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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More on the Blogger's Depression

To continue the post from yesterday. I went out to do the gardening for the morning, carrying with me some left over physical symptoms of the earlier depression that hadn't subsided completely, although the edge was off.. It was heavy work. I was digging trenches around my avocado trees to catch more water since rain is due Sunday and the trees are on a hill. I figure the more water I can retain from the rain, the less water I have to use to irrigate. By hard work I mean I was huffing and puffing when my hour was up and I came back in to prepare for my swim. There were no physical symptoms from the earlier depression. No pressure in the chest, no trouble with breathing. I was absolutely fine. I was absolutely happy.

It seems so strange to have depression come down and zap me into this really terrible place. And then, with absolutely nothing in my life changing, just by my getting to work and picking up my daily routine, the depression completely goes away. The rest of the day was fine, my evening was wonderful.

And I woke up around 4am and there was the black cloak thrown over me again. Despair, a black sense of futility, nothing's worth anything. It 's so painful. And yet I am able to keep a sense of awareness that this "may not be present reality," "this is just depression, remember," "I can get rid of it." All those things are true and yet the feeling is so pervasive that I can't "talk" myself out of it immediately. No matter how much I tell myself that it's just depression, it still hurts. I have to really turn my thinking completely away from it. I do the brainswitching exercises. A couple of times I had to tell myself "do you want to think or do you want to sleep." I did go back to sleep with the counting exercises and got up at 6am. The depression was still there but fainter.  I did some singing to myself as I dressed and went out to garden. Ten minutes after being outside I realized that, again, I was 100% okay. Talk about 24 hour cycles!

At night I always feel so wonderful I can't believe how bad I felt in the morning. I can remember feeling bad, but I can't "call back" the actual agonizing feeling. It's my experience that it is impossible to feel bad on purpose. Maybe I could get there, as an experiment, if I did a lot of negative thinking. But the habit is so ingrained in me to immediately stop negative thinking, thinking about things going wrong, or worrying about something. I just don't want to do that kind of experiment. Maybe it's like the Hippocratic Oath, "first, do no harm."

The pattern is always the same. I'll go to sleep and almost always wake up depressed.But the exercises always work. Even when I'm depressed I still think I'm in charge and so depression has no fear for me even though the feeling is fearful and agonizing. I can still separate out "me" from "how I feel." A. B. Curtiss

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