Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Walked

For anyone that cares to know I managed to walk this morning. It wasn't quite as uplifting as I'd hoped it would be but it was pleasant enough. I need to stick to it and make it a habit to really begin to benefit.

Also, the owner of HelpGuide.org emailed me this link: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm. I haven't had a chance to look it over yet but I'm the kind of guy who's willing to post links when I can. Link karma and all...

That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Routines

I suppose it’s a human thing to always drift towards routine. Routines are comfortable and reassuring. One can mechanically move through a day without a lot of effort with a routine. But they’re so damned sticky.

My routines have always gravitated to sedentary pursuits and dark interior buildings. Right now I’ve gotten myself into the most exaggerated form of that rut. I literally spend 10-12 hours a day sitting at my computer in a basement. I rarely leave the basement, not to the mention the house. I climb the stairs a couple times a day to eat and maybe to shower but other than that I sit at this computer.

I sit here because it’s my job. I goof off a little, too, but mostly I work. It’s a good environment for work but not that great for thinking happy thoughts. No sunlight, no exercise, no human interaction… It’s a pretty good recipe for downward spiraling depression.

An acquaintance called me on Saturday to confirm plans that we’d made. I had completely forgotten about them and was on the tail end of this cold. (I just can seem to stop coughing!) Anyway, we’d agreed to drive to a nearby city to drink beer and listen to live music at a blues/jazz club he knows. My wife didn’t want me to go because of the cold but I’d bailed on this friend before so I didn’t want to again. I think that she was also a little pleased to get me out of the house both for my sake and hers; she rarely gets the house to herself.

So we went. The time wasn’t really all that extraordinary. We went to the bar, drank beer and listened to the music. But I had a remarkably good time. It was a very refreshing deviation from my routine. Could it be that not acting depressed helps one not be depressed? If I inject things into my routine specifically designed to counter depression, will my depression lift?

I’ve said this before and I’ve silently made this promise to myself hundreds of times but I am going to start walking tomorrow. It will be the first thing that I do tomorrow after waking up. I've tried this before and it really seems to help. It's just hard to do every day. Once it becomes routine it will be easier but until then it will be an effort.

Hold me to it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reprinting a Comment

My last entry (Could I have BEEN more pitiful?) generated a really great comment from Trishwash. Blog comments can sometimes get missed so I wanted to reprint it.

I hear you, brother.

I am currently going back on Wellbutrin after six months off. It's making me a bit manic at the moment. I went off because I didn't want to have to take drugs. I was feeling better and thought I could do without (ha!).

A couple things to keep in mind. 1. When you start a drug, herbal or pharmaceutical, you body will go through an adjustment period. The crazymeds guy some great things to say about this http://www.crazymeds.org/SideEffects.htm. I especially like the paragraph that begins, "These are powerful, alien substances..." While he's referring to prescription drugs, this may apply to SJW. Given that your body and mind need time to adjust, you may need choose a better time to start taking SJW. Sometimes it takes longer than a few days. Maybe getting better will require a good week where you can afford to just be deliriously happy. Or just be. Does your work have an annual slow period or can you create one by working ahead for a while?

2. Maybe next time, start with a lower dose and work your way up to the recommended amount. Maybe half is all you need to get the affect you want.

3. You sound ambivalent about happiness. That might warrant some further reflection. Did it feel good? Maybe too good? Why shouldn't you feel really good? Growing up, did you get the message that good stuff must be experienced in small, stingy amounts? If not, what other beliefs do you hold about good things? That they are limited, rare, untrustworthy, fleeting, bait for the seven deadly sins?

One of the ideas I've been playing with is that everything we do, think and feel is just a habit. It's not always easy, but all habits can be changed. You work best depressed because you are in the habit of working best depressed. http://www.fallingawake.com/falling-awake-book-toc.html is an online book with a good chapter on habits (#9). It's all a bit new agey, but there are some good nuggets in there.

Above all, don't look at this as failure. This experience has given you valuable information that you can use in other attempts to feel better.


Thanks TW. Nobody's alone, right? Cheers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Off the St. John's Wort For Now

Why is it so hard to keep this blog up? The question is rhetorical; not because I think that it’s going to cause any reader to lapse into deep thought. It’s because I already know the answer.

1) I’m lazy. That isn’t to say that I’m too lazy to update the blog. Blogging is no big deal. I do it all day. Half of my income comes from blogging. No, I’m lazy about my depression. I whine and moan and appear to yearn for relief but it will take work and, dammit, I’m too depressed to want to work at it. That’s a bit of a joke but then it isn’t, really.
2) I’m comfortable with my depression. Weird, right? I’m not comfortable with the deep, deep lows and it is during those that I promise myself and anyone listening that I’m going to do anything to make it go away. But the normal constant hum of self doubt and self loathing is a comfortable thing. It’s been there for as long as I can remember and, quite frankly, I find it hard to function without it.

That last point is something that I learned recently. I’m back off of the SJW. Here’s why: As usual, I’m behind on my work. I started it a few weeks ago with a promise to take the herb until my bottle was empty. For the first few days I didn’t feel much of a difference. I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to work but that’s what happened to me. Then one morning I felt happy; giddy, in fact. I couldn’t account for it - I just felt happy. But I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t work because I couldn’t sit still. At first I followed my wife around just chattering at her about nothing. When she left for work I tried again to work and nothing came. I couldn’t write! If I can’t write I can’t pay my bills.

I hoped I would get over it. I kept taking the stuff for a couple more days. The silly feeling subsided but I remained distracted. After three days I had to give it up because I was getting behind. Then a few days later I got a nasty summer cold. I’m just now getting over it and I am now WAY behind. So, I need to stay off of it until I get caught up. Once I do, I’m going to try again. If it happens again I don’t know what to do.

This is one of the reasons that I’ve never wanted to take medication. I have other concerns such as the fact that this society is overmedicated and it just rubs me wrong to put more money in the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. But being just too damn happy to function has always been a big fear. I need me and this thing, as bad as it can be sometimes, is part of me. I’ve always felt socially isolated. I’ve always been bluer than my peers. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think about suicide. And I can’t imagine me without these things. I hoped that SJW would gently ease me away from depression so I could learn to be me without it. I still hope that it does.

Anyway, that’s where I am. Thanks for posting your thoughts. It means a lot to me that people are regularly reading this blog.