Archive for December 13th, 2010

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, depression sucks. Not just a little bit, I’m talking major suckage here. When you’re dealing with depression, your own brain turns against you. You don’t have a lot of control over it and it will seem totally normal for a long time before you ever realize something is wrong. I think I’m dealing with another round of depression even though I’m still taking my medication for it. Apparently, it is possible for the benefits of the medication to wear off after a while. Talk about unfair! I’ve been dealing with a lot of cravings lately and I think it has to do with my brain trying to balance out its chemical levels.

I have nothing to be sad about. This isn’t about being sad or feeling down or anything. Depression is a real medical problem where your brain isn’t producing the right things in the right levels. Anti-depressant medications work by restoring the balance of chemicals in your brain. That’s why depression can effect someone in my position: losing weight, living better, enjoying my job, feeling fulfilled and generally well off. None of that matters when you suffer from depression. It’s like getting the flu. You don’t say to yourself, “I don’t know why I have the flu, I don’t have any reason to be sick.” Unfortunately, mental illness doesn’t get that kind of a pass. The fact is that the brain is an insanely complicated organ. It does everything to keep us alive and relating to the world around us. Complex systems fail in complex ways and I think that’s part of why it’s so hard to think of mental illnesses like we do physical illnesses. If a nose is stuffy, it’s pretty easy to understand because a nose only has one or two jobs. A brain does hundreds of different things every minute and when it gets “stuffy” we can’t recognize it as easily in ourselves or others.

I finally realized I may be dealing with more depression again when I went to the store the other day and returned with a bunch of stuff that are bad for me: chips, dip, salami, ice cream, egg nog (a seasonal favorite I used to consume by the gallon) and more. I proceeded to eat a bunch of stuff to the point of giving myself a stomach ache. I felt miserable after I did all of this and I didn’t even care. When I’m dealing with depression, my general attitude changes to something that is best described as, “fuck it”. Name it and that’s my general response to it. Fortunately, my wife was here to talk to me after I’d done all of this (I binged on stuff while she was unaware of what I’d gotten). It’s a good thing to have someone to call you on your behavior and hold you accountable for your mistakes. She helped me realize what I’d done and she did it in a loving way. I didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day because I wasn’t hungry until breakfast time today. With her help and encouragement, I’ve been able to get back on track and I’ve had a good day today.

I’m going to have to spend some time trying to figure out what to do about the depression. For one thing, I’ll go back to my doctor and talk with him. I’ll also make it a point to make activities that are known to lessen the effects of depression a part of my daily routine. With the general lack of daylight, I’ve allowed myself to slack off on my exercising. I’ll also make it a point to get on my meditation cushion more than I have been recently. I’ve come too far at this point to allow this illness to stop me from moving ahead. It’s just too important to me to not move forward. I’m going to go back and re-read Savor for the third time as it has a lot of great insights on how to deal with some of these problems. I’m also going to continue to deal with the thought patterns and emotions of depression with mindfulness. To me, these seem like the only logical responses to the problem. I’m sure I’ve gained a few pounds in the past week or so but I’m going to keep weighing myself and carefully monitoring my progress. The one thing about my weight is that it’s a pretty good reflection of how I’m dealing with the depression. If I’m handling it well, my weight will continue to go down or stay where it is rather than increase. For now, I’ll just enjoy the ironic status of being the Internet’s happiest depressed blogger.

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