I wish that I could sit and write, when depressed. It’s a sort of altered, dreamlike state, a place that cannot be captured when in a ‘right’ mind. It might also be a self-absorbed, self-pitying place, one that produces writing that sends me screaming from the room. But you have insights, in those moments. As with dreams, they tend to disappear.
I find it extremely helpful to know when I’m depressed. That’s almost impossible to explain. The thing comes over you, and you become this other person. You don’t know that you’ve changed, you just know that this is your current existence. You remember every bad thing, every bad word, every moment of abandonment, and it’s on you at once. You don’t know that you’re in a different place, you just know that all these things are somehow happening right now, and how do you make it stop? That’s the bad question. I never used to ask that question, but things change with age. The general sense of worthlessness becomes more specific. The feeling that you would not be missed becomes stronger, less reasoning. But knowing.. that’s the trick. It’s like knowing that you’re having a dream, and pulling yourself out of the bad place. Tricky, but not impossible.
On the last go-round, I had the idea to rate my moods, on a scale of 1-10. Do it every day, as a regular thing. Sometimes just being conscious enough to say “How do I feel?” or “Is this happening?” is enough to jog me out of that place. It’s strange to think about the times that I’ve been there, stopped to think about it, and it went away. Or I was able to see it differently, at least until it passed. Part of you doesn’t want to think that you have that much control, because it translates into “fault”. Especially when you’re in the mood, and nothing makes sense. It’s not your fault when you have a bad dream, and it’s not your fault for not knowing how to stop it. You just have to figure it out, somehow.
A less-exciting lesson I’ve learned is to avoid stimulants. Caffeine, cold meds..the epinephrine in the shot at a dentist..all bad. It’s up, it’s down, it’s ugly. It also varies from person-to-person, and I’m no expert. Aside from the last 41 years, of course.