Saturday, December 11, 2004

Combatting My Depression

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  • Yesterday was bad in every way. Today is measureably better. I am still depressed and the world certainly seems dark to me but it is not like yesterday. I don't know that it is actually possible to explain to anyone who has not felt it what true, clinical depression feels like; and I am told I have a relatively mild problem with it! People think you are either just feeling sorry for yourself (and this is true to some extent) or that you are full of shit.

    One of the most interesting things for me to learn about depression is that most depressed people do not commit suicide as they descend into depression or as they reach the bottom. Depression robs them of the energy to act and causes a lack of mental focus so it is difficult to plan. People at the depth of depression tend to sleep a lot. The most dangerous time for attempting suicide is actually as they start to emerge from the depression. They are still deeply depressed but now they have energy and a mind clear enough to plan.

    I felt very suicidal in the early morning yesterday. This is not an exaggeration, it is a real, concrete feeling that I experienced. But things got better. By ten a.m. I was merely genocidal, by noon only homicidal, and I have now returned to my normal state where the only person I really want to kill is my sister, and that is more or less a permanant thing with me. It's okay, last I heard, she feels the same way.

    Here are some concrete things I have learned to do over the years to fight my depression. Some of these are immediate actions I can take, others are long term and require commitment to keep doing them.

    Take my medications, specifically my thyroid medication and my wellbutrin. Yesterday, for the first time, I remembered to take a third dose, as suggested by my physician. I will continue that for at least a month, so that I can determine if it makes a difference. These things are not "take a pill, be happy." They work by reaching a certain level in the bloodstream and that takes weeks to do. Also, they don't make you happy. In my case, they simply let me function on a more level emotional playing field.

    Do my daily activities. Sitting at home alone would amplify these feelings of self-hate and doubt. Getting out and about and being active helps me gain a more realistic view of myself and my place in the world. I'm just not that good at being bad.

    Prayer and meditation. 'nuff said.

    Talking with my sponsor, who I did not call yesterday (she was out of town and left her cell phone here, I'm off the hook on that one 'cause I would have if I could have).

    Going to an AA meeting, which I did not do yesterday. I really should have done that.

    Write. There is a peculiar magic associated with putting my feelings into writing whereby those magnified fears shrink and I reconnect to the world around me.

    Exercise: this is often overlooked but it is critical! The more I exercise, the more energy I have. Here is where the dogs are such a blessing because they make you walk, rain or shine, depressed or happy. I have also started doing crunches, leg lifts and pushups again. I enjoyed being in shape and I would like to be there again. This time I will be extremely cautious so that I do not hurt myself.

    There are many things to be grateful for and I try to keep those in my mind at all times. My relationship with my Creatress, my wife, my friends, AA. The list is long and emotion filled.

    So, no, I will not kill myself or anyone else today. Probably.