Depression sucks. I should know as unfortunately I am slowly coming out of another lovely depressive cycle, brought to you by stress and anxiety. I was stupid enough to take on a stressful project at work, which lasted a month and ended with me having a seven-day panic-attack (complete with chest pain, breathlessness, sore arms, painful neck and shoulders - the works!). I then fell into a depression (which thankfully wasn't as bad as it could have been - thanks Raw Con and my psychologist!) which seems to be in its last throes now. So I thought I would give you an overview of the timeline of how my depression seems to work. I'm hoping that I've got it figured out now, so now it's just a matter of recognising where I am in the cycle, and possibly preventing the depression from even happening in the first place.
Everyone will have a different cycle, so it's always good to try and figure out what your timeline is so you know when your danger periods are. It's good to keep friends and family informed too, which is another reason I'm writing this blog. If you haven't read my previous blog where I talk about my panic scale, you might want to take a look, as I refer to it in my timeline. I'm just a clusterfuck of fun times aren't I?
1. Everything is good.
At this stage is when I'm at my optimal levels. I'm functioning normally (well, as normally as I usually function), I have good routines settled in which allow me to work well while keeping happy and energized. I like being here. Yes, I still have my off days which admittedly sucks, but I get over them pretty quickly. I can easily keep myself to a 4 or under on the panic scale, sometimes getting to a 5 but rarely getting above a 6. If I do manage to get to an 8, it usually drops back to a 4 pretty quickly
2. I get overconfident.
Yep, I've been in those routines for a while now and I've gotten everything sorted out. I am OWNING the world! I can do anything! This is the big danger period, because this is when I usually start getting slack or signing up for things that realistically I simply can't handle.
3. Prolonged stress/series of unfortunate events.
I can still do it, I can get through it, I'm doing fine...those are the lies I start telling myself to get myself through this period, all while my energy starts to sap away and my routines fall apart and the good, solid base I've built for myself crumbles away. My panic scale starts sticking at a 5 or a 6 most of the time, which is a BAD thing, and I shoot to a 7 or 8 a lot quicker and find it a lot harder to come down.
This can come in the form of a prolonged panic attack (like the seven-day panic attack), a full blown autistic meltdown (may that never happen again) or a nervous breakdown. Congratulations, you just reached 9 on the panic scale and you're not getting below an 8 any time soon!
I'm stuck at 7 or 8 on the panic scale and it feels like there's no end in sight. Anyone who's had depression knows what it's like to be here. Here sucks.
The tail end of the depression sees me stay around the 5 or 6 mark on the panic scale, sometimes getting up to a 7 but starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I even get back down to a 4. How nice.
7. The Drop.
Talking with my psych yesterday, I mentioned that last time I had a depression I had about a month of paranoia, not caring, anger and anxiety before finally getting better. I call this the drop, which is the period just before I get back together where I become the most unbearable person in the world. I hate everyone, I'm certain I'm going to get fired, I'm certain everyone hates me. Basically I become a 15-year-old again.
And then after that it's back to square one again. Hopefully once I get back to square one I can stay there. I'll definitely be talking to friends, coworkers and management so they can make sure I don't go taking on any more than I can handle, so I don't plunge myself into another depression again. Because yes, this one was purely my own fault for volunteering for something that I realistically am not able to handle. Lesson learned!