I have gotten many messages and texts over the last few weeks asking about my lack of blog posts and checking on my wellbeing. All have been appreciated. Although I wish that my pause in writing was the result of significant improvement in my overall mental health, it was not. It is the manifestation of a decline that began about three weeks after I stopped the last of my medication. Unlike the last time my depression reoccurred, this was not an immediate slide into darkness. I struggle to articulate how I feel exactly, because my moods oscillate and vary. My mind feels heavy, like I am perpetually waking up from a deep sleep. I recognize that I am conscious, but I would not consider myself awake enough to operate heavy machinery.
Sleep itself is a challenging subject as I am not sleeping well. I have trouble falling asleep, struggle to stay asleep, and often wake up feeling tired even after what would be considered an appropriate period. During the day, I am more aware of clenching my jaw, but at night it turns to full on teeth grinding. I wear a guard when I sleep. There is also an overwhelming sense of vulnerability that I was not experiencing before. I am more anxious.
What I find most ironic about my experience, particularly this relapse into depression, is that I have unquestionably made tremendous progress in therapy. I can name feelings and have come to terms with experiences that I had minimized to the point of erasure. In particular, I have identified situations and patterns in my life that have done serious harm to my sense of self. [The instances I am talking about are not related to my family.]. In some cases, what I experienced was traumatic. However, I never recognized it as such and, in many cases, blamed myself for what happened to me.
This intense personal work is dredging up anger, hurt, sadness, and fear. There is no pleasure in it, despite knowing how necessary it is for me to do. On some days, an hour of therapy takes up all my mental energy. As I said, though, I am seeing progress toward becoming a healthier version of myself.
“How are you?” is a question I still struggle to answer authentically. I am okay, in the sense that I am physically well, but I do not feel well. Right now, I simply “am” and that must be enough.