Depression…Or Not

I pretty much earned the Girl Scout badge for depression, although it was a long time ago.  But because of it (and lots of therapy), I can say that I recognize the signs very well.  And this week, I was headed toward depression, which culminated last night.  Fortunately, this is very rare, in fact so rare, I barely recognized it.  Because I had to learn to change so much, to perceive things differently.

But depression FEELS different.  It isn’t the same as being sad.  It isn’t the same as having a bad week.  I’ve been both for at least a week.  And as always, it’s a combination of things.

I can remember having a conversation with the psychiatrist about the kinds of things that made me depressed, and I would say, but that can’t be it.  It’s just too minor to make me feel this way.  And he would say, Yes, but what about Y and Z?  Couldn’t X, Y, and Z together make you feel this bad?  When I said, surely not, he would say Why not?  Hmmm.  So we would (or I would) painstakingly pick apart X, Y, and Z, and put them back together in a new configuration.  A way that wasn’t as scary and made just as much sense as my old way.  He was a genius, although I had to do the work.

So this week, here’s what happened.  I read a book that left me feeling very unsettled.  My sister’s dog died.  My boss sent me a snarky email.  (Okay, that one was easier to get over, but it just added to the general downward spiral.)  My bookkeeper and my assistant manager at work did a couple of really stupid things and I had to have a word with them.  (It IS my job, but I still hated it.  They are both marvelous, admirable people.) I found out that my neighbor’s dogs had been seized by Animal Control and one of them was euthanized.  Since I reported the neighbors in the first place, this is of course all my fault.  (Not.)  I’m having trouble with my computer.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping.  I always have very vivid dreams that I can remember, but I’ve been having nightmares that wake me up.  Yesterday the newspaper posted the videos of interviews they did with breast cancer survivors, which I participated in.  And that was the last straw.  All I could think about was how old I looked, and to a lesser degree, how I should have worn something different.

Last night I couldn’t even go to sleep, much less stay asleep.

Spiraling into depression is hard to describe.  It’s like falling down a well.  I had forgotten.  So what you have to do is refuse to fall all the way.  You have to grab onto the bricks on the way down and cling, even if your fingernails break. You have to dig your toes into the cracks between the bricks, like a rock climber, and cling.

The mental equivalent is that you have to force yourself to focus on the good things you saw or experienced lately, because they are there if you can find them.  A friend (that I didn’t think was speaking to me) unexpectedly dropped by my office and took me to lunch.  While reading at my picnic table this week, some sort of little black waspy thing that was annoying me captured some sort of very fat white larva.  It was apparently so heavy that the black waspy thing couldn’t fly.  So when I tried to wave it away, it would just waddle to another part of the table, because letting go of the prize was not an option.  I was so amused I was practically in tears.  But there is a serious lesson there…it might seem like a small thing.  It might seem like too small a thing to counteract the bad things, but it is, if you will let it be.  Plus, never let go of the bricks.

Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I was surfing TV channels. First I watched a little of Discovery ID (No.  Women killing people.)  Then NatGeo Wild.  (Okay better.  Wild cats killing food.) But the next program was about spiders.  No.  No spiders.  I finally ended up at the Cooking Channel where Alton Brown was doing eggplant dishes, followed by bananas.

I fell asleep somehere around Bananas Foster.  Today I feel cured.  Who knew that all it would take was eggplant?

8 responses to “Depression…Or Not

  1. No eggplant either. Bananas, OK.

    Today I came home from the barn, tossed all my clothes into the laundry room, and went to take a shower. (TMI but too bad.) As I turned into the bathroom, there, right at (my) eye level was a spider. You have to be arachnophobic like me to even SEE this spider. It’s a miniscule, nearly transparent little thing. But Fakesister’s long-suffering husband came by and killed it for me anyway.

    I hope the banana cure is holding up. The SO and I are beginning to climb out of our particular well that the dog up and dying tossed us into. Not that either one of us is subject to true depression like so many other unfortunate people are.

  2. It’s not the banana cure, it’s the eggplant cure 🙂 Food is funny. I wish I could talk everyone into liking eggplant as much as I do. But. I can’t bear to eat scallops, in spite of how fabulous everyone tells me they are. I have tried. I can eat snails, but I can’t eat scallops. Go figure. And you can’t talk me into it by saying they just weren’t cooked right. It’s the idea of it, in some weird way.
    I’m glad that you and the husband person are climbing out of the well. But you would never have fallen far anyway. You are both too practical for that, one of the things I admire about you.
    I loved the story about the miniscule spider. Poor little thing. Sort of. Sometimes you just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  3. As Fakename’s husband says about spiders, it must be really bad when the dominant lifeform of the planet has it in for you and kills every one of you it sees every time it sees you. Although I do have a live and let live policy about spiders: as long as they stay outside and do not encroach upon my passage in and out, I will ignore them. If they are particularly impressive, the SO will catch crickets and toss into their webs. But inside they are dead.

    Then there’s the barn. I was riding in a lesson in the indoor a couple of weeks ago and made several circles. Turned around, back around the same circle, and caught a spider web in the face. What the …? That was one FAST spinner!

  4. It’s Fakesister’s husband who says that 🙂 I seem to recall a story about a spider being in your vehicle?
    Back when we used to have so-called banana spiders, I lived in fear of walking into one of their gigantic webs. But they and their webs were beautiful. I haven’t seen one in at least two years, and I don’t know why.
    When in doubt, I always blame Walmart.

  5. The well is a good metaphor because at least there is light if you look up.

    Yum yum, I’m with you, love eggplant! Or aubergine as we call it here. I’m always wary to order it in a restaurant though, unless I know it to be good from there, in case they serve the dreaded under-cooked version!

  6. What, Vanessa? The British are using a French term? For shame! I have always loved the word aubergine, though! And either the under-cooked variety or the too oily variety. I always had a problem with the latter when I cooked it, but Alton taught me what I was doing wrong. I would put salt on them and lay them out on paper towels. But Alton put the slices on a rack over the sink and salted them half to death (much more salt than I ever used). And he leaves them there for 1-3 hours! That much time and that much salt completely breaks down the cell walls. Then he rinsed off the salt, and then he picked up each slice and literally squeezed it like a sponge. It was amazing how much water it had still retained.
    Good point about the well, too.

    • Thanks for the tip on the salting! I usually put the slices in a colander, salt them and shake it all around, but then only leave it for about 10 minutes before rinsing! Obviously I’m not leaving them anywhere near long enough, and probably not using enough salt either. I shall do this next time!

  7. I’ve always believed that as long as I survive today, there is the possibility of victory tomorrow.

    I wonder how some folks can lose faith that change is possible that they commit suicide.

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