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.