Getting Depressed

I think I’m getting depressed. I can tell because in any spare time I carve out from the day-job, all I want to do is sleep and read. I want to slide away from reality, and in feeling this way, my fiction dream feels like it’s sliding away too. And so goes the depressive cycle.

It’s funny, people who don’t get depressed probably don’t get what I’m talking about. Not truly. Their reaction might be, Just get on with it, Lisa; don’t read and sleep — write fiction! — in those carved-out hours. In my normal head, I do just this. But when depression weighs me down…Let’s just say there’s a whole ‘nother set of rules required to get through the days. It’s hard to explain the weightedness; the lurking sense that nothing’s worth it, that it’s all meaningless anyhow; the enervation (even when thinking about fiction); the sense that even the most mundane of tasks — like tidying the kitchen — are monumental.

I have to get the day-job stuff done because I need the money. It’s taking all I have. At the moment, the only thing I’m managing well is getting the dog out for walks.

I often try to analyze my way out of depression. Try to figure it out. Try to come up with alternate routines to jolt myself back into a good fictional brainspace. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Right now, it’s not working. On Monday’s post, I seemed to be equalizing, but that was apparently a commercial break from the main programming going on inside my head.

There’s the problem of partitioning, too. I need time and space away from stress to function well. At the moment, I can’t separate myself from the day-job chaos that’s swirling around me. For example, every time I check my email there are 15 new messages — it’s taking over my life. I haven’t been in this position in years — it’s wearing me out, sapping my creativity.

When I open the manuscript, nothing happens. I’m not the type to wait for inspiration. I get down to work and do it. But, like I said above, that’s when I’m in my normal head. Depressive head doesn’t function the same; I look at my prose and it reads like a bunch of blah-di-blah. I have no feeling for my own words. There’s no “just doing it.”

People who get depressed understand what I mean by “normal head” and “depressive head.” To put it in fictional terms: They’re totally different interior landscapes.

The day-job stuff is the trigger, for sure. Before the writing grant, I worked part-time, from home — just like I’m doing now. But it was different, more easygoing. I easily partitioned it away from the rest of my life. (Sidenote: This is a new kind of part-time called “full-time.”)

I’m hoping that I’ll get used to this day-job; and once I do, the stress will lift; and when it does, I’ll be able to partition; and when this happens, I’ll return to fictional brainspace; and when I do, my depressive state will lift. But seems far away from now, in a galaxy far far away from me.

All I know is that right now, sitting here at 1:30 p.m. with a grumbling stomach and a headache because I haven’t eaten since last night, I feel like my fiction dreams are seeping away, that I was so close…I’m going to take a nap now…

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13 thoughts on “Getting Depressed

  1. I hope you feel better very soon. For me it seems to work when I recognize the depression for what it is and then take the pressure off a little, even if it’s just for as long as a nap.

    It is hard to support your dreams all the time. It can become overwhelming. Especially if your day job is so demanding like yours. But I am sure it will all turn out beautifully for you and you’ll have a published book in your hands not too far in the future.

  2. Thank you, TGITC. It does suck; that’s the way to state it. SUCKS.

    You’re right, Lori, it does help to acknowledge the melancholia, and, for me, to accept it as a transitory state…But it’s so annoying! 🙂

    Travis, hi. You are so right on. It’s exactly like that.

  3. I empathise with you very much.

    When one is depressed, one is ill, to put it simply.

    I recommend to you, by the way, a little book called “Darkness Visible”, William Styron’s beautifully written account of his own depression. It can be read in an evening.

  4. that’s a bad place to be; knowing that you’re on the slide, but unable to stop the downward descent. Sometimes it just has to be; to hit rock botton, and the climb your way out of it. But realising that the elevator is going down quickly … that is dread and foreboding. Dealt with such issues all throughout my twenties. You have my compassion and empathy. ggw

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog, Phillip and GGW. I’ll go check out yours too.

    Phillip — I’ve heard Styron’s book is powerful. I’ll have to get it out of the library.

    GGW — yes, it’s the slide that’s the killer. I can do my best to circumvent it, and my efforts may work or may not — you feel kind of powerless.

  6. I’m sorry to hear; sometimes the hardest part is realising that you are sliding. Hope you are able to claw your way out sooner than later. It does make the creative brain dry up for a time, I know that feeling well. I enjoy lurking around your blog though 🙂 Hope you feeling better very soon.

  7. I understand what you mean. I battle with the depressive state off and on and stress is definitely a trigger – good or bad stress. All that energy I would normally put into writing is sapped just trying to make it through the day and appear to be a productive member of society. And knowing that there’s nothing I can do to keep the walls from closing in or life turning grey and lifeless, that’s the kicker for me.

    I hope you’re able to slide up soon. And find that equilibrium it sounds like your looking for.

  8. Oh my, I do understand this. I’ve struggled with the depressive state off and on my entire life. For me, it always feels like an impenetrable brick wall standing between me and the things I loved doing, and it’s simply too much effort to work my way around it.

    One day at a time, and baby steps each day.

    BTW, walking outdoors is a godsend for me…I hope it will help you too 🙂

  9. Hi Scarlet, thanks for the note. I’m am trying to climb my way up the slide — thanks for lurking around here!

    You’re right, Naomi, any kind of stress is a trigger, even good stress, which getting a job is, admittedly. I can tell you know what I’m talking about — hope you’re in a good place right now!

    You’re also right, Becca — about the walled feeling. Dogwalking is probably the best thing I’ve got going to me right now. I’d be worse off without it, that’s for sure!

  10. Lisa, I have had depression all of my life, so I can relate to what you are going through.
    It would be so easy to say “Go away dark mood!” , but it is there, because there is a deeper question there. and deeper answers. we do not have language for it. nor the energy that sweeps onward, to the demands of living
    Yet on the days you need to stay on tasks, , it is too difficult to take on it on. We empathize

    You are very very gifted, whether you are showing it all today or not. And you will show it. But For now, know you are sharing it in another way with your manuscript.

  11. I think you might be suffering from homolateral energy syndrome. The energies in the body should be crossing over. Donna Eden says that when the energies are not crossing over, a person’s energy level is reduced to less than 50 percent of their capacity. There is a video of her showing how to fix this here:

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDgyNzE4NjQ=.html

    It can take some days to get the body having its energies crossing over as its normal state.

    Also good for depression is smiling under a very bright light for five minutes a day, or whenever you think of it. Smile under the sunshine and open your arms to the sky. Smile even when there isn’t a bright light anywere. There’s something about smiling that really helps.

    Also, search for Donna Eden in YouTube and watch some of her videos, especially the 5-Minute Daily Energy Routine.

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