Last week, My Old Friend, Depression, came a visiting. I couldn’t rest, couldn’t do anything, but tried, nevertheless, forcing myself to be active and do the many things that are demanded of life and that I love to do in the best of times.
I am writing here to analyze it because when I’m depressed, I cannot understand or analyze it. I feel like dying, I have no interest in anything, the many things I love to do become burdens, I become negative about my life, my creativity, my faith. I know I am tired but question my tiredness by thoughts like, what did I do to be so tired? How come other people have so much more energy than me? Why can’t I do this that or the other? How come I am so unproductive?
A brief insight came to me as I bent over a chore in the kitchen: DON’T QUESTION YOUR TIREDNESS.
When I thought about it I realized I had been doing more than usual on the days preceding the onset. The list is long so I will skip it. Our lives are altogether too busy during the ‘holidays’ and we ignore the mute protests of our bodies. Tiredness follows the law of inertia and multiplies unless it is attended to. I forget that it takes as long to unwind as it is to get wound up. When I am tired there is nothing I can do about it, not even rest. Or even if I rest, sleep in, the brain gets fuzzy and that generates additional worry: what’s happening to me? Is my brain dying, am I finally old and decrepit? I can’t even let my brain rest but question its fuzziness; I can’t get a day entirely off because the appointment book has three scribbles in it for the day. Then there’s all the work around food for the ‘holidays.’ The messy kitchen has to be cleaned, and there is a lot of compulsion around ‘exercise.’
The causes of depression can only be seen in retrospect, and that’s why I’m trying to discover mine. I do not like being depressed and if the causes are to be hounded out, I must do my best. I have to come up with a strategy on detecting my tiredness, invariably the cause of my depression, sooner rather than later. But then the biology and the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, and one gets on a roll of tiredness because life is altogether too busy and one demands too much of oneself.
Touch – a massage or cuddling with a love one – helps a lot. And then one has to give oneself a long stretch of uncommitted time to unwind in. One has to say, NO to activities that feel like a burden instead of a joy.
This subject of resting is so important that I wrote a chapter on it in my book called The Writing Warrior. That will be my next blog entry.