Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

October 25, 2020

Still slogging.

I'm still slogging through the long tail of a doozy of depression this week, so again I've got very little creative for you.

But given the number of "I'm there feeling this too" emails I received this week, I thought it might be useful to share a little of my inner world on these strange weeks, and dig into what it feels like.

Most of this week has been a mix of what I'd call "good days with depression" and "bad days with depression." I haven't had to deal with the crazy thoughts this week, nor the deep dark places.

But in some ways, that's made the sanity-questioning nature of depression tougher. I mean, crazy thoughts are crazy thoughts. They suck to have, but at this point in my life, it's pretty easy for me to see 'em for what they are: my brain shorting out in messed up ways.

But days like this week where things are more subtly off are so much tougher to get a hold on, and I spend my energy on vigilance and challenging thoughts, instead of handling the heavy stuff.

Wednesday morning, I spent a good half-hour wrestling with whether I was still experiencing depression, or "being lazy."

I went through the checklist in my depression toolbox, to try to establish reality:

  • Are my actions and feelings ones that could be explained by depression? Yes.
  • Is this state one that I typically find myself in when I'm not experiencing depression? No.
  • Are other tell-tale signs of the way my depression shows up present?
    • Crazy thoughts? No.
    • Inability to sleep? Yes.
    • Feeling like the color is drained from the world? Yes.
    • Low energy and exhaustion at simple things? Yes.
    • Sudden and unexplained deep sadness? Not this week, but last week.

I look at those with my rational brain, and say, "Well, Steven, that seems like a good chance that what you're experiencing is depression, and not laziness, my dude. Maybe those 'you're being a lazy bastard' thoughts are sneaky variations on the crazy thoughts."

And it's a compelling explanation, and for the most part, it convinces me.

But for me, that's one of the challenges of dealing with depression - I never quite know. I lean on the knowledge that when I'm not experiencing depression, I know that. I'm high-energy and creative and a million miles a second.

But here in these moments, nothing honestly fully convinces me. I know from the past that this will pass, and I'll be able to look back and see it clearly. But here in the valley, it's hard to remember the mountains.

Anyhow, hopefully I'll be back to more normal types of letters next week, and back on finishing up the course I've been working on for months now - that I really do remember being super excited about.

Thanks for coming along on the ride. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week this heart-warming and hilarious story about a food writer - who opened a tiny restaurant for her neighborhood chipmunk.

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