It’s been a long winter. It’s also been a surprisingly good one for me in terms of my battle with SAD, until recently when it reared it’s ugly head when I wasn’t expecting it. I let my guard down. The time change happened and I thought wow, I did it, I made it through a pretty nasty winter and it wasn’t too bad! I had one set back in January but then the month of February flew by without much of a twitch of the deep sadness I usually feel. And then…
Depression. It started last week. I didn’t feel quite right. My partner had been here and had been sick for a few days, and I thought I was just feeling bummed out about not getting a lot of time with him prior to a long stretch apart. But it lingered and got worse, kicking in fully as I arrived home from a weekend with my girlfriends. The trigger – walking into an empty house as my friends were heading home to their families. This can be tricky, because the feeling can be mistaken for a lot of things, including loneliness. And yes, it was a lonely feeling on a quiet Sunday night, but it was much more than that. It was a sudden feeling of hopelessness, of not being able to manage the days and weeks ahead of me, of not wanting to do the smallest of things, of so many overwhelming thoughts swirling through my head. The kicker – I was also sick. A deadly combination for depression.
The painful reality is this – I came back to writing this blog because I am fearful of two things. One – I’m fearful that depression can come out of the blue when I least expect it and I have no control or way to identify exactly what is happening (similar to the anxiety and panic) and two, that it’s having a negative impact on my life and my relationships in a way that I also feel I can’t control. I fear that it’s resulted in the loss of my main support person, my rock, my confident and my best friend and I don’t know how to fix that.
What I do know is that I am grateful for so many things in my life:
- I have discovered that I have incredible resilience and strength.
- I am surrounded by good friends, and good people who help me be better. Kind and thoughtful people.
- I have been blessed to have the love of a partner that has helped me to discover a part of me I didn’t realize existed. We share a bright, burning passion that is rare and so unique.
- I have a thriving career and I enjoy who I work with.
- I have two beautiful pups that I adore.
- I’m fit and healthy and for the most part, I’m happy.
In my experience, the key to managing depression is this – you must always be willing to push yourself when you don’t feel like pushing at all. You must do that one small thing, that leads to the next small thing, that then adds up to a fully completed task. It doesn’t matter what it is, just take those few steps outside to put some sun on your face, it will make a world of difference. What else? Writing helps. Connection helps. Exercise helps.
One day at a time, one step at a time, things will get better. They always do.