I promised to be honest in my posts. I guess that means in the hard stuff too. And today is incredibly hard.
I was gone last week – my husband and I flew to MN for our annual camping trip with a dear family. My son took the week off from work to join us, and my daughter and friend were able to come for 1.5 days. It was a good time, relaxing in the outdoors with family and friends who have been like family for years, even if we only see each other once or twice a year now. This was our 25th year of camping together!
Hubby and I returned home on Sunday. Had an appointment with my therapist yesterday – cried through more than half of the time; she’s the only person here with whom I can cry full-on. Missing my kids, returning to a place where I have no friends. She asked if my depression had gotten worse – I told her I didn’t think so.
I was wrong. Today has been the hardest saddest day in a very long time. Didn’t get out of bed until 10:45 – why bother? But I did, because I’m ashamed to stay there.
Made breakfast, puttered with a couple of small tasks. But I’ve been mostly sitting on the couch – having a very hard time overcoming the inertia that’s keeping me here. Again, only shame is getting me moving – I’m better than this slug of me stuck in bed or on the couch. Even though I have zero desire to move.
Probably only got out of bed because of my appointment with my psych doc. Going to the meeting, then returning home to this couch.
The beginning part of Newton’s First Law of Motion says that an object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it. But depression seems to have me stuck; I can’t get moving. No external force, except maybe shame.
I know the things I’m supposed to do to fight it. Move anyway. “Shame” is a word from depression talking, not me. Reflect on amazing blessings from God. Remind myself that I “will get through this” (from my therapist’s email response). Remember that some days are harder than others (who knows why). Unable to do any of those things today.
Saw my psych doc, and he shed some light on my current depressed mood.
He told me that folks who live with major depressive disorder are already living with reduced adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin. Before I left for camping, I was experiencing a mild depression. When I went camping with family and friends, my adrenaline increased and pushed me through – good times were good. But when I got home, those circumstances changed. And my adrenaline is dry, as are those other brain chemicals. So the crash is very deep and hard. He likened it to a coke-head when the high wears off!
He slightly increased one of my meds – just to get me through this hard part. He told me to be gentle with myself (I’ve heard that before). If I usually get up at 8am, but can’t get out of bed until 11am, that’s ok. If I am stuck to the couch, that’s ok, but I should try to do some simple movement – a walk on the beach, take in a museum, maybe one thing new. And leave out the guilt – feeling like I should be doing something productive. This is illness. If someone has a heart attack, do we expect them to be doing all their regular stuff at full strength? No! And this is illness. It’s just harder to see.
So I’m going to try to re-enter more slowly, and expect less of myself right now. Not feeling guilty will be hard – shame was my motivator today. But I’ll try. And I pray that this is short-lived – all this crying is exhausting.
Just being honest.