May 2nd, 2008


Bitten by the black dog (metaphor)

I should have realized it yesterday afternoon; I did figure it out yesterday evening.

I'm in a depressive slide again. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is not at all depressed and 10 is sitting on the edge of the bed looking longingly at Dale's phenobarbital (which I would never actually steal), I'm at about a 6. I'm not in danger; not suicidal or likely to deliberately self-injure.

Thanks to good therapy, I do have the intellectual skills to know that this is temporary and to more or less cope. I'm functioning at about 70%, I think. I'll keep taking my nice drugs (better living through modern chemistry!), I'll play happy-Janet music, I'll slog through it, and in a few days or a week or so the cloud will lift and I'll start feeling better again.

You know what's weird? I don't get completely anhedonic when I'm in this kind of depression. I'm angry and bitter and right on the edge of tears; I want to be hateful and hurtful and push people away (but again, I have developed enough self-awareness and coping skills that I mostly don't do that); but individual things can still be funny and I can laugh at them.

P.S. The icon more or less describes how I feel about Life, The Universe, and Everything right now; it's not directed at any of you, my friends and acquaintances.
  • Current Mood
    determined determined

Oh, and by the way

Regarding having tools and skills to recognize Depression (as opposed to depression; kind of like deaf and Deaf) and function through it.

PSA to anyone in the Knoxville area who might need a therapist: Nancy Davis at East Tennessee Behavioral Health is really, really good. With me she does pretty much straight CBT (that's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you perverts! *grinlet*), but I'd be willing to bet she has a range of techniques for different people and different issues.

ETA: fatfred asked about the tools I use to recognize and cope. I'm copying the comment I left, since I think it's important, and this will make it easier for me to find it again when I need it.
The tools came from therapy. My pdoc, Nancy Davis, is really sharp, and she doesn't let me get away with shit. With me, she uses primarily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which operates from the premise that thoughts basically control emotions, and that by reframing thought, a person can reshape emotional response. Obviously, that's not a 100% correlation, but for me (and, apparently, a lot of other people) it's a sufficiently good model.

A very basic example of CBT might be dealing with how a person feels after making a mistake. This is not exaggerated; I'm speaking from my own history.

Pre-therapy: I can't do anything right. I suck. The world would be a better place without me. I'm an awful person and don't deserve my good job or my friends or anything (and on and on and on).

Post-therapy (and assuming a reasonably stable neurochem state): Well, that wasn't one of my better moves. How can I fix it? Can I keep it from happening again?

So for dealing with the ongoing neurochem depression, I take an antidepressant. Right now, that's Prozac. For dealing with the bouts of Depression, some of the tools involved:
  1. Being more self-conscious/self-aware. Not in the shy, "Everyone's staring at me" way, but in the "keeping track of my state" way. Kind of like Scanners, in the short story "Scanners Live in Vain".
  2. Learning to recognize the patterns of actions that Depression causes: I can see those before I become aware of the mental/emotional state, if that makes sense.
  3. Training myself to believe that which I do know intellectually: This will pass.
  4. Training myself to "fake it 'til I make it"; that is, to follow my routine: get up, eat food, take meds, go to work, shuffle paper. *grin*
  5. Training myself to, once I recognize the onset of Depression, run everything I say through a conscious, intellectual filter. That's the hardest. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue (or sitting on my hands) in order to filter out the self-destructive / hateful stuff and only pass the neutral or constructive bits.