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…)