The Unknowing Burden 

Depression is an ugly hulking thing that follows you around like a shadow, and the longer it stays with you, the harder it seems to get rid of it. Its ethereal tendrils seep slowly into your being tightening, minute by minute, its tangle of roots around your bones. You become comfortable with it's hot and weary presence, and unless you purposely try to notice it, it melts into your subconscious, disappears from view, and settles on your shoulders to become the unknowing burden.

It's this seemingly disappearing aspect of depression that sometimes confuses me. In the popular imagination, one usually thinks of someone with depression as a person who feels "sad" all of the time, of someone who carries grief around with them like a candle in the overwhelming dark, of someone who is always two seconds away from crying. That would be an "in-your-face" type of depression. But, for me anyway, that is not how it most often shows up. Instead, I sleep a lot during the day when I can (naps for two or three hours), and then at night, I can't seem to fall asleep until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. Depression also causes me to think a lot about my life in terms of mistakes I have made and opportunities I have missed, like the "wasted" money on graduate school, or my failed relationships. I don't feel like eating much, and when I do eat, it is usually only to fill my belly. I get headaches frequently. I almost always feel like I need a nap even if I am wide awake.

In brief, I feel like the mayor of failure-town. But these are not grief-inspiring thoughts as much as they appear to be evident "facts," and in the false guise of "facts," these thoughts mask the depression. The real fact, objectively speaking, is that my brain does not make serotonin like a healthy person, so these negative thoughts of failure have some roots in a very physical cause. I have the hardest time getting my mind around this concept, but there it is. Just as a person with a broken leg would have some trouble walking, a person with messed up serotonin levels has trouble being "not-depressed." I've been in a depressed phase during the last week or so.

Actually, I guess I would have to say that it has been more than a week judging by how often I have posted on my blog, but this week has been particularly bad. I've not met many of my goals and I have spent more than a few hours in bed during the middle of the day. I am trying to change that around, and I would have to say that I am making a little progress. After all, I am writing this blog post rather than telling myself how I should be doing something other than watch television. I also did some cleaning up by removing a lot of clutter and generally making things look nice.

Another thing that I managed to do just for myself was accidentally go to a Civil War Re-enactment. It was an accident because I had meant only to go to a State Park and possibly go on a hike in a natural setting. I looked up some nearby parks and made my choice, but when I got there, I found that there was a large reenactment group doing their thing. I took some pictures of the battle behind the "Confederate" side of things and then looked around at the various displays after the faux fighting was over. It was a nice distraction away from my various problems at the time. I further distracted myself by making a little comic about the experience. I think that the next two weeks are going to be better for me personally. I am already feeling good enough to a blog post, right? So, I think I have reason to hope for the future. Until next time.

11 July 2007