One of the things I am doing to help with my awareness of my mental state is to keep a mood chart. It tracks my highest and lowest moods, anxiety and irritability levels, medications, sleeping patterns, and level of functioning throughout the month. Since starting this chart on June 1, 2010, I have already noticed that my depressive state is much more dysfunctional than my heightened state. What I mean by this is that when I am in an elevated mood, I typically do not experience non-functioning days. I am able and zealous about taking care of my home, self, and family, almost to the point of being overbearing and over critical. I am certainly productive and even run myself ragged in those elevated moments.

In contrast, my depressive state leaves me functionless. I find it difficult to shower, take care of my house, tend to my children, and be a good wife to my spouse. I struggle with daily tasks that are seemingly insignificant on  good days but feel insurmountable on bad ones. For example, taking a shower becomes a dreaded chore, and playing with my children exhausts any energy I might have left over from the last time I was in an elevated state. It is as if any movement depletes me of vital life energy on those dark days. I struggle with feeling numb, and yet crying for no apparent reason. I stare at blank computer monitors and tv screens and see nothing but a blurred box. I become a shell, not a life. Depression looms over me like a thick grey cloud threatening rain.

So if the depression renders me useless, how do I find my way out of it? This is one of the things I want to discuss with my therapist at our next session. I know there are things I can do to help myself not feel so depressed, but they all seem to just be distractions and not a real “cure” for getting out of a depressive state. I journal; I write here. I force myself out of the house with my children. I call friends. I make myself do things that bring me joy most of the time in hopes they will stimulate less threatening emotions. I tickle my children because their laughter is contagious. I draw; I scream, I cut. I don’t know if any of this really helps. It does for the moment, but not for the long term.

Perhaps life is about the moment. Taking each moment and overcoming it, enjoying it. Perhaps if I can string together a dozen successful ways to overcome depression and do them all back to back I will steal an hour of joy from my sorrow. It’s just a thought. For this moment, it is all I have. Best wishes on your healing journey. ~ss

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