t always have to tell him, but this time, he’s not seeing and I am. It’s important to tell someone you can trust when you are feeling depressed. Depression tries to tell me that I’m supposed to close myself off. It’s always done that.

In my earliest memories of depression, from my childhood, it was certain, and it was authoritative, and it told me to close myself off from other people. It told me that I was worthless. It told me that I had something to be ashamed of, some very essential part of me. And it smugly refused to identify the source of the shame. It told me that I should never tell anyone else about it because they wouldn’t believe me if I told them. It played on my social insecurity. It told me that my parents’ love for me was embarrassing, and also shameful, because they clearly didn’t understand just how worthless I truly was. It told me that I would die and that it wouldn’t matter if I died, because of my lack of worth. It told me that perhaps I should consider killing myself. Depression has always been very bossy.

It still warps the even weave of my personality, and it deadens my thinking. But over the years I have built up a resilience that I didn’t have as a child. Mostly, as an adult, I have been able to at least weather the duration of a depression with a small wink of light peeking at me from somewhere down the road. I know it will pass, even if the interim misery is extremely uncomfortable, and obstructive.

I know from experience that when ALL of my interest in personal care goes out the window, for more than a day or two, that I may have a problem on the horizon. When all sensation of food-joy just abandons me…that’s another clue. When I become unable to have a conversation that isn’t incredibly negative…that’s another. I have genuinely stressful situations in my life, for sure…but there’s stress, and frustration, and then there’s the moment where the chemicals start to take me down. I’m a fast antelope. But I’m not invincible. I’ll just keep running until I feel the teeth around my leg, even though I could feel the predator, even before I could see it. It’s my instinct, to run from it, but I’m just an antelope.

So when this happens, my first line of real defense is telling my husband, making sure he knows that this is the real deal. Depression can’t tell me anymore, that I have to suffer alone. My second line of defense is making a plan. My plan is that I have to call my prescriber on May 15th, unless I feel worse, or feel no improvement before then. In which case, I’ll just call her next week. I’m only waiting that long because I know my brain is still adjusting to a change in meds right now. I also want to rule out the possibility that I might be in a little hormone-related funk that’ll pass in a couple days. Otherwise, I’d call a little faster…but like I said, if I just keep feeling like this in to next week, or feel worse, I’ll make that call.


4 thoughts on “Depression has a way of sneaking up…

  1. Thank you for writing this! I’m so inspired by your sense of awareness and proactive stance on how to manage your depression. Having a spouse that is both aware and sympathetic is wonderful. It really helps to learn of other folks who are dealing with the same issue that I am. Thanks for posting! 🙂

    • Thank you for reading. I, too, find that it helps to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes (although I’m also sorry that others feel this way!)

      I made myself take my dogs for a walk tonight, even though I was feeling bad. It made me feel about two degrees better and gave me hope that things might turn around a little sooner than it seemed they might earlier. It also made me realize that maybe I should take quicker action – there’s no reason to keep feeling so bad. If I’m not significantly more “up” by tomorrow, I’m making that call.

  2. Sorry you’re feeling so rough. I’m impressed that you’re able to write so articulately about your feelings in the midst of them. I’m struggling with something similar but every time I attempt to write my words don’t come together and feel flat and I walk away feeling utterly defeated. I say go ahead and call your provider. Feel better soon!

    • I realized that I can break it up into smaller increments – because I really CAN call my provider at any time. So last night I realized I should call her sooner and said to myself “if I feel the same or worse in the morning, I will call her”. But I felt a bit better! So it made me feel bolder about taking on my day without making the call. Now I figure I’ll weather the weekend and again, if I feel worse, I’ll call her Monday. I just want to give it a tiny bit of time, because I know my brain is adjusting. And this seems like a good way to do it. And hey…I can call her at any time.

      I’m sorry you are feeling low. If words don’t work…perhaps another medium will. Something visual, or tacile, perhaps. Music. Something 🙂

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