Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Frak. I think I'm depressed.

The evidence:

  • It takes me 30-45 minutes to stop hitting snooze and drag my ass out of bed.
  • I dawdle over breakfast, the newspaper, blogs, showering, getting dressed, making up, packing my stuff for the office, etc., so that it takes me at least two hours to get out of the house after getting up.
  • If I add a run to that routine, it dawdle over suiting up, getting to my route, stretching, etc.
  • Sometimes I don't start my "real" day until lunch time (though then I usually work through much of the evening to make up for it).
  • I play Free Cell and online blackjack repetitively.
  • I can't seem to keep up with any personal life obligations: letters, gifts, and other correspondence I owe people; house cleaning; laundry; doctors' visits and hair cuts, etc.
  • My house and office are both a mess.
  • Every time anyone asks me to do anything my first reaction is to hide or freak out.
  • Any new obligation or reminder of one I haven't completed makes my stomach hurt.
  • I'm filled with a constant sense of dread.
  • I can't concentrate, especially on work. I can't even concentrate on posting to this blog long enough to type up two substantial entries I've already written.
  • My energy is low.
  • I feel a lot of guilt for having low energy, which only makes my energy lower.
  • My sleep is uneven and even after eight hours of seemingly uninterrupted sleep (like last night) I feel unrefreshed.

Yup. I think I'm depressed. Or as a therapist I once had said, after the initial get-to-know-you appointment: "Congratulations. You're depressed." (Maybe, if I'm very lucky, it's just a PMS slough. God, can't believe I'm hoping for PMS!)

Frak. I don't have time to be depressed!!! Frak. Frak. Frak.

Now what? This isn't "about" something -- it's that physiological demon that has no rhyme or reason, the kind that really frakin' annoys me because I can't "solve" it by putting my mind or energy to taking care of it. Do I get a therapist? So I take St. John's Wort or eat more protein? Do I hope this too shall pass (as it usually does, except for those two awful years in sprawling Big City when events exacerbated the situation)? Is naming it and announcing it to the whole freakin' internets enough catharsis?

Don't worry. Quod She isn't about to become The Depression Blog. In fact, so far, I haven't posted a single inner-turmoil/emotional entry here, and I probably will rarely do so. I'm not so good with expressing my emotions (except maybe "pissed off" or "annoyed"). I really am like a guy that way. Or maybe just a WASP like my Mom. But if I was all "la-la, happy, happy fun time, all is great in Dr. V's world" all the time, I'd be really annoying, wouldn't I?

But still, I'd really appreciate it if this particular depression demon would get the frak out of my head and leave me alone. I have shit to do, dammit. Tons of it. Clearly the gargoyles outside of my office windows are NOT doing their job protecting me from evil spirits.* Dammit.

Grrrr. That is all.

*Note: I don't really believe that depression is caused by demon-possession, of course, but it makes a good metaphor. It feels like that. Even in our modern world, we still use metaphors like "I'm not feeling like myself" to describe depression and mental illness.


Heo said...

Dr. V (love the new name btw),
I'm pleased to know that I'm not the only nutcase who's been praying out loud for PMS recently. I think there's a good chance that what you're dealing with is a reaction to stress. At least that's what I think I'm dealing with, and your experiences sound similar. Hang in there!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I think it's also the change of seasons. I am also depressed. And my head is thick in that way of thick heads that are depressed.

Anonymous said...

I think it's postpartum depression. You gave birth to a Boston Marathon qualifing time and now you have to get back to the real world.

Ancrene Wiseass said...

I'll shore up both ADM and Fast Fizzy on this one: I have a real tendency to get sick and depressed when the seasons change, and I've also noticed that many of us get bummed out after achieving a major goal. Both of 'em coming at once, along with other random stresses and workloads, probably has a lot to do with it.

Dr. Virago said...

Thanks, all. I think you're all probably right. (Though normally Autumn cheers me up for some strange reason!) The Boyfriend also suggested that it was a post-marathon let-down -- great minds think alike! (And look how I'm surrounded by cool, sensitive men in my life! Check out my big bro' with the womanly metaphor! Awesome!) Certainly, as Wiseass and the Boyfriend have both suggested, academics and other driven-to-a-goal/jump-through-hoops types do seem to get bummed out after achieving one of those goals. After my Ph.D. qualifying exams, for example, I couldn't stop crying -- and I passed with flying colors!

And HeoCwaeth, I think you're right, too. After all, I'm editing my book after a mixed review and there's still a chance that the series editor could say it's not good enough and just reject it. I'd call that stress, wouldn't you? :)

I feel better -- i.e., more in control -- already! Thanks everyone!

PS - The medievalists will appreciate this: the first time I tried to post this comment, I mistyped the word verification because it had too many letters with minims and I misread it!

Anonymous said...

(I know that you've already posted a follow-up to this but I'm a little slow these days. ;-D)

That list of symptoms certainly sounds like depression to me. And I, too, think it's completely natural post-marathon and reviewer reports.

Dr. Virago said...

New Kid, I think you may be right -- I think it's a "both/and" rather than an "either/or" situation.

Tenured Radical said...

Listen pal, didn't you just publish a book and get tenure? You could be suffering from a very common form of letdown that follows both these events. After I did these two things, my father died, so it was difficult to separate them out (translate: I had another, more presentable excuse), but I think this is normal, if painful.

You should do therapy anyway - all smart people should. Ditto the St. John's Wort. I swear by it, particularly in the winter - evens my moods out. Exercise is also a plus. But my guess is that this will pass, and you need to be both proactive and patient with yourself.



Anonymous said...

I feel the same way, but I'm only 12. I dont want to tell my parents, because it's just weird. Also, they're partially the cause of it. The other cause is my sister. She always annoys me, and makese stupid comments about me, and once I say something back my parents go all crazy on me like it was my fault. They don't even punish her, they only punish me. And if we're in the car and that happens, my mom will turn around and start hitting me like it was my fault! This just puts me down more, because it makes me feel like they love my sister better then they love me. Everytime I come back from a party that I had so much fun at, I go right back to being sad. Same with school and just being with friends. It seems like everytime I'm home, I feel depressed. I have no clue what to do. Just writing this helps a little bit. Any suggestions on what i should do?

Dr. Virago said...

Dear Anonymous,
If you're really only 12 and since I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, the best advice I can give to you is to talk to an adult you trust who is not a member of your family -- the school counselor or a teacher would be a good choice. Ask for their help. They might even be able to get you and your parents and sister together for a family counseling session so that your family members can really hear how you feel.

Talk to someone who's there in your life who can help. Don't wait and don't be shy. I'm especially concerned that your mom is hitting you -- she shouldn't do that, but she probably needs counseling to help her stop. So please, talk to someone in your real life who can help: a school counselor, a teacher, a religious leader if you go to a place of worship and know the people there enough to talk to them, or any other adult you trust.