This IS a low

Right, I’m making it official.  (Well, not official exactly – I’m publicly acknowledging it would have been a more accurate way of putting it, but that’s not a familiar phrase.  And, anyway, it’s not exactly public either as this is an anonymous blog…  I really should stop second guessing myself like this.)  Where was I?  Oh, yes that’s right – my mood is on a significant downswing.  How can I be so sure?

  • I’ve stopped having panic attacks.  I had a mild one yesterday evening, which pointed up that I haven’t had a serious one for a while.  For me, I usually have either one or other, but rarely both at the same time, so the absence of serious panic attacks is possibly significant.
  • I woke up feeling like complete shit this morning, and it was the 6th morning in a row that it has taken every ounce of willpower I possess not to just spend the whole day in bed.
  • My sleep patterns are slipping.  I’m finding it very hard to get to sleep at night, and then very difficult to stay awake in the morning.  A gradual slip into a ‘nocturnal’ sleep pattern is a clear sign of depression for me.
  • I’m feeling horrendously guilty about everything.  I’m calling up all the things I’ve done wrong over pretty much the entirety of my life, and berating myself for them, even though most of them are incredibly minor.  The tendency towards excessive guilt is another clear sign of depression.
  • I’ve become pre-occupied with death and dying.  Yesterday I got frustrated by something very trivial, and I heard myself mutter out loud, “Well, I’ll be dead soon, so it doesn’t matter.”  I don’t exactly want to die, and I’m a long, long way from being suicidal, but I can’t see myself being around for much longer, and I’m quite relieved by that thought.

So much for whingeing.

This is what I’m going to do about it.

  • I’m going to stick like glue to my sleep routine.  This means I’m going to carry on getting up at 9-30 every morning, irrespective of how little sleep I’ve had, as this should stop my slide into nocturnalism.  I know this is a risky strategy – as I get more tired, my mood will spiral further down – but I think it’s worth giving it a go, as I’m reasonably sure the nocturnalism has a greater effect then the tiredness.
  • I’m going to try and improve my diet, or at least, not let it get any worse.  This is to try and avoid a vicious circle, where my mood gets worse because I’m not eating properly, and eating properly gets harder because my mood is worse.  This is likely to be the part of this action plan that will be hardest to manage.
  • I’m going to make sure I stick to my habit of walking briskly for at least 45 minutes every day.  The exercise doesn’t hurt, I’m sure, but I know getting out of the flat and seeing other people going about their lives is important too.
  • I’m going to post to this blog more frequently.  (Although it does seem rather unfair that you should you have to suffer too…).  To be honest, I don’t really know what I’ll find to blog about, and so the whole idea may well come to a juddering halt before it’s begun, but I hope it will give me something I can focus on.  It’ll also be a way of keeping a kind of indirect record of my mood, which will help me to realise if things are reaching the stage where I need to ask for real life help.  (Although I do have a psych appointment in the not too distant future anyway.)

By the way, this is not something that anyone else should feel a sense of responsibility about.  I’m going to be doing the monitoring of things for myself, so there’s no need for anyone to feel that they have to read, or have to comment (although, obviously, if you want to then that’s fine too).

I think there’s a reasonable chance that this won’t be a long-lasting state of affairs, as I think it’s probably a fairly straightforward reactive depression.  Specifically, I think I’m reacting to 2 things:

  • The fact that my therapy appointments have come to an end.  I started seeing Yvonne away back in the spring, and this has been the first week since our sessions came to an end.  I don’t think I was massively dependent on the therapy itself – quite a lot of it seemed to a fairly blatant waste of time, to be honest – but I do now feel as though I’m back in sole charge of my mental health, and that is being, temporarily at least, a bit daunting.  (Hence the plans for finding ways to manage the monitoring.)
  • The time of year.  This is, more or less exactly, the point at which I began my slide down into a pretty horrendous depression last year, and I think I have a degree of fear about following the same pattern this time around.  Equally, this is not a particularly cheerful time of year, although, that said, I used to love the autumn and winter – wind and rain are my favourite types of weather.

Anyway, wish me luck with it.  (And sorry for all the bullet points – it’s like a bloody powerpoint presentation…)

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12 Responses to This IS a low

  1. Immi says:

    What you’re going to do about it sounds good. Good luck!

  2. Cellar_Door says:

    I love autumn/winter too, but only when I’m in a good mood. If I’m down for any reason (i.e. having to get up for a 7am shift and my heating hasn’t come on, so I am lying under the covers watching my breath and dreading throwing back the covers) it’s just misery.

    But your plan sounds very good :0) (although this is partly selfishness on my part because I enjoy your posts and am looking forward to reading them). It is daunting to feel so responsible after having had help before, but you seem to be managing admirably. You have recognised you are having a slump, identified some of the possible causes and developed some good coping strategies. Thats pretty damn good :0)

    So, good luck with it! x

  3. cb says:

    I am also kind of an autumn person. I think it’s one of my favourite times of the year but the rapidly depleting daylight can lead a bit of grumbliness. Perhaps past happier associations with seasons lead to current discomfort when those same seasons or holidays rock around again.
    Anyway, as Cellar_Door says, recognising and planning around depressions is very impressive and I’m certainly looking forward to your posts (in a kind of ‘no pressure’ way!).

  4. Is also a bad time of year for me.I think a mixture of season change, my birthday (another year has gone by) , upcoming anniversary of my Mum’s death in Nov everyday life’s crappiness & beepin hormones.Was also this time a year ago that I started to realise that I was going into meltdown & needed help again after 5 years. My sleep pattern has been bad too over the past month , but has def got worse in the past week & a half.When I don’t sleep my mind goes into overload, racing thoughts & the suicidal thoughts return.Whilst I didn’t let on to my ASW about my thoughts, he did ask me how I was dealing with the depression.There is though a limit to how much I can use the CBT stuff I have covered with him.Certainly at 3.00 or 4.00 am not too well, during the day I am a bit more occupied, but generally able to push them away.I too have moments of guilt, though not about all past situations.I know full well though having to get up in the morning & just wishing I could stay in bed all day.I don’t like this heavy feeling I carry around, it’s almost as if an elephant has stood on my chest.
    Leaving therapy, whether you found it useful or not can be a bit daunting.I know that in the past I felt a bit lost having to stand on my own two feet.
    Anyway enough of my waffle.
    Take care & will be thinking of you.
    Sis xxx

  5. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Immi – Thanks. Now let’s see if i actually manage to stick to it…

    Cellar_Door – You’re right about good heating being an important part of enjoying autumn and winter. (In fact, that’s suggested an idea for a post, so thank you.) And thanks for validating my plan, too. You know, i sometimes worry it must be a bit of a drag for you reading posts like this – doesn’t it remind you of work? Anyway, i’m glad you do read along, and thanks for saying you enjoy my posts. :o)

    cb – Thanks also for saying you look forward to my posts – it’s nice to be appreciated. :o) And i guess there could be something in the diminishing light theory. In fact, that’s one of the reasons i think going semi-nocturnal is bad for me – it reduces the amount of daylight i see.

    seratonin sister – sorry to hear about your problems, they do seem very much like mine, so i don’t have to use too much empathy in saying i know how lousy you must feel. I hope you manage to find a way through, and thanks for your good wishes. I’m thinking of you too.

  6. Cellar_Door says:

    “doesn’t it remind you of work?”

    Not at all, actually. Maybe if you start ingesting your own body fluids, possibly :0) But I see this as more of a friendly chat thing, not a work thing. Although I do sometimes slip into worky type talk, there’s no pressure on me to do so. I don’t have to be a professional here, I can say words like fuck and not be told off :0) I can rant about religion and not get fired! So really, don’t worry…write for yourself, not for us lot!

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  8. Fingers crossed for you. Round about now is when things started to slide for me last year as well.

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