Last week, I talked about how I thought knowing the cause of certain emotions could help me work through them. This week, I was given an example of how this actually does work. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but it’s definitely something I’ll have to keep in mind for the future.
The past few days at work, I had been having real problems with depression. For whatever reason, the menial, early-morning labor seemed even more soul-crushing than usual. I was worried that I would fall into a Funk that would completely destroy my drive and productivity for the rest of the week. And I really didn’t need that right now. Well, not that I ever really need it, but you know what I mean.
So I was all but resigned to my slide into a Funk when I stopped and asked myself: “Why?” Why was I feeling so out of it? Were there instances of any of the triggers I’ve discovered? Was it from brooding too much? I hadn’t really been thinking on things too much, so probably not. Was it fatigue and lack of sleep?
Well, I had gotten to sleep pretty late the past couple nights. One of the downsides to having to wake up at 4am is it’s really easy to stay up too late, especially when you’re naturally inclined to be a night owl. Going to bed at 9pm? You’d better be asleep in a few minutes if you don’t want to be screwed for the rest of the work week. Decide to read a few pages before going to sleep? Watch out, or the next thing you know it might be 10h30, and then you’re doomed!
Once I realized what had happened, I found my black mood lifting slightly. I could put a name (and thus a source) to my feelings. I wasn’t really depressed, I was just exhausted. True, this realization didn’t make me feel any more awake, but it did let me salvage what enjoyment I could out of the work day. I also realized that for me, depression and fatigue are two separate emotional states. True, they often overlap, and the latter can quite often trigger the former. But just because I’m tired doesn’t automatically mean that I’ll be depressed. The two states feel similar, don’t get me wrong. But they are not the same.
What else did I learn? Well, besides the joy caused by avoiding a Funk, I got even more evidence that my depression is not necessarily tied to events or emotional states. It is irrational, and while it can be triggered, there are probably times when it is not. I guess that’s what I was trying to get at when I referred to it as Other. As a result, I shouldn’t feel bad when depression does blindside me; it’s not necessarily my “fault” or something I did that triggered it.
Identifying triggers to accept the lack of them? Convoluted, but I’ll take it.