Yup, I'm dealing with it again.
I had a really bad bout from August to October or so, and then it tapered off, and I'd been feeling pretty OK, and then it started attacking again a couple weeks ago. I do think this is one instance where it is being heavily fueled by circumstance - these coincide with the times when I've been away from Jacob the longest. (The fiercely independent "YOU DON'T NEED A MAN TO BE HAPPY" voice in my head is mad at me for letting that fuel my depression, but then the more rational voice says, "Well, you ARE marrying the man, so clearly you love him, so it is perfectly reasonable for you to be extremely sad at not being with him.")
There are a couple things I have noted about my bout with depression this time around:
1. My blog might be pretty fluffy for awhile. I've had about 15 "serious" blogs I've been meaning to write - things about church and introversion and quotes I read and movies besides just random lists. But when depression hits, it robs me of my motivation and my energy to find the words to say what I want to say. And I care about finding the words I want to say. I don't want to just throw out a first draft and be like, "Yup, good enough, done."
I don't know when I'll get around to writing a couple of more serious blogs again. I'd like to, but if those are the blogs you're holding out for, it might be a little bit.
2. Taking basic care of myself becomes much harder than usual. Yesterday morning it took all the energy I had to motivate myself to get out of bed, put on clean clothes, and brush my hair and teeth. I had nothing left to give to things like putting my coat on or climbing in and out of the family van, much less socializing with people at church. When I'm depressed, showers and eating just don't sound like they're worth the trouble. If I'm not careful, I'll go a couple days without eating. (I'm sure a fair amount of this is aggravated by my arthritis, which also robs me of movement and energy.)
3. It's cyclical, and breaking the cycle is hard. I get depressed that I'm not accomplishing anything, and then that depresses me so much it paralyzes me and I can't get anything accomplished, and then I get depressed that I'm not accomplishing anything all over again.
4. Motivational speeches from friends don't work. Not so much this time, but in the past I've had well-meaning friends encourage me to get stuff done and help hold me accountable - "You should do this today!" "Go get some work done and tell me when you've finished!" "Just get one thing done today and you'll feel so much better!" If I was just feeling lazy, this would absolutely work. I love having people I can report back to. However, if I'm depressed, what ends up happening is this: every time I fail to accomplish something, I am overwhelmed by thoughts that I'm letting that person down. I start withdrawing from them because I don't want to admit today was my twelfth bad day in a row and I still haven't finished that application for the job I actually want. I start imagining their disappointment and their thoughts of, "Why haven't you gotten it together yet?" and instead of motivating me, it paralyzes me further.
Withdrawing from everyone and going the route of depression alone is obviously not a good answer. Loving support from friends and family is clearly important. But I'm learning what methods of support work for me and which ones don't. This is good, this is a step up. I had a friend who offered to help me by letting me report successes to her, so I told her I'd love to accept her help but she had to promise me she wasn't going to expect anything so I wouldn't feel like I was letting her down. We agreed on this arrangement, and I'm hoping that if I never feel like she's expecting success from me, I'll be freer to actually find success and share it with her without guilt.
5. I have to have to have to remember that, ultimately, I'm okay. I have a place to live. I have loyal friends and a wise family and a thoughtful fiance, and they all love me. Arthritis aside, I am fairly healthy. I have space where I can go to be alone and space where I can be surrounded by friends. I know who I am and what I want in life.
Most importantly, I know the depression is temporary. It may not feel temporary. But in the back of my mind, I know that these feelings come and go. It may be another week, or another month, or another year, but I've never had a serious depressive period that lasted longer than a couple months, and most likely it won't this time either. If I can keep it together through this season, eventually I will be back in another good season.
There's not really a "point" to this blog other than to share a few thoughts from my own experience and apologize for any impact it may have on my blog. In closing, let me share one of the most (perhaps weirdly) comforting songs for me when I'm in the middle of one of these bouts - "For Now" from Avenue Q.