It’s been a while since my last blog, due to illness initially, and then as a result of being on holiday for 2 weeks. All in all the last couple of weeks have been steady, and i have enjoyed the time away. The week I spent in Dubai really felt like an escape, and then having a week at home with the family was a perfect follow up to that. However, on my return from holiday it feels like a reintegration into the reality of my pre-Dubai anxieties and low mood. I feel as though I had a two week vacation from my mind, but now I have returned, its determined to make up for lost time.
At the moment the most frustrating facet is the constant ups and downs. While the persistent long term lows are undeniably exhausting, debilitating and desperately frustrating, the day to day rise and fall of emotions I’m feeling at the moment is equally infuriating. The stark reality involves receiving a glimmer of positivity and a hint of happiness, only for it to disappear as swiftly as it arrived, like water draining down a plughole.
I came across this article which is really effective at describing the rollercoaster of emotions that characterise depression on a day by day, or even hour by hour basis. As the author Erin states, “even in the span of one day, I can go from feeling pretty okay about things to feeling like I want to throw in the towel. It’s so confusing and frustrating.” It certainly leaves you feeling indescribably helpless knowing that you have no control over these fluctuations, and any positive moments always bring with them the knowledge that they wont last forever. They have a finite lifespan.
Erin makes another pertinent point regarding shutting oneself off from people, suggesting that “this leads to isolation –one of my biggest pitfalls in depression. The more I avoid the world, the more I get focused on my negative self-talk, putting myself down and using words like never and always.” Generally my depression is worst during evenings and weekends, and it can’t be a coincidence that these times are often when I’m alone, and therefore prone to ruminating on my thoughts, with an absence of distractions to attempt to combat this. There are other possible reasons why the evening especially brings the lowest of moods. For example tiredness from lack of sleep or a particularly hectic day at work can precipitate a strained mental state, but I believe its impossible ignore the significance of isolation, and the impact that being around people can have.
So as each morning dawns its just a question of which point of the rollercoaster I start the day on, and which point I end it on. It’s difficult to conjure up positivity about the the path ahead, or generate the concept of ‘looking forward to the future’. Not so much in terms of the short term events (holidays, meeting friends, days out etc), but more in terms of the bigger life achievements and aspirations: the attainment of happiness, contentment, fulfillment and a meaningful relationship. Depression feeds on destructive thinking patterns (negativity, sadness, loneliness, resentment), rather than nurturing the positive ones (hope, contentment, happiness, passion). The ups and downs are something I’ve learned to live with, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve always been a big fan of theme parks and rides, but in all honesty, this is one rollercoaster I’d be happy to not set foot on again. Give me the slow and steady road any day of the week.