Monday, 19 January 2009
What A Difference A Week Makes
This time last week I was in the depths of despair. I was asking myself why I was carrying on living and how would I get through another day, or two. While I am not actually full of the joys of spring, I have managed to survive the week and feel that life is worth carrying on with.
Depression is a terrible illness. It robs you of rational thought, it makes you question every little thing that is going on around you, and it makes seeing your way through the next hour an ordeal that you really don't know how you will survive. I still don't feel happy (it makes me wonder whether happiness is actually a normal state or one that is fleeting and should be savoured for every minute that it endures), but neither am I so sad that just being alive is agonising.
When you are severely depressed, as I was last week, doctor's always ask if there is a reason why you feel the way that you do. Sometimes it is easy to pick out something that has caused you to fall into the abyss. Often it is the anniversary of a loved one's passing, or another birthday spent alone, but sometimes there is no specific thing that can be identified as the cause of the fall into the despairing state.
Last week I could not give a reason for feeling the way that I did. Looking back, I still have no idea why I suddenly found life so unbearable. Perhaps it was just a continuation of the loneliness of Christmas that finally came to a head; I'm not sure and I am not willing to concentrate on finding a reason because today I feel so much better.
Perhaps the more important question is not what caused me to feel so low, but what is it that is making me feel better. Strange as it may seem, I think the reason that I am now feeling more positive than I did last Monday is because I have been ill. Not mentally ill, but physically ill. The throat, ear, and chest infections took so much out of me and made me feel so poorly, that I found that it took all my strength and mind to concentrate on taking the tablets at the right time, ensuring that I had plenty to drink, and that I had food at the right time to fit in with the constraints of the medication (to be taken one hour before a meal or on an empty stomach).
Perhaps it was having to cope with the physical illness that meant that I did not think about how I felt mentally. And not thinking about my mental state meant that my depression had nothing to feed on. Whatever the answer is, I do not intend to ponder on it. One thing that I have learnt over the last 10 years is that you have to make the most of the better times, because you do not know what is just around the corner. Life is still full of bad days and worse days, but sometimes the bad days are not as bad as you think.