Sunday, March 12, 2017

Depression is. . .

being so stressed that your muscles all hurt when touched, and your shoulder are so tense they ache from nothing at all.

knowing that you're off-kilter and so you decide it's worth it to take extra time to carefully lay everything out, each class's folder and today's handouts and the reading in careful piles you can just pick up and take.  When you get to class, you realize the pile you picked up is the wrong one. 

even after the time you really did leave the burner on, though it didn't hurt anything, and you've tried to be super-careful most nights when you cook, you sit down and he says "the burner is on" and gets up to turn it off.  There's no question.  You did it again.

forgetting that you're preheating the oven to heat up a burrito and walking into the kitchen authentically surprised to see the burrito waiting there twice in ten minutes.

working plenty of hours this week (42 hours though I didn't factor in every email) but still insanely behind because you  And I can't push myself very hard either because just going forward at all is such a struggle and clearly I can blow a gasket because I am so close to gasket-blowing every time some jerk does something foolish on the highway so I just try to keep as even keeled as possible and ask others to step in where they can.  Poor Husband.

hating being sick. Hating being a burden and a source of worry.  Don't worry.  Don't hate me because I'm going a little crazy now.  I'm sorry. Every meeting I go to, every class I teach I just want to say look, I am so sorry.  You totally deserve better than this, but this is all I've got.  I know it's shite but I really am doing the very best that I can. I don't even want to talk about how I feel about my parenting just now.  Right now Spirited! is being parented by Yoda.  He's gone ape over Star Wars.

walking from your office through the hallway to the classroom realizing you could cry right now, you could just burst into tears right at this minute but you're not going to and you're just going to pull yourself together and take a deep breath and go teach your class.

choosing to treat yourself carefully so you don't get so flaming pissed that you're screaming your head off in your car or having a panic attack while driving in the snow.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I'm Depressed. How Are You?

So Bardiac has a post up just now about seeing a student in office hours who is missing a lot of class because of anxiety and depression.  And I found myself having a lot to say in the comment I was going to leave because -- get this -- I just today went to my doctor to get meds because I'm having a major depressive episode.  I found myself writing a comment that was really all about trying to explain what it feels like to have a major depressive episode to someone who either hasn't had one or has had one but copes well enough through it to not be a menace to herself or others.  (I say that Bardiac may be a coper because she spoke of how for so many people "just getting up and dragging themselves through the day is how they get by a lot of the time."  That is how depression feels, so I'm thinking she just was able to slug through it in ways that some of us may not be able to.  I don't know.)  Anyway, it became clear I have something to say on this subject.

Though I've felt low for a long time, until this point I wanted to avoid covering up my unhappiness with meds and tried to address it naturally through supplements and herbs. (Also perimenopause is kicking my ass, especially how it has amped up my PMS to the point I really do actually hate everything for a few days and am sure that every single thing in my life is poisoned.) That I went to go get anti-depressants is a measure of how bad things are just now.  Part of why I chose to take meds this time is desperation -- I can't do anything about the things making me unhappy if I have no energy and motivation to do anything but be pissy about my unhappy lot.  (Quite literally, I don't have the energy to catch up on my grading or to apply to job postings I've found that sound like much better jobs than my own.  Help!) Also to control the damage -- I'm so low now I can't quite keep myself from letting it leak out, either in grumpy comments (you should see me cuss out every other driver on the highway), or cursing, even in front of my child, or snapping at people, especially my child.  So while I do on a regular basis drag myself out of bed and through my day, I'm doing it incredibly poorly now and with such bad grace. A huge part of my ability to drag myself through my day at all has to do with habit and responsibility and maturity -- absolutely zero of it has to do with how I feel or my energy level.  I have a kid and a breadwinner responsibility; that, my coffee, and more supplements than you would believe get me out of bed in the morning.  That's powerful force to counter the heavy weight around my ankle that is depression.  But if I only had myself to care for, as I did when I started this blog, I'd probably be in bed all the time.  I've certainly documented in times past the struggles I have to get myself to do things on my own.

Because of the times that I really struggle to cope, I empathize with students who suffer from anxiety and depression.  I get it. 

Sorry to be Debbie Downer.  That's what I'm really good at, these days.