Sunday, January 15, 2006

Funny Thing, This Depression....

(Note: I wrote this at some other time and it does not apply to this moment. And if I was feeling this right now, it would not be what I was writing about anyway. You'll see what I mean...)

Yeah, I've been diagnosed: depression and anxiety. Had it for most of my life and didn't know it until several years ago. The clinician noticed the anxiety as soon as he talked to me and had a head-doctor come in and chat me up within minutes. I didn't especially like hearing it (I've seen the hokum drug commercials on TV and the drug merchants could have every one in America believing that they could benefit from their mood-altering 'scrips). But I guess that visit finally brought home to me that I might have some issues.

These days I try to deal with it (the depression part) myself. I've used several medications and had some problems with all of them. Paxil made my brain feel like it was floating several inches above my head. Within days of starting on Elavil I actually chomped down so hard in my sleep that I broke a tooth. So I return these days to the St. John's Wort. I can't say that it works for sure but I do know that I've never had a bout when I've faithfully dosed every day. The problem is though that I always stop taking it, however gradual, because I feel good and don't recognize a need to continue. So it's possible that after I've been off awhile the old enemy sneaks in and grabs me.

You see, what I do is take 'vacations'. I disappear. I don't phone, I don't go out, I don't answer the door. My lady understands this pretty well and she's actually told me to let her know when I'm feeling this and she'll give me time to get through it. And she has gone through this with me before. But it's not like I know that I've arrived and I can give someone a warning: "Hey, I'm depressed and I'm gonna take a few days or a few weeks until it goes away". When it's arrived, it's there. I'm not thinking "I'm depressed and so I'm not gonna talk to or see anyone".

I actually feel worse after the phase is over. I've let people down, even closest friends. Years ago I let a job or two go because I didn't know how to explain what happened. Still don't. I think all of my bosses valued my work ethic enough to try and chase me down but most times I never returned. A couple of employers thought I was worth bringing back and I actually did go and face the music. Shame-faced and with every plausible excuse that I could make for my abscence. And always realizing that I had lost an option for the future. That I wouldn't be able to ask for a vacation that I could actually enjoy because I'd already had one.

Why did I bring this up? Well, there have been some nights lately where I haven't slept at all. I've always been a night owl and while working on projects it's not unusual for time to get away. But in retrospect, I typically have sleepless nights when my episodes occur. And it's not like I sit in a chair fretting and cursing the world that makes me feel gloomy. I don't drink and clean my gun. I work on things. I repair, I polish, I scrub. I do a lot of organizing. I write a lot. I may be trying to compensate for the anxiety part of my disorder; the hands and fingers that are always moving. I see myself as all zen and mellow but I just can't enter that state of total relaxation.

Oh man... McAfee starting a virus scan. And dog races on in the television background. I can tell because you hear a boring voice for twenty seconds and then twenty seconds of silence, twenty more seconds of patter, 30 more seconds of silence. I've never watched this in my life. But these two events occuring at this moment tell me one thing: it's 3:00 in the friggin morning. Hasta.