Ugh, I remember this. I remember the internal struggle when I'm not sure whether I'm having a rough day, if I'm being moody or if my depression is seeping back in. If it's a rough day, there's nothing wrong with wallowing in it. I can read a book, drink some Coke, eat some junk food and call it a day. If I'm being moody, I should knock it off. I have a good life, a great family, wonderful friends, the flexibility, support and means to pursue my dreams and not stay in an unhealthy place. I must practice mind over matter. If it's depression, I have to be very careful. I have to reconsider my decision to stop taking anti-depressants. I have to practice the skills I've learned to combat the negative thoughts. I have to accept that it is an illness and no mastery of mind over matter will make a difference.
The struggle is that, like so many illnesses, depression mimics normal, day-to-day maladies. I can pretty easily rule out a rough day. I woke up with my sick baby girl snuggled against me and feeling better. My little dude has been happily playing trains all morning. My oldest and her friends kept me company while I made them breakfast. We have plans to take the kids to the movies this afternoon. There's nothing rough about this day.
So the real question I am grappling with is whether this is mood or depression. Have I forgotten to be grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life again? Am I simply succumbing to boredom? Am I the kind of person that gets cranky because everything isn't perfect? What could it be if it isn't depression?
That's the scarier question because I think the answer is "nothing." There's nothing going on in my life that would cause the kind of agitation I've been feeling over the past few days. I'm taking things personally that aren't phrased in a personal way. I'm feeling inadequate. I'm crying. That feels to me like depression and while I know I wasn't cured, because you're never really free of depression, I thought I was better, stronger, stable. It's crushing to think that it's all lurking so close to the surface that three weeks without medication could drop me back where I was.
Okay, not where I was, exactly. Recent relapses aside, I'm no where near where I was. I won't ever let my depression get that bad again. I have taken medication to get over the hump before and I am willing to do it again. But how long do I fight on my own without the support of psychotropic medications? I'm going to give it a bit of time. I know so much more about combating depression than I did. I want to believe that I'm stronger. I want to believe that I know more. Sadly, I'm not convinced.
So, I will do the things I've been taught. I will keep lists of the happy things in life, starting with my supportive husband, my beautiful, loving children, my sweet puppy, my wonderful family and my incredible friends. I am about to embark on a new journey with my yoga teacher training. I'm working on a business venture that doesn't make me want to poke my own eyes out, in Wildtree. I get to spend days with my children. I am writing again.
I will practice cognitive behavioral therapy and challenge myself when I think I'm worthless. I will reconsider words like "failure," "disaster," and "miserable." I won't dwell in my disappointments, but focus on the positive. I will remember to trust those who love me and question my own thoughts when mine are negative and theirs are not.
Most importantly, I will continue to pay attention. Awareness was what I was missing in the beginning of all of this. I was so far gone that I felt nothing, noticed nothing and wasted so much time. I won't do that again. I will continue to write, which enlightens me to my own emotions. And I will always fight.