Yep, the sun is shining. The sky is that gorgeous blue dotted with whispy clouds drifting past in the breezes of the stratospehere. The temperature is cool but the sun's rays bring a reassuring warmth to my skin. It is just what I need to fend of the SADS, but even this blessed beautiful pre-winter day is not enough to tempt me out of bed.
As I had feared yesterday I am headed into a slight depressive stint.
I guess the thing most 'normal' people don't understand is that even when everything appears to be going well, a person who has BMD is not guaranteed a safe place away from the claws of the illness.
Over the years I have learned that I am vulnerable to depression under several circumstances.
- the end of a manic episode
- when the tibulations of life are hurtling every emotional test in my direction and I am drawing from deep down the strength to cope
- when the skies are solidly grey and winter descends towards the shortest day.. and times like now, when there are no obvious external indicators towards depression.
The other thing 'normal' people do not understand is that there is basically two types of depressions, clinical and environmental.
The second (environmental depression) occurs during or after periods of extreme stress, when the brain cannot keep producing adrenaline just to keep the body functioning and going when what is most needed is a period of rest, calm and nurturing.
Environmental depression can often morph into the first type... clinical. This is what had me hospitalised the last four times.
This first type of depression, the clinical one, can come from nowhere, with no identifiable triggers.
This is how I feel today.
My life has just seemed settled after many, many months of emotional trauma. The emotional environment around me actually feels positive and I know I have a chance to capitalise on positive energies... but BANG... out of the blue comes this downward pressure.
Just living is hard work.
Getting out of bed is not so much a self-discipline act, it is a phisical challenge; the sheer emotional pain of facing the day ahead is debillitating. Once one can get showered and dressed (which for many sufferers is nigh on impossible, but luckily never for me) it feels as if the entire day's energy has been exhausted.
The logical thing to do, but by far the hardest, is to reintroduce your wellness routine. As I have learned mine is meditation, gentle excercise particularly in the sun and eating good heathy vitamin rich food. I can write it here. I know it inside my soul, but to put this into action becomes virtually impossible for the reason that you feel that there is no point to fighting.
An existential tiredness swamps you. What is the point? Getting well means that you will inevitably get ill again, and people will see just how weak you actually are. Thus begins the self-defeating, and self-destructive downward spiral.
- Today I won't surrender.
- I will fight the downward forces.
- I will not go under.
- Not now.
- Not when I still have so much to prove to the outside world that I can be a normal employee, scholar and woman.
- Not with only a few more precious weeks of PhD.
- I will not self-sabotage for whatever reason.
Yet, I cannot go out for a walk, the motivation is just not strong enough. I will however,conce dressed, sit in the comfy chair and think quietly. I will attempt to deconstrauct why my mood is shifting downwards. It has to be my own fear of success? (This is implementing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; looking at the emotions attached to thought patterns and deconstructing them to discover the il-logic).
Answer: Is it that with no response on two potential job fronts, my ego and self-worth is taking a pummelling?
Ah now I am getting somewhere. The old problem, my self-esteem is so linked to my professional earning capacity, that when things don't appear to be going my way, I feel devalued.
How in God's name does one build a central core of strength when one has this damn illness?
What can I do, so the day is not a complete loss?
I can write... at least this bloody journal/blog.
If I can just externalise the issues and feelings, perhaps I can envisage that I have just released them, like helium balloons up into that blue sky outside. Then perhaps tomorrow I can get back to work. (Fingers crossed... and I am more determined than every to give myself a morning yoga session).
I am seeking liberation. Liberation from my inner demons, please??
...before I slide further down the x-axix than minus three.