I was walking through the grocery store yesterday evening, and nothing sounded good. I found myself bored with the prospect of yet another lunchmeat sandwich for lunch every day this week. I found myself bored with the prospect of waiting to get a loaf of bread sliced. I found myself bored with waiting in line at the deli counter. I was also hungry, which as we all know is not the best time to be shopping for food. Long story short, I was done.
But no matter how done I was, I still have to eat this week. So I trudged through the story, my stomach growing emptier and my mood growing darker. I wanted to do nothing more than go home and sit like a lump in front of my computer and let my brain drip out my ears, when suddenly I had an epiphany.
Wait a minute, I thought to myself. Bleak mood, indecisiveness, and boredom? Holy cow, I feel depressed!
And I did. I felt depressed. And I’m happy to say that realizing that actually helped. It didn’t completely stop the dark thoughts, of course, but it did allow me to take a step back and recognize these thoughts for what they were. And eventually (once I got home and got some food in me) move past them.
I guess this mini-malaise caught me by surprise because I’ve been in an overall better mood since I started my new job. After all, working in a field I’m interested in is much better than pushing carts and stocking pallets at Costco. To say nothing of not having to get up at four in the morning! So overall, I’ve been in a much better mood since I got out. So much so that I guess I grew complacent.
It’s a familiar cycle for many: you feel bad, so you do something to feel better. But once you feel better, you start forgetting to do the thing that made you feel better. Then you start feeling worse, and the whole thing crashes and the cycle starts over.
And I had indeed stopped doing the things that helped. I was sleeping in more, true, but I was also staying up later. But for me, the most telling thing was that I had forgotten to take my St. John’s Wort for at least a week, if not more.
While I’m not really on any strong medication for my depression, I had fallen into the trap many people on constant medication do: I felt better, so I stopped taking the thing that was making me feel better. And while my life situation had improved enough that I didn’t really notice the effects, that lapse seems to have caught up to me. Luckily, the reminder wasn’t too poignant: I was able to snap myself out of it before it became a full-blown Funk. And I am going to do my best to heed that warning.
Yes, I still have issues with depression. They can be mild; mild enough that even I forget they’re there. But much like my ADD, it’s not likely to go away any time soon. I just have to remember that there are things I can do to help, and then remember to do them.