Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not the State of the Union Address

I seem to be able to speak cogently about depression, even when I am in the midst of a bad patch, like I am right now, like I was on Friday. Actually, today isn't bad. Saturday, I was almost manic with my energy levels and good mood. But on Friday, I was in the vice grips of despair.

The thing that really pisses me off about depression is that nothing triggered Friday's "episode" as I like to think of it. I woke up, had lunch with friends, but suddenly I found myself sitting on a stool at Il Spazio, talking to my friend John, unable to accept even a coke to drink. I realized I was in danger of breaking down into tears there, so I called another friend and spent the rest of the day watching re-runs of House and smoking cigarettes. I smoked 21 cigarettes on Friday, if you're interested. I had 4 on Sunday. Yesterday, I had none. Today, I have had none.

The reduction in smoking isn't deliberate. I am not trying to cut down. It's just the way things go: When things suck, I smoke more. When things are better, I smoke less.

For what it's worth, since I'm talking about depression, I would say that I have been in a depression since August 22, 2008. Amazing how you can sometimes pinpoint things exactly like that.

I would define my depression as causing everything to be more difficult. I used to be able to make bread, edit a manuscript, make dinner, and go for a run, all in the same day. Now, I can do one of those things. I have to make a choice. I sat on the couch for about two hours this morning before I forced myself to move to a different couch to watch television so I could write about it. I have not yet written about it. It's like I am paralyzed and I can't move. The only things I am fully capable of doing are getting the children picked up, dropped off, homeworked, fed, and bedded down for the night.

This is the longest funk I've had. At least that I can remember. The huge grant project that almost killed me still makes me tired and still makes me not want to work. I long for structure, I have some client work now, and yet I can't do the work. I was talking to a friend on Friday, we were smoking together outside Il Spazio while I was still there. I said, "I have work to do."

He said, "Then you should do it."

"I can't."

"I know."

I don't know how to explain this to people who haven't experienced it for themselves.

Okay, I have now showered and dressed. My son is home with me today-- he pulled his neck yesterday by stretching, so we went to the ER. They gave muscle relaxers and recommended cold compresses. He has more range of movement today and less pain, but I am glad he is home and not at school. He still has trouble turning his head to the left.

We have to make flan today for a school project. A friend tells me not to think of what I *have* to do today, but to think of what I *can* do today.

1) I can take a shower and get dressed.

2) I can go pick up lunch (I promised Taco Bell in return for him reading this essay).

3) I can make flan with him for his Spanish class.

4) I can blog!

After that, we'll see.


  1. And you blogged! Add that to the list!!!!

  2. I like that - the "I Can" list. Not quite a "To Do" or "I Have To" - just a list of options.

    I too have those only-one-thing-will-get-done-today days. I find I just have to just congratulate myself for doing the one thing, not dwell on what I might have done before August 22. Because sometimes just getting the dishes washed is major.

  3. I like the idea of an "I Can" list too.

  4. I'm so glad to see you blogging again. It warms my heart. Keep on hanging in:).

  5. I know that it is totally different, but there are times when everyone needs an I can list.

    You did a lot on this day. That's a big list.

    My security word (spelled screwy, but they aren't real words, after all...) for this comment is stuper. And it is how I feel after two days in bed and bath with food poisoning.

  6. I have experienced it for myself. I have come through it. I am very likely starting to experience it again.

    I hear you.