Thursday, 8 January 2015

From the "D word" to the other "D word"

"I'm depressed," I told Mag this morning. And I meant it. 

I don't take depression lightly. I was first diagnosed with depression at some hazy, undefined and unhappy time in the mid- to late-1990s. I've taken anti-depressant medicine on and off ever since. Until just over a year ago. 

I stopped not because I thought I was "better", but because I wanted to change the way I thought about myself. I wanted to stop thinking of myself as a "depressed person" and to start changing myself. I did the right thing and came off under medical supervision. Since then I haven't taken any mind-altering drugs from the doctors, including Acamprosate, the anti-craving medicine. 

I wasn't very convinced that anti-depressants were doing me much good. I disliked the side-effects, in so far as I aware of any effect whatsoever, and I was aware that in my hunger for head-crunching sensation I surfed withdrawal symptoms - particularly the well-named "brain zaps" of Effexor

It was mainly about the mind-set though. 

But when I say, "I'm depressed", it's a genuine concern. I don't want to go back to those very dark places and this morning I felt really low and worried that I wouldn't be able to get through.

I feel great now. 

The key thing has been another "D word". Doing shit. Today was my day in the office (I have a one-day-a-week magazine job). I saw people. I wrote things. I was busy. I walked there and I walked home. I had a lovely dinner - though I didn't cook it - and I washed up afterwards. Watched a nice show about gardening. Did my home workout routine, that takes nearly an hour.

Then I had an hour to kill. I meant to come here and write. I have a lengthening list of things I want to say. But sod the blog, sod recovery, I'm enjoying myself. I played the guitar. Properly. Learning a couple of songs. Getting them right. Working at it. 

This is good. This is part of recovery. This feels great. I'm squeezing this in now. 

Crucially, I haven't been free to waste time on social media or stare at news comment sites following never-ending rows down the same dispiriting spiral. 

I'm a bit concerned about these swings in mood. I don't think for a moment I'm bipolar, but my ups can be almost as extreme as my lows. 

This morning's low was brought on by a visit of the Bad Mantra. That is worth a post of its own, but essentially it's a long and scripted series of thoughts about some traumatic parts of my past. Why I should put myself through that every morning, and surely I have to accept if I'm in the process of changing my thoughts that I have the power to change my thoughts, is partially, but only partially a mystery. 

I now have a very busy period coming up. Actual, real, paid work and lots of it. It's a challenging time. Mag goes away for a couple of days on Sunday too and that's traditionally been the trigger for long binges when I was drinking and cannabis and porn and time-wasting online when I'm sober. 

There are challenges, but being busy is a weapon in this fight.