Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The reason I am sharing these two diary entries written during two ‘bad days’ of depression is to show that although such ‘bad days’ are very unpleasant and difficult to endure, there is no need to despair, that we can cope with them, and that they do come to an end. The first entry is a little darker than the second, for I did not record all the coping mechanisms that I was using. I made a better effort to do so in the second entry. (Note that I went to work for the whole day for both entries.) At this stage of my depression, I was getting about one week worth of 'bad days' a month, the rest being 'good.' I am still about the same now, but the mental anguish/fears have greatly improved since then.
9.10.2012 Tuesday - I've always wanted to keep a record of a 'bad day' of depression, but to date have not been able to force myself to do so, since I always just want the suffering to end.
However, I've decided to give it a go today. Last month was the best month I've had in two and a half years, a whole month of 'good days'. Last week, sadly, saw me back in the miry pit. And yesterday was a disaster...
But now today. Again that feeling of being physically and emotionally disturbed started soon after waking. My mind is once again unresponsive and sluggish. I could barely even put two thoughts together to pray on the way to work, so I instead tried to fix my thoughts on Jesus and avoid the fearful topic. I mostly succeeded, but I can feel the fallout of yesterday's failure - I feel mentally and emotionally bruised. These bruises will fade away, and will do so quicker if I can keep away from those fears today.
As the morning wore on I began to feel better but by midday it had worsened to being as bad as yesterday. The fears cropped up, and got past my defences. One of the hardest aspects of it all, is that when the fears and anxiety hit, my memory goes blank, and it's like a whole life time of knowledge and learning goes out the window. I kept reminding myself "I'm only having these thoughts because of depression, if I wasn't depressed I would have dismissed them out of hand." But it persisted all the same. I found myself continually slipping deeper into that hellish miry pit, trying to see the true perspective, succeeding, failing, and on it went. Finally an aspect of the true perspective broke through and smashed aside those fears, giving mental peace. However, I still feel physically and emotionally disturbed, and guilty for having failed again. Lord Jesus, when will you set me free from this merry go round? I keep reaching out to Him, asking for His help, and strength.
Well, I thought I'd gotten rid of it, but half an hour later and it was back, tearing my mind apart. But then came lunchtime, and I lost myself in a novel while eating, which finally put my mind at rest. However, I still felt emotionally and physically terrible. I did the post office and bank run, and when I got back I opened the car door, swung out my legs, and just sat there, and asked myself, "Isn't there any medication, anything, that can stop me feeling like this?"
I concluded I would just have to put up with it today, KNOWING that it would eventually fade away until I was no longer aware of it, and in the meantime, just learn to live with it without fighting or fearing it. (But feeling disturbed like this is so bad!)
I got back to work and kept myself very busy, and as expected, the disturbed feeling eventually faded away again. The rest of the day was mostly okay, though I felt like I had been (emotionally) beaten up, my worldview was distorted, and my associations and perspectives were askew.
This second diary entry is 5 weeks later...
12.11.2012 - I woke up this morning feeling terrible - the start of another 'bad day' of depression, the first one for a week or two.
I went to bed late last night, and then made the mistake of reading a book on the Kindle before turning off the light. So as usual, the late night is what triggered this 'bad day' of depression. (This isn’t always the case, though, sometimes I just wake up in that condition.) But I have noticed that late nights, or a string of late nights, are frequently followed by 'bad days.' The first thing I did this morning was take the Kindle out of the bedroom and put it back in the loungeroom.
At any rate, I woke feeling terrible. Although I'm not worried about anything, my face is flushed - my cheeks feel as though spiked by fearful adrenalin. My whole self - mind, body and emotions - feel disturbed and uneasy. This is a terrible sensation/feeling, which I used to dread above almost anything else. But now I just have to accept and learn to live with it, for if I fight it or fear it, it just gets stronger.
I know that all this is temporary - past experience tells me that this terrible feeling should pass somewhere between midmorning and midafternoon. So I just have to keep busy, focusing on other things, and let time pass until that happens.
My mind is sluggish and mental associations/memories on important topics have temporarily vanished again. I try to remember/rebuild them, but as I have only a modicum of mental strength, I will just have to wait until this bad phase of depression passes and my mind recovers some of its resilience. So, I let more time pass.
The terrifying 'topic' that has been a horrible obsession at times during the past 18 months since I mentally and emotionally collapsed, has been pressing against the edges of my mind, tempting me to listen to it and debate it again. But I choose to stick with what I believe, with what I remember from the past, and I don’t get sucked down into that miry pit again this morning. This achievement is in itself an indication of how far I have improved since the collapse, for back then I could not resist it but would fall victim to hours (days) of mental and emotional anguish.
There was another problem with churning fearful topic around 2.30pm, but it eventually faded away, as did the disturbed feeling for the rest of the day, which then became a ‘good day' of depression.
One last thought. I read someone's comments on good days and bad days of depression. They said that the 'good days' are ruined by the knowledge that more 'bad days' are ahead. But they are wrong. We can endure the 'bad days' in the knowledge that they will end, and that more 'good days' are coming.
Click here for a Free booklet on depression
Posted by Peter Stone at 4:36 PM