The thing about depression is that when depressed it’s extremely, mortally, difficult to do things. Motivation is a notion- a theory of a feeling. What you are capable of gets smaller, and smaller, and more difficult, until you are barely, with great suffering, managing to do the minimum to survive.
Your focus, and attention, contracts like an aperture into tunnel vision, and when all your energy is devoted to methodically plodding one foot in front of the other, then you tend to just keep staring out your narrow tunnel like a hopeless blinkered horse.
Looking from side to side takes energy. Big picture? Gone.
When you can just force yourself to do the one thing in front of you you have to do, then everything optional is hopeless. And more and more becomes optional. Writing is out of the question. Reading is a chore. Ditto eating, hygiene, walking to the next room. Hmm, I think this is not necessary to my continued miserable existence. Staying put.
The irony is that you can’t blog about being miserably, horribly depressed. Not at the time (see above). You can only announce it in retrospect.
If you’re unlucky, like me, you do retain awareness of having been different, awareness of the decline, so that a small piece at the back of your mind screams on about how dangerously mentally ill you are becoming, but without the helpful memory of what to do to recover, or the energy to do anything about it. For a while I got a blip of comfort out of thinking “at least I remember; at least I’m aware”. But really, it just added sadness and inadequacy, and made me more aware of the divide between present misery and past health.
Research and it gets worse. Take drugs. Exercise. The worse you get depressed the more likely it will recur. Is it your environment, or it is how you feel about your environment? Because you can change that, of course. Just look at it differently. Tough messages to cope with in an unbalanced state of mind. Allie Brosh does a pretty great job of describing the disconnect one feels from, well, everything.
The biggest loss is the sense of safety and rightness in the world. I rely on a feeling of faith that everything is happening perfectly even if I don’t understand it at the time, and if things are surprising, well, they can be dealt with. No problem. Negotiating passage through the world means only having my antennae on, and listening to the directives to be in the right place and the right time and do the right thing. When that’s gone, nothing can ever feel safe or right. I haven’t had my antennae in forever. If I am in the right place or right time, well, I can’t sense it, so it never feels right.
Note, that’s all in the past tense. I am better.
I am recovering. Luckily, for me it was not a permanent, chemical state of being, but had everything to do with circumstance and place, both of which consumed all the hope and energy I had, leaving nothing behind. Both circumstance and place have changed, and so I’ve been recovering. Enough to write about it. Recovery looks like a lot of sleep, and a horror of obligation. Anything I “have to do”, no matter how manageable it may seem, spikes my anxiety and flight mechanisms. Noooo! Not an appointment! That means I have to do something. I don’t understand why this is so very hard, but it is. Naturally, there are many things that I have to do, that’s life, but my experience of them is frightening. Panic, rebellion, fear, self-pity. Why? Why do I have to do anything? Why can’t I not have to ever do anything? Please.