Saturday, January 17, 2015

This Is Not a Blog Post

So it's like this....

I have been fighting depression for a very long time, it seems. I've had a few severe episodes that were worse than the others, to be sure, and one of them cost me much of 2013 and the early days of 2014. All one has to do to confirm this is to look at the number of posts I made in 2012, 2013 and 2014. I made one post all of last year. One. I don't even really know how to react to that.

On Facebook I have been very forthcoming about my struggles and have documented my journey back "into the light" there in some great detail, but I have not been able to do the same thing here, and I know that leaves out a few of you who do not follow me on Facebook. For that, I apologize. In the next few months I will do my best to catch you up on how I got here, if I can figure it out myself.

"Here" is an interesting place, though. For many months last year I was on one long upswing from the bowels of abject despair and, where it once was impossible to see any light, it had become impossible to see any ceiling on my climb. But I think I have reached that ceiling—at least for now—and I don't really know how to react to it.

I started taking Cymbalta early last Spring and it immediately had an overwhelmingly positive effect on me. Everything about my personality changed—not just the most recent depths of depression but paradigm shifts in my core personality itself. My "normal" was new. I was calmer and more focused than I can ever remember being in my entire life (and I have confirmed my beliefs with some long-time friends), leading me to ask, out loud, "Just how freaking long have I been depressed, anyhow??"

On June 23rd of last year, I attended a meeting at the Zoo, for which I had been hand-picked by my Supervisor to represent the entire Volunteer crew in talks with board members and high-ranking Zoo officials. I was able to get it together enough to accept the invitation only because I was on the incredible recovery path that I was on, but I did show up and acquitted myself very well. For the rest of that week, I had a reason to get out of the apartment and interact with society every single day and I took note of that 7-day streak.

I managed to keep it going through the end of last year and it's still intact as I write this. It will reach thirty straight weeks tomorrow when I drive up to Lindsay to visit my Dad. I'm pretty damned proud of that.

But here's what's happening right now.

Sarah is in Kenora, giving her Dad a hand, as he just lost his mother last Thursday. She was 103 (!) years old when she died and I had really thought she was going to be the subject of a blog piece this week, but I have decided to wait until Sarah returns so I can make sure I have all the information about her life as accurately as possible. But while Sarah has been away, I have felt a strange sense of ennui return to my life. I do not feel in imminent danger of it turning into a full-blown depressive episode, but it's not a pleasant sensation nonetheless. I am keeping a very close eye on it indeed and will likely take an anxiety pill today to supplement the Cymbalta. As I type this out, I am sitting in front of my 10,000-lux "S.A.D. lamp" (phototherapy for the dark winter months) and it does seem to be helping a bit. I am also fairly confident my diet in the days since she left has not been a help; I have been doing much of the cooking since we moved into our new place last November, but I have never been one to cook for just myself and I'm ashamed of the kind of crap I have been eating since Thursday.

I have been attending a CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) group session every Monday morning for the past nine weeks and will continue to do so for another six. My task from the past session's homework was to write at least one blog piece before Monday but for one reason or another I just have not been able to sit still long enough or get my head enough "into the game" to do so, so I thought I would instead try to explain why this is the case. Along those lines, I actually am soon to see a psychiatrist to be assessed for adult ADHD, which I am fairly confident I will turn out to suffer from. Even at my new level of calmness I still can't stop feeling restless and easily bored. In fact, it might be worse than it has been for a while, since the depression masked a lot of feelings of unease and replaced them with helplessness and immobility.

I will return at some point—because I need to sharpen my blogging skills (more on that later)—with new and better posts. I have borrowed a friend's macro lens for my Canon; I am sure there will be some cool photos forthcoming. If not, there are about 18 months' worth in the tank, ready to be shared here. Or I could talk about my calendar success of last year. I have lots and lots to blog about, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to do so right now. I simply could not write a "real" blog post.

So I wrote this instead. Hope you're okay with it. We'll talk soon.

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I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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