The Ongoing Dance of Depression and Recovery
With the change of seasons to fall, I recently found myself in the grip of depression, yet again. First I noticed that my concentration seemed dulled and my motivation slowed. I started sleeping more and found it harder and harder to get out of bed. Soon, my lethargic body felt heavy and clumsy; my energy level plummeted. I felt empty, shut off from life around me. Daily functioning felt like swimming against the tide.
The tide began to turn over the past few days, thanks in part to an adjustment to my medication. I am still in the tentative, early stages of yet another depression recovery. Everything feels very new and delicate. I saw colorful autumn leaves swirl in the breeze and realized that I was experiencing pleasure again over an everyday experience. I am grateful for this and I am hungry for more, hoping that my, at times, fickle brain chemistry stays a positive course for now.
With my depression beginning to lift, I have the luxury of reflecting on the experience of being depressed and mining it for any learning or growth.
Depression -- Here We Go Again
This most recent depression held an element of “here we go again.” When I am depression-free, and despite my best intentions, I’m often lulled into a false sense of security about the likelihood of another depression occurring. When I feel good, part of me starts to fantasize that I’ve somehow kicked depression’s butt and it’s not coming back. Then, of course, I’m disappointed when the inevitable happens. With this latest round of depression, I caught myself thinking, “But how could I get sick again? I’ve been doing everything right.” (Exercise, medication, good diet, therapy, etc.) I felt like I had figured things out, to a degree.
The reality I’m learning is that there is no perfect figuring things out when it comes to life and depression. We can only do our best and hope for the best and trust in that being enough.
Depression and Self-Stigma
I’m also learning that part of doing my best is treating myself kindly when I fall into the trap of self-stigma. I find that self-stigma rears its ugly head when I am depressed and this most recent experience was no exception. When I am depressed, I often beat myself up for being depressed, question whether I am depressed, and sometimes try to convince myself that I am “weak” for needing treatment options. Since these are not thoughts I would have if I were in the right frame of mind, I consider them part of depression and its overall attempt to drag me down. I try to remember to be gentle with myself during these times.
Depression? Challenge Accepted
Depression is something I will likely have to deal with for the rest of my life. Considering this, I try to have as many means as possible to help deal with this challenge. Check out my video where I talk about the power of symbolism and how it can help on the mental health journey.
Tazzi, J. (2014, October 1). The Ongoing Dance of Depression and Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2014/10/the-ongoing-dance-of-depression-and-recovery
Author: Jennifer Tazzi
Hello Jennifer- the dysfunction of my depressive episodes (especially the one I’m in now) has mostly to do with cognitive impairment. As you indicated in one of your videos, this involves slowed thinking and trouble processing information when others are talking to me., But when I am talking to others in a conversation, I have difficulty of retrieving thoughts. Words get stuck. As a result, I experience difficulties keeping up with conversation. All of this lends itself to social discomfort. Question for you, Jennifer: Did you ever find good medication for this problem? I know you experienced this impairment as well. Thanks so much, Jennifer!
Thank you, Diane for sharing your perspective. I'm glad the blog was helpful. All the best to you, Jenn
Jennifer I was inspired by your blog. I like the symbol of the butterfly. It is so frustrating to have relapses. "The reality I’m learning is that there is no perfect figuring things out when it comes to life and depression. We can only do our best and hope for the best and trust in that being enough." I liked that perspective. I tend to blame myself when I have relapses. Thank you.
Yes, that can certainly be the case!
The good thing about bipolar disorder is that you KNOW you won't be depressed for long!