Getting Depressed Again?

Well crap. I think I’m getting depressed again. Er, more depressed than I already was, I mean. Or maybe I just have some weird undiagnosed condition that makes me be tired all the time. Or both. *sigh*

I’ve been kind of worried about this for a while, I guess. I never got quite back to normal after my last depressive episode (last summer), and I was worrying about the fact that I seemed to be stuck at some level of functioning that, while significantly better than an actual depressive episode, was still quite noticeably lower than normal/healthy. I’ve also been wondering if whatever the hell this funk is could be something other than depression, like maybe it’s some other mental illness (dysthymia, perhaps, which is a chronic, mild form of depression, which is not mutually exclusive with major depressive episodes) or physical illness (like maybe a sleep disorder or some thing I’ve never heard of) or some combination of things. As ever, I am confused with the label going on the thing that seems to be wrong with me being ‘depression’ when I don’t feel sad.

But, the last couple of weeks have been really confusing/worrying to me. I just feel tired all the freaking time, and that’s not even that different to how I’ve felt the last several months, although perhaps lately it’s been more noticeable. And then when I started keeping track of my sleep patterns again a few weeks ago (in the futile hope that it would help me turn into a slightly less extreme version of a night owl), I noticed more irregularity in them than I had expected. I mean, it usually takes me half an hour or so to fall asleep, but lately it’s been taking more than hour to fall asleep at least a couple of times a week. Also, I seem to be waking up early or having broken sleep a few times a week as well (although some of that is due to noise, which is out of my control). I mean, that’s not exactly a super severe case of insomnia or something, but it is out of the ordinary. It’s also a real struggle to get out of bed once I actually wake up. I don’t want to move or do anything, not even write down whatever interesting dreams I had. I’ve never been the sort of person to jump right out of bed when I wake up, but I also did not fail to notice that the times when I have the most difficulty getting out of bed in the morning seem to coincide with the times that I am depressed.

And then I noticed, within the past couple of weeks, that I’ve been craving junk food an awful lot. I mean, I love junk food and all, but normally I don’t crave it that bad. And this was really weird when, maybe a week or so ago, I stopped eating so often because getting food or doing the dishes or whatever was just so much effort. Gah. Normally, doing the dishes or cooking up something simple real quick feels like very little effort to me. If I’m skipping meals because I don’t feel like washing a couple of dishes or throwing a can of soup into a pot and turning on the stove for a couple of minutes, that’s a really, really bad sign.

The story with my not bothering to do the laundry is about the same as with not bothering to eat as much. I put off laundry a week longer than I usually would, instead re-wearing dirty clothes and feeling awful about myself for it, and when I finally managed to do the laundry yesterday, it was an absolutely Herculean task, and I’m amazed I actually got it done even though it was the only thing I got done all day, and ugh, yesterday. I felt like a zombie yesterday. And I missed class on Monday because I was so tired and everything was so much effort and I couldn’t manage to get out of bed before my afternoon class started, anyway. And homework. Forget homework. It’s just not going to happen when I can barely manage to feed myself and get to class some of the days because effort.

And then the past few days, having already noticed that a lot of these things are things can be signs of depression, I was paying enough attention to notice the way that I was having trouble making decisions (like whether I wanted to go to McDonalds or Taco Bell for my low-effort, expensive, unhealthy food that I shouldn’t be eating so often) and the very strange, unusual way that I was having trouble concentrating on the things I was reading, either skimming parts or frequently switching to something else to read. And reading fanfic and playing minecraft just didn’t seem quite as fun or interesting as it usually does.

I’ve also been avoiding my roommates. Not because I dislike them or because of anything they did. I just don’t want to have to interact with people. I’ll put off doing things that involve going into the kitchen or other common areas just because I can hear people talking or cooking there, and I don’t want to be seen or have to say ‘hi’ to them or something. While I am quite introverted and enjoy spending most of my time alone, this is unusual, even for me.

And I still don’t think all of this quite adds up to ‘depression’. Part of that is because the whole not feeling sad thing is throwing me off (that always throws me off, even though I know that not everyone who is depressed feels sad). I can easily imagine all of this leading up to another depressive episode, though, and that really scares me. It hasn’t even been a year since the last one! But… there are definitely other possible things it could be. I mean, things like not having energy and not sleeping or eating right can be symptoms of a wide variety of things. And I also have to wonder (well, hope, really) if it is just stress (well, ‘just stress’ in addition to not being quite recovered anyway), because I have been really, really stressed out the past couple of weeks. I am finally getting to a point where I don’t have quite as much to stress me out, which is good. And today I actually feel pretty good. Like, I actually have some energy, even if I got up a bit late. I am definitely doing my homework, today. Mostly because I am terrified that if I don’t, and if I don’t have any other good days before it is due, that it won’t get done at all. And then if I don’t get my homework done, I will find it much too easy to decide that I will never be able to catch up with my classes and I will fail everything again (or maybe be smart this time and get some kind of medical withdrawl thing, but it will still feel like failing everything), and I’m not sure I can recover from that again.

I’m actually considering going to see a psychiatrist again. I don’t want to, they will probably just prescribe anti-depressants, and I don’t want to take them (for lots of reasons, including a general dislike a of pills, a distrust of psych meds, and just plain not wanting to try the thing that has side effects when there are other things I could do). What I really want, is to find out if maybe it is something other than depression, or if it is something else and depression, or if it is just depression after all.

Also, I highly suspect that I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, and I have suspected that pretty much ever since I discovered it exists a couple years ago. If that is the case (or if it isn’t), it would be nice to know that, because then I could try things specifically designed to deal with DSPS and have a better chance at it actually working that just setting my alarm strategically. I might also be able to, for instance, get disability accommodations in cases where an employer can work with my schedule (I read about one person with DSPS getting her employer to allow her to work from 1pm to 9pm rather than the usual 9am to 5pm). Actually, I’ve already got an accommodation for this at my school. Even though I only had a letter to tell them about my depression when I went to the school’s disability office, when I told them about my difficulties with waking up in the mornings (which combines very badly with my difficulties getting out of bed once awake when I’m depressed), they gave me this accommodation which would allow me to register for classes early so that I would be able to get into afternoon and evening sections of classes without worrying about the sections filling up before I could register. Also, it would be nice to able to say something like “I have DSPS” rather than “I’m really bad at mornings, and alarms work very unreliably for me (when they work at all), and nothing I try ever seems to work for long” when trying to convince someone that, while I understand the scheduling difficulties involved, I really just can’t do 9am appointments every week. Well, I mean, I could, I would just sleep through them half the time. But, seriously, 9am feels as ridiculously early to me as 4 or 5am feels to most people. And no, if it were just a matter of trying harder to be a morning person, then surely one the billion things I already tried would have worked by now…

This post is getting ridiculously long. I am going to go eat something and do my math homework now.

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2 thoughts on “Getting Depressed Again?

  1. Hmm, for what it’s worth, every single symptom you’ve listed here is something that I experience as a part of my own depression. I very rarely have the sadfeels with depression any more, though I had them more when I was an adolescent. It’s all about the fuzzy brain that can’t concentrate (especially on books), and the not wanting to leave my room for any reason (except maybe to get McDonald’s) for me. I don’t have as much sleep disruption as you, but I’m generally a good sleeper, so depression doesn’t completely destroy my sleep.

    Things that aren’t drugs that can sometimes help me:
    – Vitamins! Basically no one gets enough vitamin D in the winter, so get on that. (I also take B12, but that one’s doctor’s orders and specific to me; it might be worth it to get your blood levels checked if that’s a thing that is feasible for you to do where you live.)
    – Exercise: um, ok, this one is hard to implement when it’s hard to make yourself *do* anything, I know. But you could turn your trip to McDonald’s/Taco Bell into a run? Try to figure out exercise-type thing you can do that get you a reward at the end, of the sort that will actually motivate your depressed-brain? Also, stretching in general (and yoga in particular, since it incorporates controlled breathing techniques) can release a lot of happy chemicals in your body, and it can be a relatively easy kind of exercise to do.
    – Acknowledge how you’re feeling (which it already sounds like you’re trying to do) and try to make your plans/goals for the day things that you can reasonably do given your state of mind. If depression makes you anti-social, cut back on making social plans and save your energy for school/whatever other things you might need to prioritize. Choose one thing that you know will be challenging for yourself each day, but be ok if you miss a day. Don’t expect yourself to be who you are when you’re brain is at peak functioning, you’ll just disappoint yourself, and that’s a recipe for a depression spiral right there.
    – I have certain hobbies that my brain can still handle when I’m depressed but that also give me a sense of accomplishment that goes a long way toward recharging my energies. For me, knitting, cross-stitch, origami, blogging, and organizing things are on this list. Try and figure out what might work for you.

    Also, many hugs if wanted!

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  2. Yay hugs!

    Oh right, vitamin D, I totally forgot about that one. That’s easy to do.

    Exercise is good. I keep trying to make that a permanent habit even when I’m not particularly depressed, mostly in the hope that it will be preventative against depression (I mean, I’ve had about half a dozen depressive episodes, it seems kind of reasonable to be planning to try to make the next one either suck less or not happen). I kind of ditched my most recent attempt at forming an exercise habit because of blargh-no-energy though. But do-not-want-meds can be decent motivation to start that one up again even when it’s really hard to. Exercise helps with sleeping better, too.

    Speaking of sleep, I finally learned to stop beating myself up over waking up late all the time. I’ve decided that it is ok that my sleep habits don’t seem to be as easily controlled as most people’s, and as long as I’m finding a way to make it work with my life (like taking only afternoon/evening classes or finding a night shift job), then there’s nothing wrong with that. Waking up late =/= lazy.

    In fact, I seem to be doing quite well about not beating myself up over things in general, which is probably half the reason all this doesn’t quite seem like a depressive episode, not really.

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