Depression and the art of tightropewalking

If you’ve ever suffered from depression I’d be willing to bet that at least one person you told that you were depressed asked, “What about?”

I’ve probably done it myself thouhtlessly but these days I try and ask whether they know the cause, which is a much more sensible question really.

Because in all honesty, we use the term depressed too readily and it’s diluted its true meaning. You can’t be depressed ABOUT anything; fed up, pissed off or whatever but not depressed. Reactive depression, which is the kind of extreme gloom or misery that has an actual identifiable  cause (grief, job loss etc) is quite different from clinical depression. Clinical depression has its root cause in brain chemistry.

I wish they had thought of another word rather than used Depression for this type of disorder, in the way they’ve stopped using the term Manic depression for Bi-polar disorder. It’s too easy to feel that you can cheer someone up who has clinical depression. I know about laughter therapy and so on but hey, stick with me here. I just wish there was another word.

I should be happy now. I should be delighted that work is now much pleasanter. But it doesn’t seem to matter much at core.

I’ve realised that the fairly awful conditions at work were simply masking the fact that I am still suffering from chronic depression. I let myself be fooled that it was the conditions I was fed up with, and that if they improved so would my mood. Well, conditions are way better and I’m not. I’m cross now. I’ve got some fabulous things going on in my life but I don’t seem to be able to feel happy or excited or really anything much. Just blah. Grey. I’d been missing the fact that battling against trouble was simply blinding me to a problem I can’t seem to solve, whatever I do.

And I have ways to get through a period of depression, believe me, I have a dozen and more methods to lift my own mood, boost my endorphins and so on. I use them and they work. But the Black Dog is still there. He’s been there since I was at least six years old.

Why in heaven’s name does this always happen? Why do I reset to my default setting, and so often and for so long?

I can’t feel much; it’s like being numbed with Novacaine all the time. Except for the times when without warning I feel tears welling up and that I dread. I avoid talking or thinking about some things because I know they’re a trigger. But new ones pop up.

And it slows me down as well. It took me two hours to prepare a lesson that will take only three hours (with break  in the middle taking away 15 mins) to teach. I want to write and yet, nothing seems to flow. It’s like wading through treacle.

Maybe it’s the tiredness talking. Maybe I’m sickening for something. Or maybe the Black Dog is back to stay for a while. I simply was so busy fighting Goblins that I didn’t notice him slip in and get all comfy by the fire.

10 thoughts on “Depression and the art of tightropewalking

  1. Sigh. Yes, all too familiar. My husband, who should know better, still asks me “why” I’m depressed. And our lives don’t allow us to slow down to accommodate our emotional cycles, do they. I guess this is just my chronic illness; some people are dealt diabetes, but I got this.

    Hope you see a break in the fog soon.


  2. Just to let you know I am thinking of you and hoping that this period of up-front depression passes sooner than you dare hope. For some people the default setting is the low one, maybe genetically. It makes life so much more difficult to manage and requires so much more courage and ingenuity to get on with it.


    • Thank you Jessica; I truly appreciate it.
      I’ve often thought that perhaps my brain uses up serotonin far faster than it “should” and that’s why I have the deafult setting. It would account for why when I don’t get enough sleep(ie more than most people need) I go down very fast.
      Off for a nap now!


  3. I am not sure if I have ever suffered from depression but then again I am not keen on the labels to begin with. I do know that when I go through spells of feeling very low it is never because of any particular thing or event. Even when I have everything to be happy about I can go through these periods of low and the last thing I want is someone to cheer me up or tell me that I think too much.



    • I agree. I have everything to make my life happy and yet, I’m depressed. I do stuff to cheer myself up when I am a bit low but those sorts of things don’t mean a thing when I’m really down.


  4. I’m not sure I’ve suffered from real clinical depression either, but some three years ago I ended up in a state I couldn’t control no matter how hard I tried to cheer up. It was a bit different from feeling down, I was scared of practically everything. I felt like doing absolutely nothing and every little effort seem like a formidable ordeal. Every time I got into a car I was sure I’d die in an accident round the next corner. The doctors said it was some chemical imbalance in my brain, so I had to be put on medication. As I had been assured, the fear subsided approximately a month after I had started the treatment.
    Well, sorry to bother you with all the details. My point is, after I’ve been through that, I know what you mean. And I’m aware that these are repetitive conditions. The only way out I see is endure and withstand as much as we can.

    With all my heart I wish you to recover soon!


    • It’s not a bother Shiona at all. It helps that I know you know what I mean. That sounds like an acute anxiety disorder; and I’ve had that too.
      I’ve had a good day, which is nice, and all the staff seem much happer now, and some have commented on this to me. J also texted me several jokes which made me smile.
      I’m OK. I shall take the rough with the smooth and live each day as it comes. Today was a good one; that’s enough for now!!


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