I just have to admit it; I’m trapped in a cycle I cannot stop on my own. I’m depressed and while I can often handle these episodes on my own this is obviously not one of them, since it keeps cycling around again.
I know that here I am preaching to the choir but since it has come up in other venues, and because maybe it is affecting my ability to ask for help, just because my current depressive episode is due in part to a solvable problem does not mean it is not depression, or that I don’t deserve help for it, or that I should be able to magically fix everything by solving that one problem. Okay. That’s out of the way.
Three years ago I had my first major depressive episode. August of 2010 saw me struggling to sleep at night, and sleeping most of the days away. I was employed, and enjoyed aspects of my work, but for about 6 weeks in August and September I was pretty much non-functioning. I didn’t feel sad, or really much of anything except bored. I was frustrated about my situation but even that was muted. A guy I was seeing assumed I was blowing him off for someone else and basically disappeared from my life (rather than ask, but whatever. I got a DVD box set out of it, since he got all “I will zing you as you have, I think, zinged me, ha ha!” about it so NER.) I got sleeping pills from my primary care physician and started seeing a psychology student from my grad school’s counseling center. Between the two I started to pull through. (then other shit happened, which I’ll talk about another time, but the important part is that I got better.) I’ve experienced similar episodes since, and pulled myself through them. This one is holding much tighter, though.
On days like Sunday, when I had a commitment to other people, who I know and care about, I might get there by the skin of my teeth, but I get up, honor my commitment, no matter how much or how little sleep I’ve had, how much I want to roll over and go back to bed. When I have a job I enjoy most of the time, I can do it, too. But now, with no real commitments and certainly none that directly affect anyone but me, I find it impossible. At 4am I am full of energy and think about all the things I’m really excited to do in the morning. At 11 am I am exhausted and just want a few more minutes until suddenly it’s 4 pm and my cats want me to start thinking about dinner. Even if I go to sleep before 2 and wake at 7 or 8, I think “well that wasn’t 8 full hours, I should probably go back to bed for a bit and I’ll wake at 10 feeling more refreshed than ever!” which never, EVER happens. Even after accepting that I feel more awake at 5 or 6 hours of sleep than more, I keep thinking “I just need a little more sleep.” I don’t need sleep. I need someone to depend on me to do things so I can force myself up. Disappointing myself is fine, I guess. I’m used to it. Disappointing others is unacceptable and means I am a terrible person, and I can NOT be a terrible person, so….
A few weeks ago I gathered information for sliding scale mental health clinics in the area, but a combination of laziness, a minor upturn, and stubborn pride* kept me from following up on them. I can probably, with the help of friends, get through this without following up on that research, but I don’t think I should, since improvement I’ve done without a MHP’s assistance seems to encourage me to not get in touch with any MHPs at all, which (most likely) makes things in general harder on myself than they need to be. But the big difference between this episode and earlier ones is that I am so incredibly frustrated with and angry at myself when this happens over and over, I WANT IT TO STOP ASAP and if that means getting help only from friends then SO BE IT GOD DAMMIT THIS SUCKS, I CAN FIND A PSYCHOLOGIST LATER.
So that’s it, basically. I need a non-made up commitment to someone else who will be seriously, legitimately upset with me if I ditch (but also understanding if I ditch because sometimes I get migraines GOD WHY IS EVERYTHING SO COMPLICATED ARGH) so I can start being normal again which will help me not be depressed and asleep all the time.
*a friend in reaction to a fb post of a comic about anxiety disorders, said some things about making the choice to help yourself, and because he made them a) in obnoxious ways and b) insistently and repeatedly when no one was arguing his point because the post was about boosting awareness and encouraging empathy and I didn’t want him to think he had inspired my attempt to help myself when I started looking into it before the facebook post even happened and I’ll be damned if he pats himself on the back for that! (yes that basically became a transcript of my thought process instead of an actual explanation, but it works, okay.)