top of page

My Most Recent Depressive Episode

It must have been three days. Maybe it was even longer. I’m not too sure. If the timeline were an inverted bell curve I suppose the 72 hours would have been the “bottom out”. Surely I didn’t fall off a cliff. It must have been a gradual spiral and decline – it always is. 



It’s weird. Being in it, and then having come out of it. Like reflecting on a dream it’s like I can’t quite capture exactly where I was mentally during this time period. Have you ever listened to someone explain a dream? Or, been in the middle of describing one — when you see the look on faces and an inevitable “I guess you had to be there” that seems to conclude the story? When explaining or listening to the dreamed up series of tales, it’s likely that what made sense within the dream no longer makes sense when trying to explain it after the fact.


Having attempted to both describe my sleep dreams and my depressive states — I see great similarities between the two as they both offer altered states that are hard to express aloud. Here and now, in a healthy mind space — I can tell you “man, I’m glad I don’t feel that way right now.”  This is the same as the ability to recount a bad dream, that made perfect sense at the time, and say “ what a bad dream — I’m glad that we weren’t actually at war with each other.”


I think it’s important to highlight just how real both our bad dreams and low moods can be. I also think it’s important to note that the reason I used the example of not being “at war” with each other above rather than a “bloody murder, chainsaw massacre” type nightmare is because, for me, I must remind myself that “I am not in a fight.”


It’s worth comparing the bad dream state and the depressive state as to acknowledge them both as temporary states. It’s worth comparing the two to acknowledge them as different for everyone, hard to explain, as well as so strangely, individually, real, and clear. And, while clear at the time, the two states are confusing, overwhelming, frightening, and built from narrative and thoughts whether conscious, subconscious, or unconscious. 


I think it is the case for me that, while what is happening for me in the time of my depressive episodes are very real – it is also the case that it will not be real for very long. “This too shall pass” has proved to remain true whether my coping strategies were healthy or destructive. My feelings towards things are wavering, and I experience a variety of different feelings towards the same thing. Like weather, predictable while unpredictable, sunny or rainy, the same scenes can be both miserable and joyful. 


It’s true for me that my attempts at explaining are difficult and frustrating. “Where do I even start” is almost always the case. The fear of saying the wrong things — those “very real and very true for me now” things -- are hard to express. Navigating any potential social situation or conversation is tough as the desire to hide as to ensure not showcasing my struggle or my resentment is of high priority. Being invited to join in such situations, whether dinner at home with the family or otherwise, feel like they’re destined for failure. Despite this, I’ll often attempt to participate — bringing forward what I would deem to be the worst version of myself in my efforts to continue trudging forward.  


I fear conversation or what might sneak through the filters when I’m in these states. Sharp tongued, judgemental, and frustrated — it seems not long before it’s clear to see I’m not doing well. Hard on myself, internally critical of both myself as well as everything else — I fear that what could come of these situations could make both myself and the listener, either confused, uneasy, frustrated, or feeling a sense of urgency to insist on rushing beyond this state. There are parts of me at the wheel that love the chaos, disruption, and recklessness — there are other parts begging me to stop blowing stop signs and to consider the safety of both myself and others. It could also happen that the engagement was one that provided reprieve from myself — an opportunity to reconnect and remind myself of what’s good. The opportunity of both possibilities feels like a roll of the dice and a chance I’m typically unwilling to take. I beleive it's mostly for these reasons that I am prone to isolating. 


When I find myself in negative frames of mind it’s typically because of many different things. 


Like I’ve made a soup —  I can identify the ingredients but don’t know how I made the damn pot. There are ingredients that have blended into each other, ones I don’t remember putting in there, and ones that I don’t usually put in there. And, of course, ones that are the “onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper” that will always make up the foundation of what’s brewing. Unhealed traumas compounded by what thoughts you’re having, the bad bounces you’re catching, the bullshit you’re tolerating, what you’re complaining about, what has caught you off guard, what you’ve deemed wrong with the world, and more — all coming to a boil and simmer. 


How did I make this concoction? 

What are the ingredients that make up my sadness, frustration, anger, resentment, hate?

Are all these things I’m blaming, shaming, judging, dismissing, disgusted with or appalled by — the cause of my pain? Is there more underneath?


The soup, my emotional state, is not just made up of one thing — it's the mixture of many things that make up a perceived “one thing” that is my emotional state.  What went in at what time? How did each ingredient interact the way they did? Fortunately for the sake of this piece of writing, I can sit here and talk about the ingredients that made up the soup with a sense of objectivity. I can reflect with poise and optimism given my current mind state. 


Today, it’s not sad, it’s not all doom and gloom, I am grateful, and relaxed. This is why I think it’s a good time to reflect on this. I’ve reflected much, but want to take a stab at writing it for the benefit of those who might read as well as my family. Of whom, during this episode, urged me both to get help as well as consider the idea of consulting my doctor. I’m uneasy about the idea of medication – and hold belief that my own accountability and actionable measures I can take are to be exercised first. It is not true for me that “nothing works”. I’ve found that there is always something I can do, or practices I’ve failed to upkeep, that are effective in pulling me from negative frames of mind. I’ll get into those. 


And so, amidst the chaos of my depression and anxiety I’ll point out feelings and behaviours, or lack thereof that could be noted at the time. I’ll acknowledge the things outside myself that were affecting me, and the things that slipped or were very apparent at the time. I think it’s important to point out the feelings, less so than the stories attached to each feeling, as to get beyond the narratives and down to what was true for me despite the stories.


I was:


  • Fatigued 

  • Underslept 

  • Vitamin D deficient

  • Overstimulated

  • Sedentary and without exercise or movement

  • Unfulfilled

  • Financially stressed

  • In fear of the future

  • Worried for my loved ones 

  • Disgusted with myself

  • Judgmental of others

  • Angry 

  • Sad

  • Frustrated

  • Irritable

  • Distractable

  • Defeated

  • Lacking Social connections

  • Without things to look forward to 

  • In a state of lack

  • Ruminating in hypothetical conflict

  • Wanting to watch the world burn 


To summarise: 

  • My body was begging for rest 

  • My brain was begging for rest 

  • I was operating from a place of fear

  • My Light was not shining

  • I hated everything and everyone

  • I thought and believed that I, and everything, was a complete waste.  



“What’s wrong?”

“Talk to me.”

“If not me then someone.”


The voices of those closest to me begging for me to return from my cycling playlist of apathy, tears, and defensiveness.


All I want is to run, hide, sleep, disengage, and save everyone from the blast radius. 


I’m ready to blow.


I sit down for dinner or move within the world and finding myself unable to hold it in. My ears have steam coming out of them and when I speak I breathe fire. I feel dangerous to be around. I think, in fact – I am. Everything is wrong in this mind space I’ve found myself in. 


It’s not one thing – it’s the weight of everything. But while it is many things – it’s also true that it is just one thing. 


It is me. It is one thing. It is the lens I’m seeing things through. It is the parts of me that are fearful, vengeful, envious, dark, and sad. It is the parts of me I’ve not fully healed but the ones I contend with. It is the parts that take over if I’ve not rested, if I am exhausted and slugging around. It is what takes over when the pillars that make up my happy life are not strong — when I myself have not prioritised appropriately. When I must recalibrate. 


What makes up those pillars:


Social and Interpersonal

  • connection

  • community

  • friendships

  • plans

  • time with loved ones

  • teamwork

  • compassion

  • forgiveness

  • led by light


Behavioural:

  • proper sleep

  • proper exercise

  • proper nutrition

  • letting my light shine

  • Writing

  • Intervening negative tendencies

  • led by light


Psychological:

  • appropriate screen time

  • maintaining a positive mental attitude

  • practicing gratitude and seeing abundance

  • shielding from negative channels

  • led by light  

Relation to self:

  • appropriate self talk

  • the creating and maintaining of plans and commitments

  • Growth and progress

  • With oneself rather than against oneself

  • led by light


“Water and sunlight, baby.”


And so what happened to create these 72 hours?


I was overextending.

I was tired. 

I was not regimented.

I was not rooted in my values.

I was negative, judgemental, vengeful, ***insert any and all negative emotions here***

I was ashamed. 

I was not keeping my eyes on my own page. 

I was hopeless. 

I was shaken up. 

I was stuck in the maze.

I was carrying too much. 


I was waiting for the storm to pass.


It’s hard – I don’t know how to talk about this when it’s all happening at the same time. I guess we can add “I was overwhelmed” to the list above. And I could continue to add more and more to this list. Each of these points pack endless discussion that likely just leads to more and more questions. 


Wrong to assume the needs or situations of others as I share a bit about myself — I have written a message that I wish to send to my loved ones during my low times in an effort to be prepared for the next time it happens. I also look to encourage others to have a think on the reassurance we can offer others during tough times. My message is written in a way that is true across mind states, despite negative feelings or emotions at the time. And now, rereading it — is a compass or lighthouse returning me back to where I work to spend more and more time.


It’s written with respect to what I know my needs are during my emotionally low time periods given my avoidant nature in times of emotional distress. 


To my loved ones, your loved ones, me, and you. To whoever might need this to send or receive this whether now or later down the road:


I’m going through a challenging period right now. It’s a lot all at once and I’m feeling all sorts of negative ways. While it’s especially hard for me I can appreciate how this weighs on you. I want to offer you reassurance to say that I am not making any rash decisions in this time and I don’t want to feel like this forever, I know that with some space, time to rest, time for the storm to pass, and time alone I will be able to return refreshed and ready to discuss and move forward. 


I’m not going anywhere. 


Right now, I’m defensive and negative. I’m refraining from lashing out and want time for myself so as to not lash out on you. Internally I’m fighting. I’m fighting people in hypothetical arguments, I’m fighting narrative, I’m in all kinds of brawls. I don’t want to fight you. I don’t want to run away. Despite the stories I’m telling myself and my fight/fight/freeze/fawn/collapse response firing — I’m going to be right here. I’ve been here before, I’m tracing steps as to learn what has brought me to this point, and I know I am responsible for myself. My worldview and thoughts on all things are currently in the doomsday thought track. I’m stuck in a victim mindset and I am resentful. 


That said, I’m going to take time alone to sleep and refrain from screens. Recharging and returning to normal is my top priority. I love you and thank you for offering me this time to rest and take space. I will get through this tough time period. Your support is felt and appreciated. I’ll reconnect with you in a specified timeline (insert 5 minutes/1h/this evening/tomorrow morning.). 


-Kevin



To conclude: I will say this… 


We’re sensitive, we’re creative, and we expect much of ourselves. What a combination when our sensitivities are tripped and we create ourselves mental mapped messes that we expect ourselves to clean up — oftentimes without acknowledging our sensitivities and by way of thinking our way through it. We have the capacity to see things from many different angles and when creating the environmental and internal conditions that make up our state of mind -– it seems to me that it’s inevitable that we’ll find ourselves in a nightmare from time to time.


Understanding it’s common, understanding it’s okay to talk about, understanding there are supports around us all waiting to be tapped, and understanding our individual needs are all crucial when contending with our internal struggles.


I believe that by identifying and expressing our needs with the consideration for those around us while showing compassion, empathy, and patience for oneself and others -- we can feel and process the feelings, better understand each other, and get through the lows together. 



Sending strength,

Kevin 

584 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Commentaires


bottom of page