You know, people keep telling me that it’s “normal” to have “down days” every once in a while. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, like every time I am not feeling well. It makes me wonder: is what I’m feeling right now “normal” or is it my depression rearing it’s ugly head? How am I supposed to know? And what is with the word “normal” anyways? I hate that word. It’s so generic as to almost be meaningless.
Well, let’s assume for the sake of this particular entry that “normal” refers to anything sans depression (I’m pretty sure that means without depression). Well, it’s been so long since I have been without depression that I have no idea what normal means to me anymore. So that definition doesn’t really help us much, does it?
I do not think these “moods” of mine are normal. I can’t imagine that it is normal for most people to wake up and realize, “I really don’t want to be awake right now.” If you think about it, that could be considered really close to saying “I don’t want to be alive right now,” because if you’re sleeping you’re not really living. Let’s be clear about something, though: I am absolutely NOT feeling suicidal right now. When I say, “I don’t want to be awake,” or “I don’t want to be living,” it does not mean I want to be dead. It’s probably more equivalent to me saying, “I wish I was in a coma right now.” It’s a yearning for that feeling of peace, that relaxation, that feeling of nothingness that your brain tells you is bliss. In reality, when you’re not conscious or when you’re sleeping you’re not experiencing the emotions of peace and relaxation or bliss. I think it is in the moments where you’re either about to fall asleep or wake up where you feel emotions close to those. So in reality, wishing to be sleeping or in a coma or something like that is not what you really want – it’s those moments that you are aware of the peace, the bliss, the relaxation that you want.
Either way, the depressed voice in my head is trying to trick me – telling me I want to not be conscious, that I want to be sleeping all the time. A voice that is very nearly telling me that I want to be dead. But don’t worry. At this point in time I am very much aware of the fact that I do NOT want to be dead. Quite far from it, in fact. I want to be alive. I don’t just want to be alive, though. I want to be alive and enjoying life. And that is what is really getting to me right now.
A few weeks ago, when I was still on a lot of my meds, I was absolutely miserable. I was so miserable that I was sleeping all the time and I was having thoughts of self harm and suicide. Today I slept all day but I did not have any thoughts of self harm or suicide (okay, maybe one quick, passing thought of self harm, but I let that slide right out of my head). By all accounts I am doing so much better than I was a few weeks ago, so why am I still SO unhappy? My brain is telling me that I am as miserable today as I was a few weeks ago, even though I know that it is untrue. But it’s kind of like weather relativity to me. Six months ago it was absolutely freezing out and I’d be super cold at 0 degrees. Now, if it’s like 45 degrees, I might think that I am as cold or colder than I was back when, six months ago, it was 0 degrees. But six months ago, had it been 45 degrees out (which feels freezing now), I would have been jumping up and down in short sleeve shirts. Does that analogy make sense? I’m trying to say that my emotions are relative. That because I’ve been feeling so great lately, any dip in my mood feels severe, reminding me of how I was feeling when things were a lot worse.
I was writing in my journal earlier and reflecting on how I am feeling. If how I am feeling right now is considered “normal” living by other people, let me just say that I have absolutely no interest in living. Again, I know that sounds like I’m suicidal. I’m not. I’m just not jumping up and down in joy at the prospect of continuing to live with these seeming perpetually bad mood swings. So what did I do today when I felt like not being awake? I would love to say that I used my skills that I’ve been learning in therapy, that I tried to regulate my emotions and took care of myself. Unfortunately that’s only half true. I stayed in bed until 2:30pm. Only then did I make myself take a (much needed) shower and make food (spaghetti) and eat. But then what did I do? I’m disappointed to say that I went back to my bed and laid down from 4:30pm – 7:30pm. I’ve been awake and out of bed since then, but what a day did I waste. I wasn’t napping as an attempt to get through a distressing / emergent situation either. No, I slept as an avoidance tactic, because I didn’t want to deal with everyday life. I was being willful, not wanting to use any of the skills I have worked so hard to learn. And do you know what? I felt better after I slept all day. I’m not going to lie and say that I felt awful and “what a mistake!” and “It made me feel worse!” because it didn’t. Sometimes using the maladaptive coping mechanisms feels good, short term at least. I will say that now that I’m up I wish I hadn’t slept all day. There are other things I could have been doing that would have been more productive and fun. So, you know, I just have to accept that I made the choices I made and I am going to resolve to try and use my skills the next time I feel so… uninspired.