Depression Closes the Gap Between Light and Dark Moods.
A weekend that was essentially productive demonstrates the narrow divide between being OK and in a dark place. I experienced both this last weekend.
Over the weekend I achieved quite a bit. I got a book review written and published on Suite101 and another sketched out for my own Solidus site. Alison and I got several jobs done in the garden and I caught up on some administration that I had been avoiding. So all in all a useful weekend and much of the time I deservedly felt pretty good and relaxed. But...
Displacement Activity Creates Guilt and Depresses Mood
However I slipped into essentially pointless displacement activities (over frequent monitoring of Facebook Twitter and the like) when I was not actively engaged and that was very unhelpful – something that is all too easy when suffering depression. That meant that an element of guilt developed, equally unhelpful, that I had not used the time more effectively and several silly, and totally unimportant, little irritations drove my mood down. They were mostly triggered by things on television, the debacle of the German Grand Prix and the news – items of no real consequence. Since I gave up rolling news I am increasingly of the view that I should avoid television and newspapers completely; Sunday strengthened that view.
Whilst my mood was not too bad when I went to bed I woke up in the early hours of Monday with dark thoughts flitting through my mine. Just like moths around a flame they came and went but fortunately never settled in to any sort of coherent train of thought. I was able to push them aside but they made my usual meditation approach to relaxation difficult. As a result it took me a while to get back to sleep. In the end I slept through to a reasonable time but I woke with a headache.
Take Exercise and Keep the Day Structured.
It would have been very easy to let the grumbling headache stop me getting my daily exercise. Despite the headache and the fine rain I walked, a three mile round trip, to a favourite coffee shop and did an hour or so’s writing and planning over a large Americano. It gave me chance to put the weekend and the previous night into perspective. It shows how important structuring one’s days is as a therapy; it was that lack of structure that allowed me to become unhelpfully introspective. The big, often huge, challenges are the discipline and drive to stick to a schedule and break out of self-destructive behaviours.
More meditation, positive affirmation and getting on with some jobs has helped recover my mood to a more helpful state. The value of exercise, routine and getting out and having some human contact was confirmed. The only thing getting in the way today of further progress is the discomfort of the headache no doubt exacerbated by a disturbed night’s sleep.
All in all it is another uncomfortable lesson learned