Writing Myself Out of Depression (trying to)
Dear Nicholas, I’m depressed. Have been most of the time since Christmas night. Writing usually helps, so here goes…
Why I am so low is not clear, as is so often the case with depression. Christmas with my brothers and their families was wonderful. When we got home I began to sink. Bob’s theory about why was that my mother is no longer with us. I didn’t feel any direct connection to that as the cause.
Four days later, we both think it’s largely because of the loss of my office and workspace with my friend Carrie at the next desk for the past 16 years. I still don’t feel the direct connection, but then I almost never do. I generally experience grief and sadness as depression, as aimlessness/apathy/bitterness/heavy painful gloom, detached from any cause.
I think it’s the office with Carrie and all the illnesses and deaths coming along at this time of life– which are summed up in the pile of 49 years of office stuff I’m trying to wad into half of an already-full room at my house. I’ve been working on this for over a week. There are still boxes to unpack, papers to sort, and stuff scattered all over the floor. My plan is to have this all done and get back to work on Monday. Because I’m not retiring, I’m only moving.
I Have So Much to Be Happy About
I’m physically healthy, my husband’s recent cancer treatment worked, I have wonderful friends and family still with me, and I have a new novel coming out in the next year.
No Doubt I Should Shut Up and Buck Up
But emotions do not respond to “should.” And I do seem to have a natural-born depressive streak. I can just imagine the weight of this mood if I weren’t already taking an antidepressant.
I could up my dose a little, but I don’t want to medicate grief away, even if it comes in disguise.
What’s Such a Big Deal about an Office, Anyway?
Well, it wasn’t just the place, though that was very nice. It was Carrie’s company and all the lunches and shoptalk. And it was probably a piece of my identity. I like feeling out-in-the-world, in the middle of traffic and action. I don’t seem to have the energetic crackle or desire just now to try to re-create that.
I know that to some–maybe a lot of people–this seems like a nothing as a loss. In fact, after my other post about this move quite a few folks unsubscribed and that was while I was still feeling reasonably cheerful about it. I understand not wanting to listen to a fortunate person gripe.
But losses–and joys–are individual. They don’t come in categories with appropriate ranges of reaction. The changes I’m in the midst of are a big deal to me.
A Diagnostic Selfie
People often don’t seem to notice when I’m feeling low. I’m good at putting one foot in front of the other, one chatty anecdote after another. So I took an unprepared-for selfie to see what my depression looks like. Noted I had put on lipstick in an effort at mood rehab (didn’t work.) Otherwise looked like a person of my years who likes purple and is watching TV or gazing at a book. Mood didn’t much show. But now you know.
Tags: began to sink, depressive streak, detached from any cause, direct connection, experience grief, feeling low, heavy painful gloom, I'm depressed, medicate grief, sadness as depression, taking an antidepressant, time of life, up my dose, writing usually helps