I’m afraid, though I can’t say what of. I can feel that emptiness inside me. It’s only small at the moment but it’s hard and stubborn. I can feel the dead space, the black hole, in my chest. It’s not that bad. I’m only a bit frightened, only a bit numb, brittle.
I know what this means. These are the first signs of a low-mood ready to turn into depression. I know what I need to do. I need to tell someone. And I did this last night. I told my partner. And I’m telling a few more people now by writing this.
The next important thing now is to keep going. To set myself one small task to complete each day. Do one of the things a, functioning person does like clean my teeth, get dressed, whatever I need to do. After that, I can procrastinate, distract myself hide in bed – whatever I need to do. This is my spell for warding off depression. If I can keep setting myself these small, doable tasks eventually I’ll be able to do a little more, and then a little more. I’ve recovered before and I’ll do it again.
Except, I’m tired. I’m really, really tired. Not just weary and apathetic but tired-tired because I have a cold and it’s in my sinuses. So I reach for a distraction from my awful feelings and to avoid the voice in my head. What’s wrong with me? Why am I scared? Where’s the danger? I’m going to become depressed? How bad will it be? Will it be as bad as before? The last time was hard. Where’s the danger? What am I scared of? What did I do to cause this?
And I feel guilty. I can’t get depressed. It’s not fair on the people around me. I’m enough of a burden as it is. I’m pushing away my fears and browsing through articles in the Guardian. Except this is also a sign! I know I shouldn’t be doing this: mindlessly reading about things I don’t care about. Doing pointless things and avoiding the important stuff. I should put down the phone and do something else. Just go and clean my teeth. It’s not that difficult. But it is difficult. I feel stuck.
I’m not sure how I broke through the fug and got these words down. I still haven’t cleaned my teeth. But I will. I will clean my teeth then the rest of the day can just happen. I know one reason for my fear. I know how bad this can get and I don’t want to go there. I know what I need to do. Put one foot in front of the other. Tell someone. Do one small thing each day. Try not to fuck up anything that could have serious consequences later (e.g. respond to an important email, even if it’s only to say I’m too sick to deal with it now). If I keep doing these little things whether I feel like it or not I will give my emotions a chance to adapt. For now, I can be empty and apathetic and just go through the motions. My feelings will catch up eventually. I have recovered before. I’ve avoided being sucked into depression before.
I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again.
Update 29/10/2019: I should have mentioned I’ve been taking an antidepressant for a little while. It does seem to make it easier for me to think my way through low moods and difficulties.