Despite my best efforts not to get depressed during this time of the year, I woke up with a full-fledged depressed mood. Not like, oh no! I think I might be getting depressed! Maybe I can sleep it off. More like, I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t even think I want to go to our cookie exchange party.
If you knew me well, then you’d know that this is a clear sign that something is wrong. Not to want to go eat a bunch of cookies. That’s up there with not wanting to play tennis.
You never think that you have a good enough reason to be depressed. Yes, I am seeing a bazillion clients, but so are my colleagues. And yes, I spent 5 days entertaining my parents, which was about 4 days more than I usually spend. But normal people entertain their families all the time. And yes, I was sick last week, but so what? Lots of people get sick without getting depressed.
Plus, there was nothing I could do to prevent these things from happening. The client overload. The extended time with family. The sickness. These things happen every year during this time. Which makes it all seem so pointless, this trying not to get depressed stuff.
I tried really, really hard to control the things that are in my control. I have not reversed my sleep cycle. I religiously take my drugs. Get sunlight or sit in front of my light box. Meditate. Journal. Pray. Practice mindfulness. Spend time with friends. Knit. Read. Play tennis in moderation. I say no more often. Practice self-compassion. I am practically the poster child of good mental health. And yet, here I am, feeling depressed like I always do at this time of year.
Waking up feeling depressed is a lot like having a flashback of some traumatic experience. Oh no! Not this again! I am filled with terror. Because when you’re sick, you know it will suck but you have a pretty good sense of when it will end, and there are drugs that can alleviate some of your suffering. But with depression, you never know. It could be a few hours. It could be a few days. Or weeks. Or months. And I’m already taking the drugs that are supposed to help. But sometimes the depression slips through the cracks of my mood disordered brain, anyway.
I am trying my best to practice self-care. To alleviate whatever suffering is in my control. Trying to find some balance between being kind and gentle with myself but still making myself go to the doctor, get some work done, go to the party. Because I know it will help.
I feel better at the moment, but I’m still feeling a little panicked. Because tomorrow I don’t know how I will feel when I wake up. Maybe I’ll be fine. Or maybe it will be a Herculean effort to get out of bed and go to work.
I guess I’ll tell myself what I tell my clients. That it feels bad now, but at some point, I will feel differently. I might even feel better when I wake up tomorrow.
We’ll see what happens.