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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Analysis of a Morning Depression

I woke up at 4 a.m. with depression and used the counting exercises to get back to sleep.

(I went back to edit the blog before I published it and I want to say that I was going to change "counting exercises" to "the 1,2,3,4 counting exercise to get back to sleep" which was more accurate but when I wrote it earlier my energy was down, it was "too much trouble" to actually write 1,2,3,4 . I thought this tiny fact might be added in.)

Then I woke up a little after 6 a.m. still with depression. Ugh. It got me.  So I tried to study it in terms of what I wrote last night. Study it in intellectual terms. Two parts, physical symptoms and hopeless futility. Since I actually asked my brain to study my depression I guess I activated some neurons in the neocortex just by doing that. I found I can study it intellectually while suffering it. But I realize that studying is objective thinking about my subjective feeling.

I took a couple of deep breaths which helped the physical symptoms  a little (depression is part physical stress, right?) Then I tried to think of my depression in terms of "what I know about it right now while I have it."

I know it is not going to last,

I can still do anything I want (but I was "too tired" to get up immediately as I had thought earlier I might do to get to the computer "right away." . I didn't get up for 15 minutes.)  Perhaps I fooled myself into thinking I could do anything I wanted  but I continued to study it "in bed."

Then I discovered something new (while still in bed.) Depression  is degrading and demeaning. What is hopeless is not my situation, not my "present reality," depression is not hopeless and horrible and ugly.  "I" "me" "Arline Curtiss" am hopeless and horrible and ugly and worthless. I thought of Rod Steiger who said when I was depressed he was in fear "they would find out I couldn't act. That I'm a phony." I'm not in fear of anyone finding out I'm worthless but the feeling of worthlessness is agonizing and demeaning. I feel defiled, degraded and broken. This wrenches my very gut. Sickening. Horrible. I could throw up.

I got up and came right downstairs to the computer. I noticed it was about 6:30 a.m.

But the computer didn't turn on fast enough and I got annoyed and focused on why the computer wasn't cooperating. Wouldn't you know it,  "of all times."  So I became focused on the computer problem and lost "some bit" of connection with my depression.

Then I figured out what was wrong with my computer that somehow it always registered I had several "firefoxes" going and it occurred to me for the first time (I've had this problem for months) to move the firefox screen and sure enough I found three firefoxes going and x'd them out and then the computer worked perfectly. I congratulated myself on fixing the computer problem

My connection with my depression was weakening due, I think, to my success in fixing the computer problem but I wrote down what I could remember from when I was "into" my depression more a few minutes earlier. It is now 7 a.m. and all the gut-wrenching, demeaning, sickening, despair of my terrible hopelessness is gone. Just a little shadow of it hovering. I still have the physical symptoms--hard to breath, hard to swallow, very tight in my chest area but not terrible pain like when I first woke up. I still feel slightly sick to my stomach and yucky but it is not "that"  horrible anymore. It is bearable. I know the physical symptoms will fade as I get to work.

7:15 now. I am thinking again of Rod Steiger. I feel a real sense of kinship with him. He was not a bad actor in the same way I am not worthless. I am out of  the hopelessness futility part so I don't feel so worthless right now this second.  I guess when we're depressed we really do confuse ourselves, "collapse our sense of" selves into the "feeling of hopeless" and instead of feeling hopeless we "become hopelessness itself." 

All for now. I'm going to get dressed and start my day. Just a little nausous feeling, breathing and swallowing stress symptoms, a little pain in the chest area still but not so bad.  Now 7:30 a.m. A. B. Curtiss

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Arline,
I pass on my thank you's (in reference to your post a few day's ago). Your work is not in vain! The big difference in my life is that I now know depression is something I do to myself and I now have new tools to help me get out of it. I'm working on the part that says depression does end. It's hard to remember that one.

Degrading and demeaning... these are feelings I experience each time I slip into depression. What I once could do and say... I cannot. I feel stripped of my abilities and talents. This was true in career advancements I hoped for over the years. I used to think at times; "How do I tell someone (from the depths of depression) I really am capable of doing this job. It just looks like I can't right now".

My symptoms of depression, when it strikes, are different than others. I first notice meaninglessness happening. Then the mind chatter increases. The blanket of darkness envelopes me more at this point.
I poke at these symptoms half heartedly for a few days with various tools and eventually get to bringing my focus into the 'now'.

I feel anger at these times. It is just so frustrating to not be able to easily chat with people, or to move ahead on projects. It is demeaning to not have words to speak with. The social dis-ease is exhausting.
I am being less serious or judgemental about my lack of social fitness during these times. They do pass and I'll have another chance to try again.(I think being more tolerant of myself helps reduce the time period of depression to)
My wife commented a few days ago that this year is the first in 25 that I haven't been into the Blues by November. I used many of the tools you suggest, prior to reading your books, but, you have been able to show me that depression doesnot rule my mind.