I am writing this blog in Word on my laptop on the train. I keep forgetting to disable the link between WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn. (Now done!)
Whilst I’m open about this stuff and want to blog on it, I’m not convinced that my slightly morbid thoughts are the best thing to pushing towards the people who have followed me, as I tend to talk about work stuff.
At present, I’m coming off the back of a bit of a “blip”. I have basically had two years which have been as depression free as I have ever known. This has included the period where I was self-employed, got my current job, moved to London, sold a house, bought a house, financial strain of paying mortgage/rent on two houses, birth of my second son Matthew and the first year and a half of his life.
So it’s not like life has been boring or stress free.
I’ve had my fair share of stress over that period. During that period, I have worried myself that I was commencing a downward spiral at certain points. It is difficult to tell between ‘normal’ mood patterns and something a bit more substantial.
So the recent low mood is a bit of a mixed blessing in some ways. It has reminded me what depression actually feels like. It is really quite a unique feeling.
For me, I know almost instantly when I wake up. The first few thoughts that run through my mind are a very strong indication. Now, this is going to be a bit odd writing this down, but basically I can only describe the thought as being, well, suicidal.
I have never attempted suicide, and I can’t imagine I ever will. I don’t think I have ever come close. But this inclination is almost always present during my depressive periods. But that is the closest word I can put down which accurately sums up the emotional element of that moment.
So one morning, when I realised that I was waking up thinking of killing myself, I have to confess I felt a little happier.
The two years of non-depression I have had has taught me that whatever is wrong with me, I can deal with it and live my life to its potential. But it wasn’t until I felt that familiar signature that I realised that I had actually been coping with was real and a proper issue.
Me and Sally have often talked about how to cope with future episodes of low mood. I have said that I am committed to staying on anti-depressants indefinitely, but I know that there will be peaks and troughs despite this.
This trough has given me two distinct thoughts: one of utter despair that despite everything I strive to do in my life, I may just wake up feeling briefly and inexplicably suicidal; the other of excitement. I know I haven’t lost myself by taking anti-depressants, which was always one of my hang ups. I know that the risks are real and that what I’ve been doing besides the medication works and actively benefits me.
That is really important to know. Sure, I had justification for believing that this was the case, and I did believe it. It probably was true (A little tripartite examination of knowledge for you epistemologists out there), but I didn’t know it.
I do now.
It has made me feel that a bit of low mood, and the odd step backwards, is vital in improving. The importance of learning from your mistakes is well known. But I think there’s also the importance of learning to fail for no good reason. To learn to just accept things, I suppose.
Well, it can be important every once in a while. Once every two years will do me just fine. I’m not a masochist.