Firstly, an update. The sun is shining this morning, I have been to the gym for a swim, and I allowed myself to take half an hour off for a HUGE coffee on the way to work. I do flexitime of a sort and I'm on the late shift tonight, so it didn't matter that I took longer than usual to get here.
All those are things that help ease the pressure of a depressive episode, so I'm slightly up today from where I was yesterday. But those of you who understand will know that it means nothing and I could be back in the pit by tonight.
However, I wanted to discuss the comment Dolores made about people with depression not knowing they had it. It's an interesting question. At first, I didn't know I had it. I can remember the first time I needed a doctor because of it.
I was sharing a house with two colleagues, one of whom was a bit of a bitch, if I'm honest. She had no respect for other peoples' property or personal space. Looking back, I realise it must have been getting to me for quite a while, but I was relatively new to mental health issues back then. (I was 21. There were other things going on in the background of my life that created an unstable frame of mind. She was the last grain of sand that tipped the scale.)
Something happened. Doesn't matter what. But it made me angry. And the next thing I knew was that I was being held down by my other flat-mate (a male rugby player!) because I had smashed up most of the living room using a Chinese sculpture I'd bought her for her birthday. (It was made of resin and almost completely unbreakable.) Next morning I was dragged off to the doctor by said rugby player, and written off on the sick for a week.
Since then I have 'gone off the rails' approximately every two to three years with varying degrees of severity. And in that time I have undergone practically every available treatment for the condition except electro-convulsive therapy. (I suspect it would cause me too much damage because of my structural problems so it isn't a viable option.)
Over time I have learned to recognise the symptoms. It has not been easy. The good thing is that I can start taking avoiding action as soon as I realise the stress is building up. Sometimes I can find an outlet to release some of the steam from my brain's pressure cooker. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes the things I do work. Sometimes they don't.
I've not had a real downer for several years now. I haven't punched anyone (oh yes - I used to do that too!) or intentionally broken anything (I tried a while back but the thing bounced. Deeply annoying at the time, but it gave me time to calm down a little.) for about five years. (Those of you who follow my posts in detail will realise that coincides with the heart attack. I SHOULD have punched someone that day. I'd have lost my job, but I wouldn't have ended up in hospital.)
On the other hand, I've not been deeply, deliriously happy for quite a while either. I suspect that's not actually possible for me and others like me. We have 'better' days, and we can have a good laugh at something from time to time. We can feel content when things go right. But intensely happy? I don't think so.
The thing I yearn for (and thanks to K can find these days) is 'safe'. Secure. Supported. Protected. From the big, wide, scary world, and from my own mind. Sometimes I lose my way towards that, but at least I know it's there and waiting for me.
See? Told you I was a bit better today.