Down Daze

Some days I just feel down.

It’s part of who I am, part of the depression I suffer. I can’t get motivated, it’s difficult to think straight, everything just seems too hard. It’s as if the weight of gravity has increased and I’m just too weak to get up.

There’s no particular reason for why it happens. It can be triggered by a bad night’s sleep, the weather, a sad song, thinking about my non-existent love life. Sometimes, nothing at all.

It’s like my brain wants to stifle me. If it could, that gelatinous mass of neural tissue would creep out of my skull, grab a pillow and start smothering. “And that’s for all those times you subjected me to King of Queens,” it would scream.

Today is one of those days. I’m trying to catch up on my Uni readings, and I just don’t have the motivation or care factor. Part of my brain is saying “I need to do this, now”, and the other part is saying “wouldn’t you rather just sleep? Life is a pain anyway.” I need to post some discussion threads as part of my unit, but I can’t do it. I feel exhausted, even though today is no more strenuous than yesterday.

It would be nice if I could pop a happy pill and everything would be fixed, but I’m already on medication and I don’t do recreational drugs.

So what’s the fix? Sometimes I try to read, and if that doesn’t work, I watch a movie or a comedy series to get my mind off…well, me. Sometimes I try to write. Like this post. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I need to ring up and book an earlier psychologist appointment (my next one is in March), but I can’t pick up the phone. It’s just too hard. And I don’t want to experience the receptionist’s rejection: “I’m sorry, but there are no earlier appointments, she’s all booked up. And even if we did have an opening you’re the last person we would give it to.”

Maybe I should go out, but what would that achieve? I’d be surrounded by people who don’t know me, don’t care if I live or die. I’d just get more down.

I know it will pass, eventually. I wouldn’t be alive if it didn’t.

Suddenly, the phone rings, and it’s my psychologist’s receptionist, advising that there have been cancellations on Friday, and asking would I like an appointment! God continues to smile on me. I take the appointment. I’m feeling a little better. I’m realising that sometimes, no matter how down you are, some things just happen (I’m thanking the good Lord as I type this).

If only that were the case every time I was having a down day.

Beyond Blue – About depression

Mindspot – Online depression testing

Sane – What is depression?

MindHealthConnect – Depression – symptoms and treatment

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Dark Blue is not my Favourite Colour

Not every blog I post has to be funny, I reminded myself as I typed.

I went for a drive into town, then a seven kilometre walk, accompanied by my iPod. Through it all I was deeply melancholy – the wretchedness you feel when you fixate on your past and realise just how crappy you were. It was triggered by a conversation about my soon-to-be ex-wife, who I heard was very sad. “I never wanted her to be sad,” I said. “I just wanted her to move forward and find happiness with someone else.” The irony was not lost on me.

As I walked glumly from block to block, to a despondent soundtrack (why is it that when you’re down only unhappy songs play? My iPod appeared to be sensing my mood and saying “hey, this next one will make you feel even worse than the last”, like some sadistic, lonely hearts DJ). As I visited book shops and coffee houses on my own, I longed for company. One of my best mates lived nearby, but I didn’t want to lay my troubles at his door.

My despair was only reinforced by every couple I saw. I found myself missing my wife profoundly, knowing that I shouldn’t, that our break was irreconcilable. She hadn’t responded to my conciliatory email attempt. Some pain was too great to dismiss.

There was a time when I loved shopping (yes, you heard right – a guy who likes shopping) and I knew the only reason I enjoyed it so much was because of the people I shared the experience with. I liked to buy gifts for those I loved, not because I was trying to purchase their affection, but because making them happy made me happy.

When I got home I was relieved, because I knew I had people there, and if I stayed by myself much longer my thoughts would drift to “unpleasant personal endings” (been there, tried that, luckily didn’t succeed, let’s move on).

I’ve suffered from depression most of my life. I’ve done the anti-depressants thing, been to therapy (still in it, thanks), tried the self-help books. The Good Book always inspires. But the best solution for me was always having someone to care for, someone to share with, someone to love. I know God challenges us every day, and these trials are seasons we endure, seasons that eventually pass (even if they sometimes last years). Alas, that doesn’t make me feel better.

I know my wife will never read this, never know just how sorry I am, how sad I am that I hurt her. Maybe it’s better that way.

In many ways, this blog is my catharsis. It’s a place where I can live a somewhat humorous alternative life, an escape from my pervasive dark blues.

But not every blog I post has to be funny.

(Three million Australians live with depression or anxiety every day. beyondblue provides information and support to help Australians achieve their best possible mental health. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/)

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