Sine wave moods, and "depression lies"
The past couple of weeks were pretty decent ones. I felt...well, if not great all the time, then at least level, keeping busy at work and at home, working on planning for a couple of trips I'm really looking forward to, etc. The sine wave patterns my moods had descended into, up-and-down in patterns of a few days during the worst part last year, then a week up, an week down, had seemingly started to lengthen, which was good news considering what it's been like for the past year or so. So I figured "Great! Finally turned the corner! Back to normalcy, or whatever passes for it for me!" :
Uh-uh. Not so fast.
I had a few midday meetings at work this week that knocked me off my regular exercise schedule, and the past couple of days my insomnia* decided to make a return visit. That's all it takes, apparently, for my emotional well-being to take a crash. And its funny, in a way, to feel it happening...its not quite like a shadow coming over my consciousness, that's not a great analogy, but something akin to that.
And when I get like this, I can see the symptoms emerge as it comes on. I get slightly more irritable. I feel worthless. I start ruminating over things like "why am I bothering doing /fill in the activity/chore/job I'm doing/
, it doesn't matter in the long run anyway." I start obsessing over little things, trying to interpret some kind of deeper meaning over something - might be someone's silence, or trying to figure out intonation or double-meanings in a email where there's no cues to make even a reasonable guess, things like that. There's a lot of overthinking (or in the vernacular "making a lot out of nothing").
And I know, in the reasonable, adult, detached part of me, that I'm being unreasonable, that its my lack of sleep, my depression, my lack of exercise, doing the talking to myself, and that drawing conclusions from it is just a bad idea. Depression lies
But there's a problem with "depression lies," and its this. Sure, I can know
that my perceptions are off, that its probably the mental equivalent of a hallucination...but, that doesn't make it any less real, in the moment
. It reminds me of the movie "Take Shelter"
: yes, the protagonist *knows* he has a family history of mental illness, that the things he's seeing may not be real...but that doesn't help much, because its not like there's an alternative track of "how things really are" one can just flip a switch and jump to. It seems
real, therefore it is
real, regardless of how much (or how little) correspondence it has to reality.
So, depression lies...yes, true, but perhaps not as helpful as one might hope.
Anyway, I did my usual exercise routine today and I feel...well, not as bad. I don't know if "better" is quite the right word, since that implies "problem over, issue closed!" But its more evidence that I can know that my sleep and exercise patterns have a clear and demonstrated correlation with my mental state, absolutely know
this, and still fall into the trap. Again, its not as easy as it seems to keep it up every day, even knowing I really need to - things happen, schedules get changed, and sometimes life just throws a curve ball in. And you'd think I'd be able to just say "oh, this is just a reaction to not getting enough sleep" and just abide in that - if that seems just stupid not to do, and it may if you're not someone who goes through this, then reread what I wrote above. When you're in
a particular mental state, expecting clear, rational thought may be too much to ask.
* - I note that a bad habit I've gotten into is picking up my smartphone and checking my email when I get up in the middle of the night. What tends to happen is that I'll read an email and my brain will "turn on" enough to start ruminating about whatever's in the email, with my subconscious often putting the worst possible spin on what's in it, and off my head will go on the hamster wheel for the rest of the night. Yeah, not good, but often my curiosity will get the best of me.Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/231958.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only