Well, I’m back. I’m feeling better. I’m not depressed. I’m relieved.
But I’m also in that awful, post-depression phase that I call “the aftermath”. It’s not as bad as the depression itself, but it’s painful nonetheless. It involves facing the brutal truth of your imperfection in high definition. It involves cleaning up the mess that your depressed you left for you to clean up. It involves ugly piles, missed deadlines and wading through a backlog of emotions while you’re doing it.
When my most recent depression first began to lift, I didn’t have the luxury of diving back into my life’ details fully – because I needed to use my emotional and physical resources to just assure myself that the basics were taken care of. Eat, sleep, bathe, dress, care for others in my home. Care for my home. Go to work. I was happy to re-embrace these tasks without having to work so damn hard at it. (After all, I DID still take care of many of these tasks when I was depressed…it was just a lot harder.)
I’m feeling stronger now.
And I have deadlines to meet. Emails to respond to. People outside of my home who rely on me for guidance and leadership.
Today, I am slogging through my email box. Some of these messages date from the end of April. It’s the beginning of July now. For two months, I responded to only the bare minimum. I have a lot of people to whom I owe at least a basic explanation (I apologize for the delay in responding to you – I experienced health issues this Spring that impeded my ability to do so.)
Yesterday, I cleaned my desk at work. I normally keep a clean and organized work area as part of my “life with ADHD” standard protocols”. This is how I make sure that I don’t lose track of important items at work. My desk had become infested with clutter – and clutter can be dangerous. I was sifting through my clutter while I was depressed, to make sure I wasn’t missing the important stuff. But the visible disarray was not like me, and was a symbol of my mental disarray. It needed to be dealt with. I’ve culled my herd of post-it notes, re-organized files, distributed the filing.
And at home – I have more organizing to do there. But we don’t need to get into that right now.
This is not who I want to be. This is not how I want to see myself. As much as I know that I am not depression, this process just doesn’t feel good. A mess of unanswered emails, awash in clutter. Life with ADHD is never perfect – but when I’m depressed, I’m unable to even TRY to keep up with the details of my life. And when the moment comes that I have to catch back up with them and say “yup, that was me, I did that”…ugh. I do hate that feeling.
So here I am. Answering one email at a time. (Yes, I do actually need to answer all of them, I’ve been erasing the non-essential ones all along, just to help myself feel a little more in control. Low-hanging fruit.) It’s got me a bit crabby.
I just have to remember that, like the depression, this phase won’t last forever. I will get caught back up, or at least, caught back up to a point that feels more like home.