Lately, I’ve had what my doc described as a low-grade depression. So, you know, a livable depression.
Somebody close to me doesn’t believe that’s it’s actually abnormal since everyone goes through highs and lows.
Given that, I thought I’d share what even a “low-grade depression” feels like to me.
It starts as a sleep disturbance. I can’t get enough and more actually makes things worse. So I’m just left exhausted.
That exhaustion builds into an anxiety. I can’t focus, can’t remember, can’t talk, can’t think right.
Then the thoughts layer in. Anxiety already asks “but what if you fail?” Depression answers before I can even try. “Yup, you are shit and you’re gonna fail. Remember all these other failures?”
Those thoughts turn to internal screaming, interrupting me with all the bad decisions I’ve ever made, especially the really shameful ones. You know, the manic impulsive ones. The shame and the damage I’ve left in my wake.
It could be so much worse. And yet, it might get so much worse. Praying the meds kick in. If not, I’ve got paranoia, the itching want to self-harm, and way up there on my depression scale, that “why don’t you just…” question to look forward to.
I’ve got skills to help me sleep the right amount, mindfulness to calm the anxiety and the intrusive thoughts, and everything else I learned in DBT to accept and live with the difference between this feeling and the truth.
But geez, if it’s normal to feel on the edge of a cliff every given Tuesday, we need to have a talk about your quality of life. If it’s normal to need meds to remain “only” this disturbed, well, that’s another talk. And if it’s normal to need a year of skills to keep a job through the ups and downs, well, add that to the list.