Highs and Lows of Depression

Through my own experiences with depression I've found that (for me personally) it never really goes away. I truly don't think that I am ever going to be done with depression, no matter who I talk to or what I do, I think that it's always going to be a part of me and no matter where I go there is the potential for this illness to spring itself at me.

When I was first diagnosed with depression, some five years ago it was a complete flat line of depression. There was no ups and downs in the days, there was just one, monotone, flat line of depression. I didn't drop in and out of the illness, I was trapped by it, it was like the padlock on the only door out of the room of darkness.

Since I made the decision to pick the lock, the depression hasn't been a flat line. It's been like someones heart while taking a lie detector test. I could hit a high and stay there for a few months and just as I start to think "hey I've been doing pretty well lately" the depression notices and drops me down. Lately, I've been stuck in a rut, a rut of forgetting how to make myself happy, like it is a real struggle for happiness. There was one week last month where the whole week I was just plainly, depressed, there was no other way to describe it. I wasn't angry and I wasn't sad, I was just flat. My mood was flat, I felt flat. I didn't want to talk, I didn't want to exercise, I hardly wanted to eat, the only thing I wanted was to stay in bed and sleep off the awful thoughts and feelings that were going on inside my body.

I've found that in weeks much like the one I just talked about my anxiety decreases. I seriously just stop caring all together to the point where my anxiety is over run by the depression. It's like a constant running race between the two, and for this week the anxiety tripped and fell, injuring an ankle and allowing the depression to take a hefty lead. Normally, my anxiety gets worse at night, if Brodie isn't home I will jump at any sound that I can't immediately identify. I mean, yesterday my neighbor was chopping wood and I couldn't place the sound sending me into a whirlwind of 'what the hell is that noise? Is there someone in our yard?'. But during the week of depression ruling my body, I don't care about the noises I can't place, I don't notice things that would usually make me want to put the blankets over my eyes. It's like I rid myself of all emotions and all fears and just exist.

My "down" weeks are fairly obvious to people I see regularly. Brodie will notice straight away, he'll see that I'm not myself, that I can't be bothered with anything, we'll eat easy food instead of me wanting to make something elaborate, like usual. My parents will notice pretty quickly too, usually because I will be sluggish and slow at work and I just seem to forget how to be happy. If I'm around people who I perhaps don't want to recognise that I'm not coping well this week, I'll put it on, and I think you can tell when I'm faking my happiness, because you can probably tell that I really am being insincere. I can do that for a little while when I'm like this, I can go out for maybe an hour or two but after that I just can't do it, I want to go home.

During these weeks I am far less emotional than on normal weeks. I don't feel anything. I won't cry and I probably won't get angry, I just feel emotionless. The biggest struggle during these weeks is sleeping, and then when I do eventually find sleep, the problem becomes motivating myself to be awake, its ironic isn't it. The sleep quality during this week is absolutely terrible, but I don't dream, I slip in and out of consciousness regularly and just kind of spend the late hours of the night starring at the ceiling, listening to the cat purr next to me and Brodie snoring,

In the weeks surrounding this one very bad week it is constant up and downs of how I am feeling. The anxiety can be worse than ever. I won't sleep if I'm home alone, I'll lock all doors before showering, I'll jump at the sound of car doors, it is a ridiculous, anxiety ridden time. My moods will be constantly changing, one minute I'll be ecstatic and the next I'll snap at even the smallest thing. The cat could meow and that would probably send me into an emotional rage. I have very little patience and I absolutely do not understand how to take a joke. I'll cry over the stupidest things- the other night I teared up while watching NCIS- and it wasn't even an emotional part of the story line. If I force myself to leave the house I will enjoy it for a while, I'll actually be having fun and for a while I forget why I am such a homebody. And then the slightest, most minuscule little thing will happen and I'll long for the comfort of home again.

During a down period I won't eat as much as I usually do. I will pack my plate full at dinner time and then end up eating maybe half if I'm lucky. I also tend not to drink alcohol during these periods. I don't know if it is because I don't feel in the mood for drinking, but during this time all the alcoholic drinks that I usually love just don't appeal to me at all and trying to force myself to drink them ends up in a stomach ache.

During these before and after weeks, the sleep gets better, I still find it quite hard to fall asleep, often spending a lot longer than Brodie cuddled up in bed trying to make my eyes stay closed. It's not as interrupted, except in the earlier hours of the morning, say five o'clock to when Brodie gets up for work at seven. During those hours is the only time that I dream. And lately the dreams have been weird- weird as in people dying and coming back to life, going on holiday with people I've never even met only to end up in gang war, see! Weird. So I do sleep, but these dreams leave me waking up feeling exhausted.

I think I am coming to the end of this down period (touch wood). By this point I'm starting to feel more like myself, I still get a little bit snappy but I start to feel better. I'm more open to leaving the house and my anxiety is at a level where I can manage it without being sent into a breakdown. These are the weeks when you know there is a light at the end of a tunnel and soon you are going to go through a good patch and you're going to feel good for a while, even if after this good patch you know there is going to be more lows.